I was up early as I had a 100 mile ride to Sun City, a retirement community in north-west Phoenix, ahead of me. It would only be my second century to date and the first since back in South Dakota. This ride would hopefully be easier as there would not only be a fair amount of downhill, but also it would be a very pleasant temperature.
Ray was used to waking up early and was in the kitchen preparing bacon & eggs while I was making sure everything was packed. It’s a fine way to start the day and definitely beats the cold oatmeal I tend to have when I’m camping. Eggs, bacon and cheese all make their way on to my list of super-foods no matter how much criticism they are given by people for their supposed lack of healthiness. For 6+ months prior to my Ironman back in Korea in 2010 I was on a low-carb diet which had me eating bacon and eggs everyday for breakfast and I didn’t see my cholesterol levels rise.
Leaving Ray’s place it was a little chilly, but the day started with a slight climb out of town which is always good to warm up. I passed through downtown Prescott, which I had been shown around the night before with Ray, and then out up the hill.
After cresting the hill there was an enjoyable downhill through the Prescott National Forest. It then lead into a new climb into the town of Yarnell which was followed by a spectacular descent into the valley. It’s known as Yarnell Hill and it sees the road drop about 2000 feet in 6 miles. It’s a very windy road and it reminded me of a road from James Bond and soon became one of my favourite drops as I flew down the road at the 30 mph speed limit.
Having had the glory of the descent along a very quiet US-89, it merged with US-60 by the town of Wickenburg. Traffic suddenly sky rocketed and I found myself having to ride down the shoulder which didn’t feel like it had been looked after recently. It was bumpy and, combined with the wind which had turned into a headwind made for a not particularly nice next 30 miles to the outskirts of Phoenix.
Getting to the outskirts, the road widened considerably and the road that had had two lanes in each direction suddenly had 6 lanes and a bike lane each way. I still had to contend with the headwind, but the bike lane was pretty nicely paved and most of the cars seemed to respect it and gave me a wide berth. The only downside was that it saw me hitting a large number of red lights and so a constant need to stop-start.
About an hour of red lights later and I was arriving in Sun City where there were a rather large number of cacti. It’s a retirement community and only people 55 and over are allowed to own property there. I arrived at Larry & Trudy’s and was bowled over by their eagerness. I had been planning to stay for a night but after having such a wonderful time meeting them and their friends on the first evening stayed for a couple of nights. I had felt a bit of pain in my ankle on the ride down from Prescott too so it gave me a bit of time to rest it.
Ukulele cover of Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright