My Supermini Triathlon (28 May)

110 miles through New Mexico with the wind and the "Wall"...that's what faced our riders today. With a great deal of respect, they took on the challenge, and were surprised! Many found the route to be the most beautiful of the tour to date. The countryside was more varied than expected, with rolling hills and even an imposing gorge (which many didn't really appreciate on the exhiliarating descent). The road was mostly good, the traffic negligent and the wind friendly, except for the last 20 miles, which was sort of unfair actually. And the much discussed infamous "Wall" (8% during 0.8mi) was conquered by all.

Getting ready to take on the challenge

My little "Triathlon" was really super: I rode 10 miles - well, actually 5 miles toward the group and then the 5 miles back. I really loved the quiet countryside, listening to the crickets and observing two pronghorned antelope (or were they observing me?!) Then I visited the Conchas Lake State Park with its imposing dam. This was constructed during the New Deal era, when jobs were created for millions of Americans during the depression.

Ron Stahlman

At the visitor center Ron provided me with a wealth of information about the Dam and also the reservoir behind it. This is a mecca for "water sports" which means noisy jetskis, noisier motorboats of every ilk, and even noisier motorized housboats with loud music. Ron says he enjoys the weekdays when there are practically no visitors and he can paddle his boat along the serene waters. He gave me a tip of where to access a path for a better view of the Dam. From a shady parking spot I strolled out along the hot and dusty path, lined with blossoming cactus,  and was really tremendously impressed by the work accomplished here. To build the Dam, first a town with school, stores and the biggest hospital in the State (at that time) were built by 2,500 unskilled workers who made 745,000 adobe bricks to construct the buildings. All of the work was done by hand, in order to provide the maximum number of jobs and the wages were sometimes as low as $0.25 per hour. But the people were glad and even proud to have employment.
I finished off my "Triathlon" with a fitness session in the hotel pool. I would really loved to have been able to do more of the beautiful, quiet route today, but must be realistic about my abilities. AND I always have to return to wherever I have left the car. I think, though, that I have found a good balance of physical activity and sightseeing/cultural activity. I am getting a well-rounded impression of this fascinating country.

Today's route was not just endless flat stretches!!


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