The End of the Beginning

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Climbed through Oak Ridge Canyon and Sedona

Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hallo everyone!
Well here we are at the end of the first riding period so a short period of reflection. 
This is the toughest of the riding periods and we have come through it in good spirits.  Tomorrow is a day off and we are sharing a hire car to go and visit the Grand Canyon.  So far we have ridden around 500 miles, ascended about 20,000ft and peaked above 7,000ft.  The bikes are running well and have been given a good clean and lubrication in anticipation of the next riding period that takes us to Santa Fe. Penny has had one puncture, strangely from a thorn rather than one of the slivers of wire that are the usual culprits. Physically we are both in top condition and could ride on without any problem which is nice given the distances of the next section across the high Arizona and New Mexico Desert.  If any of you have thought "I would like to loose weight but....", I would recommend this trip.  We are burning around 3,500 - 5,000 calories / day and it is difficult to eat enough just to break even!
Today started at 3,500ft at Cottonwood and descended 1,000ft to Sedona and ended at 7,000ft at Flagstaff.  The climb was up Oak Ridge Canyon between the red rock walls that make Sedona famous.  Eventually after a stiff (and I do mean 'stiff') 5 mile climb we stopped at a view point and the support vehicles and looked back over the winding road we had just traversed and spotted fellow cyclists still labouring their way up the switch backs.  We had a good break at the view point and then sped along the rolling road and the final 10 miles into Flagstaff,  "Sped" because Penny was going very well along this section tracking towards a snow topped San Fransisco mountain framed between pine forests with a blue sky background.  The temperature was just about perfect for Brits and there was a slight tailwind.
Flagstaff is a nice town in a spectacular location.  Our next destination is Holbrook.

Now some notes from the female side.  I have of course been reading what C has written and agree with everything he's said.  What may not have come across is, seriously, how wonderful it is!  I wasn't sure that enjoyment would be my main emotion (well, let's be honest, I hadn't even thought of THAT as my main feeling at the end of the first section) but I'm really having a super time. I'm riding mainly with Adrienne who's a first grade teacher from Vermont and her children have been learning to read so can understand a lot of her blog and she's getting some great questions back - why are lizards different colours?, how hot was the Pacific? - and she and I go at the same pace up the hills and down again. 

Keep pedalling on!

Chris and Penny

PS; for my Wills Wheelers friends, Penny has put $5 on the table for anyone who thinks they can beat her up Swires Head from a even start. CJY
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Jean Ware on

I think I'll send off that cheque to Save the Children Fund today because you are obviously having a terriffic holiday and will definitely be putting those wheels in the Atlantic! I am betting on you doing this again in another part of the world!!

Ken on

I'll put $5 on Mike. It'd be worth it to see him beaten.

Christine on

A well deserved day off I would say!! Fantastic to follow your progress every day, thanks for sharing it . Great also to hear from Penny, so glad all is going well for you!

Jonathan May on

I'd put considerably more than $5 to watch Penny whallop Mike up the hill!!

Chris, I thought you and Dana and you had your passes revoked for speeding - today's comments about zooming up the hill sounds like not much has changed!

Now to streetview to see what Oak Ridge Canyon looks like - sounds too good not to have a look!

Ruth Atkinson on

One word .....inspirational x

Sarah on

Hi :) Sounds like you're both having a wonderful time. I'm really enjoying keeping up with it all through your wonderful blog. Hope you have a good tour around the Grand Canyon.

Mike on

Chris and Penny – great blog, what a superb time you are having – weather good and riding stupendous – Mich is reading them all and keeps saying next one next one!
Take care and take lots of snaps

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