Well, today was my big day. I turn 70 years old tomorrow and would have liked to do the 70 mile ride ON my birthday but I didn't want to miss Church services and there wouldn't have been enough time for such a lengthy ride before or after Church meetings. So I rode today.
I worried the length of this trip might actually run down my lithium battery pack, so I bungeed a solar panel onto the top of my rear baggage pack.
It was freezing this morning at 30 degrees, and was barely 32 when I left the house. I had 3 light layers on, and they turned out to be sufficient once I pedaled enough to warm up. It was still cold enough that I did not peel any layers until 30 miles into the ride when I arrived at Moriarty.
I was expecting much more difficulty for this ride than what occurred. Since it was going to be the longest distance I'd ridden thus far, I deliberately plotted various routes for both 70-something mile lengths and lack of steep hills. Even with that, I expected high eastbound winds at least during the last leg westbound on Route 60 to Mountainair. This too did not present the expected difficulty.
We drove the route yesterday, just to have a look at the road conditions, width and availability of shoulders, etc. I thought the lack of shoulders and roughness of the highway 41 between Estancia and Willard might be a problem, but that turned out not to be the case. I also noticed on Highway 60 to Mountainair that the shoulder, while actually present, was not only narrow but deep rutted rumble strips occupied too much of the shoulder. This INDEED turned out to be a very aggravating problem.
What inspired me the most about this ride was the pleasure in taking the less traveled roads instead of the usual high traffic roads closer to the house. The less-populous atmosphere, lack of noise and traffic and people, all contribute to the ability to hear birdsongs and other country noises, or lack thereof; very pleasant.
It reminded me over and over of similar sensations when visiting my grandparents at their ranch near House, Quay County, NM. There, it was so quiet you could hear mockingbirds singing and could hear any cars approaching on the dirt road a long time before they appeared visually in a cloud of dust.
It's been a few years since I rode 472 out to Stanley and I'd forgotten that about halfway there, the road starts gently sloping downward, leading to easy pedaling and a lot of coasting.
My first break stop was at Stanley, at the junction of Hiway 41 and 472, for a blood glucose check, drink, and the inevitable pee break.
From there it was easy riding, all the way to Moriarty where Jacque met me at Crossley Park for a break and a snack. 30 miles so far, right on the button.
Hit the road again and continued south along Hiway 41 towards Estancia, approximately 20 more miles.
Stopped at one of the 2 convenience stores in that huge metropolis and - it was getting warm outside - a Klondike ice cream bar and a Diet Coke to wash it down.
I thought the Klondike bar would last me until Willard but it was not to be. I started feeling weird about 5 miles south and had to stop & check the blood glucose. It was low enough that I had to break out another of Jacque's wonderful grilled cheese, ham, and jalapeno sandwiches. Feeling much better I rode on. There was a single shade tree about 50 yards from where I parked the trike so I walked over and enjoyed its shade while eating my snack.
In short order, my radio began beeping an "Improper Voltage" alarm, which I have never encountered before. Wondering if the solar panel might be overcharging the works, I disconnected it and all electronics resumed normal operations.
Onward to the Willard intersection. Willard is actually 3 miles east of this intersection so I turned a sharp right - after another short visit with Jacque who provided me with a nice potassium supplement (banana).
Highway 60 is one of my favorite routes to drive and it is also enjoyable on a bike or trike.
EXCEPT for the narrow shoulder with the abominable rumble strip.
The traffic was sparse and invariably polite and gave me wide clearances, even when I was to the right of the rumble strip dodging rocks and weeds. The last several miles before Mountainair I spent mostly out on the much-smoother roadway, occasionally darting to the right of the hateful rumble strips to allow motorists to pass, and also staying in the lane and allowing them to pass me in the other lane. I received NO abuse verbally and otherwise today, and lots of friendly beep- beeps from motorists. I began waving at all who passed me, both to thank them for giving me a wide berth, but also in case anyone was in the least offended from my slowing their passage.
All in all, a wonderful ride, except for me finally getting REALLY pooped the last 5 miles to Mountainair, which involves a very slight but looooooonnng upward grade. I had to stop a couple extra times to stand up and get circulation back in my feet and consume a few more carbs, which gave me sufficient energy to finally get there. Jacque was a-waiting, jumping and waving, and had rousted up a gaggle of locals who crowded around, offering congratulations and assistance.
Google Maps claimed the distance from our home to the city limits of Mountainair would be 73+ miles, which I figured would be close enough. My GPS indicated 70.46 miles when I met Jacque at the Mountainair town limits.
I am pooped but happy. We'll see if I can do any sequels to this trip, since it gets tougher as I get older. The formula works against you, the older you get the longer you gotta ride for the bragging rights.
I'm not at all certain I can imitate Uncle Max's stunt of riding 85 miles at 85 years.....
Ride Started: 6:57 AM Ride Ended: 4:43 PM
Beginning Battery Voltage: 13.3 Ending Voltage: 13.0 Highest: 13.7
Beginning Blood Glucose: 147 Ending BG Reading: 75
Lowest Temp 35F Highest Temp: 67F
Stats from the GPS: Total Miles: 70.44
Overall average speed Moving Avg Max Speed
7.3 MPH 9.7 MPH 34.2 MPH
Total Trip time Moving Time Stopped Time
9 hours 37 mins 7 hours 1537 mins 2 hours 22 mins