PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 7, Saturday, September 16
To: Socorro, NM; 157 miles

Strong tailwind, continental divide, and "It all depends..."
Riding Time: 8:19:45; Avg Speed: 18.5 mph; Max Speed: 41.3 mph


The terrain was rolling in a stair-step fashion to the highest point of the entire tour (8114 ft at 81 mile point)
then a rolling and gradual descent into Socorro.



With a cool pre-dawn start we had modest climbing to the state line just 14 miles into today's ride. We had perfectly sunny skies and a huge tailwind almost all the way to the Soccoro.

14 miles into today's ride we entered another state


General store at Pie Town, NM (just past the continental divide)


My Auzzie roommate Peter Me
At 70 miles (56 miles inside New Mexico)


Once over the continental divide the scenery became spectacular, especially this time of year with flowers in bloom.

About 3 miles past the continental divide About 5 miles past the continental divide


As you can see from these photos, today was my day to be a tourist rather than a competitively spirited cyclist. Ken felt the same way and the powerful tailwinds afforded us the luxury of time even with the long 157 miles to travel. Several times we stopped and tiptoed around flowering bushes to get the perfect shot.

Lunch stop at 92 miles, elevation 7450 ft.


I changed my saddle last night to another that I brought with me. Having ridden on it for thousands of miles I was confident it would, at least, make me feel no worse today than the one it replaced. It is softer and though not quite as supportive, what I really needed was a change. It worked and I was comfortable all day. If this saddle makes me sore in a few days, I'll switch back to the first one.

Eamonn, Paul and Walter were first in today. In fact, they beat the motel truck and had to wait in the parking lot for 1 hour and 10 minutes for it to arrive. Unfortunately no hero's welcome for them, just a long wait. I timed it perfectly today arriving about 10 minutes after the motel truck.

VLA (Very Large Array) at 106 miles. Clear skies at high elevation make this a choice spot for radio astronomy


Scene just 2 miles past the VLR site

"It all depends..."
Many times I have remarked how quickly and dramatically scenery changes here in the west. In fact, just 7 miles past the VLR site I found myself alone in a juniper forest. With its hushed quietness accompanied by the familiar smell of a Christmas wreath, it felt comfortable and serene. Then I heard the beautiful chirp of a song bird. It had a somewhat random element overlaid on a rhythmic melody that by coincidence seemed to match the frequency of my pedal strokes.

How special was this? I was literally and figuratively "in-tune" with nature. I then coasted briefly while I reached for my water bottle and took a sip to absorb the moment. As I did the song stopped. Oh well, I replaced my waterbottle, resumed pedaling and the chirping started again. Wait a minute... that's my pedal squeaking. Darn that's annoying!

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