Today's ride went from Springerville, AZ to Socorro NM. Right off the bat there was a climb of a couple of thousand feet over the first 22 miles as we crossed into New Mexico. I felt I was at home, having grown up in New Mexico. It felt great! Much of the rest of the day was relatively flat, as we were riding along at about 7000 feet through Ponderosa and Pinon forest. It was really beautiful. They don't call this "The Land of Enchantment" for nothing! In the last part of the ride, we dropped down a couple of thousand feet into Socorro. Today was so much easier on my legs than yesterday, and in spite of the fact that I'd just gone 158 miles, my legs feel surprisingly fresh!
In cycling, the speed that you generate has so much to do with the amount of climbing you do and the direction of the wind. As there was not an awful lot of climbing today, and a 10 mile an hour wind was at our backs much of the time, today could prove to be one of our easiest. In fact, I averaged 20.3 miles per hour today while on the bike.
Although I was the fourth rider to arrive in Socorro today, as this is of course not a competition, I don't believe it's important that I mention my place in the pecking order in future posts. My concern when I first arrived here was that I might be one of the weaker riders and wouldn't be able to keep up. But since I trained well, I feel that I'm going to be able to continue to ride strong. Besides, Marc Pattinson continues to ride every day by himself, out front - arriving anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes ahead of any other rider. He is still the only rider among us that I would label "Elite".
I don't know about other people, but when I'm physically tired I tend to be a little more emotional. As much as I like Cleveland, when I was riding down into Socorro, I felt like I was coming home. I was thinking about the fact that my mom and dad would be there waiting for me, and about Charles. My eyes watered up a bit, but I had to get it together pretty quick, since I was going down hill fast. I had a really nice dinner and visit with my parents.