Ride Across America, Day 10

Dear Readers,

Our ride today was interesting on many levels. But, for the first time, the directions were straightforward. Go out of the hotel, take a right, and ride for 108 miles.

An easy start: sunny, cool with a gentle breeze from behind us, we quickly made good mileage. There was a gorgeous view of the valley from a high butte and then a long and winding decline. I reached 48.5 miles/hour on the descent – the fastest was 52 miles per hour by another rider. Unfortunately, it was not possible to capture in a photo the grandeur of the buttes and expansive valley scenery between them with my phone camera. Just before the first sag stop for snacks and fluid, the weather changed to overcast with stronger winds and a change in wind direction – from the south – which meant it would be a headwind or a side wind for the rest of the day.

Jeff and two riders hold "Pedaling to Train Nurses" signCelebration! At our first sag, we reached 1000 miles in 8 1/2 days! It felt so satisfying, at 60 years of age, to reach this goal. I see changes in my body from the exercise, already. The thighs are a little larger and it is harder to passively stretch the quad muscles. I doubt that I’ve lost weight!

Route 104 to Tucumcari, heads east, then north to catch the southern side of Lake Conchas and, finally, southeast to the city. This part of northern New Mexico is beautiful and the leaders of this trip pronounced this day of riding as their favorite – best views, best hills and very little traffic.

Another highlight between sag stops was “The Wall”. It is a steep climb, 0.7 miles long, rising at a grade of 8.5 – 9.5%. The road was cut perpendicularly into a cliff face at mile 66 in our ride. Someone had painted on the road a hundred yards away from the base,  “The Wall”,then at the base, “Oh shit” a little higher up, “Keep going”  then, “My knees hurt”  then, “Almost there”  then a smiley face at the top. My training with Adam, at The Fix Studio, helped me pedal up that hill.

Despite the headwinds, we reached Tucumcari by 2:30 p.m. and a nice buffet of fruit, veggies and cookies awaited us.

Tomorrow, our destination is Dalhart, Texas! Our fourth state on our ride. We will lose an hour when we cross into Texas which is in Central Daylight Savings time. Although we no longer need worry about metal wire causing flats, goathead thorns found on the side of the road will easily puncture our inner tubes and they are hard to remove from the tire.

Now a brief note about clip-on pedals, for those who may not know. Our biking shoes are stiff soled; you don’t want movement in the small foot muscles that could lead to injury and pain. The bottom of the shoe, under the ball of the foot, has a plastic projection screwed to it. The pedal, a platform for the shoe, has a spring loaded latch that holds onto the projection from the shoe. One clips in to the pedal. It allows for a more efficient pedal stroke so that you can push down on the pedal, pull back on it, lift it and push it forward with different leg muscles. It is also more secure, holding the shoe to the pedal. One must twist the shoe to remove it from the pedal. Of course, everyone falls the first time they try to use the pedals, but with experience, they are idea for riding.

Thank you for your continued interest in these updates.

Be well,

Jeff

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