Looking back toward Abiquiu on a weekend Jemez Loop with Jeremy on the Velo Orange Campeur, in 2012. Cerro Pedernal stands in the distance. Our route from Santa Fe to ABQ around the north side of the Valles Caldera via the San Antonio Hot Springs intersected a section of the Great Divide Route.
Lael climbs Polvadera Mesa this morning out of Abiquiu, the last big topographic obstacle before the horizon clears toward the border. Thereafter, she rides over a hundred miles of pavement beyond Cuba, sandy roads to Pie Town, and the relentlessly rolling drainages of the Gila– and 8 miles of the actual CDT– to Silver City. She ascends the chunky 4000ft climb alone, forty miles ahead of her one-time competitors. We rode here very late in the season back in 2011, experiencing snowy, muddy roads and very cold nights. This is the north side of the Jemez Mountains, where we used to play when we lived in Albuquerque for a season. She has less than 500 miles to the border.
Heat and afternoon thunderstorms are forecast every day, beginning yesterday on her ride over Brazos Ridge. I spoke with her this morning from Abiquiu and she said the mud slowed her down a bit. She pedaled 156mi yesterday from her campsite halfway up Indiana Pass to Platoro, Horca, La Manga Pass, up Brazos Ridge, across NM 64, and through Vallecitos. There is a bit of chunky stuff in there, and a lot of topography. She camped just short of El Rito and began riding at 4:30AM. She will arrive in Cuba later today, and will begin the long paved ride to Grants, and to the Pie Town turnoff. Daily thunderstorms are exactly the reason why the paved alternate between Cuba and Grants is allowed during the race. The caliche mud in this area would stop the race. She also reported that new owners at the store in Horca equate to prepared foods only, no store. She said it took forever to get her food for the ride ahead.
Jay and Neil rode close toward the end of the day and camped together for several hours in the night. Josh Kato rode late to catch them, unknowingly passing them in the night to camp less than a mile or two away. All three are riding together into the 8 mile CDT Alternate, which is the official TD route to Piños Altos and Silver City. The race continues.
Listen to “Columbine” by Townes Van Zandt, a song about setting free, about reaching and falling, and throwing the pedals to the wind. It is a song about a girl, through the symbol of a flower, but it might as well be about Lael riding a bike 170 miles a day. It took me by surprise when I heard it for the first time in months, earlier this week. Petals and pedals are the same when sung. Keep those pedals dancin’ Lael!
Cut yourself a columbine, tear it from the stem
Now breathe upon the petals fine, and throw ’em to the wind
Watch the petals dancing, see ’em twirl and sing
Now all your pride and prancing, how much does it mean
Watch the petals start to fly, and then come falling down
Aw, hear the wind begin to cry, as she sees ’em touch the ground
All lady like and flower fair, some day you’ll have to fall
And you can find me standing there, to catch you if you call
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