|Susie in from of the PAC Tour van.|
After my second flat, Susie was getting cold, as I could not find the culprit that caused the puncture. She would end up sacrificing her ride by giving me her front wheel, so I could complete the ride.
I was the last one in. I would have another flat about 5 miles from the finish. The flat culprits were due to the deteriorating steel belts of blown tires on the side of the road. Virtually impossible to see on the road and equally impossible to see in the tire, making flat repair a lengthy process. I noticed many others with flats along the way. I'm sure it was another record flat day and much of the reason why many riders had dropped. Once you took your gloves off to change the tube, it became too difficult to rewarm the hands. Breaking and shifting would be extremely difficult, making riding dangerous.
The top photo below is near the summit (4,500' EL) heading to Sonoita. You can't see it in the photo, but it is mixed rain and sleet. The descent was a chilly one.
|This is Mike at the second control. Notice the playtex gloves. Mine are green.|
|Gina at the Shell Country Store.|
Susie's Day 1: After I gave my front wheel to Randy, I stayed in the sag vehicle and shivered to the first rest stop, about five miles away. We'd planned to fix his wheel so we both could continue, but it was chaos. Many people had decided to bail and wanted rides to Sierra Vista. It was cold, rainy and the winds were howling. Fixing the tire didn't seem like an option b/c the support crew (who is totally awesome) was just too busy tending to cold riders. It didn't take long for us to decide that I'd get driven to Sierra Vista and Randy would continue on.
At first this seemed like a yummy option, given the conditions, but it took several hours to get to the hotel, and I was wet and shivering. Once we arrived at the Holiday Inn Express, it was still several hours until our room would be readyl. I went to the little girls room, peeled off my wet clothes, put my rain jacket back on -- the only dry piece of clothing I had -- and wrapped a towel around my waist. It was a very fetching outfit, I must say, but at least I was dry and warm. I traipsed around for the next three hours in this get-up until our room was ready. Congrats to me for making it a whopping 16 miles in crazy ugly conditions!
Day 2 is calling for much of the same weather and there is talk of an extremely early happy hour in room 215. We'll see how things unfold.