Saturday, March 21, 2009
Leaving the high desert
This morning ranks as perhaps the most stunningly fun bike rides I have ever done. And this afternoon might qualify as one of the hardest.
We left Kingston after a spectacular breakfast of homemade waffles and bread and phenomenal eggs with chiles and cheddar cheese and fruit and yogurt and many other things. (I did not eat all of that, though I was tempted.) The first 9 miles of the day, smack out of the lodge door, practically, was downhill. After yesterday's climb (someone figured out we'd climbed about 5,000' during the day) this was an enormous gift. Just plain down, down, down. Chilly, yes, but who cared. We certainly didn't.
Down and down and down in the clearest mountain air. No cars on the road. Ribbons of pavement contouring around big hills and losing elevation steadily. Oh friends, what an extraordinary ride. 9 miles of no pedaling. 9 miles of perfection.
And then the four of us caught up with each other and organized ourselves into a paceline and rode FAST until we reached the first SAG stop at mile 26. The front rider pedaled, though not too hard, and the following three simply coasted. Sherry calls it "the sweet spot" to be pulled along in that draft. The road dropped continually, steps of flat and then a drop, step of flat and then another drop. Bliss. Bliss.
We got all the way to Hatch, mile 50, with very little effort. And, though the place we were looking for was closed, we slipped into The Pepper Pot and had THE best chile rellenos I have ever had in my entire life. They are my favorite and I now that eaten the one that all others will heretofore be compared to. We told our waitress about our adventure, "HI! We're riding across the entire United States" and she, without missing a beat, countered, "I'm sorry..." Cute. Very cute.
After lunch the wind picked up and the day's bliss turned to some very arduous pedaling. Sherry is from Hawaii and she actually had to take the lead, all on her own, for quite a stretch. The rest of us were falling way behind and, as I've told you, it's so much easier to ride immediately behind someone. But when you're THAT tired, it is VERY hard to stick to the one in front. I kept falling back and so did Connie and, finally, Jan. But Sherry slowed down, which was very nice as she was certainly energetic enough to take off on her own.
And now we're here. I've showered and have had my chocolate milk and all, once again, is just fine.
Tomorrow is much less mileage. And we go into Texas. Can you believe it? Texas.