So I camped out behind a service station about 36 miles to Phoenix. My plan was to get to Phonix, get a new chain for my bike and a bunch of inner tubes as I had gone through all of my spares. I had to do this without one flat. Of course 10 minutes into my ride I hit something which immediately made my tyre deflate, F***********K!!! The last thing I wanted to do was patch up an inner tube on the side of the highway, in the dark, freezing cold. Still I did it daily quickly and pushed on the Phoenix. This was the first big city I had been in since San Diego and the stopping and starting was immediately annoying, my route took me onto a lovely canal which pretty much took me out of town ( so I though) so I followed it, after a while I lost confidence and decided to get of the canal and see where I was, behold a beautiful bike/ cafe in one. Beautiful. I went in and explained my problem with the chain slipping and trouble changing gears( the cassette was clogged with sand for the dunes the day before) he said I’d need a new cassette and chain which I already knew but the best thing was he was able to do it straight away. He did and he was fast. Still even a fast bike fixing took up time and getting lost trying to get out of Phoenix I was already 2 hours behind schedule. I decided to “just keep peddling” through the desserts up the hills, If I saw a shop I’d ignore it. On I went up, up, and up 6,000 ft of elevation.
It began to get dark and I knew I was an hour away from complete darkness but the next town Miami was only 17 mile, I can do that in an hour. Wait a minute what’s this, i massive climb that just went on and on, luckily I could still appreciate the beauty of the red rocks but I was sweating a lot and the heat was still strong. Hurray and sign “6% decline for the next 12 miles” how happy was I, until I realised it was a lie, on and on I went, up and up, snow, cold, tired. Another sign, this time saying 7 miles. It wasn’t lying this time but it was pitch black on mountainous roads in the freezing cold, no hard shoulder and lots of hairpin turns and my lights aren’t that good. This was stupid and I could hear my mothers voice yelling at me to not cycle at night, I had no choice, I should have planned it better. Eventually I got to Miami and went straight to a bar shivering, 3 things I’ll never do again, be that cold, be that stupid and hopefully cycle up a 6,000ft mountain. But I made it, had a few beers and camped out in a farm, officially sick of camping now. My hands have stopped working, I can’t grip a pen of unclasp my helmet which is really annoying. But I’m in good spirits and hope to get some good miles in the days ahead.