LW ITT Update: Jemez Mountains, NM

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Lost in a burn on the south side of the Jemez Mountains with Joe and Cass, October 2012.  

Lael pushed 3000 ft up from Abiquiu last night, climbing fast to catch the final light of day. She continued on the increasingly technical track in the dark, recording similar speeds to many less technical climbs from days past.  She camped early around 11PM after a long day which began at 4:30AM.  Rising at 3:45AM, she finished the climb even faster than she had been moving the night before– still in the dark– eventually connecting to higher quality Forest Service roads on the north side of the Valles Caldera towards NM 126, and Cuba.  Over a hundred miles of pavement extend beyond Cuba toward Grants, an authorized paved alternate to the official Great Divide Route and the de facto Tour Divide route for many years.  From Cuba, there are only 500 miles left to the border.

The climb out of Abiquiu is the tallest single ascent on the entire Great Divide Route, and marks the final major mountain section on the way to the border.  The Gila and a brief section of CDT singletrack near Silver City are notable challenges in the remaining miles.

Lael called very briefly while riding into Abiquiu, the rushing wind of 20mph obscuring most of our conversation.  She said she was feeling good, ready to be finished, and still carrying enough food from Del Norte to get to Cuba, augmented with a few bags of Cheetos from the snack shack in Vallecitos (notably, not much of a town in the middle of nowhere).  Buying cheese flavored puffed corn from tiny roadside shops will always remind me of Lesotho and South Africa.

I’m in Salt Lake City en route to Tucson and Silver City.  I’ll be at the border when Lael finishes.

Follow the yellow LW bubble on the Tour Divide 2015 Trackleaders page.

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8 thoughts on “LW ITT Update: Jemez Mountains, NM

  1. Thanks for continuing the updates. Its like your blog has been on espresso shots since the start of the HLC. I enjoy trying to keep up. The photo above looks like its from the simpler days of Lael cycling in desert boots.

    • Those were the days of the desert chukka, the gold On-One Mary handlebar, and the famous Giro helmet. It’s all carbon, XX1, and two hundred miles days now. Don’t worry, we’ll be back to your regularly scheduled program soon (i.e. skipping rope, drinking beer, and sleeping in late).

  2. It didn’t work out for us to cheer Lael from the side of the trail this time around, as life got in the way. She was traveling quicker than I expected, and about the time she passed Como, CO, we were on our way to school.

    Enjoy your visit to New Mexico, and like many others, I look forward to every post. Beer (and/or pie) is on me the next time you pass through.

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