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  • Writer's pictureAlana

16. Needles, CA to Oatman, AZ

April 29, 2024

Today I learned that the predicted temperatures of one's start and end points bear no relationship to the temperatures in between those points. Relatedly, I also learned that climbing through a desert in 110 degree heat does not yield the best decision making.

The ride was gorgeous. Dramatic peaks, exploding wildflowers, and, finally, groves of Joshua Trees took my breath away. Or at least I thought they were what was taking my breath away.

I realized I was slowly cooking my brain in my own skull only when I stopped to reapply sunscreen and chamois cream (a lubricant that protects cyclists' booties from chafing). As I smoothed on the sunscreen, I noticed that it had become extremely slippery.

"Wow, the heat melted my sunscreen," I thought.

I then took out my chamois cream, and realized that I had just mistaken it for my sunscreen. My well-lubed skin gleamed in the sunlight.

I then reached into my pocket for a candy. My Welch's Fruit Snacks and Haribo Peaches had liquefied.

It was then that I looked at the thermometer on my bike computer and saw that it read 110. Yikes.

The heat might help explain this exquisite videography:

Although I had hoped to reach Kingman that day (about 65 miles and on the other side of Sitgreaves Pass), by Oatman (mile 33) I was actual toast. The wild burros (abandoned by miners many years ago) giving me side-eye at the top of my climb further convinced me to pack it in for the night.

Oatman is a wacky wild west town that stages shootouts twice a day for the tourists. Unfortunately, its only hotel and restaurant were closed for renovations. So I wound up buying some overpriced Tapatio mac-n-cheese at the General Store and renting a cabin up in the hills.

Braying burros serenaded me to sleep. Apparently its their mating season.

Distance: 33.3 miles

Climbing: 2.7 K feet

Totals: 837.2 miles, 31.2 K feet

Song: "Dog Days" by Florence and the Machine


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