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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day 36 (32 riding): Total overall distance: 2320.96mi Total distance today: 54.21mi Total time: 4.58.32 Avg speed: 10.9mph Top speed: 29.5mph

Random thoughts of the day:
-I wonder if I had enough food for breakfast? 2 thick pancakes, 4 scrambled eggs, 3 strips of bacon, hashbrowns, 2 pieces of whole wheat toast, 2 glasses of orange juice, and a glass of water
-Me:1 Mountain:0
-2281' in 16.81 miles in 1.49.05 at an avg speed of 8.8mph = beast mode
-The ride after the mountain was harder than the mountain climb...go figure
-My legs are on fire
-Does anyone have an egg?
-Crack it on my thigh and see if it cooks
-I would rather climb the mountain twice than have to ride up and down these massive hills into the wind
-The total height climbed today counting all the hills plus the mountain, was about 6,000'. Feel the burn!

Today was a very difficult day, and the mountain was honestly not the worst of it. The mountain was quite difficult...but I think the McDonald Observatory boosted my confidence after it almost broke me but I survived. So the mountain climb wasn't as hard as I expected it to be, which was obviously awesome. The view from the top was incredible...we could see the last 3 days worth of riding from there. After a few pictures and celebrating at 8,282' (and a snow angel) we began our very cold decent through very tight turns and into a freezing cold breeze. We went down about 2,000' fairly quickly and then were treated to an unexpected long climb up a hill. Hills are bad, but when you don't expect them, they are awful. We went up one more big hill and then had another nice decent to about 6,000'. We stopped on a bridge to have some snacks before planning on stopping in the next town for lunch. Good thing we had the snacks since the next 2 towns had no services anymore.

The worst part of today's ride came after that snack break. We all felt like the day was practically over since the mountain was behind us, but we still had 27 miles left to Silver City, NM. No big deal...usually. However, these 27 miles were into a 10mph headwind and even worse...they were incredibly hilly. There were 13 or 14 big, long, fairly steep climbs that we had to do. It didn't help that our legs were clearly weak after climbing the mt. So up we went and then down, up and down, up and down...but the ups were brutal! The hardest set of hills to date besides Jill country...and after a mt climb. Plus we were not in a state of mind to be expecting them...the maps didn't show them on the topography. How convenient.

Anyway, to make a long story short, today was incredibly difficult and painful in the legs while climbing. bike and I got through it! We decided to get 2 rooms at the Econo Lodge (again 1 for Ed and Katy and 1 for the 4 of us) which was glorious because it had a heated pool, hot tub, laundry room, and a Pizza Hut nearby. Dinner consisted of a large pan cheese pizza which was gone in under 10 minutes and various snacks ranging from an Oreo McFlurry to Twix...all gone quickly.

Tomorrow should be a bitter/sweet day. Sweet because I get to see the Gila Cliff Dwellings and Hot Springs and don't have to ride a bike to see them. I'm renting a car and splitting it with Ed and Katy, but I'm not sure I even remember how to drive! It's been over a month since I was last behind the wheel and I've only been in a car a few times at all. Anyway, it will be bitter because I have to say goodbye to Paul, Nadine, and Ricky...most likely for the last time, but you never know. If it is for the last time, I will definitely miss all three of them as we have become good friends in the short time we have been together on the road. I'll miss being treated so well! Come Friday, I'll be back on the open road by myself. The good parts are I can set my own pace and have my own crazy schedule, but I'll miss their company for sure.

I have 1 or 2 big climbs left in the next 200 miles or so, and then it's all downhill from there to San Diego! I'll be there shockingly soon after maybe 1 more off day in Arizona with Sols. Anyway, it should all be pretty easy after what I had to do today!!

Thank you so much to all the recent donors, including Haiti Recycling who is separate from EWB for their amazingly generous donation that officially put me over the $5,000 goal!!!!!!!!! I am very proud of this accomplishment and can't thank everybody enough for their donations, including the generous ones to me for the trip itself. Of course, a goal is not technically a finish line, so people can still give! :D

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