Today we climbed 1000 feet in 3 miles. It was pretty tough. This happened about 70 miles into our 107 mile ride. But we did it! Here are some pictures of the wonderful scenery today:

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That was a lot of pictures… Today I rode for Cindy Pope. She was a friend of a high school guidance counselor of mine who passed away from cancer.

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She got one heck of a day. Our ride today was 107 miles to Las Vegas, NM. Yes, there is a Las Vegas in New Mexico and it is nowhere near as exciting as the one in Nevada probably is. Today was ALL uphill. There were a few decent downhills and even one around mile 38 that reminded me of a video game! We were riding really fast and there were giant rock walls on either side of us just flying by! It was a little surreal. We kept riding and riding all day on route 104. I think it is named route 104 because it is 104 miles from Tucumcari to Las Vegas. The mile markers even counted down how many miles we had left. It was a pretty unpleasant reminder. Today went by SO slowly. We didn’t make terrible time, but it felt like AGES. You can find all the statistics and GPS route here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/541840589.

Today there were constant rolling hills and beautiful scenery right from the start. I rode with Dan, Brad, Haley, and Kenny. We rode and rode for miles on the same road all day. We saw huge mesas all around us and the road kept winding through them all. We even biked most of the way around an isolated one. There were a lot of headwinds and I saw my first jackrabbits today! I also took a nap with Kenny:

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Our team has started doing a lot of pushups and planks during our rest stops. As you can tell, I’m more a fan of what I call “gravity stretching”. It really relaxes your muscles and invigorates you! Try it out one time.

We kept riding until we ran straight into one of the mesas. Hoping there was a way around, we were pretty disappointed when we saw the road go straight up it. Time to climb! We ended up climbing about 1000 feet in 3 miles.

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The climb was relatively gradual, but we only went about 7mph up the hill. We had a water stop near the top and the view was amazing.

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We started at the very lowest point in these pictures. And we all climbed to the very top! Once we got to the top, the scenery changed drastically and we never went back downhill. There was a TON of grass. No trees, no more mesas. Just rolling hills and grass with the Rocky Mountains in the distance. It reminded me of the Windows XP default desktop picture (google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about). Kenny said it reminded him of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing. Either way.

I definitely noticed the altitude. The thin air was causing me to breathe a lot heavier on hills that I know I can easily climb. It definitely added another challenging aspect to the ride. It felt like a really solid workout with all of the hills. I also think the lower pressure caused the gasses inside of me to expand. This provided some pleasant turbo boosts for the last 25 miles.

We arrived at our host after a couple miles of downhill. We’re staying at Las Vegas Rec Center and they provided spaghetti and salad for dinner. We showered, ate, and threw a frisbee around for a while before crashing for the night. Tomorrow we have a shorter day (under 70 miles) to Santa Fe, and I’m in the water van with Kirk again! Then the next day is a rest day!

On an unrelated but sort of related note, my family was in Utica, NY this past weekend for the Boilermaker 5K and 15K run! This is a huge race that ends at the Saranac Brewery with around 200 kegs of free beer! As they were driving there, they stopped at every state line and held pictures of bikes upside down above their heads.

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Clever huh? I definitely appreciated it since I couldn’t be there with them running the race!

I think that about does it for today. Remember to comment!

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