What a difference a day can make. Yesterday’s ride to Las Vegas, NM was the hardest ride as far as difficulty because of all the hill climbing. It was our toughest day so far. But today we enjoyed more favorable conditions and much less climbing...and the views were incredible. Today was my best day on a bike. except for a flat tire at mile six I seemed to have energy all day and was able to complete the 109 mile averaging 19.5 MPH. As you can see from the profile above, there were plenty of down hills today and only 4000 feet of climbing.
The road to Tucumcari is easy as we follow highway 104 all the way from Las Vegas to town. It's a fairly narrow state road, but you only see a car about every 10 - 20 minutes. The scenery is magnificent and there is nothing out there but land and you can see for miles. Our only audience was an occasional cow as we pedaled our way along. There was no cell phone service either :)
The ride starts out with a gentle climb for probably a 1000 feet to the top of the Las Vegas Plateau where the terrain rolls and the roads are fairly smooth. If the beauty of the high rangeland isn't enough, the road drops into a canyon at about 33 miles where the screaming descent opens up spectacular views of the valley below and the surrounding mesas. It was one of the most beautiful descents I have ever done. It's really hard to concentrate on maintaining control of your bike when the views are so beautiful. After the descent, it's a mix of flat to large gentle rolling hils all the way to Tucumcari. There was one steep 0.7 mile climb at mile 67 that really tough and one other “mini-wall” at about 87 miles but the rest of the climbing was mostly graded under 5%.
We had two SAGs today and at the first one at 48 miles, we celebrated covering our first 1000 in 8.3 days.
Tomorrow we continue our adventure into our 4th state...Texas! We are expecting high winds and they are forecast to be head winds. It's a short day...only 97 miles but could be a long day with the projected winds.