Tuesday, July 28, 2015

TD 2015 - The Finish and the Start

I thought the Spray River trail was going to be paved. Yes, seriously, I am not sure why I thought that, but here I am at about 6 pm on a Sunday afternoon and I am climbing a little hill and having to shift into my lowest gears to get up the thing and I was thinking "I thought this was going to be flattish"  Now, after 30 some days of riding along the Divide, I really should know better. The journey that began so many days ago, way down at the New Mexico border with old Mexico was almost over and there were not going to be any give aways.

Rocky Section on Spray River West
And so, as I rode those last couple of miles, the purple line on my Garmin Etrex began to show the words "Start Point" and the little arrow that marked my current position grew ever closer and closer to that spot, until there was a little trailhead area with a parking lot ahead of me, and then suddenly, I was there, at the Spray River West Trail Head at the edge of Banff, and this ride that had taken me 37 days to complete would at last be over.

We Are There !
I stopped in front of the sign, and talked with a couple who hailed from Florida.  I think I said something like "I just finished" and the lady though I was talking about finishing a loop ride that connects some local trails, and I say something like, "No, I just got here from Mexico".  Part of me wanted to be quiet about it, and part of me wanted to shout it from the rooftops.  She took a photo of me, and then I rode a couple of hundred feet and was in front of the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel in Banff with the dirt and cow stuff on my bike, the grizzle on me and a bit of an unwashed and unkempt overall appearance.  I stopped there for a minute or two, posted a FB update and I started to realize that it really was done.

Paul, my son, had driven Kevin J and me over to Deming a few weeks before.  We stayed the night and then left for AW after some breakfast at a Denny's.  We got there about 20 minutes before the 8 am start, pulled the bikes out of the car and off the roof rack, checked some tire pressures and lined up for the 8am Grand Depart.  There were 7 of us, Norman and Travis, Gabe, Jeff, Erik, and Kevin and I.  A countdown was done and sharply at 8 am, our little group rolled out in a couple of small groups heading North on a 2740 something mile journey.

Jeff, Norman, Travis, me, Erik, Gabe, Kevin 

First Few Feet
Happy TD Riders
 Our little group headed up the highway towards Hachita.  Jeff and Kevin stopped for a bit and I moved on ahead and stayed up front until we got almost to I-10.  We were rolling pretty quickly on pavement, and then made short work of the gravel frontage road section and were at Separ at the Continental Divide Trading Post.  I spent an hour and a half last year recovering at this place and today, I felt good.  Went inside and got some liquids and some chips and waited until Travis came up and then we started up the dirt road towards Silver.

Jeff and I rode together for a while, but then I started feeling the effects of pushing way too hard earlier in the morning and I dropped back.  I rode pretty well until I got to pavement and then a major bonk was coming on, and I had gone hard enough that I couldn't eat anything.  So here I am, in a close parallel to where I was last year, out of "gas".  But I managed to get some nutrition in, and struggled into the Chevron station at the south edge of Silver City a bit after sundown.  I was shattered, to put it properly.  Went inside, got an Arizona iced tea, and back outside, sat on the concrete leaning up against the building, trying to recover.  A truck pulled up, with his lights on, idling, about 3 feet from my face, and I just sat there ( the guy finally turned the lights off ).  I went back in, got a Coke and started feeling human again.  Left the Chevron, headed into town looking for food.  I stopped at a burger place, got an order, and took it outside to the patio which had no one else on it.  Excellent call, because I took two bites of the burger and it all came right back up into the paper bag that it had been in.  So that was the end of that meal.  Put the whole thing in the trash and was happy that I didn't make a mess, and I rolled up the street to a small hotel and got a room for the night.  First day was about 125 miles of riding, but at least I was in Silver City and felt pretty good about that and I would just have to deal with not having any food in my system when tomorrow came.

1 comment:

  1. just starting in on your write ups--looking forward to reading them over the next few evenings

    sounds like you had a tough but strong start--a hotel room for a good recover when you cant eat is the best thing to get right back on track,,,,,,been there done that....