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Ocean to Ocean on Two Wheels

The two cyclists, with panniers loaded

Week 1

9 March 1996 Saturday

This is our first rest day, the end of the first week AND the end of the first of our seven legs. The Adventure Cycling route is divided into seven maps, and the first ends here in Mesa, Arizona. (411.6 miles)

We have accommodations here with friends of C. , where we can sleep in a real house and not pedal for a day.

The first week was characterized by good weather -- warm but not hot -- and easy terrain, with the very notable exception of the climb out of San Diego on day one, which was a killer. We are a day ahead of schedule. But the second leg -- Mesa to El Paso -- will be a long one, with the mountains. We may walk a lot of this. Or we may not.

C. and I continue to enhance our compatibility as well as pedal our fannies. But there will probably be some snarling in the mountains. So be it.

I'm fascinated at the changes in my system. I'm eating much less than I anticipated. I'm peeing far less than usual -- I should drink more -- but what astounds me most is how little I'm sleeping, and not missing it at all. If I get 5-6 hours a night, that's fine. Eight to nine used to be my norm. But I'm not missing it, and it isn't debilitating in any way.

We have been doing longer days than originally intended -- usually 60-ish, but one 83 miler (that wasn't planned) -- so the entire journey may end up shorter than we thought even though the mountain stretch will be slower. When facilities allow, we eat a snack -- for me two bananas -- before beginning, eat a full meal after 20-30 miles, and then something very light at the end of the day. But we're doing it.

I'm sure all this will continue to evolve as we proceed. Mountain patterns will be different from desert patterns, as will Texas patterns and bayou patterns. Each in its own time.

But basically, it's working very well. The body responds as needed, and the machine is fine. C. had our first flat tire soon after we entered Arizona. The second has not yet occurred. Rest day (today) will be bike maintenance day.

Right after crossing the Colorado River we stopped at a mini-market for some stuff. As I pulled out, a dapper, elderly gentleman asked me where we were going. I said, "Florida." He replied, "Ohhh, that's NOT a very good idea."

He's wrong.


© 1996 BFZ

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