We’re back on tour, everybody! I spent the initial miles out of Albuquerque today feeling guilty about leaving work for vacation, but eventually I yet again realized that my employer is a bureaucracy, designed to continue happily along without me. I then resolved to check my bank balance periodically to make sure I remain on the payroll.
Unlike the launch of, say – last year’s tour – I’ve been largely content in my D.C. routine. Great job, quiet commute, and regular practice at a yoga studio in my neighborhood. In a way I wasn’t ready to leave.
But over the last few days the city set out all the 4th of July chicken wire, inhibiting my D.C. commute flow and I was ready to go away.
Felkerino and I rolled from Albuquerque today. Headwinds whipped us around on our generally quiet exit. Not much traffic this Saturday.
Our 76-mile ride consisted of 5,000 feet of ascent, with a big drop in the middle to the town of Madrid, a place I learned where “everyone smokes pot.”
Not me though. I ate a bell pepper and goat cheese sandwich with some delicious fried okra, and bought a bandana at the mercantile to protect my pale neck from the ruthless midday sun.
Dang it is dry here. The altitude and arid air leave me panting on occasion and in a state of perpetual thirst. I don’t know how people would tour here without carrying extra water. I’m thankful to have a hydration pack.
At one point the sun was beating heat onto my black bike shorts. Enough, sun, enough. I’m on vacation! Felkerino found a quiet backroad entry into Santa Fe and we just returned from dinner with all the other tourists.
Since I never did the summer vacation thing growing up, I’m continuously intrigued by the whole summer vacation scene, especially in known tourist destinations like Santa Fe.
Our restaurant was full of families and couples on road trips, and the downtown shops stayed open late to welcome the post-dinner window shoppers.
Albuquerque to Santa Fe was a tougher day than I anticipated, but first days on tour usually are. It wasn’t only the heat, altitude, and overall climbing that were a challenge.
The separation from home begins and the planning is over. No more wondering how your tour will go. It’s happening and you just ride into it.