Day 16 - June 22nd
Total: 653.9 miles
Moving Avg: 4.6 mph
Overall Avg: 3.0 mph
The day can be summarized best by a direct quote from a Southbound Tour Divide racer. Less than nine miles into the state of New Mexico, he says, "I already hate New Mexico."
Well, we hoped to roll in to Horca today, but New Mexico isn't done trying to kill us. We had a climb to 10,950 feet to accomplish today, which we did. But my God was a difficult day.
Or at least the second half of the day. Our sunrise ride through Cisneros Park was beautiful. We then made some fairly easy climbs through dense Aspen groves. In fact, most of the climb up to 10,300 feet was fairly easy and pleasant. But once we hit that elevation, everything got harder.
We stopped for second lunch. While eating, Apricots said, "I wish there was a way for me to eat and nap at the same time." Good fun.
Then the trail became too bumpy to pedal up, and the thunderstorms came. And by the time we were cresting the mountain, it was raining and hailing on us. On the back side, on the way down, we encountered even steeper, even rockier terrain. We couldn't even ride down as it was too slick and dangerous.
We walked our bikes. When the rocks ended, we were excited to have gravel road to ride on, but that quickly turned to mud. My tires got so mucked up that I struggled to push the bike. Apricots and I pushed the bikes slowly in the grass beside the trail, gathering muck and grime on our feet and bikes, until we were too tired to move on.
We set up camp, and ate the remnants of food we had left. Our leg was supposed to end today, so our pickings are slim, and we still have twenty miles to go tomorrow before we get to Horca. This has been our most exhausting day yet, and we didn't even cover 35 miles.
I am forced to look back at the early morning breakfast where we sat at a crossroads, and debated whether to take the official route, or cycle 10 miles down hill to a highway. We could have been in Del Norte tomorrow, but now we probably won't arrive until Saturday. I have two postal packages there, I hope the post office is open on Saturday.
As I type this, Apricots is snoring her exhausted self away, while coyotes howl to the fading daylight.
On the bright side, barring severe mud and catastrophe, we should enter Colorado in the morning, and pass by the train station that has the highest elevation. That should be pretty cool.
Struggles aside, we are still mostly enjoying ourselves, but European Vacations make a little more sense to us.
Live life at a slower place.