Saturday, June 11, 2016

There are hikers that move faster.

Day 5 - June 11th
47.5 miles
159.9 total
Moving Avg. 6.0 Mph
Overall Avg. 3.8 Mph

Today was a day divided.

We were rained on in the night, but managed to pull it together and leave camp by 6am, for an early climb followed by a long steep descent. The fresh rain turned the mountain into an aromatic symphony. The smell if Pinyon Pines was so present and strong, we kept finding ourselves marveling at the sweet aroma.

After our descent, we arrived at Lake Roberts at the very early hours of Pre coffee for the small general store. They kindly brewed us some for our appreciative consumption. This powered us along through a beautiful valley where crickets sang to us in passing. The highway was so untraveled that most of the ride passed with nothing more than the company of the crickets and birds, which sang unfamiliar songs.

I told Apricots that if the ride was like this the entire time, I would never want to do anything but ride along with her for all of time. We were even gaining elevation, but the temperature was right, the views were elegant, pastoral, and calm. By 10:30am, we covered our first 25 miles.

This is when things turned around. We hit gravel road for the first time, which was exciting. But the grade which greeted us was so steep, that even in our lowest gears, we were too slow to maintain balance (and energy) on the bike. We pushed our bikes up a mile of gravel road, before remounting, and enjoying a slow steady climb along the continental divide.

The rest of the day was too exhausting to adequately capture. The sun came out and cooked us as we made climbs and drops between 5 and 10 percent grade. I was too weak to pedal some of the climbs, and Apricots was too uneasy on the roads to handle the steep downhills. We are still getting our bike legs, arms, and mindset into shape for this ride. And this trip through the Gila Wilderness is wickedly difficult. All in all, I probably pushed my bike eight to ten miles uphill today. For the most part, Apricots was able to pedal up the hills, but she did need to push some of the time.

Towards day's end, I started getting super fearful that the next water source was going to be dry. This only made me want to be more conservative with my water, which In turn made me far more fatigued and dizzy. Eventually I flagged a passing car to ask if there was water at lower black canyon campground. They said there was, then gave us a Powerade and a gallon of water. Sweet sweet glorious happiness.

As the remainder of the afternoon progressed, I could see Apricots get more comfortable with the downhills on her bike. I unfortunately never had enough energy to handle the up hills. Many grunts and panting was had by me, as I feared the long term choices I have made for this summer. I am taking comfort in the fact that a biker ahead of us has told me that first 100 miles out of Silver City were the hardest she has experienced thus far on her journey. She is about 250 miles ahead of us.

When we finally made it to camp, a fellow camper was enjoying a beer with his dog. He offered us a beer, and we introduced ourselves. Jake, and his dog Chelsea provided great conversation over dinner and a beer. And to top it off, he didn't want to see us laboring over our water pump, so he insisted we top off all our water bottles with his water supply. (Thank you very much Jake)

Also, two Northbound Tour Divide racers blazed past us today. We talked for a bit, but they had miles to make.

Live life at a slower place.
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Live life at a slower place.

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