Friday, March 20, 2009
A familiar scene
Flat tires are a part of the adventure. There is a running total for the entire group which is well over 20 by now. Our foursome has had its share. The other day I was sharing a room with Jan and she woke UP to a flat tire. In our room! Overnight!! Argh. We changed it in our room but I pinched the tube when I was putting it back together (pinching a hole in a brand new tube) and so we had to do the whole thing all over again - this time with help from Mik, our guide. Jan has had a few flats. Sherry has had one. Connie has had a few. I, so far, have not had any. To make up for that, I have become the one who actually changes all the other tires. Truthfully, we are now a team. Each of us has a role. Connie drags out her gear. Jan gets ready to inflate the new tube slightly before it is installed in the tire. Sherry is the pumper. And I take out the old tube, check the tire for Goat Head stickers or glass and, after finding the culprit and extracting it (with Sherry's reading glasses and Connie's mini Leatherman) I put the thing back together again and we're off. We're getting very fast at this and are now calling ourselves the Parnelli Jones pit crew. At your service!
Silver City provided us with a very nice day off yesterday. I was VERY slow and VERY lazy. Had a terrific massage with Fred at Cienega Spa (I recommend him and his gallons of Arnica gel.) And ate some very very good pizza at Diane's Bakery and then a fine Chili Relleno at Jalisco's. Oh and in between all the eating I was interviewed by Kathy Zink for her cable tv show "Spirit Matters." Michael, her husband, will edit the footage and will have it available next week for all of us to see. I'll let you know when.
Today's ride was 48 miles. The first 10 were a gradual uphill. The last 10 were a dramatic downhill. DRAMATIC!!! Hairpin turns swooping through the Gila National Forest. And the miles in between were epic, long pulls up long steep hills. Long. Long. Long. Hard and, oh, long. We climbed from slightly below 6,000' in Silver City to 8,825' at the top of Emory Pass. The last tenths of miles were near agony. Pedal. Calculate how much further. Pedal a little bit more. Calculate again. Repeat. Sing motivational songs to myself. Wait for Connie. Pretend I am waiting for Connie, knowing I am stopping to try to catch my breath. Pedal a few more bits of a mile. Calculate that at this rate I'll be at the top sometime next week. Keep pedaling.
Round and round. Round and round. Slowly but surely. And then, like heaven, we make it to the top. First Sherry, then me, then Jan - who turns 65 today - and then Connie. We scream in delight. Whoop around, hugging each other, taking pictures. And then we add layers of clothing for the 8 miles descent.
Screaming, flying, soaring, roaring down down down.
And now, home for the night at Black Range Lodge. The folks who own this place build and teach straw bale housing construction. I ask if they know my friend Janelle who lives in Asheville and they do and the day and the world become very small again and I say I'll say hello to her and off I go to my third floor "garret" with the red door.
I'm very happy to be here. I can see spring and the mountains and blossoms and feel proud of this day's ride and all that this ride stands for.
Tomorrow we go down further. 80 miles, I think, into Las Cruces. And in a few days we'll be out of New Mexico. Is this possible?
I'll write tomorrow.