Trip Summary

Day 52: 2929 miles completed, 8 states, 7 flat tires, 4 flat mattresses, 40 new friends and Bruce #1, 8 rest days

Friday, March 20, 2015

Day 14: Columbus, New Mexico

Commercial:  Just a quick reminder that the secondary purpose of our journey is to raise funds to raise, train and place service dogs (free of charge) to persons with disabilities ranging from autism to post traumatic stress.

 Donate to Custom Canines Service Dog Academy

After a great night's sleep in our lovely accommodations, and after a night of rain, we hit the road early as we could.  Bubba kindly offered to shuttle all riders down the 3-mile dirt/gravel road, since after all the rain the road was rather soft.  However, since it was a 95-mile day and time was of the essence, the 4 of us who rode in together decided to brave it and ride out;  3 of us made it.  Unfortunately, Jim got slogged down in the mud to the point where wheels would not turn and he ended up carrying his bike.  The first vehicle transporting bikes and riders arrived at the main highway shortly after we did; no time gained.  We did bike three more miles.

During the first portion of the ride, the sun was rising above the mountain peaks that surrounded us.  The colors were spectacular: pinks, orange, and red.  As the sun continued to rise the mountains we approached as we headed East transitioned from dark shade to full sun - magically.

The significant tailwind, which was guaranteed and usually accompanies today's route, never materialized.  This made for a long day.  However, we still made it to the school prior to their dismissal time.  As we waited, the children eventually exited for the day.  As they walked to the buses, we garnered second glances and stares due to our strange attire.  Many children greeted us with smiles, waves, or "Hola".  I almost caused a riot when I offered some cookies that were in my jersey pocket.

Knowing that the staff was behind schedule due to the later than planned dismissal, Jeff helped the crew, Wolfpack, haul in the two hundred or so duffels and suitcases into the gymnasium where we will be sleeping.  The crew is always working so hard taking care of us riders and were very appreciative of the help.

After dinner three determined fellow riders finished their 92 mile ride just after the sunset.  The entire group of cyclists and staff greeted them with applause as they entered the school grounds.  They were on the road from 8am to after 7pm.

Then, I finally found the time to change my tires.  My 23 mm racing style tires were worn and do not offer much protection from punctures.  With some assistance from Hans and Chandler, our mechanic, they were successfully replaced with some heavy duty 28 mm Schwalbe Marathon tires.  Hoping to complete the journey without a puncture.

Almost forgot today's milestone, we crossed the Continental Divide.  Cecil and Marianne are shown approaching the divide.

Side Note:  (from Lisa) I had a lousy day. Had a hard time getting my legs under me this morning.   As we approached lunch stop, my fingers and toes were numb, I was throwing my head back to try to get more air because it felt like I couldn't get enough, even on a rather flat road, we pounded on slowly, but nothing was helping and suddenly as I drafted off Jeff, I could have sworn we were on the tandem--very weird sensation to have to force yourself back to reality. Dizziness set in soon after that, and as we sat down by the side of the road to force down some fluids and an energy bar, the Sag vehicles magically appeared and I decided to tap out.

It was a decision I hated to make, hated to leave Jeff wondering how I was doing and just plain not wanting to get off the bike, but at that point I was a danger to myself and a liability for everyone else.  After getting to the lunch stop, I was put in Mickey's car and went to a restaurant with her, Bubba and the Wolf Pack.  I gauged down water and food, listening to other conversation and laughter from the guys and talking to Mickey about anything but biking had a very calming effect.

In retrospect, I had not adequately hydrated or fueled with food, and it is a lesson learned to make these priority 1. I have a bottle of water next to me as we speak and will eat adequately from now on.  Sometimes you think you have things figured out, but these are rather extreme conditions and require more diligence--lesson learned; we ain't in Kansas anymore Toto!

Jeff was the first rider in, early, around 2:45, so he obviously pushed very hard, and we were both happy the day was over.  Rest day tomorrow and time to prepare for our 77-mile day the next day to El Paso.   As a wise person once said, There is no shame in failure, only in not attempting. 

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