Day 76/77 – Escape II: The Winds of Las Cruces (January 25/26, 2021)

Night 76/77- Deming, New Mexico

Okay. “Escape from El Paso” was cute. Trying to leave Las Cruces was an actual test that took two tries. We woke up and rode out of town… but we only made it about 4 miles before getting blasted with wind. So we had to make some calls.

If you are new to this journey then I’ll catch you up on a major hurdle. 20mph wind in the face makes for a very long day. It’s okay if it’s a gust or two, but when it is forecasted to be the average windspeed and direction, then that means we are going nowhere anytime soon. So, with 58 more miles ahead of us, we decided to try again tomorrow.

So we got a hotel. This way we wouldn’t freeze in the 19 degree weather and we would be able to get up and roll at first light. The wind wasn’t supposed to pick up until 12 and there was only a slight chance of snow. So we would leave at 7am and have a good 5 hours to cut down that 60+ miles to something more bearable in high winds.

So we turned back and tried to run some errands. Visit the local bike shop and just kill time. We still rode 15 miles that day, but tomorrow we would actually move forward.

And so we go.

7 am and we are rolling. We are dressed in some of our warmest clothes because it’s still in the high teens/low twenties with light 8 mph winds already blowing in our eyes.

We started with a 300 foot climb. Good morning legs. Now I’m warm. Let’s go. We were moving, this wasn’t so bad. As we continued down the road it was clear how much colder it got up here. We saw the snow on the mountains across town before, but now it was everywhere. We had entered some higher plains. This cold would have been the death of my hands if not for one of yesterday’s errands being buying winter gloves to wear over my bike gloves. Who thought it was a good idea to make my brake levers out of aluminum? Sucks the warmth right out of bare skin.

The morning continued just smoothly. There was only 2 stops along the way. With the clouds coming and going, we could only see mountains off in the distance, but never close points of reference. Just a grind. But an easy grind.

Until about 11. Then the day became a mental and physical battle.

The wind had shifted and grown much, much stronger. Average wind speed was around 24 mph now. So we were only able to crawl along at 6 or 7 mph. The last 20 miles of our day would take nearly the same amount of time as the first 40.

Oh yeah, and now it was snowing. You know when you are driving your car on the highway, it’s snowing and really windy, so the snow swirls around like it doesn’t really touch the ground? And the wind is strong enough to push your car around? That was our life for about and hour and a half. Then the snow settled and we still had 2 more hours of wind.

It was our coldest day. I’ll fight the cold, I’ll conquer hills, and I’ll laugh my way through the rain…. but the wind is the biggest antagonist. Our rigs have a wind speed limit. We can try to push through, but for what? Battered legs, battered brains, and no breaks.

When we finally rolled into our room, we both just fell onto our beds and yelled for a bit. We could really talk during the ride, but we were on the same page. Just gotta let it out.

It’s 12 degrees outside and won’t get about the 30s. We slept safe and warm last night. The best thing for today is something I’d like toast a morning beverage to. Today we are supposed to have a tail wind all day. Cheers to that. I hope you all have a great day. Yesterday was a soul sucking challenge, but today is a better day. I’ll see you tomorrow.

As usual-

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