Friday, May 14, 2010

The gruel and the beautiful

Today was a grueling day. We got up at 6 and hit the road by 7:20 or something after saying goodbye to Lenora and our new friend Jamie who was nice enough to host us. It was strange leaving Lenora behind, but I believe we all know it was for the best with her knee situation. I definitely think it was for the best now that the ride is over. Today has taken over as the new most physically brutal ride I have participated in. 

We started off gradually climbing out of silver city on some huge rolling hills. We would climb about a mile and a half then drop down for a mile and climb again. We dis that for about an hour maybe before we descended in to Hanover where we were told there is a store where we could fill up our gallon of emergency water before heading in to the mountains. Unfortunately, the store wasn't open at 8:45am. We then decided to hang out on there stoop and eat bananas for a bit in hopes that they might open up. They didn't, so we pushed on hoping to find water elsewhere. 

We continued up some more massive hills which in the end overlooked some sort of mine. Maybe a copper mine? We were then rewarded with a fast and fairly long descent in to milbrane or some shit? We saw a building that sort of looked like a rest stop so we headed over to try and get water there as we knew we were only a couple miles away from the mountain side. 

Unfortunately, the building was not a rest stop. It was instead a seniors lodge. We were pretty desperate to fill our water supply so I went inside to see what was up. Luckily, the women running the place were super friendly and allowed us to fill up our water and eat brunch on their picnic table. They even gave us some cake! Better than a rest stop!

So now we were fueled and supplied and ready to do our 18 mile vertical climb to Emory pass. The first 8 miles started off fairly tame, but definitely got super steep at times. The climb lasted forever. I thought we had to have been at the top by the time it levelled off but we weren't even half way. Also, the scenery was pretty bland for that first 8 miles. 

However, as soon as it levelled off a bit things got all rocky and treey and started to look amazing. We then had 5 miles of ups and downs that were pretty challenging. My legs were really started to get weak by the end of this 5 so we stopped for another banana break before ripping up the last 8 miles. 

The break wasn't quite enough as we hopped on our bikes and I was still feeling beat. But you know, what can you do other than keep going? So we basically forced our way up the last stretch which was about twice as steep as the shit we had been doing. It was painful at times and I had to let out some mean orcish grunts here and there out of shear struggle. I found that the only way to get up the hill was to put on some tunes, bring my hat bill down so I couldn't see up the hill, and just zone out staring at the road. It was for real some zen shit. 

Once we finally reached the top we took many pictures and walked out to some raunchy overlook of pretty much the entire mountain range. It was pretty awesome. We were 8,800 some feet up and we got there riding fully loaded touring bikes. I was pretty proud. THIS is officially the highest elevation of our trip I am pretty sure. This also marks the end of the mountains until Austin I am pretty sure. We are going to finally be going down hill for a few days after constantly clbimg for what seemed like weeks. 

After we were finished sight seeing we got to partake in a gnarly descent. We raged down the mountain side winding down sharp ass curves keeping pace with cars. It was a blast and totally made the past 40 miles of clbimg worth it. We descended for about 15 miles or something and landed in Hillsboro where there was supposed to be a grocery store. Instead there was nothing so we just stopped and at peanut butter and jelly and ran in to a couple other touring cyclists and shot the shit. 

After leaving the town we had to climb yet another huge hill before catching a 20 mph tail wind which pushed us right to the edge of arrey where we were planning to camp for the night. We still had 5 miles left, but unfortunately we had to turn against the wind. That last 5 miles was nearly as hard as climbing the mountain. We trudged along at about 7mph and eventually made it to a state park where were stoked to sit down and eat. 

Despite the majorly intensive ride, we went 82 miles and managed to arrive at our camp site with about 2.5 hours of daylight left which we haven't been able to do for weeks. It was really nice to take it easy upon arrival for a change instead of rushing to put up our tents before the sun went out. 

Anyway, we are off to Texas tomorrow. Bye bye new Mexico, you have been beautiful. 

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