Adventure: New Mexico Ride Report

Finally here for an extended period of time which allows me to start rounding into shape, cycling shape to be precise. Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. When I say “rounding into shape,” I’m not talking about anything remotely incredible. I’m no pro. I’m no advanced amateur. I’m just a guy who likes to ride and likes the benefit of being healthy. And as many of you know, I haven’t been fully healthy in six years.

My strategy is go and go early. I’m typically on my bike a half-hour before sunrise. This time of day is the key. Limited traffic, lots of animal activity, cooler temps and incredible light, when it finally creeps over the top of the Sangres. I’m typically back and sipping my bulletproof coffee long before the neighbors begin to emerge. The first four hours of the day are sacred to me.

I also get out in the worst time, in the worst light, in the worst weather and the worst wind. Often with the wifey who is allergic to anything pre-7AM. I like riding in sub-optimal conditions because it teaches you how good you really are. Can you adapt? Do you have the right rain gear? How much more fuel do you need to overcome a thirty-knot headwind? Would riding naked save enough weight to really make a difference? I don’t know for sure, you should try it.

I’m going to post a lot more about cycling here but I’m doing this because I’m really interested in the INDUSTRY of cycling and also in the ACTIVISM of cycling. I’m so damn intrigued by why Americans can’t get it together when it comes to incorporating the bike as a legitimate means of transport. I can see this idea becoming much more a part of my life in the coming years. If you have feelings about this let me know, and I don’t care what your stance is.

I’m friends with people who have literally told me all of the traffic problems in the US are due to cyclists(no joke). I’m friends with people who HATE cyclists who if they have to drive around one will curse and be irate about having to slow down considering they have to do this with cars NONSTOP and they are totally fine with it. I’ve heard “Cyclists are entitled.” I’ve been yelled at in parking lots by old, white men who scream “You have no right to ride that on the road.” So, my point is let me know. The only way this scenario improves and becomes reality is if we are honest about our feelings.

I ran the last 4.4 miles after having a close call with a lightning strike. Now my knee hurts.

Okay, this has turned into the sucking chest wound of posts. Just when you think it’s dead it takes one more breath. Also, you might notice that a lot of these rides are the exact same distance. That is because my morning loop is the exact same ride three or four days a week. The others are one-offs. Today’s was a good gravel loop but only the tip of the iceberg. This ride, when I finally pull it off is going to be epic. Stay tuned.

I went through three bottles, two snacks and this was after a bulletproof coffee to start the ride. There is nothing out there so next time its water bladder and frame pack stuffed with food and powerful cocktails.

10 Comments on “Adventure: New Mexico Ride Report”

  1. Ha! I know those kind of people.
    I used to ride a LOT myself…now that I have a new partner in life (bless her) I had to find out that she is also not fond of cyclists on the road. I keep my thoughts to myself on most occasions. Let’s face it…I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me!
    But yes, far too many people hate cyclists.
    I make myself believe that it is envy that makes them angry. Envy that we can ride to work and don’t need a car. Envy that we can save the money for fuel to go and earn a living. Envy that we have more cash left at the end of the month because our commuting is low cost. Envy that ownership of a car is only luxury for us.

    So Dan, good on you, go tackle some miles until the lactic acid burns! I do the same.

    1. Duncan,

      Excluding your partner, the vast majority of people I know who hate cyclists hate pretty much everything and everyone else too. They are just unhappy people in general. Happy people tend to do whatever it is they do in life and a cyclist on the road in front of them doesn’t even register other than “I’ll just go around.” I’m prone to moments of “I detest the world and all humans,” but I tend to focus my rage on things like cupcakes or cookies. Taking out my anger in waves of consumption. Then I burn it off on the bike!

  2. The motor vehicle departments in all states need to educate drivers about the rights of cyclists. Public service announcements on television would also help. ‘Share the Road’ and similar signs need to be installed. People who ride on sidewalks (which is dangerous for pedestrians and for the cyclist who is approaching a driveway) give drivers the idea that is where cyclists belong. King County, where Seattle is located, was terrible in regards to Bicycle safety, whereas Thurston County, where I live presently is much better. Some government agencies think that by establishing bike trails they do not need to worry about cyclists on streets, but those are usually best for recreational riders and are shared by walkers who walk 2 and 3 abreast and pose a hazard for both the walkers and the cyclists.

    1. Steven,
      You point out something, it’s complicated. Americans are spoiled, many of us anyway, I can see this because the shoe fits in my case. I’m spoiled, always have been. Change is a threat to many, so the idea of creating bike lanes, or spending state or federal money to do this is foreign to many, outright anti-American to others. Orange County California had lanes but overall is a total waste as there is so much potential there. But laziness, rich, anti-cycling people and astounding red tape keep will keep it from becoming a good example. Santa Fe is small, sits in the second poorest state in the country and is over 400 years old, so it’s going to be an uphill battle here.

  3. I am more like your wife and allergic the early morning hours. I am trying to change that my second largest struggle is eating so early. Any tips? Suggestions on foods that are quick and powerful enough for a long ride or run?

    1. Michael,
      This will depend on many things, and there are also several schools of thought in regard to eating habits and performance. The easy thing, and what I see most common, is people hitting high energy, sugary foods, and snacks before and during rides. Gu shots, bananas, energy bars, etc. However, there is another school of thought about changing your overall diet so that your body burns fat which acts a bit like diesel fuel. Burning at lower temps for longer. I TRIED this approach but lost so much weight so fast and I also just found myself eating nonstop. I ride with people who get up, eat nothing, drink nothing and go out and hammer. I can do this too but I don’t like to because I don’t perform as well and I don’t recover as well. So, I start with either bulletproof coffee, if I’m on a longer ride, or a Gu shot just to give my body something to burn. My metabolism runs REALLY fast, so my fuel gauge tends to go up and down quickly. My brother, total opposite. He’s a diesel. On yesterday’s ride, which was a bit longer and harder than my normal morning ride, I drank two bottles of straight water, one bottle of Skratch Labs mix, one bulletproof coffee, one energy waffle, one small carton of chocolate pea milk(love this stuff) and had two more energy items in my pack. It was hot and I was at elevation and doing a lot of climbing. I felt great the entire ride, could have kept going but would have needed to refill water bottles and probably didn’t have enough food. One of the issue with these sugary, high energy things is that you can make yourself sick. So, I like to also have real food with me. For some reason, a burrito is one of my all-time fav items when riding.Sounds crazy but it works. Trader Joe’s makes something called a “Super Burrito” which is vegetarian, tastes great and gives good fuel. All of these things will survive without refrigeration in my frame pack…at least for a while. Dates are good too.

  4. Living in a bicycle crazy part of the world(Belgium, look @ this Tour de France footage!) makes me a spoiled man if I compare the US and the UK or even France as examples.
    We have bike lanes(almost everywhere) but not always separated from motor traffic. So what do me need more? Politicians who free up funds to make the road design possible whith separate lanes as in our neighbour country the Netherlands(cycling heaven) or Denmark(the second european cycling heaven). Both countries have a almost 100% separated bike lane infrastructure. This makes it possible to have both worlds live almost conflict free together. We are all small countries with very little open space. Almost 377people/km2 for Belgium compared to 33people/km2 in the US! But still we made choices in the past in favor of extra bikelanes which benefits the quality of our daily commutes by bike. Being small in this case is great! I don’t see any change in the other parts of the world in favor of the bike as they all have extraordinary distances to cope with. Bikes excel in short to medium distances. They lose in every case where trip distances go up to 25-30km. That’s an 1 hour bikeride if wind isn’t slowing you down. Therefor electrical bikes will become standard. It isn’t a real bike for me though, it’s like a (cleaner) moped. But it makes distances going up to 30km no problem anymore. That’s why in Belgium( the flat northern part for sure) electrical assisted bike sales are surpassing the standard bike sales nowadays. All things above could apply to the US if you consider the US city areas as a small Belgium. For these parts everything is feasable just as Holland, Belgium and Denmark did. But you need the politicians, you need the government’s money. That where the lobbying starts. Go for it Dan!

    1. Reiner,
      The electric bike thing is really interesting. I don’t really want an electric bike, plus I think it’s somewhat odd to plug a clean machine into the wall and acquire power for it via the burning of coal. But, on the flip side, the E-bike has a lot of people who would otherwise never get on a bike, excited about riding. I equate this to Lance cheating. He cheated, yep, no doubt, but more importantly, Lance got Americans excited about riding their bikes, which for me far outweighs and pro race nonsense. And yes, we have distance. So, to conquer this here we need medium distance public transport which ain’t happening in my lifetime. We will only come to our senses when it’s too late.

  5. I ride 1000kms a month no matter what the weather, on either the road bike, gravel bike, or the mtb. I genuinely believe it’s good for the soul to go out in all kinds of miserable weather as it makes you grateful for the good days when things just flow so smoothly.

    As for cars and cyclists, I avoid riding between 7:00 and 8:30 am along the river near me as the drivers are more interested in speeding to work and looking at their phones than the safety of other road users. But I rarely, if ever, get shouted at when I ride in Japan, but have been shouted at on a few occasions when I’m riding with a friend on quiet roads back in the U.K. I get the feeling the abuse is concentrated in the English-speaking world.

    Defining a cyclist is also hard – a roadie, a mountain biker, bike-packer, commuter. I think roadies and commuters get the majority of the abuse.

    1. Sean,
      Commuters probably get the most, and are the least deserving in my mind, unless they ride like idiots. Roadies second. I’ve only seen mountain bikers yelled at by private landowners who for some reason also like to look at cyclists as the core of all problems. Private landowners here are now starting to fence off areas and lands that aren’t theirs because there is hardly anyone to police this issue. West Texas is seeing ranchers string fence over rivers then claim they own the river AND the river bottom. Imagine rafting a river, coming around a bend to see a strange of barbed wire in your path. On my gravel ride I came across two gates across forest road. Bike Packers just get strange looks.

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