After the route went up and stayed up, the riding got more pleasant. My clothes were a lot drier at the end of the day. My bottles were less so.
One particular road, which went along a ridge for 60 km, would’ve been incredible riding if not for my nemesis - washboard. There’s no good way to combat it, because the bumps aren’t that large, but consistent and frequent. Almost everything about mountain bike suspension is for mitigating larger, isolated bumps. Figuring out how to nullify the bump-bump-bump of washboard - which varies in size, and also in frequency depending on your speed - is a problem yet to be solved.
Not only does washboard slow you down and make riding generally unpleasant, it doesn’t do your derriere any favors. My saddle, which has worked wonders on previous road tours, evidently isn’t fit for dealing with washboard. Brooks saddles, which function like a leather hammock, have no padding. Instead, they’re flexible. That’s great when you’re sitting still and pedaling, but not ideal when you’re constantly bouncing. By the end of the day, it felt like there was sandpaper in my bike shorts.
I made the decision to bypass Sedona and head to Mormon Lake instead. Sedona was down in a valley and would be hot and unpleasant, and I’ve seen it before. I’ve always liked alpine lakes, and Mormon Lake was something I hadn’t seen. As beautiful as Sedona is, Mormon Lake wasn’t a bad choice either.
After a near-o, I arrived in Flagstaff before noon. After half an hour of pedaling through town, I could tell I’d like it there...if it wasn’t expensive. Cool town with lots of pizzerias and breweries, a university (there’s always something going on in a college town), and an impressive trail system. But considering it gets chilly at night in June, I can’t imagine it’s a nice place in winter.
While hostels cost money, you wind up getting half that value back in free food people have left behind. Also took the opportunity to replace my busted shoes and bought a new saddle, which would probably do much better on trails. After four tough days, a well-deserved half-day of rest.
from Wild West