Today was our second rest day, a time to rest. So why was I awake and up at 5:30 am like I have been every day since we started this ride. What am I going to do all day if I have nowhere to ride to today. This is how it has become already for me. For so long I have had one thing in my head, get to Boston on Irma. It is hard to say why this has became so important to me now. Cycling isn’t my sport and what does it really matter if I ride across America or not. So I looked at Irma resting in the room and decided maybe I should treat her to a good clean. After breakfast and a couple of coffees I wheeled Irma out to the front of the hotel and began to clean her properly for once, now that I have been shown how in Flagstaff by Barry, Mike and Don. For once I didn’t see this as a chore like I would have done a couple of weeks ago. Now I was caring for my steed, my trusty companion, my partner to Boston. I washed, cleaned and polished her with care. I took my time and took note of all the small details of doing a job well. Carefully I cleaned all the links of the chain knowing each one plays a small but important part in my safety, comfort and ultimate success or failure. Then each clean link was carefully lubricated and wiped until the chain whirled around smoothly and slipped smoothly from one gear to the next. Finally with Irma looking good enough to go to the prom I led her back to the room to rest up for tomorrow. Proud of doing a simple job properly I then set about doing my laundry, I cant tell you this was as rewarding or self absorbed but again I was happy once all my cycling kit and few clothes were now clean and fresh again.
These simple tasks filled part of my morning of rest. Now I had some time to catch up with all of the wonderful messages and words of encouragement I have been getting before meeting up with the guys to go into Santa Fe itself. I can not tell you how much it lifts you, when you are trying to do something difficult, knowing others care for you and are willing you on. There are times on every ride day when you can say I have had enough, who cares, what does it matter if I stop now and take a ride in the support van. Then you think friends care, it does matter because it is a great challenge for yourself and the satisfaction of working hard and pushing yourself beats settling for comfort and what you already know you can do. Each message or like on social media adds to the strength you build to take on the next hill climb. Every donation to the Mayo research fund pushes me on into the headwinds knowing I should earn every single dollar generously given rather than just expect people to be kind. This journey is far more about mentally pushing yourself further down the road than any cycling ability. Knowing that we are not alone when out on the road each day fuels us more than most of you might realize.
Now feeling refreshed by jobs done and positive messages from friends, family and well wishers I met up with Texas Terry, Mike and Barry and headed off in the hotel shuttle bus to downtown Santa Fe. If you like arts, crafts and Mexican food you should look into Santa Fe, NM. I liked the look and feel of this place and wouldn’t mind coming back one day as a real tourist to experience it better. As it was today our first stop was a bike shop. Terry had wanted to visit Mellow Vello and we didn’t take much persuading to tag along. Yes four guys who have cycled for two weeks across deserts, up mountains and along freeways get a day off and go to a bike store to look at bike stuff. You would think that would be the last thing we wanted to do. As it happened I found it fun as the shop had quite a few old bicycles and some racing memorabilia to look at. I tried on jersey but I guess I am still more of a golfing shape than a cyclists and it didn’t look good enough on me to buy, despite looking great on its very small hanger. Maybe I should start a line of ‘Senior Cycling Jerseys’ with that retired and enjoying good living cut to the cloth.
Leaving the store we wandered down a road and came across a car show in the main square of Santa Fe. Around the four sides of the central green where a band played, cars were on show lined up side by side. Some were custom cars with crazy hydraulic suspensions and custom paint jobs. Others were old classics restored to pristine condition by loving owners. I liked the old cars with curved lines and intricate details the best. While I was at art college back in a former life it seems now, I learned that I liked curves more than straight lines. Curves for me flow, straight lines are harsh so it was no surprise to me that I would stop to look at the cars from an era when flowing lines ruled the day.
Now having been a couple of hours since we had last eaten, food became all important. I got my phone out and opened the Trip Advisor app to see what was around, something I have Deirdre to thank for. Ranking at number 5 out of 500 places to eat was Palacio Cafe which looked ok so off we walked to find out for ourselves. A small cafe, with a larger than life owner it was a perfect spot for me today. We all ordered our food and settled in feeling right at home here. I had a pear salad just to get some greens inside of me followed by the owners recommendation of Green Chilli Stew. Now if you like spicy food you will understand when I say it was hot enough to clear your sinus, make your mouth deaden slightly and yet you had to have another mouthful again and again. It’s like eating those sower candy things, they make you pull faces and your cheeks almost meet in your mouth but you just have to have another. Anyway it was really good especially with some home made lemonade to put out the fire and leave just a content glow.
Uber was the next app that helped us. This time summoning another character, Ronald in his Toyota 4Runner to take us back to the hotel. Ronald apparently had been a stock trader (or something similar) in New York before the crash. He and his friend then decided to audition for some reality show and got some work acting. Somewhere along the line, I didn’t quite hear how, he found himself in Santa Fe driving for Uber and I am assuming looking for his next acting role. Anyway Ronald chatted a storm about New York, Food and his life, entertaining us back to our hotel. I then got into my room and sat down, I woke up 2 hours later and my first thought again was food. This time it was the real need for a fuel up as tomorrow is getting closer and we can not afford to get behind on food and hydration ever on this trip. Tomorrow we are riding another 73 miles with around 4,000 ft of elevation gain and I am assuming more heat, so to not be fueled up will tempt the dreaded cycling bonk (running on empty) and a possible end to EFI.
Off to the small Bistro in the hotel and I find the Colonel and Mike having a beer and waiting for a pizza. Chicken Pot pie seemed like a premium fuel choice for me and I joined them to eat, swap stories and bond further on our now shared great adventure. After our meal and a lot of laughs we all went back to our rooms to prepare for tomorrow’s ride and a nine day stretch of riding which will take us from Santa Fe, NM to Abilene, KS. This stretch of the journey will be the most consecutive days we will ride and will take us through four states New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Tomorrow we actually head to Las Vegas. We unfortunately will not be riding down the Vegas strip or staying at Caesar’s Palace, no we are heading to Las Vegas, NM. population 13,285 in cowboy country. This third week will see us cross both the 1,000 and 1,500 mile marks, cross our second desert and much more I am sure. It will also end with me seeing Deirdre in Abilene, KS which is motivation enough for Irma and I to ride on each day.
Finally thanks for joining me along the way and keeping me company as I ‘Ride my Ride’ to Boston. It sometimes seems a long road but a road worth traveling for me. America is truly a beautiful place when you actually get outside and look around. It makes it even better when you realize your not doing it alone.