Day 5 was a critical point in my planning. I figured that if I made it through the desert and handled the climbs and distances of days 4 and 5 then I made it through the critical first phase. While today was a successful ride, the physical fallout of the desert days linger and I need a couple more days to feel recovered. Other riders are in the same situation but all are back on the road.
But today was great. On the descent into Cottonwood the vegetation changed to large pine trees. Today we climbed out of Cottonwood to ride along and up and down ridges covered with these big beautiful trees. We were at about 7,500 feet (after cycling to get that high) and it was in the 70's. By mile 65 we had climbed about 5,800 feet and I was holding a 11mph pace elapsed time. For me that is excellent. Lunch slowed me down (I need to spend sometime discussing lunches because they are special) but with the climbing done for the day I finished the 110 mile, 6,008 feet of climb day in 9:05 elapsed. So I am feeling pretty good about my recovery from day to day.
The descent into Winslow started beautiful as the big pines gave way to lots of flowers that looked to me like Black-Eyed Susans. But eventually as I descended down this long, long straight road the vegetation changed to scrub and mesquite. Expand this picture and see how far this road goes.
Winslow AZ is not much of a town at all. But it has a former Harvey Hotel which is very nice and has a great restaurant. I am in the Mary Pickford room which has, fortunately, been updated since she stayed here.