Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tour Divide 2014 Day 10 Falling Apart & Done

It was a pretty clear night in the dewey grass in front of the restaurant at Horca and I got cold.  It seemed that it was colder than on top of Burned Mountain, even though the elevation was a couple of thousand feet lower.  My mind started worrying about the brakes that weren't quite right on the bike.  I had problems slowing down on the descent down La Manga Pass into Horca last night, and now I was beginning to fear going further into Colorado and having to deal with the passes there.   I didn't want to give it up and thought that I might be able to get up hill, figure something out where my phone would work, maybe get to Santa Fe and get the bike fixed and then continue on.

So when the sun came up and finally warmed the sleeping bag, I was cold and tired, thinking my gear is not up to the task ahead.  I packed it all up and then I sat at the intersection of FR150 which would lead to Platoro, CO and Highway 17 that would lead back up La Manga Pass to Cumbres Pass and then down to Chama, NM.  Couldn't figure out what to do and I just sat there.   Then something made me head up that 9 mile hill and that started the end of my ride.

The ride up La Manga was nice.  I got into a good climb, it was a little bit steeper than Mt Lemmon, but not that big of a deal and the sun was out.  I stopped at the top of the hill, saw a couple of road cyclists, and then crossed a railroad track for the Cumbres and saw the train station that appears in the "Ride the Divide" movie ( where the fellow says "this here's Bandit").   A few hikers were there and we could hear the train in the distance and I waited for it to show up.  A fully functioning coal driven steam locomotive.  Interesting to watch the support crew at the top of the pass with their infared thermometers checking on the temperatures of various connecting rods and wheels.  The locomotive and train pulled away and I headed for Chama.

Train Schedule

Beautiful Technology
In Chama I found a restaurant and contacted my niece Lindsay for a ride to Santa Fe, with the expectation that I would find a bike shop the next day, get it fixed and get back at it.  But someplace on the long drive to Santa Fe ( it was nearly 100 miles - was surprised at how long it took in Matt's jeep at 60+ mph to get there ), I guess I gave up.   I stayed with Amanda and Dustin that night and the next morning we loaded the bike into Amanda's car and went looking for a rental.  Had to go to Albuquerque to get a one way rental and around 2 pm or so, I was on I25 headed for Tucson.   When I passed the Continental Divide and the turn to Antelope Wells on I10, that I had taken 10 days before,  I was not a happy person, as I guess I really did just quit on myself, so I get to deal with that for the next year.  I didn't get saddle sores, I didn't even take an Ibuprofen, and other than being tired from riding 9 days or so in a row, I felt pretty good.   As they say this race, the Tour Divide, is more than physical, it is a lot mental, and as I said on my Day 1 blog post, I broke.

Well, the brake pads were worn down and both front and back needed bleeding, so it wasn't all in my head, but am still disappointed.  I did do a hard State, and did it by myself without any outside assistance, so I am proud of that, but as I sit here and look at the still active TD riders, I can't help but want to be out there on the Divide someplace.

I played a song "Silver Stallion" by the Highwaymen LOTS of times during the ride and these lyrics kinda hit a sentiment for me ... So Till Next Year

I'm gonna chase the sky forever,
With the woman and the stallion and the wind
The Sun is gonna burn into a cinder,
Before we ever pass this way again

And we're gonna ride, we're gonna ride
Ride like the one eyed jack of diamonds
With the devil close behind
We're gonna ride


  1. Simply amazing, Mike! You do not have to regret anything! I so admire you.

  2. Just read your TDR posts--you have a nice way with words bty.

    Funny how the mental stuff works in the TDR............

    You going to do a NB run in 2015? I am thinking that's what I may do.........

  3. Thanks Marshall ! Yep, going northbound again, it's just throw the bike in the car and drive over to AW from Tucson, and then the weather looks to be just so much better. I gotta get it done this time !

  4. Great write-up - I could feel your mood as you wrote. Bikes break - don't sweat it. Look forward to running into you coming the other way 2015:-)