Another day, and the last, on Route 66. Another very very slow day, even slower than yesterday. But I finally arrived at Williams, where I will turn north towards the Grand Canyon.
It was the first day with a complete overcast, and even a somewhat chilly temperature : barely 20C/66F. But that also meant no heat, and no aggressive sun (though I still managed to get small sunburns). But anyway I left early.
The road from Seligman to Williams is for the first half on the old Route 66, up and down on small hills on a large plain, and, after Ash Fork, joined with I40, and a steady rise to the foot of the Bixler moutain. At this point the forest starts to appear again, which was a welcome change of scenery from the desert.
So I started early, and was not going too fast. But the road was more or less going up, and I went through a pass right before a nice ride down to the interstate, a few miles before Ash Fork. I saw my first prairie dog and a few rabbits, as well as a squirrel (perhaps the first one since California, at least not in a roadkill status). On the highway, one of the trucks passing me was in the final process of a blowing wheel : the driver stopped to see the damage and went on, I saw him again at the gas station by Ash Fork. Business as usual now. I did a real stop there, a full ten minutes for which I’m not accustomed. But I was getting tired already.
And the second half was a real pain : I walked half of the way to Williams, so that my average speed is abysmal in the end. It took me four hours to ride a short distance. Sure it was going up, sometimes sharply, sure the infamous headwind was back, as expected, but I couldn’t get myself to attack the simplest slopes. Either the mind, or the body, was failing. Either way the mind was unable to push the body further. I wasn’t too worried about the average speed, I knew uphills were part of the menu today, but I’m more worried about the coming days. There will be less and less occasions to do short rides.
I thought maybe I should do more days of rest – but I had a forced one at Kingman three days ago, and another one in Vegas a week ago (even if I’ve been walking 4 hours along the Strip). Maybe it’s the accumulated fatigue – I’m closing in onto 2000kms in less than a month. I’m thinking also I might not eat enough, and have few reserves left (I’ve lost quite a few pounds). I don’t feel hungry in general, but I should eat more than a burger or a salad. That’s easy enough to correct, if that’s the source of the energy I’m missing. I’m drinking too much coke, which is short term energy only. It’s great at the end of a ride, but useless for the next day. I might also miss some willpower after a tough week : long rides in the desert, mechanical issues, heat…
I was pondering all that while walking up to my destination, and the sun finally broke the clouds when I entered Williams. The city is small but very active, as you have to go through to go north to the Canyon. Lots of shops for Indian stuff or Route 66 memorabilia, lots of restaurants, lots of motels… A true tourist city !
As I’m about halfway through this state, and to regain some spirits, I awarded myself the Arizona flag ! With its shining star, it could be a good alternative for a North Korea type of regime 🙂 I don’t think I’m gonna get any discount in the state now !
Oh and I finished the map I did to join LA to the next map from the adventure cycling association – another map down, and a long one at 880kms/550mis. Took me almost two weeks.