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Day 44 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Bill Wagner   
Saturday, 14 August 2010 08:34
Day 44-51 Miles 

Today felt like some of the hardest miles I have ever pedaled. The reasons are likely many. I believe the main reason is my intermittent mild hypoxia. Even on the shortest climbs, ones I've been doing for over a month on similar terrain and grade, I just simply run out of oxygen. as weird as that may sound I think that's what's going on. On one of the fairly steep but relatively short climbs I had to stop before the top and it as literally painful to try and catch my breath. then I knew it was the altitude. I've been riding pretty hard now for over a month so it can't be my ability to climb...DUH! The "pain" I'm alluding to is a sense of air hunger, an inordinately "painful" amount of time before I feel like I'm adequately oxygenated. To almost feel my diaphragm pulling and my lungs begging is, at the least, awkward as hell. So that's that, it went on for most of the day and as soon as I started dropping down to 9000 feet or so it was as if someone turned the oxygen up. No kidding, it was surreal and wonderful. The highest I got was 11,000 but I think that's the last of that height. Tonight I'm sleeping at around 9000 so that should also help matters. It's quite frustrating to know you are able to climb but simply cannot get enough damn air to do it. It is truly debilitating. So that slowed things down a bit throughout different times of the day. Then it occurred to me that perhaps it's a blessing, to slow down, see more, gasp more, take in the sights? I'm not racing and I know how these kinds of trips go, I'll be home a week or month and wish deeply I was back out there.

The Terrain. Dear God the abundance of rocks today. There was one section that the map described as: 0.5 miles of unrideable, steep uphill, it's a pusher! That was precise to the word. Halfway up this hypoxic wickedness it started to rain, I grumbled a bit, then it began to hail, at which point I kept quiet, gasping for the sense I had seemed to misplace. It was fairly short-lived and when I got to the top I was aptly rewarded with stunning views. As if God had planned the sequence just for me. So sick and tired and crabby and then so grateful and chagrined. It is a wild ride! Other sections often referred to as "rock gardens" were really "boulder fields". With some good luck a rock garden may contain an amp and some screaming fans, boulder fields just have no place. whether pushing up one or screaming down one, they are pretty difficult to navigate while keeping the bike in one piece and your teeth attached to your jaw.

Scant water. I've arrived in NM!!!! Yeah!! Where the listed streams may well likely not exist. I learned that the hard way...almost. About 20 miles back at a river crossing I got some water, not the most I could carry but enough to get me to camp, after all there are going to be MANY stream opportunities between now and...forget it. About a half mile before I was going to stop for the day a man on an ATV pulled up. I asked if he knew of any water up ahead and he was sure there wasn't any. Damn, I have about a quart but that's really not enough for me. 30 minutes later I see this ATV pull up into the woods where I was setting up my tent. Damn rednecks!! It was the guy: "Here, these four should get you to town". My jaw dropped and I felt so damn ashamed. Of course he told me his name and of course I forgot it. Working those angels overtime.

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