Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Pactour Elite Southern Transcontinental: Day 4

Day 4: Globe AZ to Springerville AZ
Mileage/Ride Time: 144 miles 10:40 (est) Time Lv/Arr: 6:00am/6:40pm
Climbing: 11,000ft Avg Speed/Work: 14mph/5000 kJ (est)

[Estimates because my SRM PC V quit on me today after 10 miles.]

Today was a very, very rough day indeed. I thought I was going to be asked to get off the road and into the (leapfrog) sag van.

The Elite Tour has cutoff points for reaching certain water stops. The idea is that there should only be a two hour spread. And I was falling behind schedule.

I woke up in trouble: dead legs. There are no rest days in the Elite Southern Transcontinental. If you have knee pain or trash your legs, you still have to get up at 5am and go the next day.

We began climbing right away on this "Queen Stage", which reaches 9200 ft in altitude (highest point in the Tour, passing in front of Arizona's Sunrise ski resort). There is also a total of 11,000 ft of climbing, some of it into a headwind. Profile:

I found I had muscle pain in my right glute as soon as we left the hotel and started climbing. I was going backwards. I watched everyone disappear up the road. And I mean, everyone.

I was immediately in time trouble. All day long I saw the tail end of the operation. I was passed many times by PacTour vans shuttling people, equipment and bikes from water stop to water stop. Eventually, I started to catch some riders. But they were in trouble too. I was dreading arriving at a water stop and being told I had to get in the van.

I ended up finishing 3rd last at 6:40pm. I am amazed I was allowed to finish at all.

Other info: Attrition
  • Yesterday, Ed Pavelka of Bicycling Magazine fame touched wheels and broke his hip.
  • The only tandem team is gone. I wrote about them on day 2.
  • I'm told about 10 people sagged in today.


  1. Good luck - you're a trooper

  2. is lon riding his single speed Rivendell?

  3. Impressive effort taking on this, hope you can keep going (just read latest entry) Steve Howell in San Diego.

  4. Hi Sandiway,
    Hang in there! Your trek came up on the cycling forum. I've been on that same stretch of road with one of our Colorado cycling clubs - we did a circle route starting in Pinetop, heading down to Globe, over to Safford, and back up. It's beautiful country, but we weren't riding anywhere near the mileage you're doing? I wish you the best.

    Glenn Ackerson (from