The Start More Endless Road Nick’s Selfie
Yesterday was 75 miles. Although a local had promised us it would all be down hill, my Garmin disagreed because it registered over 2,000 feet of climb. Not that that is much, especially over 75 miles, but I would hardly classify it as all down hill. And when we were at a stop within 20 miles of our goal, another local told us we were about to start what the locals called the “9 mile climb.” Well, with memories of David Wall having mentioned a miles long 12% climb in Europe, that sounded pretty intimidating to me. Thankfully, this surprise went in the other direction. While the climb probably was about 9 miles, the grade topped out at 4% so we didn’t do anything to brag about.
More than the climbing, the head winds were a nuisance. But for both of us, the biggest discomfort was our butts. Not chafing, just a lot of hours sitting on very unforgiving surfaces. However, after the stop I mentioned (at which both Nick and I had triple scoop Dairy Queens, but only 1 each, not 2 like Nick’s last time), we were both thoroughly revived and the rest of the ride, including the 9 mile climb, was a breeze.
With 2 exceptions. One was that I got my 4th flat of the day, 2 happening before we even left the room. (I responded by buying 2 $20 tubes that are both thick and filled with sealant. I’ll see how those work.)
The 2nd was the entry into Albuquerque. We were on the same highway – 40 East – with good shoulders but both the traffic and number of on ramps and off ramps increased significantly. Crossing over a lane with numerous 65 to 75 mph vehicles whizzing by is no fun at all. I got so I would come to a complete stop – on the shoulder or the space between lanes – to wait for a long break in the traffic before crossing over. The good news is that we both made it to our hotel where, once again, Alejandra and Sarah had already put our bags and cold drinks into our rooms.
Dinner in an Italian restaurant was great. The food has definitely been better in the more urban areas, at least if Palm Springs qualifies as urban. However, as much as I liked my dinner, something didn’t agree at all with my syomach and I spent too much of the night in the bathroom. I am just very thankful we aren’t riding today because I am feeling totally wiped out, though I am definitely improving. However, I am staying in while the others go to Old Town. At least I was there once before.
We had intended to take a sunset hot air balloon ride today, but when I called this morning, I was told that it is too windy this time of the year to fly in the evenings. Too bad.
We took our bikes into a shop to get serviced. We both need new chains – which we brought – and Nick needs new brake pads, which he also brought. I certainly hope this isn’t necessary every 2 weeks.
Ah yes, the rumination. There is a lot of time to think while pedaling mile after mile. Some of that time – maybe too much of it – is taken up by taking inventory of various discomforts. Butt, hands, shoulders, toes, gneral sense of well being, or the opposite. Surprisingly, not often my legs. That is no doubt because I try not to push them too hard.
Sometimes the thoughts aren’t just about how I am feeling, or about what I am seeing. Sometimes it is the satisfying rhythm of pushing out pedal strokes that make you feel like you are flying over the road. Or of pumping like piston strokes up a hill.
Yesterday I was thinking how most of the people I ride with at home are at least as strong, and frequently stronger, riders than I am. That led me to the conclusion that so often in life, what matters is not what one can do, but instead what one actually does. I am not saying that we are any better than anyone else because we are doing this ride. There are a lot of reasons for not doing it. Maybe you don’t have the time, or the money. Maybe there is no interest in doing this day after day or in being away from home for so long. But the primary distinction is not that we can do this and the other riders can’t, but that for whatever reason we have set out to do this. We certainly haven’t done it yet, but what we have done is certainly more riding than I have ever done before. And unless I have more dinners like I had last night, or more reactions like I had to that dinner, I have every reason to expect to finish what we started.
An All Too Often Scene Dave