Ty's Ride for the Cure

Los Angeles-Boston





Day 17-Las Vegas, NM-Tucumcari, NM

108.1 official miles

7:24 time, 14.9 average

5,000 feet of climbing

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It was a tough day today.  Another working man’s day.  If we were laborers, we would have been laying rail today or shoveling coal or cutting firewood.   But these people all do this to earn a living.  We choose to bike.  We biked 110 miles into a predominately easterly 15mph headwind, and yes I used the H word.  We spent over 7.5 hours in the saddle and climbed over 5,000 feet although there is still a little disagreement over the actual climbing numbers.  Now that is what I call a working man’s day.  No sexism here as most of the women on tour are in sick bay or injured reserve.  It became a test of physical strength and mental toughness.  We have become a tough tight knit group.  Special kudos to Bill Salamone for being the youngest old person I have ever met do anything so challenging.    And (yes I know you aren’t supposed to start a sentence with and) he is tough mentally and his eyes sparkle like he is still 25.  I won’t tell you his age, because you wouldn’t believe it.  He is on the front of the web page.  Yes, I am impressed and no, I’m not easily impressed.  Kudos Bill! 

The scenery for the first half of the ride was beautiful and spectacular as we climbed almost to the 7,000 foot mark and then descended into the valley.  When the cue sheet says there are no services for 75 miles, then you can be sure you are in the middle of nowhere.  That is why we have support vans following us and SAG (I still down know what this stands for) stops every 25-30 miles or so.

There was a steep hill at the 67 mile point.  The staff from CrossRoads Cycling had words of encouragement written on the pavement like “legs don’t fail me now” and “pedal harder”.  As we climbed higher and higher and higher up the steep grade, our names were written on the pavement.  There is nothing like seeing your name inscribed on the pavement.  It’s like riding in the Tour de France or at least the Tour de Tucumcari. 

During the day the group was surprised that we were almost run over several times by boats.  I mean we are in the middle of nowhere and although I wouldn’t call it desert, most people would.  I had to inform them of Conchas Lake which must be the only lake for 150 miles and remind them that it is Memorial Day.  I also was amused that they all saw their first mesquite tree.   

As I write this it is only 8:00 p.m. but believe it or not almost all of the other riders are in bed.  Today only 12 riders were able to make it the entire way.  Most of these were in several pacelines, although a couple of riders rode solo the entire way.  I know for sure that Jed actually rode solo the entire way and I believe Bob G. also did.  Barry and Bill Salamone came in together.  Impressive.  Now that is more macho than jogging home after a vasectomy.  My hat is off to them.  It was hard enough in a paceline to make it.  No matter where you positioned your bike, the wind seemed to find it.  It whipped me around like a fishing boat in the Bering Sea during crabbing season.  I finally got a little smart and removed my flag from my bike at the 75 mile point and threw it in the van.  Having the flag on the bike is almost like putting a sail on your bike.  It’s like taunting the wind and believe me that is not a good thing. 

Signing off for another day.


Jim Morris on the climb out of Las Vegas, NM. Bess is in the background.

At the top before flying down to the escarpment.
A view of the beautiful vista around Las Vegas, NM
He who cannot be named. Nowhere to go.
Jim and Elmer at the top of the overlook.
Ty at the overlook.
New Mexico landscape.
At the 67 mile point. If it looks steep it was. Ty taking pic. Michael G. coming up the hill.
Our paceline-survivors.