All photos below are by Caroline, since I went light and didn't carry my camera. There was the unfamiliar option of dropping food/water at a point the race passed 3 times. Somehow between the food I started with, ate, and then took from this location on my last pass (whatever was left was to be thrown away), I finished with more calories than what I had at the start of the race. That means (1) I definitely had trouble taking in calories, and (2) I need some practice with non-self-supported races. Hmm.
I found myself in the company of Dan Durland and Aaron Gulley at the front of the race early on, and Aaron kindly guided me through the many turns on the White Mesa trails. Soon after that, the course turned into a stiff headwind. I dropped into my aero bars and slowly rode away and spent the last 4 hours by my lonesome, only occasionally passing riders doing one of the shorter options. Caroline and I stopped to chat briefly, and she went on to become the first woman to finish the long course. My legs carried me back to town a bit over 8 hours after starting, missing my ambitious goal of a sub-8-hour time. I guess I'll blame that on having a headwind on the way out and part of the way back. Aaron came in just under 25 minutes later, and Dan followed another 20 minutes to put in an impressive singlespeed ride. And thanks to Lenny Goodell for organizing the event. I'll hopefully get a chance to return for one of the more technical NMES events this summer and spend some more time riding with this fun crowd.
Sunday was another beautiful day, so we headed north for an easy ride in the Jemez Mountains. Northern New Mexico has some astounding landscapes with a very low population density, so it's easy to find oneself in the middle of nowhere. I think that's one reason why I enjoyed this section of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route so much. It was good to be back...
We climbed until we found snow, which was at 9500', and then turned around in time to make it back to the car by dark.
Ghostly volcanic rock features serve as a reminder that the Jemez Mountains are the intimidatingly massive result of some extensive eruptive activity.
Now I'm back in Boulder for a brief stay before returning to the desert, but this trip to Arizona involves more important things on the schedule than pedaling for a change. This time I'm trying to land a job since my career as a student is reaching its terminus. Queue the grown-up music in the background, whatever that might be.