Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 14_July 18-->Clayton, NM

Route from WAlsenburg--Clayton, NM
Route from Walsenburg, CO-->Clayton, NM--our 6th of 12 states, but not a new state for me in terms of having ridden there.

Once again I'm struck with the different moods of the group, day to day. Tomorrow will mark the half-way point, day-wise, for this Tour. We started this Tour with 22 paying riders and about 10 crew. (Crew ride every-other day). By the end of tomorrow we will have lost 5 paying riders and 3 crew, so the group dynamic will surely be different.

Two riders have left because of injury, one half-tour rider left early for work-related reasons, one rider will leave for personal reasons, and one will leave because she could only get time off work to ride half the tour. Our massage therapist, her husband who crewed, and their 8 y.o. daughter will be leaving tomorrow also, a planned leave-taking. Four weeks is a long time for a family to be on tour. A PAC veteran massage therapist will join us in Amarillo tomorrow to support our aching muscles for the eastern half of the ride.

So, I'm sure all of the above factored in to the out-of-sorts-ness of the day. That Larry was injured yesterday didn't help either. That this was a 156 mile day was certainly a factor. The fact that we were on I-25 for about 25 miles, and then a frontage road that didn't deserve the title of road contributed. The unsavory roads contributed to many of us having tire issues, not something you want to deal with on a 156 mile day. An then there was the wind that swirled from all directions with gusts up to 35 mph along with temps that reached nearly 100 before the front came through that was preceded by a scary, black sky streaked with lightning.

These parts seem to have different clouds than I'm used to in the Midwest. Don't think this pix does them justice, but maybe you can get a sense of them.

I had a flat again today, the result of one of those tiny wires from truck retreads being sprayed along the road. I found the wire at the first SAG stop on the Interstate, got it out, but the tire went down 3 miles later. It helped that we were off the Interstate by then.

Jonathan, Ellie, Melissa, and I were riding together to the 2nd SAG at mile 55. Ellie wasn't feeling well so SAGGED the rest of the day. The three of us took off together, but I couldn't hang on to them so I was on my own for the next 30 miles of hot, windy road that was steadily ascending through 6,200' elevation. By the time I got to lunch at mile 87 I was breathless. It's no fun to be the last rider riding. All the other back-riders were SAGGING today, and Jonathan was pulling Melissa. I needed more than the 20 minutes it takes to swallow lunch to catch my breath so decided to SAG from lunch to mile 129.

Route Profile
The lines mark the 42 miles I SAGGED.

Branson, home of today's lunch, seems like a lost, deserted, windswept town. Here's what gave me a clue:
farm ruins_Branson, CO
Farm in ruins and abandoned

branson community church
In real-life it hardly looks like a going concern

Branson Jail
The old Branson jail. That's Zoe, our 8 year old crew member, trying out the accommodations. :)

Saw a couple of these signs along the way that were quite curious to me. Any ideas?
Not for sale
Tomorrow is 146 miles to Amarillo. From there to the finish will be nearly the same route I rode three years ago on the Southern Transcon. I'm actually very much looking forward to being "back again."


bikechef said...

Good to hear back from you. Would have loved to hook up with you and the group on your way to Indy Pass. Was just bad timing, I usually get to ride on Sun. or Mon. I stay in Basalt so I like to ride the path to Aspen and back, sometimes up to Maroon Bells. Maybe tomarrow I will ride the Pass. Best of luck on the rest of the Tour, looks like it's a great ride. Keep in touch!
David Paul

David said...


I'm enjoying reading your PAC Tour blog.

Regarding the not for sale sign, the Pinon Canyon locals, a very diverse group of ranchers, environmentalists and outdoor groups who don't normally get along, are fighting the Army, who want to close the land to the public and use it for, well, Army stuff like dropping bombs and playing war games.

Thanks for the blog!


Susan said...

Very interesting. Thanks David for the background on that.