Distance – 116 miles.
After the trauma’s of yesterday, today was going to be a tough day, both physically in terms of mileage and also mentally. I did not sleep well, waking frequently and thinking about what had happened yesterday. Physically however I felt good, it was the mental side of things that I was struggling with.
After leaving the hotel, the first highlight of the day after just 5.7 miles was to cross our first state line moving into the state of Arizona. We stopped for photographs at the border and sprinkled Pacific sand and which would be sprinkled at each state line crossing. It is said that in doing so the fairys would harbour safe passage across each state. Following the stop we immediately hit a 7.5 mile climb and throughout, my mind wandered and I experienced waves of different emotions. After 23 miles we hit the first SAG of the day and I spent time collecting my thoughts and thinking about why I was here. I recalled the words that Robin, one of the support staff had said to me the previous day – ‘Dreams change and although this one is not quite what you had wanted it to be, you still have a dream to fulfill so go and fulfill it’. I also thought of all the great support I had received and the charities that I was riding for and this spurred me on and mentally I felt a little better. I left the SAG determined to finish the day and strangely as it may seem as the day progressed I began to feel stronger and stronger.
Shortly after our lunchtime SAG stop at mile 67.2 we came across a group of CrossRoad riders who had taken a tumble whilst riding in formation. Sadly, Mary (the bagel lady) had hit the deck hard, cracking her helmet and injuring her shoulder and the emergency procedure was swiftly implemented and she was taken to hospital for a full check up. Thankfully she was released the same evening but it brought home just how quickly fortunes can change.
The thing I will remember most about today’s ride were the long and endless straight roads that we experienced – they went on for mile after mile, straight as an arrow and many with false crests which we had been warned about. The last 26 miles I rode with Chris, Richard and Lois and I was grateful for their company. We split the ride into 5 mile segments before descending the last 6 miles downhill into Wickenburg. It was great to reach the Best Western hotel and upon arrival in my room I found a can of Foster’s from Tracy as a ‘pick me up’ following the events of yesterday. It meant a lot to me and mentally I felt strong again and determined now that yesterday’s set back was but a blip in a 3,500 mile journey. The four of us enjoyed a nice dinner together this evening in a local saloon bar before retiring to bed, preparing for the hills that lay ahead over the next few days.