Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Always An Adventure

We left Phoenix (well, Scottsdale) yesterday morning for a 90 mile ride to Payson. From this point onward, Mondays shall be known as “Mountain Monday.”

Our adventure began in Scottsdale, where we stayed with one of the team member’s friends, Andrew and John. In short, they were crazy. And it was awesome. Andrew and John are roommates with a sweet 3-bedroom apartment that was cleaner than any guys’ apartment I have ever seen. They opened up their pad to us, complete with enough blow up mattresses to cover the floors. (By this point, though, we’re so used to sleeping on the floor that most of us didn’t use them.) These guys were awesome hosts, complete with sacrificing their own sleep so we would have a place, as when we went to bed, they left so it would be quiet. Then they were back before I got up, apparently having gotten no sleep. They made a great breakfast inclusive of protein shakes, energy foods, and electrolyte water. It was AMAZING. They were SO generous and thought of everything (in terms of food and such… and then gave all the leftovers with us to take for later!).

It was a good day… as Streaker (our van) was finally to get clothed. Drew & a couple others who were not able to ride for various reasons took the van to Tempe to get her wrap put on. Meanwhile, Criselda and I borrowed her sister Melissa’s truck (THANK YOU!!!) to offer support to the riders as they made their way through the White Mountains. It was INTENSE – complete with a 5,000 foot climb, and no shoulder most of the way.

Big events of the ride: it was HOT and there were NO places for shade along the road. In the truck, Criselda and I may have been having too much fun, as at one stop we were waiting so long between groups that between having the flashers on and letting the radio play for about 5 minutes (Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls, mind you), the battery died. We were laughing so hard at/with our music selections, that the truck not starting was taken in great stride. We were grateful for the wonderful patrolman who stopped to check on us and offered us a jump start. We chatted for a bit and told him what we were doing. He told us what we were doing was “admirable” and continued on his way. All before the next riders arrived. Excellent.

I have never found rocks to be as comfortable as I did that afternoon when we went a bit off road to find shade and take a nap. It was a long break, but worth it. Although I was confused when I woke up, “what is this in my back? Oh, a rock. A bed of rocks, actually.” Sweet.

When we finally made it to our accommodations, got the team there securely, and filled up on gas, we left town about sunset (8pm). Oh…. And I forgot to say. This was such a long, rigorous day that Criselda struggled with it even as a driver. So we had to swap just before lunch. Therefore, none of the riders who struggled with it should feel bad.

Our drive back to Phoenix to return the truck and get the newly wrapped van was beautiful, uneventful, and a bit tiring. We had been up before sunrise, and arrived in Phoenix just after 10pm. As we got there, we were excited to discover that the trailer had a flat, and all of the tire shops were closed. So… after some incredible dedication and hard work, the guys, including Criselda’s Dad, brother, and neighbor, got it fixed up enough to drive back. It was a bit of a drive back (after a stop at IN-N-OUT, of course!), so we were ready to fall into our beds just after 2am. Even better was the news that we were going to allow for rest and not leave until 8am the next day… so by the time I got to sleep, etc, I got just over 4 hours of sleep! Yea!

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