Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tour Divide 2011: The Gila to Antelope Wells Recap

My recap...(I originally posted this as a comment on a friend's blog).

It was a great finish! The Gila my home turf, and I can imagine what these guys experienced riding through there. Matthew Lee, 5-time winner and race director/creator, says New Mexico is the most beautiful and the toughest part of the race. I'd have to agree with him.

The western part of New Mexico is sparsely populated and there are not many places to resupply. We are talking places like El Rito (pop. ~1100), Abiquiu (pop. ~1,300), Cuba (pop. ~550), Milan/Grants (pop. ~11,200), Pie Town (pop. ~190), Pinos Altos (pop. <100), Silver City [my hometown] (pop. ~10,500), and Hatchita (pop. ~90). It you combined the population of those places, you might come up with 25,000 people. Only Grants and Silver City have 24 hour services.

The Gila is very tough territory. Hilly forest, but hot and dry. This year there was a reroute after the North Star road (Beaverhead to the Mimbres) that takes the riders up the Continental Divide Trail from Sapillio Creek to Meadow Creek (climbing all along a ridge). From Meadow Creek, riders took a USFS road that climbs to the NM 15. NM 15 is mostly downhill, but there is a steep climb into the village of Pinos Altos. After P.A. is a climb over the continental divide then a 1000 ft drop in 6 miles to Silver City. Apparently Kurt and Jefe both ran out of water and food on the CDT and they were able to make to Pinos Altos where they recharged at the icecream parlor.

From Silver City there is about 15 miles of pavement of US 90 to the Separ Rd. The Separ Road is the last section of dirt of the TD route. This road is notorious with sand traps and washboard sections. It has claimed more than one rider over the years and this year it was Jefe who lost. One of his fork-mounted waterbottle cages broke and fell into his front wheel breaking two spokes and causing a flat. It probably set him back at least an hour.

Kurt rolled into Antelope Wells around 5:00 AM according to his call-in. I am estimating Jefe rolled in about 8:00 AM, so it was close. Definitely the closest finish that I can recall.

Big hats off to all the riders who started and to those who finish.

Again, big thanks to Matthew Lee!

Just Riding Along

Today I did a good ride despite my creaking bottom bracket. Kind of the same as putting electrical tape over a warning light, the sound of crushing gravel masks the creaking noise. Taking the Merlin to the shop tomorrow.

From a new section of "La Falla" trail. This section goes along the rim for ways and gives a pretty good view. 

Had a pinch flat shortly afterwards. I knew I had too little air in the rear tire. 

I was riding on a flat section and evaluating my position on the bike (I do that still) and thought this would make a neat photo. In my left hand in the camera case. Also I've discovered that same thing that ranchers have; long sleeves keep you cooler. 

Finally, lately I've been wrapping up my rides at Panino's bakery where I get a post-ride coffee and breakfast pastry. Today's pastry was a 'cachito', which is a bread roll with ham and cheese baked inside. Cheap! About a $1.00 USD.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tour Divide 2011: One for the Books

What a finish! Kurt Refsnider took advantage of the rolling hills on US 90 south of Silver City to overtake single-speeder Jefe Branham and once they hit the true desert there are no more hills, and its just motoring. Kurt rolled into Antelope Wells at about 6:00 AM MDT. Jefe is about 30 minutes out as of 7:45 MDT.
Northbound rider Paul Attalla is closing in on Banff and should finish sometime this morning.
What a finish for these guys! Congrats to all finishers!
The Tour Divide is a great event! Big thanks should go to Matthew Lee as the director/organizer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tour Divide 2011

Best cycling event of the year started this morning; the Tour Divide! Over 100 participants started. The majority left from Banff, Alberta, Canada, but new for this year, was an Antelope Wells, New Mexico start with about 20 starting there. Doing the route from south to north is suppose to be more challenging. I see there might be an advantage of possibly less snow by the time a rider reaches Montana and Canada. The Antelope Wells group will have to deal with heat and smoke from the Horseshoe 2 fire and the out of control Wallow fire just across the Arizona border. Good luck riders!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fire on the Mountain

The Wallow fire is still 0% contained. I am conjuring up the ghost of Jerry to help out.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hooray Silver City

Video made to promote the downtown merchants of my little hometown. I am really liking this vid. Enjoy!

Fire Season

My home territory is on fire! The Wallow fire in eastern Arizona is burning out of control. This is in my hometown's backyard. Just last summer, my brother-in-law and I spent a few days in that exact area camping and trout fishing on Big Lake. Awesome territory. 

The smoke is billowing out across New Mexico as seen in the latest satellite image. My friends in Albuquerque are restricting their outdoor activities due to the smoke. At least two planes were diverted from the Albuquerque Sunport yesterday. 

It is still early in the fire season, still no significant rainfall, so things don't look good.