Last evening we were told that we would take the shuttle van to the top of the 12% grade hill. Well, in honesty we were given the option to ride the full 58 miles that included the 12% grade. Needless to say, we all chose the shuttle.
|Our guides load up all the bikes and gear for the "bump" to the top of the (one) hill|
Among other choices, our delightful breakfast inccluded fresh made burritos by Chef Daniel, and they were delicious.
|My breakfast -- the product of Chef Daniel|
While Daniel was cooking, several of us lounged around in the adjoining lobby to chat, drink coffee and simply be unrushed.
|Allison and Jeanie await breakfast|
Allison (from B.C. Canada) and Jeanie (from Colorado) are two of the four of our "front runners". They are lean, mean fasting moving machines! Very strong cyclists and wonderful women to know. When you meet and make friends with women like this on tour (and all of them are) you wish you lived closer to each other and could visit. I may get to meet up with Jeanie when she comes for visits with her daughter who lives at Greenlake.
Time to move 'em out and get 'em going.
|Action! Get all your gear on your bike.|
|Ina is the first rider ready to get out the gate|
Ina lives in California and has done many Woman Tours trips, including several "epic" tours which means long distance riding. She thinks that epic tours are in her past but bikes many other tours on her (very nice) Seven bike.
We started out full of energy and hoopla as the road was nice and flat and passed through a sweet little community. Then, about 2 miles later, the hills began. The hills were bad enough (after all that climbing yesterday) for 3 riders by the end of the first four miles, to end up taking the shuttle van.
One of the sites we stopped for a rest and photos...
|Adobe Church built in 1760 with some grave sites in the background|
|Leslie and Cynthia leaving the church site|
We had our second flat (if you count Jeanie's from the first day) of the trip today. Bonnie thought her hard time riding was simply the steep climbing we had been doing. Then Denise told her she had a flat tire. Up ahead of us we learned that one of our front runner flatted also.
|Denise assists Bonnie with tire repair|
We had been climbing just about all day with but a few downhills and then got to the "Big Stinking Hill" that everyone had been warned about. We each fretted in our own time and space and finally reached the bottom of Stinking. More riders decided to take a bump to the top. It was said to be about a mile long. That was apparently to what must have been someone's arbitrary line, as we kept climbing (only ever so slightly less) for the 4 (that's four) milles to the TOP of the hill. Once there Cy took a photo of those who had ridden every mile. It was then that I found there were five (of the 11 riders) who had done all the milles.. I was proud to be one of those five. There is no shame in taking a bump, but I will try to complete every mile for as long as I can, for the day will come that I cannot. I think we started the climb at about 7000 feet and got to 8550 at the top of the hill.
Just before the apex of this long climb we came to a restroom stop and there were cowboys, horses and cows there too.
|I did not see the bull action when I took this photo as I was looking at the "OK Corral" sign ;'-)|
|Horses were saddled up and waiting for their cowboys|
Once at the top, everyone got back on their bikes and road the mostly downhill (with only a few very minor hills) to our hotel in Taos. Phew -- we were tired. Bette-Ann and I did a little laundry with our shower and are content to skip dinner tonight in lieu of a restful evening. We do not feel that we are skipping anything as we both feel over fed and had a lot of lunch and snacks again today.
|Someone left my bike gloves on her bedpost over night! Being creative with places to dry your laundry.|
Long day -- and we will be spening two nights here. We need it and welcome it.