The Multiple Sclerosis Society holds 2-day, 150-mile bicycling fundraising events across the country. The New Mexico version, called Pedal Los Pueblos, happens every August through beautiful northern New Mexican countryside, towns and pueblos. The cycling club I joined earlier this year (Women Riding Well) takes this event quite seriously, gathering some 50 riders as a team and raising around $40,000 together this year. It was a great weekend of cycling, riding and (for me) learning about MS and some very promising treatments that could use more funding.
I didn't think that I put in the necessary training to handle 150 miles, so I wasn't sure how much I'd ride. On Saturday, I decided to ride with my club going whatever speed we go, stopping as often as we like, and just see how far we get. The ride starts just north of Santa Fe in Pojoaque. On Day 1 (map) we head north through Espanola and Ojo Caliente, then turn westward up a big hill to lunch in El Rito, before angling back southeast through Hernandez and Espanola, ending back at Pojoaque. Turns out that we (most of us anyway)*, made it the full 88 miles and 5000 ft of climbing, in plenty of time to get cleaned up and enjoy dinner.
On Sunday, I was feeling so good, I decided to go the longer route of 55 miles, including an optional long, steep climb from Chimayo to Truchas. When I got to the turn-off for Truchas, nobody wanted to go with me... at first... and then 2 club buddies talked each other into it. Up we went. At the top, I found some members of the club that are also on the racing team. I had never ridden with them, but they said they were going to set a nice easy pace for a pace line on the flatter sections of the ride. I hopped on and did my best to keep up with the 20 mph pace through the rest of the ride. Wow, that was fun! I never would have worked that hard for that many miles without the group but with the group it was great!
* My worst nightmare about bicycling is a crash. Unfortunately, we had a crash. I couldn't possibly tell you exactly what happened because all I really know is that one minute we were riding along having a great time, and the next second everybody was falling over. It went something like this: With 73 miles done and 15 to go, Karen who I was riding next to, hit a big chunk of metal in the shoulder of the road (or she didn't hit it, but was trying to avoid hitting it and me) and went down. On her way down, she bumped me but I managed to stay up while bobbling around. Priscilla, behind us, also went down (rather than swerving into traffic) but much more softly than Karen. Once medics bandaged up Karen's road rash (no broken bones), she and her bike got a ride back to the end. Priscilla and I rode on.