So . . . I didn't make it. I fell short of Tucson by about 20 miles. But was it a failure?

Here come the excuses.

I woulda made it if:

  1. I hadn't spent the previous day wasting 25 miles riding into a headwind, and
  2. I hadn't spent the previous day wasting 25 miles riding into a headwind while pulling a trailer, and
  3. I had left Florence Junction early in the morning, instead of nearly noon, and
  4. I had a bike with all 24 gears functioning, and
  5. I had a bike equipped with lights for night riding.

(Wah, wah, wah, whatever.)

Anyway, when I returned the Mongoose to the bike store, I told the guy about the gear problem. He examinined the shifters and confirmed the malfunction. "You middle-ringed it all the way to Oracle Junction?" he asked. "Wow!"

Having impressed a gearhead represented some kind of redemption. (Plus I learned a new bike term I can throw around in a crowd: "middle-ringed.") "That SUCKS!" he said. "Yeah, it does!" I confirmed, hoping a further rental discount would be forthcoming. A vain hope--but my reward had already been ample.

Wagner poses with his hard-earned trophies.