Sunday, May 25, 2008

Santa Fe to Las Vegas, NM: 72 miles

What a wonderful day for cycling! We left Santa Fe on a cool sunny morning (48 degrees). By mile 5 we were peeling off our jackets... it was still chilly, but the sun felt great! We had only 5 miles on the freeway today (I-25 N) and it is our last freeway riding! Yes! Actually it was not bad on the freeway today--new freeway, Sunday of a holiday weekend, no traffic.

At Santa Fe we were at 7,000 feet elevation, and we climbed up to 7,520 at Glorieta Pass, our highest elevation of the trip (I was wrong about Saturday's ride being highest, so I went back and fixed it). Glorieta is the site of an important Civil War battle--interesting! I did not know they came this far west and this high up in the mountains! There was even a homemade sign by the road that said "Glorieta, the Gettysburg of the West". I did not stop, but there was a self-guided tour of the battlefield.

We passed Pecos National Monument, which a lot of the riders rode in to see. I didn't stop there either, but heard it was pretty cool--the remains of a very old mission...

We climbed 4,800 feet today, and descended over 5,300 feet, leaving us at 6,485 elevation. Unfortunately, we climbed 3,000 feet in the last 28 miles... I must be getting used to it, because I don't feel elevation sickness for the first time in several days. Maybe it's just the fact that we are lower than the past few days... We left the beautiful snowcapped peaks behind us, and are now in the foothills. Read that as rolling hills... we rolled all day, and the climbs were mostly gradual, although I did use my granny gear quite a few times. The descents were wonderful! The road was smooth with good visibility and little traffic. My max speed was 41.1, and I believe I spent a lot of time between 30 and 40 MPH. Not scary at all since I could see the road ahead of me. It's windy here, and has been all day, but not the gale force winds we had last week. It actually was quite pleasant, except for a short while. We came into town on a downhill with a nice tailwind. What could be better than that!!???

I found out that the winds on the day we flew into Palm Springs were gusting up to 75 MPH, not 55 as I had earlier reported. Holy cow! No wonder we flew!

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