Date: April 4th, 2017
From/To: Page, AZ/Flagstaff, AZ
Daily Mileage: 120 miles
Total Mileage: 2110 miles
Current Elevation: 6890 feet
Conditions: Sunshine, mide 50s and tailwinds!
You read it right, 120 miles on the saddle today! It’s a new record for me, retiring the previous 115 mile record from Tallahassee, FL to Panama City Beach, FL. I rode south from Page, AZ with the wind at my back, I had a newborn confidence once again. I knew most of the ride (aside from leaving Page and nearing Flagstaff) would be downhill or at the least level. The wind made the ride seem effortless at times.
Mom and I got up early to see Antelope Canyon. We had a tour scheduled for 8:10, then planned to see Horseshoe Bend as I made my way south out of Page. Those were the two reasons we went north to Page for a night, and one of them didn’t work out. We showed up for our tour only to find out the morning tours were canceled. I was devastated, this was one of the highlighted places I wanted to visit while I was out here. Long before this trip I saw a picture (shown below) in National Geographic and decided to make it a priority to see this place. We were told by the Native Americans that because it rained all day yesterday, risks were high for severe flooding inside the canyon where all the water flowing downhill concentrates (this is how Antelope Canyon formed in the first place). In the spring it’s not unusual that the Natives close down the canyon to protect tourist after a flash flood killed 12 hikers in 1997 (read more here). If there’s one thing we’ve been told by experienced travelers, it’s to listen to the Natives, they know this land better than anyone else. Mom and I decided that we didn’t want to wait out the potential flood threat because I already had a long day of riding ahead of me. I’ll be back in Phoenix this summer training for TFA so maybe I’ll make the trip to Antelope Canyon then. Natives say the summer time brings the best light exposure through the canyon anyway.
We then decided to make our way to Horseshoe Bend, a horseshoe-shaped incised meander of the Colorado River. The bend wraps a stunning 270 degrees in circular range and started cutting its course through the sandstone over 5 million years ago. Conceivably, at some time far in the future, the river could erode through the narrow neck of rock, creating a natural bridge and abandoning the circular channel around the rock. This could possibly happen but it wouldn’t occur any time shorter than a few million years. At the bend I met with a reporter from Page to interview about Ride4Parkinsons. He wrote down some notes for the local paper and told me he’d keep me updated on the release date. After the interview mom and I hiked 15 minutes to the edge of the bend, neither of us getting very close to it.
After seeing Horseshoe Bend I set off for Flagstaff, a southbound trek with south winds carrying me the entire way. Not only was the ride scenic, I finally had some good weather on my side.
A third of the way through my ride I pulled over to call into Kimberly & Beck on Radio 95.1 in Rochester, NY but the signal dropped as soon as I went on the air. I couldn’t believe the bad luck. I had good signal on my phone until the second I started speaking, then my bars dropped. I rescheduled the call for 5:30PM EST tomorrow (4/5/17), so if you’re in the Rochester area tune in if you’d like to listen! I continued along my route for the remainder the afternoon. Just before reaching Cameron, the halfway point of my ride, I felt an odd friction as I was riding along the road and looked down at my back tire… flat #3 of the trip.
About 100 miles out a white capped mountain came into sight. It was far off in the distance, but I knew I had to pass it today because Flagstaff was located on the other side. I later found out it’s called Humphrey’s Peak, the highest natural point in Arizona with an elevation of 12,633 feet. Humphrey’s Peak is the highest of a group of extinct volcanic peaks known as the San Francisco Peaks.
I made it to Flagstaff around 7:00PM, just avoiding the chilly temperature drop after the sunset. It wasn’t necessarily a challenging day, but certainly prolonged compared to most other rides. I’ve been making really good time lately but my body is paying a price for it. Tomorrow mom and I are going to see the Grand Canyon and check out the village located along the south rim. It’ll be nice to take a day off and spend it with mom before she heads out on Thursday. Time with family is always time well spent!
Enjoy The Ride,