Two More Days Of Texas

Nick, Mary & Mike

Nick, Mary & Mike

Nap

Nap

Tiffany

Tiffany

Entering Sanderson

Entering Sanderson

Patricia

Patricia

David

David

We didn”t have WiFi in Sanderson yesterday so I didn’t write anything.
Plus , I think the sun is starting to scramble my brains so that everything is blending together. Where are we now, where were we yesterday, or the day before? Each place has its own name, and I am sure that for the locals each place is very different. But to us there is a definite sameness to where we have been recently. Small towns, with one place to eat. Lots of prairie with not much of anything in every directions.
Two days of riding into headwinds on generally rough surfaces that is nothing like cobblestones but are still uncomfortable and slow down the riding. Today a 2% descent at 14 mph WHILE I was pedaling. Because of the headwind. A climb at 6%; not bad, but also into that wind. And 106 temperature. No, I am exaggerating. It was really only 105.8.
I ended yesterday’s ride knowing that the sun was catching up to me. My legs had been ok but I was a bit light headed. So I went even slower. We did about 62 miles.
I felt the same for the first 30 miles of today’s ride. Nick was patient and stayed back with me. Then we rested at about 30 miles and when I got back on my bike I felt normal again. I was even able to race Nick up a couple of climbs – maybe the sun had cooked our brains – and was able to pull away.
We stopped at a rest stop where we met Mary and Mike who were resting with their Harleys. The sun\heat had started getting to me again and Nick was again pulling ahead when we started riding. I was running out of water – I had taken the Camelback off when we had met our SAG because I thought I could finish with my 2 bottles – to drink and to pour on myself to try to help with body heat. I texted the girls to come back with ice and water even though we only had about 8 miles to go. When they reached us, the cold water and ice, both that I consumed then and what I took to finish the ride, made all the difference. I then knew I had enough to finish the ride and was able to pick up the pace – I was still trailing Nick – but with the wind and rough surface, it was still a struggle. But I did finish the 61 miles and I will admit that early in the ride I wasn’t at all sure I would be able to.
The photo of my roadside nap was while we were waiting for the SAG yesterday because Nick had 3 flats in 10 minutes, one before he even got back on his bike. When they showed up, he swapped out bikes.
Yesterday we had dinner in Sanderson at the “town’s” only open restaurant. Nick and Sarah both said it was their best meal on the trip but I will attribute at least Nick’s statement to extreme hunger. Maybe also heat exhaustion. I took the photo because the waitress, Tiffany, had a pistol on her right hip. It may not show up in the photo, but it was there.
We saw another pistol on someone else when we stopped in Dryden. Nick asked him if it was loaded – it was – but we didn’t ask him what it was for. Our stop in Dryden, which consisted of a single store that also served as a post office and accounting office, was especially noteworthy for Nick’s “entrance.” There was loose sand and gravel leading up to the store where 3 Texans were talking, including the one with the pistol. Nick being Nick declined to get off and walk – I wasn’t too proud to do that – and instead fell in front of everyone. They were polite and didn’t laugh. I did. No, he wasn’t hurt, except maybe his pride.

Patricia was the waitress in Langtrey where we were picked up – as planned – by the SAG and got refueled.

About ½ way between there and Comstock there was another bicyclist heading the opposite direction who was clearly on a long ride given how he was loaded down. We stopped and gave him water, ice and some food, David said he was headed to California from Alabama and that he had started in February. I didn’t hear an explanation as to why it was taking so long or why he was making the ride. After giving him some provisions, we wished him well and set off to Comstock where there is one place for us to stay. And one place to eat. Lots of fried food. Nick had chicken fried chicken, I had chicken fried steak and we ordered fried pickles which were actually pretty good. The idea is to have the girls drive us back to Langtrey where we woud then ride back through Comstock to Del Rio. We’ll see if we follow through on that tomorrow.

I am hoping that I am not still feeling the heat tomorrow morning. I don’t want to push that too far because the effect would be long lasting; in fact, I think that is already the case to some extent.

 

Our First Day Of Being Exclusively In Texas With Many More To Come

22store

62 miles. Little climb. Quite a bit of head winds. And, of course, heat. Though mostly below 104. And no flats.

We added 10 miles because we chose to take an alternative to Hwy 285 S because we were looking to do something different than riding on a highway shoulder. After finishing, my conclusion was that it wasn’t worth it. The scenery was essentially the same, there were still numerous big rigs and I didn’t think the change was worth the additional distance even though the 62 miles weren’t a problem (yesterday was 82 miles). However, although the ride was shorter with no more climb, my speed was more than 1.5 mph slower than yesterday. I attribute that to the headwinds, the road surface and caution because the humidity was 65% rather than yesterday’s 45%.

The first photo is of the interior of a store we stopped at for cold drinks and to rest our feet. (I don’t know what is with the hot feet that hadn’t been an issue in higher temperatures earlier in our rode,) I again missed a photo op because there was a 9 yo girl who worked there who had loads of personality and was fascinated by us traveling so far on bicycles. We commented that she was going to grow up knowing how to deal with men because she deals with the store’s customers, most of whom are oil field workers. She already has them charmed.

The second announces our arrival in Ft. Stockton, Texas. Where “ya all” greeted us at dinner because, as the hostess said, we are now in Texas.

Tomorrow will be the 3rd of 7 consecutive riding days. I hope it is equally uneventful, but it would be good if it is a bit more interesting.

 

 

 

 

Thank You For Your Encouraging Words And Support

aaccc

On the road again.
We left Carlsbad today heading toward the 4th state of our trip, Texas.
The ride was really uneventful. It was mostly level with a little elevation loss. The road started out great – a 4 lane highway with good surfaces, at least when we stayed just to the left of the right lane line because the shoulder was frequently dirty. The trucks all gave us adequate space so riding was good.
I say that the trucks gave us adequate space because virtually all of the vehicles we saw in southern New Mexico were trucks – big rigs or pick ups – or SUVs. I had first noticed it when we were riding by a Ford dealership on the outskirts of Carlsbad that didn’t have any visible cars. A Chevrolet dealership in town was the same and we saw few cars on the road.

Temperatures even started out good.

Our SAG caught up with us at 47 miles (we were in Texas now but neither Nick nor I had noticed a sign at the border). A couple of miles before that I had stopped so I could sit and take my shoes off. The one photo is of a roadside bucket I used as a chair. The short stop helped and when I got back on the bike my feet were fine. The cold water, ice and sandwich the girls provided with the SAG were great.

The temperature started picking up – it had been comfortable in the mid-90s – and Nick was concerned about the humidity. I still felt fine so I took off.
The road had changed to 2 lanes but then the shoulder improved. The ride remained pretty flat with a high of 4% grade, but that was pretty unusual. The temperature rose to about 107 but I had cold water to pour on myself and cold water to drink so I was actually riding faster than I had up to when we met the SAG, raising my overall speed from about 16.5 mph to 17.0 where I kept it until  the stop and go of Pecos.
However I had about 5 miles of miserable riding, not because the temperature got to a steady 110 but because for whatever reason my feet were killing me. I was stubborn and resisted stopping until pedaling became just too difficult. Not stopping had been silly because when I finally did, it only took a couple of minutes with my shoes off to solve the problem. (After Nick got in he said that he had had the same trouble with his feet.) I dumped the rest of the water in my bottles on myself; it was now warm, but it still helped and I had drinking water left in my Camelback.
The last 10 miles to our motel went much better with my feet feeling better and if it hadn’t been so hot, I would have been tempted to see how fast I could finish. However, better sense got the best of me.
I want to thank all of you who have left Comments and who have sent private messages. My not having responded to the Comments has been due to a lack of time, not because I haven’t appreciated them
One that encapsulated what is in many of your minds said that he hoped we think we are having fun riding in the heat. That raises an interesting issue. Are we having fun riding in the heat? I’m not and Nick just confirmed that he isn’t either. However, that isn’t to say that we aren’t valuing the experience. We are a couple of 69 year olds – actually, one of us is now 70 – and we set out to do something that we haven’t done before, something that would challenge us and, with the theme of Laura’s Ride 2016, something that would have some value in addition to the personal satisfaction we will have when we complete what we set out to do.
Riding in the heat isn’t my first choice but Nick wasn’t available earlier and the summer was when we had the best chance of getting SAG drivers. And if we waited until next year, who knows whether we would still feel up to it. I certainly hope we would but, frankly, at our age, who knows? We certainly aren’t getting younger with the passage of time.
So, are we having fun riding in the heat? No. But are we sorry we are doing this? Absolutely not. And besides, it isn’t always too hot.
And let me repeat my appreciation to those of you who have wished us well, even if you do question our sanity.
By the way, Nick agrees with me that we are both also more confident than ever about our ability to finish this barring something that is totally unexpected.

 

Fast Roads, Too Much Heat And A Bit Of Rain

A today B today

Today was an incredibly flat ride. 800 feet of climbing and 1,200 feet of descent.  Smooth surfaces, albeit along a highway. We seldom rode on the shoulder because it was dirty and\or rough. However, the cars and trucks gave us plenty of room when we hugged the right side of the right lane.
Nick and I rode the entire 82 miles together today in large part because he wasn’t pedaling 15 strokes and coasting 5 so I wasn’t afraid of riding up his back when he was coasting.
I attributed the change to him hitting his head when he took another fall. This time he was moving, though the problem was that he was going to slow, or at the wrong angle, when he tried to ride up over a curb. Thankfully he didn’t do any serious harm, though he did have to readjust his rear wheel and one of his break levers. He also checked his helmet for a crack, but that wasn’t a problem. However, he probably wouldn’t have been so fortunate if he hadn’t been wearing a helmet. Yet another example of why helmets are a must when riding.
The curb was at a military academy in Roswell that looked like a medieval fortress (see the photos). We whiffed on the only other photo op we had.
The ride sounds next to perfect – except of course for Nick’s tumble. And it was. Until it hit 113. And stayed at 110. Somehow that makes even a 2% grade work. Well, actually it wasn’t the grade that was work. I think that both of us had plenty of legs. That wasn’t the issue. The issue, quite simply, was that we were hot and it is difficult to describe how that makes you feel. Somewhat weak. Sometimes light headed. Maybe sleepy. And definitely as though you want out of the sun.
The photo op that we missed on was 20 miles from the end. Quite frankly, the heat was taking its toll on me. Part of me felt strong but I knew I wanted some shade. Thankfully there was a building ahead of us on the other side of the road that we turned into. It turned out to be a tasting room at Trinity Winery. We didn’t want wine, but the air conditioning, cold water and a place to sit and get back close to normal body temperatures were invaluable.  We should have taken a photo of Wanda, the young woman who was running the tasting room who afforded us great hospitality. Although we felt revived after spending more than 30 minutes at Trinity, I will attribute our failure to think of taking Wanda’s picture to post here with a thank you to the lingering effect of the heat. But although she will never see it because I also forgot to give her a Laura’s Ride 2016 card, here is a big thank you to Wanda. Best wishes to her, her 4 year old daughter and her boyfriend, her daughter’s father.
That rest made all of the difference. The temperature was still 110+ but we were better able to deal with it, at least for a while.
Wanda had warned us that there was one climb between us and Carlsbad but it really wasn’t a problem. The heat was still an issue, but we were able to deal with it. I felt strong enough that for the first time on the trip I actually powered up a climb. It never exceeded 3% but it was still satisfying to be able to push and get some speed while going up hill, especially given that I had felt totally done about 10 miles before.
We finished riding the length of Carlsbad with drivers who didn’t appear to have any appreciation for bicyclists. The wind picked up – in our face and cross wise – and we even got a bit of rain. Not enough to be a problem, but enough to be able to mention it.
Although my legs had a lot of miles left in them, we were both very glad to reach our destination. The idea of getting out of the heat and cooling off was more than just appealing.
Tomorrow is an off day and we plan on visiting the caverns here. Then we ride into Texas (Pecos) which will take us 14 days to traverse.
We are definitely making progress.
Thank you for your interest and support.

Heaven And Then The Return Of Hell

A day late, but finally WiFi.
Leaving Vaughn was incredible. While Nick called the ride boring – I agree that there was nothing worth stopping to photograph – I thought that the first about 70 miles were amazing because of the riding conditions. If anything, the wind was mostly at our back, the highway was great – 4 lanes with light traffic and a mostly very good surface – and we had a net decline of about 2,100 feet. It made for the fastest riding of the trip and I loved it; I could do 23 – 25 mph without feeling I was stressing my legs. Nick chose to take advantage of the conditions by coasting whereas I enjoyed pedaling, which meant that we soon separated.
I was averaging above 22.5 mph after more than 50 miles and that included good times on levels and even on the rollers that were generally around 2%. That dropped to around 21,5 mph after a couple of climbs that were gentle but long enough to shave my speed, especially since throughout this trip I have declined to power up any kind of incline to save my legs (there was an exception yesterday when Nick and I “raced” up one climb, only to say that we shouldn’t do that).
We had asked the girls to leave 3 hours after us so we could refuel at about 50 miles (I hadn’t realized we could ride as fast as we did).

Then hell returned, or at least a preview of it, The temperature started increasing and hit 104.8 on one of my ascents (not good timing). The problem was that I didn’t time my drinking quite right and ran out 5 or 10 miles before the truck reached me with the temperature at about 106. I was steadily slowing, both because my body made me and because I was trying to be somewhat prudent, especially since I remember what the heat did to me through the Mojave.

Although there was absolutely no shade – and there hadn’t been any since Vaughn – I decided to stop because my radiator was overheating. Just as I was going to call the SAG to see where it was, Ale called me to try to figure out where I was (they had already refueled Nick). They looked me up on an app, hung up and then saw me standing by the road with my bike leaning against a pole (that did not afford any shade).

Having the girls and the truck appear was a godsend. I can’t tell you how many cups of cold water I drank while eating most of a sandwich that they quickly handed ne, but I know it was a lot. And that doesn’t include the water I dumped on myself.
  [A quick aside: while lying in bed typing this a couple hours after the ride, Ale knocked to ask for the laundry. When I started to get up, I hollered because of a cramp in my right calf that prevented me from being able to move. When I was finally able to stand, my left shin started to cramp, a part of me that I didn’t know could cramp. As Ale said, now I know. After handing her the mesh bags of our dirty clothes, I took a shot of the anti cramping dose that I had brought but thankfully hadn’t needed. It is horrible tasting, but my legs aren’t cramping now. It works on the theory that cramps are governed by nerves, not muscles, and that certain stimuli to our taste buds can help control them. Which is why many use pickle juice to deal with cramps.]
When I got back on my bike with my bottles filled with ice water my Garmin was registering 120 degrees. That did drop while I was riding, however, all of the way down to 110 where it stayed for the rest of the ride. Although the SAG and the girls were a great help, the heat had pretty much sapped my strength. By the time I finished the last 15 miles, including stop and go through Roswell, my average speed was down to 19.4. Although this definitely isn’t a race, I had wanted to finish the 95 miles at 20 mph or more.
Oh, well. At least I finished.
As, of course, did Nick. After 3 flats. He needs to get the super thick, sealant filled tube that I have been running in my rear tire flat free since Albuquerque. At $20, it was a bargain.
An observation: With all of the riding we have done, I have encountered only one other cyclist who was riding in our direction, Dave (who we have mentioned previously). I don’t mean cross country riders, I mean any cyclists at all. And other than a group of 5 who rode by the plaza in Santa Fe, I have only seen 2 other road cyclists, one who was on an over pass and another we saw on a freeway in Arizona who was going in the opposite direction. I have been surprised by the lack of others riding, though maybe it is partly because of the temperatures?
Speaking of which, it is too hot to go outside. In fact, Sarah said that they bought some cheap gloves so that they could hold the truck’s steering wheel.
Nick has commented – orally, not on our web site – about the detail in my blogs. I hope I’m not putting anyone to sleep with my rambling.
This is going to be posted later than I wanted because the WiFi isn’t workimg here at our Best Western.

64 Miles, 2,700 Feet to Nowhere, AKA Vaughn, NM

The Whole of Villanueva

The Whole of Villanueva

Ambrosio & Nick

Ambrosio & Nick

Joe & Nancy

Joe & Nancy

Welcome to Vaughn

Welcome to Vaughn

More Closed Businesses

More Closed Businesses

Roadside Ruin

Roadside Ruin

We could have ridden from Las Vegas to Vaughn, roughly 80 miles. But Las Vegas wasn’t really on our route, Villanueva is. And yesterday we had ridden farther than Villanueva so we didn’t feel guilty getting trucked to our start there.

I say that we rode to nowhere, but we didn’t exactly start from somewhere. Virtually the entirety of Villanueva consists of a post office. However, Nick did meet Ambrose (Ambrosio) at the post office and he gave us directions to Vaughn. Very nonchalantly, as though he was regularly asked how to ride 60+ miles through what seemed like an area that is seldom traveled by any form of transportation. The directions he gave were accurate, but he didn’t mention the climb to get out of Vaughn. I didn’t keep track of the distance, but the grade did get up to 13%. It was the largest single climb we have done since we missed a turn a couple of weeks ago.

After the initial climb we rode through country that was, as far as we could see, totally uninhabited. For some reason, though, there were wire fences bordering most of the land. Why, we had no idea. Nor did we know why anyone would want to own the land. Finally, however, we came across some cattle so then the fences made sense.

Most of the ride was totally different than what we had been doing. Instead of being on the shoulder of a heavily traveled highway, we were on a rural road with no shoulder and very few vehicles. Some of the scenery was also different with more vegetation than much of the ride has had. And there were a LOT of up and downs with rolling hills that had frequent 4% climbs, but the climbs of course also meant some very fun descents.

The ride had some pretty warm weather, getting as high as 104. With no place to get more liquids, Nick asked one of the few trucks that was passing if they had any water. Joe and Nancy stopped, gave us bottles of cool water, power ade and were totally helpful. More great helpful people on our trip.

There was literally no place to stop for refreshments between Villanueva and Vaughn, including in Encino, a “town” in which everything was shut down.

The past 5 miles we got back on a highway and reached Vaughn at a pretty good clip.

Another thriving community. 2 open motels and as far as we can tell, 1 place to eat. With no prospects of 4th of July celebrations unless, maybe, someone has some sparklers or something.

Tomorrow to Roswell, New Mexico. At least you have heard of it.

Thank you for the comments. They help us keep rolling.

Las Vegas, Small Town Americana

FullSizeRender LVFullSizeRender (5)FullSizeRender (2)

We left charming Santa Fe for Villanueva today. (It is too late tonight, but I will post some photos of Santa Fe at some time). However, the ride was so easy – the shoulder of Hwy 25 N was good (yes, 25 N though we were going south), there was more tail wind than head wind and although we climbed more than 2,000 feet, we had a lot of descending – that we decided Villanueva was too close so we continue on to LV for a 65 mile ride. It added some miles, but made sense especially since we had to spend the night in LV because there are no motels – or much of anything else – in Villanueva. However, the plan had been to be picked up in Villanueva and get trucked to LV since LV really is out of the way for our trip south.

In Las Vegas, we encountered quite the festival in the Old Town Plaza, the first of a couple of days celebrating the 4th. (I asked the waitress at dinner tonight and was told that there will be more celebrations tomorrow and tomorrow evening.) There was a band stand with constant live music, most of it in Spanish, with a lot of food trucks and generally people out enjoying the weather, the music and each other. Very definitely small town America.

What, Las Vegas is small town America? And how did we get there from Santa Fe? Both are very good questions if you don’t know that there is a Las Vegas in New Mexico, which there is.

No doubt the weirdest sight of the day involved my bike and me. I was at the plaza by myself – well, there were hundreds of people, but no one I knew – and I had a desperate need to use one of the porta potties. But there was no way that I was going to leave my bike untended, even for a minute. My solution? I took the front wheel off and managed to fit the wheel, my bike – basically standing vertically – and me in one of the units, but barely. Not an easy task. Sorry, no photos of that.

I have posted another road photo that was intended to show how much greener the scenery has gotten. Unfortunately the picture doesn’t do too good of a job of doing that.

Another photo shows the introduction to Las Vegas. Not quite the bright lights its name sake boasts. There are also a couple from today’s festival.

As Sandi has reminded many of you, your comments are appreciated so that we know that there are people out there who are following us. Be assured that any extra motivation we get is valued because this is going to be a VERY long trip.

65 Miles, 3,500′ And Too Much Freeway

Leaving Albuquerque was much like entering it: far too many off and on ramps with cars and trucks blasting by at 70 or so mph. However, Nick did reduce the amount of distance we were on the freeway at the start by leading us on a route that I protested right up until we – he – finally found an on ramp that was farther north – thus farther out of town – than the one that was near our hotel.
The entire day was spent on the shoulder of Hwy. 25. While most of that was a decent surface and wide enough to feel separated from the traffic, we will both be glad to get on roads that aren’t freeways.
Yesterday was marked by the absence of the headwinds that dogged us on our previous 2 riding days. That made a significant difference.
However, we did gain over 1,100 feet of altitude from start to finish with total climbing of 3,500+ feet. And although much of the temperature was comfortable, it did get to 104. That, together with the lingering effects of my stomach problems and accompanying lack of eating much left me wiped out near the end of the ride. I had previously been feeling good enough to make up a significant amount of distance I had lost to Nick while negotiating the off and on ramps – I stopped at each one to make sure the traffic cleared before crossing lanes whereas he timed his crossings without stopping – but at the end I couldn’t keep up with him.
I thought I was going to call for SAG help after I entered Santa Fe but about 7 miles from where we are staying. The thought of bailing with just 7 miles to go – even though I could say I made it to Santa Fe – was pretty distasteful. But given the way I was feeling, I thought that continuing to push might not be too bright (with consequences likely to be similar to a week or so ago when I continued to ride 20 miles after Nick had the good sense to call it a day because of the 114+ degree temperatures),
However, when we took the off ramp from Hwy. 25 towards our condo – Nick had waited for me at the off ramp – the road started to descend and even the way I was feeling I could do that. A bit of downhill and knowing that we were getting close to the end helped revive me. Not quite enough to beat Nick up another climb – what, a bit of competitiveness even while bonked? – but enough to finish the ride without feeling I was over stressing myself.
Now we are in Santa Fe for 2 whole rest days. If you have never been here, you should plan a visit sometime. At least if you like art galleries and a very laid back atmosphere. Sort of a cross between the high end galleries of Carmel – with more Native American art – and the casualness of small town USA with a town square around a park, street musicians, Native American artisans, what once would have been called “hippies”and, of course, tourists, which include us.
We feel good about what we have done but also talk about the 14 days we have scheduled to cross Texas. That will be a test of our determination. And of Sarah’s and Alejandra’s. However, we have a number of says of riding before that starts.
So far, we are on schedule, a copy of which is attached. You should be able to view it by clicking on it.
Well, we are on schedule with our riding. But the fund raising has stalled. We hope something happens to perk that up because raising funds to support breast cancer victims is of course what this is all about.

 

A Thought (I looked up “rumination” and it doesn’t fit)

Start1 RoadUs

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
RepairDave

Seeing The Continental Divide

01 5 6

Today was a 65 mile ride that started on old Route 66 in Gallup and soon turned into a ride on the shoulder of Hwy 40. That wasn’t a bad thing because most of the shoulder was in good shape and was remarkably clear of the debris that gave us 3 flats yesterday.
Although we had about 1,000 feet of climb, that was all rollers because Grants, our destination, is 8 feet lower than Gallup, our starting point.
Notable events on the ride: Nick falling and hurting his left calf enough that he had to skip the last 10 miles of the ride though he rode at least 20 miles after he fell. (His fall was a classic rider’s embarrassment; he was stopped when he couldn’t unclip and ended up on the ground.) We stopped at a Dairy Queen and Nick realized he could barely walk on his left leg. Although we both got on our bikes to leave, he had to call for SAG help within a mile or so.
While I initially doubted that he would be able to ride tomorrow, Nick benefitted greatly from his application of “RICE,” his acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevate. He is now walking almost normally and expects to make tomorrow’s ride to Albuquerque. That we lose a net of 1,100 feet doesn’t hurt.
Before Nick stopped riding, he got extremely excited about seeing the Continental Divide. Since we haven’t gone over any mountains, we don’t think we have crossed it yet.
Also, today I saw Dave again. I first saw him on my ride to Peach Springs when I caught him on a hill. He started in Santa Monica, I think on the same day, and is riding, unsupported, to Chicago (the classic Route 66 trip though he is often bypassing the old 66 for Hwy 40). Today I caught him about 12 miles outside of Grants. This time I won’t attribute it entirely to the weight he is carrying because he was also very leisurely going downhill (like I had to ride my brakes to stay with him, which I did for only so long). Nick then caught up with him, got his name and took his photo. Then we saw him briefly at dinner – he has a friend in town – and said hi again. By the way, seeing another traveler at dinner in Grants isn’t too unusual given the minimal number of restaurants, a number that diminishes to 2 or 3 if you eliminate fast food.
Another interesting “event”, at least to me, was after we passed Dave and Nick and I met up at the Dairy Queen. I indulged myself with a banana split – the potassium in the banana sounded good – and Nick got a triple dipped in butter scotch. It’s size was impressive, but that isn’t the “event” I am talking about. No, the event was when Nick finished that triple and asked me to get him another – another TRIPLE – which he also put away in short order. (He asked me to go get it because he was then barely able to walk. No, not because of all of the ice cream he ate, but because his calf had swollen.)
The temperature was good today, barely reaching 100. It is surprising how cool 88, or even 94, feels now.
Our main nemesis was a very constant head wind. It was strong enough that on a 3% descent I wanted to see what my coasting speed would be and it was 14 mph. All of you who ride know that it would normally be above 20 mph, barring bad road conditions.
When we saw Dave at the restaurant, he agreed with our comments about the wind and his friend said he was surprised because the wind normally blows to the east, not the west. I guess we were just lucky.
Sorry, because of some technical difficulties, I am not posting some photos I wanted to.