It's been awhile, friends, since last we chatted. Somewhere between hauling my ass up and over Colorado's Indiana Pass (11,910' and the tallest point on the Divide) and surviving New Mexico's notoriously heinous roller coaster roads, I quit reflecting on my thoughts. Mostly because for the first time ever, I was truly living in the moment. It was liberating. If a thought didn't involve my bike, the route, food, or water, it got little to no stage time. My days were routine and different, all at the same time. I settled into a meditative rhythm, and even the relentless climbs and rutted roads had a certain element of peace to them. You would think with such a clear headspace I would have obtained the next level toward enlightenment, but ultimately I was just riding my bike and that was fine by me.
Sitting here at the Bike Haus in Silver City, NM, just a two days' ride from the Mexican border, it's hard to fill you in on all of the magic that has happened since my last post in Pinedale, WY. I could tell you about the time our best friend from college (who we haven't seen in 3 years) picked us up on the side of a dusty road in bumf@$& Wyoming, just to hang out in Lander for a day. Or the time an antelope walked right past our tent to grab a drink of water. Or the time we all just barely missed being caught in a torrential rain and hailstorm and had to camp under the deck of a church in Horca, CO. Or when we rode alongside a momma moose and her baby so close we could see their breath.
I could tell you about Grace, a sweet 70-year-old woman living in Del Norte, CO, who interrupted her dinner just to walk across the street to invite us to sleep on her living room floor (she even made us breakfast, and on the morning of Indiana Pass). I could tell you about climbing in the heat of the day just over the Colorado border and being greeted by Kirsten at Brush Mountain Lodge with love and pizza and cold root beer. I could tell you about Jamie here in Silver City, a former Divide racer and puppet enthusiast (among other things) who just-so-happened to be cruising by on his bike when we rolled into town - he runs the Bike Haus and has an open door policy for all cyclists.
I could tell you about how much my knees hurt coming into Steamboat Springs, CO. Or the miserable saddle sores that I'll probably have for a week after this trip. Or the roads especially here in New Mexico that seemingly climb forever, just to descend steeply and start climbing all over again. Or the annoying sound my seat pack makes if I don't cinch it tight enough and it rubs my tire.
But all of those are just the footnotes to a story that is much bigger, one that even I am not sure I totally know. If there's one thing I do know, it's that this trip has made me stronger, both emotionally and physically. What other side effects I have from this trip I can only guess, but I am sure they will stay with me for years to come. There's still 100 miles of empty road through vast desert ahead of me yet, so I imagine there's plenty more reflecting to come over the next two days. I'll keep you posted if I have any revelations, but for now, take a gander at these shots from the last couple of weeks on the Divide! (starring Arlo and Val, our pals from Boston who we met on day 4 in Canada).