Sunday, April 29, 2007

Day 7 Gallup, NM to Albuquerque, NM 145 miles

Mike called today one of the three “signature days” on the tour. It was the second longest day in terms of mileage. Most were a bit apprehensive. I was too, although I wasn’t worried about finishing per se, just that I wanted to do well. We started out at 6:10, slightly before sunrise. I was one of the few with reflectors on as we went to Denny’s. Many of the riders had had a pre-breakfast at the hotel – cereal and waffles. I had a couple bowls of cereal (in addition to the last Taco from last night), then had hash browns at Denny’s. We headed out relatively early from Denny’s and made it to the first Sag, at the Continental Divide. I learned that the battery in the camera does not last forever, so no pictures from the Continental Divide or elsewhere on this day.

One of the disappointments from this day was that we couldn’t ride the whole way. There were 8 or 9 miles that we had to be ferried, as there was construction on the interstate and no shoulders to ride on … and no alternate routes. While waiting to be ferried, Shane checked my crank … it was wobbly again ! This was major bad news, as it really wasn’t something Shane or Mike could deal with … the outer connection was almost stripped. The good news was Albuquerque had several good bikes stores, one fairly close to the hotel. Mike was sure we’d get there in time, as they closed at 6:00 and we should get in before that. Mike had me call Greg for directions to the store. Greg was a rider from a previous year, who had helped out by making a bike store run for riders. He didn’t answer, so I left a message.

Well, some things just weren’t meant to be, and my getting to the bike store was one of those. After getting dropped off from the shuttle, we head off in a fast pace line … faster than I was really up to. However, I wanted to make it to the bike store, so speed was important and I kept at it. I gave up a couple of times, but each time the pace line ended up slowing enough that with another go at it I could catch up … barely. After 17 miles of that … a bit less than an hour, we got off the interstate and headed to where the Sag was supposed to be. The rest of the riders stopped, but Jerry and I went on. I had to get to that bike store! Jerry had two flats, but even then it seemed like we’d be okay, getting to the hotel slightly before 5:30. Greg was there and had just picked up the message. He called the bike store and learned that they all closed at 5:00 … it was Sunday after all. I still rode out to the store just in case they were open (Greg had talked to a different store), but they were closed. Greg offered to take me to the store in the morning, then drive me out to meet the riders wherever they were by then. Wow, what a life saver! It turns out that the bike store that is nearby is actually a dealer in the brand of crank/bottom bracket, so I’m hopeful that they can fix the bike shortly after they open at 9:30 and I’ll be back in business.

We got to ride on Route 66 a bit again today. That was a treat. It was a nicer ride than the interstate, but a bit sad to see how the businesses were hurt when the traffic moved to the interstate.

I had dinner at a diner with New Mexican fare … I had a Chile burger & fries. Not a huge dinner, but then I had eaten my way across the state. Besides breakfast, I must have had two corn dogs, a sandwich, a few carrots, four bananas, raisins, Shot Blocks, and a couple of Cliff Shot energy gels.

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