4 seasons in a day on epic 142.4 mile ride to Taos

Trip Start Sep 13, 2012
Trip End Oct 24, 2012

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Flag of United States  , New Mexico
Saturday, September 29, 2012

Day 16 Pagosa Springs, Colorado to Taos, New Mexico 142.4 miles with 8,123 ft of climbing

Before we started this trip we said that if one of us could not continue, the other one should.  However, now that we're here that seems inconceivable.  We came together, we ride together, we stay together.  My dilemma was short-lived.

Because this was the longest, most challenging day so far we were up extra early at 5.30 a.m.,  breakfasted at 6 and on the road at daybreak.  It was freezing - minus 2 degrees.  Oh for some of that desert sun we'd been complaining about 3 days ago!  We were riding with Jim, Dave, Don, Tom and Christian but David fell back pretty early on and it wasn't fair to jeopardise the others' chances of getting to Taos before dark so we pressed on alone, constantly anxious of time passing.  The day warmed up (80 degrees)  and we peeled off layers, chucking arm and leg warmers, gilets and buffs into the support van. Tom sadly had to stop after valiantly riding for 2 days with excrutiating back pain (from lifting his suitcase) which coupled with the altitude was making it difficult for him to breathe.

As we climbed, a huge black cloud hung overhead.  We could see flashes of lightening and hear crashes of thunder but it look as though we would miss the storm.  We did not.  It hit us at around the 80 mile mark when climbing a 9 mile hill.  Two miles from the summit the rain started slowly then came faster and faster.  I was now cursing I'd taken all my warm gear off.  It started to hail, small stinging balls that smashed into my face and pinged off my helmet.  What a relief to see the support van at the summit!  Carly and Holly very kindly lent me their rain gear as they were not going to continue and I quickly changed whilst waiting for David.  How he made it up that climb in those conditions and without being able to sit on the saddle comfortably I simply do not know. He borrowed someone's rain jacket and we whizzed down the other side, desperate to get below the cloud line, out of the rain and back into sunshine.  We saw Don on the roadside and thought he had a mechanical but he'd regretably had to abandon with hypothermia.

At 103 miles I thought my computer had got stuck.  It didn't move.  After an eternity the 3 turned to a 4.  Another eternity and the 4 turned to a 5.  My legs were so cold and stiff I wasn't sure I was going to make it. David on the other hand seeemd to have gained a new lease of life.  He was unbelievably strong in the last 40 miles.  We crossed the Rio Grande and turned into a strong head wind so I tucked in behind him for a slow, gruelling last 16 miles.  All my senses were screaming to get off the bike because by now everything was hurting.  Daylight was fading as we reached Taos.  For the last 2 miles I was crying on the bike from a mixture of exhaustion and relief that we'd both made it through an epic day. 
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Helen on

You go girl! Now I'm crying too!

Lyndel on

Me too! xx

Steve on

Wow wow wow - unf************ believable - the blog the day before sounded a bit Saturday morning cinema - ish and then today's 143 mile Epic endurance achievement
You guys are amazing

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