Today was an awesome day. Here are some pictures:

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This morning we left from our host with our stomachs full of breakfast burritos and our van’s full of leftovers! The weather was beautiful and it reminded me of the ocean. Warm sun, cool breeze. The ride today was really slow, but filled with adventure and fun! I rode with Kevin, Kirk, Taylor, and Shawna.

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This is us, minus Kirk because he took the picture. It was only around 80 miles and it took us about 9 hours to complete, which is terribly slow. We encountered nothingness, valleys, mesas, gravel, cowboys, route 66, headwinds and a little rain. Here’s the GPS route: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/541108445.

We we started the ride as the last group on some deserted roads. They were paved nicely and there was only a car every few miles. Kirk, Kevin and I were taking it easy, but Taylor and Shawna are fast. They ended up a little ahead of us. This did NOT give us any bright ideas. Well… lets just say theres about a 50% chance that Kirk, Kevin and I may or may not have ridden the entirety of our fifteenth mile in nothing but our helmets. Even if there was a picture, I wouldn’t put it on the internet, so since it can’t be proven, did it really happen? Think on that for a little bit. Like I said, 50-50 chance! (Although if you look at the GPS data, we rode the 15th mile pretttty quick…)

We kept riding until we hit a crossroads. We could take one route that would lead us to the famous Route 66, or take our original route which would not take us on 66. We all wanted to ride on Route 66, so we changed our plans! The smooth roads turned bumpy and then after 7 miles, we hit a big valley with a lot of gravel. Ugh. The valley was really beautiful, and little did we know, we were actually riding down off of one of the biggest mesas in the United States. You can see our decline in elevation, into the valley around mile 47 on the GPS data!

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We didn’t want to turn around and go back 7 miles, so we trudged on through the gravel. We rode and rode and were amazed by the scenery! It almost made us forget about how incredibly bumpy and unpredictable the terrain was. We even stopped and climbed to the top of a big rock!

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You can’t see it in the picture, but there’s actually a dried up river bed right in front of the rock! The picture doesn’t do it justice. Actually, in general, every picture I take is nowhere near the breathtaking sights we see in person! Anyway, we climbed right on up this rock in our cycling shoes and took some pictures and selfies at the top!

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There were some cows roaming around and they kept mooing at us because I guess they had never seen anyone climb up on their rock before! We climbed back down and continued on the gravel road until we saw a car! The most stereotypical cowboy stepped out and started talking to us. He had talked with each group before us and already had a good idea of what we were doing. He said he lived a few miles back and that pavement was only about 3 miles away! He was really surprised to see a bunch of cyclists out in the middle of nowhere from Baltimore! He told us not many people live around here and that his high school class was a solid eight people. Six boys and two girls. He also joked that even with only eight people, he still wasn’t the top of his class! He was a super nice guy and due to our butts hurting so bad from riding on the gravel, we forgot to get a picture with him. It’s unfortunate, I know.

We rode the next three miles until we reached oh so sweet, GLORIOUS pavement! (Check the GPS data for our speed. You can see a noticeable decline during miles 47-60 where we rode on the gravel) Since the last water stop, we had ridden 7 miles on bumpy road and 13 miles on gravel. Needless to say, we all parked our bikes in the middle of the deserted road and waited for the water van. We happened to notice this sign after we had finished riding over all of the gravel:

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Wish we would’ve known that before! Oh well. It takes more than 18 miles of unpaved road to stop us! With a storm brewing behind us giving us some fantastic tailwinds, we made a beeline for Route 66. Of course we had to take pictures when we got there:

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With 6 miles left we turned onto Route 66 and got obliterated by headwinds! We were only able to go 8 or 9 mph through it. It was awful. We powered through it until we reached a planned “dehydration” stop just for our riding group about a mile before the host. We encountered a pretty awesome John Deere motorcycle:

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We then FINALLY arrived at our host, First Baptist Church in Tucumcari, NM. Since the ride took us so long, we didn’t have too much free time, so I showered and ate quickly, swapped pictures with my riding group, found a piano and played a little to unwind, and then started blogging! Of course, some people went out to get ice cream. Remember what I told you about our team and ice cream? They just can’t get enough!

All in all today was probably the most fun I’ve ever had. I had a great ride group, we overcame obstacles, met new people, had some adventure, and stayed silly and positive the whole time! Tomorrow I’m not sure exactly where we’re going, but I’m told it’s 120 miles! That being said, I’m about to go to bed early so I don’t fall asleep on my bike in the morning. We’re undoubtedly going to be leaving at sunrise which is now an hour earlier due to the recent time change.

Remember to comment, and if you feel ambitious, send me a facebook message or a text! For those of you who have recently signed up to follow my blog, introduce yourself! I seriously have no idea who half of the people are that read this digital rag.

 

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