A Miracle in McNary

I had many great dates with my P3.  We danced up Mt. Lemmon and went on many memorable rides together.  I rode her to the 70.3 Ironman World Championships, three Ironmans, and several podium finishes.  We shared many laughs, pain, sweat, hardships, and saddle sores together.  I will miss you Tekka Maki. Me love you long time.

Cervelo p3

Pinetop Paincation:

I wanted to celebrate my first century ride of the season in style.   My teammate (Jenna) is training for her first Ironman. We decided to escape the heat, sleep in, and enjoy some fresh, cool air at her cabin in Pinetop! This place was amazing.


Breaking in the new ride…


There’s a wide range of attractions in Pinetop-Lakeside, including clubbing it up at the Lion’s Den with the friendly but toothless locals; visiting friends in McNary; and telling Debbie Downer stories at dinnertime.  Being at 7,500 feet, the temperatures were much cooler compared to the valley.  We put on our winter clothes and socks to stay warm as we made s’mores by the fireplace. Jealous?

Saturday: I rolled out at 8 a.m. for my first 100 miler of the season.  I chose a challenging route from Pinetop to Sunrise, looping around to Eager, then climbing back up the White Mountains.  This route climbed to 9,500 feet and had a net gain of about 6,000 feet.


It was a beautiful ride.


That is, until the wind absolutely annihilated me. First, the huge cracks in the road and chipseal through most of the Mount Baldy Wilderness area.  There were constant bumps and divots in the road for several miles.

Little did I know, there were red flag wind warnings all throughout the area.  Once I descended Sunrise and started my climb back up the White Mountains, I was treated to 35-40 mph headwinds for much of the way home.  It took an eternity to climb 10 miles into this wind. My abs hurt from trying to stay upright.  I was  in my granny gears and giving it everything just to turnover the pedals.  I began to weep. I almost called for help…


Poor Jenna had to cut her ride short after only 23 miles. It’s the strongest wind I’ve ever experienced on my bike. I tried taking a picture it at the second climb up the White Mountains… but the wind blew it over.

It got uglier. I ran out of the water shortly after summiting the last climb. I got incredibly dehydrated.  Dizzy and a little nauseous, I started looking on the sides of the road for discarded water bottles, rest stops, houses…. nothing.  I kept riding and I was praying for something to appear around the next corner. Miles went by.  I finally reached a small town called McNary (about 10 miles away from Pinetop). I staggered to the convenience store door but it was locked! My lips were dried shut and I had the worst case of cotton mouth ever. I was in trouble.

Then, a miracle happened.  Without hesitation, I approached this Indian hobo guy behind the convenience store.  Dirt was caked on his face, his clothes were filthy, he had no teeth, I think he was on drugs, and he smelled like a dirty diaper wrapped in Indian food.  I spotted a mostly full, opened bottle of water in his shopping cart full of junk from the dumpster. I gave him $20 for it! I gulped it down in a few seconds.  Water never tasted so dang good. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

We hugged it out.  The McNary man saved me.

If you're ever in trouble, please go to the back of this store.

If you’re ever in trouble, please go to the back of this store.

Shortly after, I made it back to the cabin.  Still a little delusional, I wobbled to the kitchen floor as food and drinks were thrown at me.


The next day, we had our long runs to do.  We stalled by playing with Tinkerbell and Teddy.


We also measured Tink’s heart rate. She was out of shape.


It was rough training in the crazy winds, but we survived and still had tons of fun.

Thanks to Jenna and her family for inviting me to their cabin. I can’t wait for our next traincation up there.

As for you McNary man… you’ll always be cherished in my heart.

IM Canada: T-60 days!

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Categories: Miscellaneous, Training


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2 Comments on “A Miracle in McNary”

  1. Bobby
    June 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Fantastic survival story, well done Elliot

  2. June 27, 2013 at 11:03 am #

    How’d you find another midget to buy your bike?

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