Albuquerque, NM to Santa Fe, NM.
Today was billed as a ‘great ride’ day. In one way it was but to be honest by the time I arrived in Santa Fe I was glad it was done. The route was pretty for sure and did not involve any Interstates at all. The scenery was impressive with the red rock mountains all around, yet after five days of looking at red rock mountains there is only so much love I can give them each day. So at 7:00 am I set out with the early group and took turns with Ric (staff) pacing the line out of town. After around an hour it was time to inspect a tree and lose my jacket. This took me out of the line which was breaking up naturally anyway by now.
The route today consisted mainly of climbing up long steady hills with one big decent just after half way so it wasn’t going to be a fast ride. I worked my way to the front of the group naturally and by taking a relatively quick SAG stop I left first with the Colonel Barry who had caught up 30 minutes on me in the first 34 miles. I rode with Barry for a short while then we came to a long hill and the Colonel was off up ahead of me until his flashing red rear light couldn’t be seen at all. This is where the ride for me turned from being a nice scenic ride in the hills to becoming one I just wanted to get done with.
I am not sure if it was the result of 4,800 ft of climbing, the days temperature increase along the ride from 61*F at the start to 99*F at the end or t he altitude of 7,000 ft at Santa Fe but it became a long day. To add to these main factors the road was one of those that looks smooth but is actually made of chippings which make a bike vibrate continuously. So to say I wasn’t a happy bunnie would have been correct but it wasn’t bad enough to make me unhappy or despondent at all. I filled my mind with endless thoughts on endless subjects. At one point I came across a fun sign post. It was on a track of a side road and it said ‘Ambush Driveway’ however, it wasn’t much of an ambush if it was announced on a sign post (I know, I know – I was just humoring myself). Near where my Grandpa lived there was a sign for ‘Secret Bunker’ which again made me smile always as a kid thinking some secret. While I was taking a picture of Irma next to the Ambush sign a young cowboy type guy turned into the track/road and got out to open the gate. We then had what has become the normal conversation which goes something like this –
Person – ‘where are you cycling to?’
Me – ‘Boston”.
Person – ‘where did you start?’.
Me – ‘Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach’.
Person – ‘Wow’
Then here you can put in a few different lines like, that is so cool, I wish you the best of luck, there is no way I could do something like that. Etc
So we chatted and he really seemed like a very likable young man who lived mainly out doors doing something that kept him in good physical shape and seemingly quite content with his world.
Back on Irma and back on the rumble strip of a road for another 20+ miles. Still no signs of Barry up in front or anyone coming up from behind. After 45 miles we came to the town of Madrid. This was noted on our days sheet as a good place to stop for stores and restaurants and lunch. The temperature was rising and I new it was going to continue to rise until it reached its hottest at around 4 pm. Also I am not the best for spending hours looking at crafts I don’t intend to buy or in this case cant because my bags are full with things I need. So I didn’t slow down in Madrid or stop for lunch which apparently many did after us.
The final 20 miles went by slowly I think because I watched them tick over and wanted them to go quickly. Uphill is the worst to watch miles on a Garmin. You pedal for a while and then look down to find out you have gone two tenths of a mile further. Finally it was over and I arrived at the hotel 35 minutes after Barry. This made me smile as it meant the Colonel had completed the same ride over an hour quicker than I had. I don’t say this in any competitive way at all, I just wanted to point out how good a rider he and a couple of others are on this trip. It is inspirational for me to see people in there 60’s and 70’s doing things like riding a bike across America or completing marathons etc. Too many people in my mind don’t push themselves enough. I don’t mean just physical pushing yourself to the limit, I mean more to do something that’s hard or seemingly beyond you at the start.
After a shower and trip to Walmart for supplies it was time for a Subway wrap (I’m now officially addicted) and my early dinner. A coupe of hours later I was back out looking for my 2nd or later dinner which ended up being at Chile’s with Tom. A nice way to end a tough but satisfying day was to get to know Tom a little better over a relaxed late, second or proper dinner.