Thursday, October 20, 2016

181: Did I mention that it's winter?

We were on the other side of this mesa yesterday
If you are not from Southern California, you will scoff at that post title. But for Roger and me, getting up when it's 30 degrees constitutes winter! It just doesn't get much colder than that where we are from. So when we packed up at the cute little KOA cabin this morning, I was certainly thinking, "BRRRR!" My fingers were freezing by the time we reached the Subway at the truck stop, and we had no problem hanging out for a while over our coffee and breakfast sandwiches while the sun warmed things up a bit.

It was, all in all, a beautiful day to ride. The sky so blue, the air clear, the temps warming up enough that we were comfortable climbing and okay on the descents. The route today was more "bumpy" than yesterday, which made for a better day. When you get a chance to descend now and then, you can rest your legs, as well as your bum. That's a huge help on a long day. Although as the day got started, I thought it was just a bit too cold for coasting. I was much more comfortable once it warmed up a bit.

We were climbing up to Santa Fe most of the day. Winds were favorable, even to the point of swinging around to stay with us when the road swung around. The roads reminded me of some of the brevets that Roger and I did last year when we were working on qualifying for the Paris Brest Paris event. We were, from time to time, the only people on the road. We'd not see anyone for long stretches.

When we're riding like that, sometimes I start working out little problems in my head just to pass the time.  Roger calls this "bike math." An example would be looking at the miles you've gone, and the time elapsed, and then calculating what your average speed is at that point. I was working out one little problem the other day where I was trying to figure the odds of rolling a straight (e.g., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) if you had five dice. Would it be different if you rolled all the dice at once, versus rolling one at a time?  Who knows? I haven't gone to check my work. Or this one: You can go downhill at 22 mph, and uphill at 12 mph, and the amount of uphill and downhill is the same. Is it better to do that, or to go a flat course for the same distance at 17 mph?  Silly stuff, but it keeps you from falling asleep when the road is not very interesting!
Ruins of the church

We made a stop at the Pecos National Historic Park today - so glad that we stopped. This was a thriving pueblo of 2000 people. The Spanish arrived, the friars came, the Anglo settlers came . . . and finally the last of the people left and this huge settlement lay abandoned. The ruins of the pueblo and the church are very interesting and beautiful.
The Pecos Pueblo ruins

We were almost to Santa Fe when I spied a bike shop, and since we had another flat today (drat!) we stopped to pick up a patch kit. Turns out, the owner is a friend of one of our good friends, David. Another "small world" moment. We are in New Mexico, tootling along, and meet someone who knows our friend who's now working in China.

The flat was again caused by those tiny fragments of the wires from the truck tires that disintegrate on the shoulder. I guess as long as we are riding on the interstate, we will have some trouble with them. But they surely are a plague!  We also had a stop for a while when we had a little problem with the derailleur. The mechanic who worked on it in Fort Worth really got the shifting working smoothly. But one thing that he did was to shorten the chain slightly, so that we can't use the large chain ring with the largest cog. But Roger accidentally shifted into that combination, and the gears locked up. I was concerned - we were nowhere - but Roger figured out how to fix it, and we got back on the road. I am always amazed at the repairs that he can make to the bike.

We hit a milestone today - Glorieta Pass at 7,500 feet.  That is the highest elevation we have been on this trip - higher than Donner Pass way back in the Sierras. And so another day ends!

Kirk from Spin Doc
The day's report:  Romeroville to Santa Fe, 61.4 miles/8520 to date

The route:  Up and down and up again

Awesome bike art from the Spin Doc bike shop


  1. Just a hello so you know we are keeping tabs on you. Hope your wind starts working with you.

  2. Just a hello so you know we are keeping tabs on you. Hope your wind starts working with you.

    1. Thanks, man! We had a big day today - 90 miles! The first 29 were a gift - gentle downslope AND a tailwind! Still hoping to reappear November 5.

  3. Hi there....just a shout-out from your friends 7hours (by car!) up I-25...the orchestra had a concert up in Sheridan, WY two weeks ago...not far from where we met you in MT. Turned out that Shell Canyon was nearby...that's the one we were thinking of riding with you...we got lucky with the weather, so drove the Odyssey up and spent a couple of extra days after the concert. It's a gorgeous canyon! There probably would have been a lot of traffic on the road in's one of the main routes to Yellowstone...but it was deserted in October. Shell Falls are spectacular. Highly recommended! Enjoy the last of your're in the endgame now!

    1. Good to hear from you. I was thinking about you the other day. We'll have to put Shell Canyon on our list for another time. Did you go over Beartooth?

    2. No Beartooth this time...too far out of the way and I had to get back to Denver and back to work. Besides, after our day of riding Shell Canyon, a front blew through from the north and we barely got ahead of a big temperature drop and snowstorm! It's amaxing how volatile the weather can be this time of year. In Denver, though, it's been frost yet, and daytime temps in the 70's. Heading out for a ride right now, in fact.


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