When we woke up at some ridiculously early time this morning, every bone in our bodies was telling us that getting up and cycling 90 miles was a bad idea. We were still suffering from the events of Sunday. However, we decided that if we left early enough, and took it easy, we would not only get through today, but might actually enjoy it.
The first part of the ride was an absolute joy. After a short, steep climb out of Silver City, we spent the next 20 miles or so descending pretty much constantly, and were at our morning break in the shake of a lamb’s tail. Bolstered with a cup of coffee and a snack, we knew the next 30 miles of our journey would be predominantly uphill. But we had the excitement of reaching the Arizona State line to look forward to: another significant mark of progress in our journey.
Thinking that we were past the days of open fords and flooded roads, we were a little shocked to find that poor old Trusty & Steed had to cope with 5 more dips in the road during our climb, flooded with fast flowing water. These torrents always look worse than they are, however, we are getting more used to just riding through them slowly, confident that we will come out the other side.
After stopping for a further break at the state line at an elevation of just below 6,000ft, we could not have been any more impressed with the views that were just around the corner: spectacular panoramic vistas down over canyons, and in the distance chains of mountains silhouetted against the sky. We managed to take a few snaps… And, even better, 20 straight miles of descending down the most crazy switchbacks that you can imagine (see photos) – we thought of our friends in the auto industry and that they would love this stretch of road for a really cool car advertisement.
We had to go about 9 miles off route this evening to find a motel for the night, as there’s not much around here. But we arrived feeling exhilarated by today’s ride, and excited about the next stage of the trip, including planning a new route that keeps us far enough South to reduce the risk of Sunday repeating itself. Talking of which, we managed to bump into Rick when we were out picking up take-out Mexican food for supper, and a few beers from the local liquor store. Rick had lots of ideas for us for an alternative route, and has invited us to eat breakfast with him at his restaurant tomorrow morning (he owns the Gold Panner Grub restaurant in the historic centre of Clifton, AZ, the town in which we find ourselves tonight).
Despite Anthony having overdosed on tortilla chips tonight (!), we’ll be there, and are looking forward to tapping into some local knowledge.
It’s a moderate length ride tomorrow although, you guessed it, starting with a 5-mile 1000ft climb! And then we have a rest day to recharge, and finalise our plans for the next couple of weeks.