After a frustrating day, we intended to get a good nights sleep and wake up early for another day of riding. I mentioned to Amy (and later to Roger on the phone) that as much as I appreciated her being here, nothing was as good as the camaraderie of riding with someone. The day started off well. I left the hotel at 6:08 - it was a rough night! No air conditioning - sweating all night, and breakfast didn't start until 7. So I just decided to get on the road and make the best of being awake early. As I pulled out of the parking lot, a biker pulled out in front of me - most likely a commuter headed to work. The sun was shining in my eyes, so I couldn't really see him - but eventually, he pulled over and I passed him. At the next stoplight, he caught up to me and said "hey, nice bike." I said thanks, because that is one does when someone appreciates the quality of ones steed. At the next stoplight I looked down and realized what this biker was riding. I said "nice bike to you," he said "thanks" you get the point. I had just realized that he was riding the exact same bike as me! Surly Longhaul trucker - blue with black fenders.
Long story short, I had just met Brad Wingate. Brad is an REI manager. He asked if I had ever heard of REI? I said, "I practically own stock." turns out Brad was headed to his buddies house to leave for an overnighter to Tucson, and the road they were taking was the same route as mine for 40 miles. Brad asked if I wanted to ride along. Are you kidding? YES!
We stopped off at the home of Bob Lewis, a 65 year old retiree and avid cyclist. So, I'm in a foreign community, with a complete stranger waiting to pick up a complete stranger. When Bob's door opens, it's not Bob but his 145 lb (conservative) dog that rushes out and practically knocks me over. Charley is probably the friendliest dog I've ever met. (one must also realize I live with Khaki the wonder dog, probably the most unfriendly dog I've ever met). We soon departed and I quickly realized I was outclassed. Brad is a stud and Bob could ride you into the ground. They were headed out for a quick two day trip to Tucson and back. A 125 ONE WAY TRIP!
Bob just finished a transcontinental tour in August, just 3400 miles. Did I mention he's 65? Bob has 60 century's this year. A century is any bike ride over 100 miles. He's shooting for a hundred century's before year end. COME ON PEOPLE GET OUT THERE AND DO SOMETHING!
Brad, Bob and I had a great ride for about 36 miles. I have to admit it was all I could to keep up.
Check this out. 200 ft. from their exit, I get the first flat tire of this trip. Guess who changed it? Brad Wingate, stud! Once again I am amazed at the two new friends (angels?) that God has brought into my life.
Brad and Bob you will never know how much those 36 miles meant to me.
They left me with a warning that the rest of my day would be tough and treacherous. Wow, were they right.
From this point the day goes uphill again, way uphill. The climbs were unending, the descents were treacherous.
At one point I went through the Queen Creek Tunnel. The Queen Creek Tunnel occurs about two thirds of the way up a 6% grade called King's Crown Peak. It is several hundred feet long and has no shoulder, no gutter, no nothing. I unfortunately am attacking Queen's Creek tunnel uphill. I start through the tunnel and quickly realize that the oncoming traffic noise is deafening, nearly intolerable, but I press on. Then my worst nightmare, in my rearview mirror I see two semi's approaching from behind. There is nowhere to go, I leaned all the way over into the tunnel wall and wait for impact as the noise of the trucks becomes nearly intolerable. Then they pass, and I have no idea how. Those of you know me know that I'm not big on profanity. I think I profaned, twice.
This truly was one of the worst days of my biking experience.
Amy leaves tomorrow morning, I'm very sad. She has been an inspiration beyond belief.
Brad Bass and Ben Logan come in tomorrow night, more angels.
Who do you need to be an angel for?
Continually amazed by the grace of God and his providence,
Did I mention to get out there and do something?
Amy here, unfortunately this is the second time tonight we blog! I successfully deleted the first (we both had way better, much wittier blogs an hour ago). So this recreation will be shorter and have less pictures!
I have already said this once today on facebook - my husband is amazing! I have no idea how he mustered the energy, endurance or sanity to complete today's ride - but he did! His above description (nor the pictures I took) do any justice to the amount of climbing he did on his bike. All I could do was sit there and pray (and cry a few times). With every summit, we would hope that it was the last - but they just kept coming around every turn. At one point, upon seeing the "downhill for next 12 miles" sign - Lincoln was rejoicing! Unfortunately, the sign was a big fat lie! After two more inclines, I checked the google map and saw the words no biker ever wants to read on a map - the name of the next town was Top of the World, Az! THAT is no lie! And, Wendy McDowell, there is a Walmart Pharmacy in Top of the World, Az. Maybe you will get that as your next assignment and then you will have the opportunity to experience the joy we had today!
Obviously, Lincoln made it - and praise God, safely! He rode hard and didn't give up - even though he wanted to and I would have let him today! A couple times I had the hatch open ready to put the bike in and go home! But he didn't.
We made it into Globe, AZ before 3:00 - and no lie, the hotel is on top of a hill (Lincoln even rode up that one). We had plenty of time to do some sightseeing - too bad there was nothing to see! Dinner was way early - skipped lunch - China food, Kody!! We miss you boys! Now we are ready for bed. Tomorrow I head back to Huntsville and Lincoln has a day of riding by himself.
Thanks to all who have called, texted, posted, prayed and encouraged us each day! You will never know how much it means to us (especially Lincoln).
God is truly showing himself in a mighty way everyday! I am grateful for His protection and provision on this journey!
Be blessed, Amy
The lying sign
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