Santa Fe, NM to Las Vegas, NM.
So after a day off I found it took me a while to get into a good rhythm. I had decided to set out 15 minutes behind the first group today. The first 15 miles of todays route were uphill, so I settled into a steady solo pace for me and plodded along in the early morning sun. The road was quiet being a Sunday in the countryside surrounding sleepy Santa Fe so I wasn’t in any rush to chase off after the group out ahead of me today.
After about 15 miles we came to our first real sustained downhill and I decided to ride it rather than coast. Picking up speed it was fun to finally be moving at a decent speed today and I saw that further down the hill there was one of the CrossRoads support cars parked at the side of the road. Sometimes this is for a photo opportunity and I thought this was the case today so I decided it might be fun having a picture of me depending well rather than some smile and wave combo. Head down and continuing to pedal I was moving well as I passed Mary waving at me. I took the corner left well but noticed the road here wasn’t as good so I slowed down some. Another couple of hundred yards and the road was worse not better so again I slowed hoping that it would change soon. Round another bend and the road had suddenly ended with a fence. A dead end! Having turned around and headed back I saw Mary, camera ready to document my total disregard for her signal to turn right under the freeway and not head down a dead end. Lesson learned Mary.
From here to the end of the ride I am not sure what to tell you. It was just under 60 miles of pleasant roads through the now very familiar pines and red rocks of New Mexico. On our route sheet it said plenty of rollers but to be honest these were a little more steep than rollers and you could not carry momentum that far up the inclines before you needed the climbing gears.
I rolled into Las Vegas and you could not find more of a contrast to it’s namesake in Nevada. The main square which really was most of the town had one grand old hotel looking over a central tree lined green. The ‘Strip’ was a sleepy road that lead out of the square and down past the University to the one main road at the end. I turned out of sleepy Las Vegas and headed to the Dairy Queen for a vanilla milkshake to celebrate another day done.
Tomorrow is Memorial Day and therefore I hope I can ride at least a small part of it with Barry. The Colonel and many many more deserve all the thanks and recognition they get. My brother Tim served in the Fleet Air Arm in the UK for around 26 years and he too will be in my thoughts tomorrow. People often take the military for granted and then forget about them once these men and women leave the service. It is far too easy to sit on a couch and say what you believe countries and military should or should not be doing. It is a far harder thing to stand on the front line and do what you are ordered to do to protect both supporters and critics alike from harm.
Tomorrow we will ride 110 miles in the heat to Tucumcari NM. Somewhere along the ride I know I will salute the Colonel as he passes me on the road, I will think of my Brother recovering from having his appendix removed and I will know that riding a bike for 110 miles in some heat is nothing compared to what some have had to face just to allow us to be free enough to ride.