Wednesday, March 18, 2009
The Continental Divide!!
We climbed out of Lordsburg this morning. Flat for the first 10 miles, well, sort of flat. That is, if you call a gradual uphill climb flat - which I don't! BUT it was easy enough and clear and crisp and sharp and dry and, again, lovely. At mile 16 we fueled up (peanut butter and raisin sandwich bites, m+ms, V8 juice, Gatorade, and other Lucullan treats.) The next 15 were steady and uphill. Sherry has a GPS on her bike and can report the altitude, which can be good, but can be NOT good either. Still, climb, climb, climb. The air thins noticeably. The scrub gets replaced by pine. No more cactus. Blue skies. Fresh, fresh air. Green rolling mountains. And then, looking back, it is easy to see why we feel so tired, for the valley floor is laid out for miles and miles and miles and miles behind us all the way back down to Lordsbug which then is just a tiny snip of a town.
Then up more. No paceline today. We all huffed and puffed and struggled with our own climbing systems. Sherry "spins," rotating steadily in her smaller gears. Jan plugs along. Connie has a different gear set so we drop her on the uphills but she catches up on the downhills. I alternate. Spinning in my smallest gear and then shifting down to a harder one, standing up in the pedals, using my skeletal system instead of the muscles. The muscles, by then, ache. My left buttock aches. My right knee hurts where I banged it the other day on the not-so-funny bone. And then I sit back down, shift to the easier gears, alternate. Down in the saddle. Up. Pedal. Climb. Up. Up. Up.
And then we're at the top. Everyone off the bikes. Take pictures. We're at the top!!! Four riders. Four cameras. Four poses. Two snaps on each camera. Goofier and goofier.
And then, yes, DOWN! Ten miles of down. TEN miles. I lose fear and get up to 37 miles an hour which is the nearest thing to flying I can describe. Connie, speed maven, hits 41, gives me a thumbs up for my daring. We fly. FLY!
Mik has said that the ride is a series of ups. Do NOT look up to the top, she counsels, just pedal and pedal. Then you'll be at the top. She did not spill the beans on this glorious romp down and we are thrilled. The down is the longest I have ever ridden. Easily 8 minutes. Many miles. It doesn't end.
But then, yes, it's over. More spoiler hills come up and by then our muscles are screaming to stop. STOP. Please stop. Just STOP. But we still have 5 more miles which we somehow manage to do.
We spill into Silver City, pour into Twin Sisters Bike shop, stock up with butt creams and energy gels and extra tubes and CO2 cartridges for tire inflation. And then go to Diane's for lunch of a spicy chicken and green chili sandwich. I meet Diane and she looks at me with tired eyes when my gang tells her I do in Asheville what she does here. We shake in understanding.
And we leave. Visit another bike store. Buy more things. And limp to the hotel.
Tomorrow is our day off. I have a massage at noon. An interview at 2. Two restaurants to try. And I'm very, very happy about it all.