Life On A B-I7

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Southern Tier - Mon Sept 30, 2019

Day 16

Get out of Arizona day

Today turned out to be the toughest day yet. The route took us into New Mexico and covered another 76 miles. There was significant climbing which was unexpected. I don’t spend a lot of time studying the maps the day before each ride, so it was a bit of a surprise to me that we actually had the same amount of climbing as yesterday. Stringing these days together one after the other is a challenge. To make things easier we decided to eat at a restaurant instead of cooking in camp. We all met at a restaurant in Lordsburg at 6:30pm (7:30 Mountain) so it was a long day.

I started the day late because I cooked dinner and breakfast, which always makes the cook the last one out of camp. After breakfast was finished and I was all packed, I rode back four miles to a Walmart to buy a camera. The shopping trip in the wrong direction and the breakfast made me almost two hours late getting getting started on the route this morning. I managed to pass two people along the way, arriving at the restaurant 15 minutes before our reservation. I had to put the hammer down for the last 19 miles.

One of our crew dropped out last night. He made his announcement at dinner. He picked up the dinner check for everyone and then announced he was leaving the tour. These are hard days, there isn’t a lot of time for sight-seeing. You need to keep your head down and pedal to make it each day to the day’s end-destination and still have time to set up camp and cook. It’s not for everyone. As we were leaving the restaurant, I told the Trail Boss I was going across the street to the Econo Lodge for the night. She asked me if I was leaving the tour! She was partly serious. I think the announcement caught her off-guard. I told her that wild horses couldn’t drag me off the tour! I knew I was making the right call to get a bed for the night because during dinner there was mention of mesquites at the KOA.

Today will be tough again, but it’s worth it, Every time a lizard scurries out of the brush at the side the road and runs along side my bike for 10 feet of so before ducking back into the brush, it makes me smile. I had a butterfly chase me for about 30 feet darting about in front of me. (I was going up hill.) Near sunset, I heard a coyote, and the sound of birds was amazing. I have never heard anything like it.

I did stop and read one historical marker yesterday, I was a convenient place to stop and grab some water. I was shocked at how disturbing it was. It is true that history is written by the victors, not the vanquished. But the inscription in front of me read like such a good white man, bad Indian story that it had to be taken with a huge grain of salt. Human history is complicated. Attempts to summarize it on a road marker are fraught with all sorts of danger. It’s probably better to leave the road side markers to explanations of geology. Most people (but not all) find geology less controversial.

Today we cross the Continental Divide and will be climbing 4,000 feet in just over 50 miles. Lordsburg is a 4,250 feet elevation, which means we will be climbing to an elevation over 8,000 feet. I really hope I can figure out the camera so I can get a shot of me with my bike at the Continental Divide.

Miles: 76

Vertical: 2,000