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.