1400 Miles, Day 6 and Rest
On the 6th day there was wind. Lots of it.
One of the nice sides of having done this ride before is that I know, somewhat, what to expect each day. Last year on Day 6 when we rode from Santa Rosa to Santa Fe we had a fierce cross wind and the labor day weekend traffic was absolutely terrifying. Cars were angry and the humans operating them seemed even angrier. We made it to Santa Fe in one piece but worse for the wear and glad to be off the bike and safe on solid ground. It's a brutal day in the best of conditions, much less a stiff cross wind and a misting rain.
This year we rolled out of a Santa Rosa about 2 weeks later than we did last year and thus avoided the chaotic holiday weekend traffic. The skies were clear and blue, the wind was absent and our spirits were high. The first 20 miles of the day is on a pretty busy highway that, in years past, has been littered with road debris. This year the road was pretty clear, the traffic was accommodating and the people operating the machines were friendly. At 20 miles we turn off and head north towards Interstate 25. It's a pretty 40 mile stretch on a little traveled highway that weaves through small canyons and opens up to beautiful mountain views. The scenery is changing and I like it. We're rolling around 6,000 ft. elevation so the air is crisp and slightly lacking in available oxygen. But the beauty around us is fantastic. This 40 miles stretch was also delivered to us with tailwind, about 25 mph. It was awesome, cruising with a little push from mother nature.
We stop for lunch at a little gas station right on the side of Interstate 25. And this is where the mood of the day shifted. After lunch we start a 40 mile stretch of rolling hills that basically parallels the interstate. The climbing is nice, nothing crazy, but it does go on for miles and miles, up and down, over and over. The problem was that we were heading in a new direction to follow the interstate and this new direction was taking us head on into the 25 mph wind that was previously pushing us down the highway. And it was rough. Rough like if you stop pedaling you wouldn't coast, you would just come to a stop, stood up by the wind. So we pushed on, straight into the wind, hoping that at some point we'd make a turn and have the wind back behind us. Unfortunately, that never happened. As we began to get closer and closer to Santa Fe the wind picked up and shifted from the north. Had I been paying attention to the weather I would have seen that a cold front was expected to hit Santa Fe. But I wasn't paying attention, until now. It got colder and colder as we got closer and closer. By the time we finally made it to the city limits my hands were getting a bit numb and my spirits were nearly crushed. My legs hurt from the 7,000 ft. of climbing, my ass hurt from the nearly 700 miles of riding and my body was beat from burning over 20,000 calories over the past 6 days. The demons were in my head and I just kept talking them down. We all have times in life when we wonder why we chose to do the thing that we're doing and this day was no different.
The tricky thing about the city limits of Santa Fe is that when you ride past the sign you still have about 10 miles before you actually make it into the city. The last 10 miles were the toughest for sure. Slogging through the rolling roads, up and down, over and over. When we finally arrived ago our hotel I headed straight for the beer cooler and then to the shower. I'm not sure that I've ever drank a PorterCulture in the shower before but this experience was one for the record books. It was just what I needed to calm my head and rejuvenate my spirit.
Day 7 was a rest day for us. And for most of us, a day to grab a few more pieces of cold weather gear. After the cold front that came through Santa Fe the weather ahead of us on the road has been dropping. We're entering into some of the most beautiful areas of our trip and it's looking like the high temps may peak at 70 degrees but the lows are creeping closer and closer to the freezing point. I took a nice stroll around Santa Fe to loosen up my legs and I ate all the food that I could find. Hung out on a patio for a good long while taking in some of the local NM beers and people watching, one of my favorite pastimes. It was a nice day off the bike and a nice recovery for the legs.
We've got a fairly easy day today, only covering roughly 50 miles as we head into Abiquiu. It's a nice spin with minimal climbing and our destination is a rad little lodge that sits on a creek with the mountains as a backdrop. And this will be our last day in New Mexico, enchanting as it's been. I always enjoy NM but I can say with 110% certainty that I enjoy Colorado even more.
Stay tuned with our progress and if you get the itch, a donation to our cause would be greatly appreciate!