We didn’t get to the starting spot, a gas station called Clines Corner, until 11:30 AM, and I was on the bike by noon. The first third was relatively quick, and it looked like I would finish in under 5 hours. Then the incline and heat smacked me and reminded me that I’m human. Those moments I just get to keep pedaling. I hit the downhill again a little after 5, and was flying down Historic Route 66 as the sun set and it started cooling off. Boy, howdy did it cool off. They aren’t kidding when they say the desert is hot in the day and gets cold at night. Dropped down into Albuquerque and was shivering.
The map took me onto a trail downtown and I had about 6 miles left when I passed my first tent with a shopping cart next to it. The next tunnel under a major street was lined from end to end with tents, and some guy yelled at me as I passed in a language I didn’t understand. As I got to the next tunnel, there was a sign – “Dark tunnel ahead”. I couldn’t tell, but it LOOKED like it may have been completely lined on both sides by tents.
Believe me, I was not judging them. But I had been riding my bike on roads with cars and trucks speeding past me at 70 miles an hour for almost 6 hours, and my gut waited until that moment to tell me that I needed to be afraid. I got off the trail, hung out in the Walmart parking lot and texted the most incredible support vehicle driver on the planet, and was safe and warm within 15 minutes.
We found a local buffet that was open until 8 and serving Thanksgiving Dinner and hurried over and had all we could eat. (d’Artagnan discovered that he doesn’t like prime rib, btw.) You would think burning 2,500 calories would have me ravenous, but it was closer to the opposite. I had a hard time eating very much at all, but I am indeed grateful for the opportunity that has been afforded me to try this.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!