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September 30, 2010 / jslipschultz

Day 19: Raton to Clayton, NM (9/30)

Another challenging climb almost right out of the gate.  I was just about wishing for a compact gear (I know, can you believe I don’t have one?).  Just muscled up the road and even caught up with Dave the Wave who had a head start.  Once we got to the top, it was a weird experience.  We cycled across a mesa of sorts.  Just call it a prairie up high.  Usually when we reach a summit, we cascade down right away, sometimes steep, sometimes not.  This was miles of flat road or rollers at the top.  Then later, a descent.  And after lunch, a gradual descent (finally came down from altitude some–still at 4,820 ft or so) although wind in our face.

Not much to see after the first 30 or so miles.  Most of the 92 miles was prairie, some cows, a few dogs chasing us, and a city to pass through.  Somewhere we passed through Sugarite Canyon State Park (I don’t recall a sign).  Apparently the terrain was formed by ancient volcanoes, the remnants of which can still be seen in the small domes and craters along the horizon (and some fields of volcanic rock–nothing exciting to see here folks, sorry).  We ran along the BNSF tracks for a while, too.  I got one engineer to blow the horn.

The good news is I felt good (strong) today.  Knee was fine.  My left hand aches a little after being on the bike a long time, but very manageable (not even Advil–I’m med-free, sister).  Perhaps my B12 shot kicked in.  Nah, not really.  Long story.

Pic:  View from the top of the climb today (altitude about 7,800 ft)–can you see the cows?; volcanic ash cones

top  volcanic ash cones

By the numbers:  92.6 miles, 5:04:52 riding time, 18.3 mph avg, 2,661 feet of climbing (mostly in the first 16 miles); Totals so far: 1,441.0 miles, 58,903 feet of climbing. 

Would you believe that I biked 1,729 miles in the month of September and 9,431 miles in 2010?  Crazy!

Helmet-cam footage:  Anyone still checking out these views from the bike (takes some effort to sort through Joseph’s files)?  Volcanic mounds?; Austin leading us through the middle of nowhere; Great(?) Plains

Video recap:



Leave a Comment
  1. Bill Kemp / Oct 1 2010 7:38 pm

    I’m glad to finally hear the chasing dogs mentioned. I was beginning to think you all were riding in some magical place where there are no resident canines to protect their turf. Glad to hear that all is normal. As for the locomotive engineers fulfilling your wishes by blowing their whistles, I guess the bike does transform you back to a 12 year old on a bicycle.

    • jslipschultz / Oct 1 2010 8:06 pm

      You’re right, it kinda does. We saw more dogs today, but they were just protecting their herd. No chase. We had a good run today–hopefully we can keep the streak going.

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