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Old 07-06-10, 09:03 PM   #1
Robert Foster
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Vacation cycling New Mexico and Colorado

I am spending a week in Gallup taking in the sights with my wife and I decided to bring my road bike this time. It seems to be a good area to ride except for the afternoon wind that has hit me. But if i ride early that doesn't seem to be a problem. I was beginning to think I was on the wrong kind of bike because I haven't seen many drop bar road bikes this week.

However I did go to Canyon De Chille today and on the way back to Gallup on I 191 I did see another roadie out in the middle of nowhere. I plan on visiting a new bike shop that opened in town tomorrow and find out what people ride here. The roads are a bit rough and I took the Dura Ace wheels off and put the Aksyums on just in case.

When I asked a local about the wind he said it is pretty normal in the afternoon. His excuse was the Arizona Blows and Texas Sucks but I wasn't about to laugh at local humor.

Next week I will give Cortez a try.
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Old 07-07-10, 08:03 AM   #2
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I spent 10 years on summer vacation in Santa Fe (while wife worked at the Opera). I learned to get out early to beat the sun, layer on a ton of sunscreen and bring it with you, use a CamelBak to hydrate and to ride with 25 or 27/8mm tires as NM roads SUCK !.

One route near where I lived in Nambe (Rt503), they chip-sealed that summer, then got lazy and skipped the "roll over with paving machine to smooth the road surface" portion. Thus there were 4 grooves for car tires and high shoulders with ton's of spare gravel on the road edge. Not exactly a pleasant riding surface, but as the road saw little traffic (typical for NM backroads), I got used to it. The wide tires helped as well with glass, which was a huge problem, especially on the Reservations, where smashing beer bottles on the road shoulder from out of a moving car window, was a favorite pastime.

Colorado was only a bit better the year I did Bike Tour of Colorado and they had just that summer chip-sealed Rt149 from South Fork to Creede, where the wider tires at lower pressure made the ride bearable.

I do miss the SW though !. Great scenery everywhere.

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Old 07-07-10, 08:03 AM   #3
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If you happen to visit Taos I did a nice 100 miler there a couple summers ago. Some very nice roads and views to take in. And then you would not be too far from the RtR route we did in Colorado-you could pick it up close to Pagosa Springs.
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Old 07-07-10, 08:37 AM   #4
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There's a town west of Albequerque on the 40 that has a "blue hole" for scuba diving. I think the town is Santa Rosa. Keith and I rode around there last summer and it was beautiful! Check it out if you have time, there's a really cool old adobe church. Hope you are having fun :-)
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Old 07-07-10, 04:16 PM   #5
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I wanted to take my bike to Window Rock and Canyon De Chilly but my wife was very critical of the idea. Still I am getting ued to the altitude and had a good ride today and even tackeled a few hills. However this seems to be more of a MTB area just looking at the few riders I see and talking to the now LBS owner.
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Old 07-07-10, 06:52 PM   #6
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Ah... the South West. It'll always be in my heart, the most magical place I've been to in the US.

As well as having some great trails to mt. bike and not so bad roads to road ride.

The 100 mile loop I believe jppe refers to is usually the 85 mile "Enchanted Circle" ride (plus extensions) that goes either clockwise or reverse, up to Red River and Eagle Nest Lake, over 2 passes. CW is considered somewhat easier due to the straight downhill to Taos off Palo Flechado Pass. Never done it, but it's popular on the Pedal the Peaks tour.

Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "Shay") is all Navaho Rez. lands and is pretty good riding, just hot at noon in July.

And to Rob, a correction that Santa Rosa is east of ABQ and does indeed have the famous diving spot Blue Hole. There's another down near Roswell/Artesia somewhere.

And, yes, there's a lot of mt. biking out in the desert, mostly as there's so much open space with no paved roads. The road rides have to be carefully planned to have locations that have water on the route.

Going back someday

SB
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Old 07-08-10, 05:45 AM   #7
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Colorado is a great state for bicycling. Be sure to visit historic downtown Black Hawk.
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Old 07-08-10, 05:53 AM   #8
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Colorado is a great state for bicycling. Be sure to visit historic downtown Black Hawk.
I can remember when it WAS a nice historic district, along with Central City. Too bad, but, heck, someone has to get rich. And, besides, some of that gambling revenue funds a huge amount of Colorado Open Space funding, and some of our Community College funding.
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Old 07-08-10, 06:03 AM   #9
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No joke! riding a bike in Black Hawk is illegal. But it's not an excuse not to ride past Black Hawk and continue on the Peak to Peak.
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Old 07-08-10, 07:32 AM   #10
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I you make it up to Albuquerque/Santa Fe ride the Turquoise Trail. Its awesome.
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Old 07-08-10, 10:16 PM   #11
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can't get away from the afternoon wind in that part of the country. Here in Reno, we get it every day from about May into September. The desert heats up and the air rises, and wind blows in from the west to fill the gap. I ride hom straight into it. The morning commute (usually no wind) takes me 40-42 minutes. Ride home is at least an hour, sometimes 1:10.
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Old 07-09-10, 09:53 AM   #12
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Johe E
No joke! riding a bike in Black Hawk is illegal. But it's not an excuse not to ride past Black Hawk and continue on the Peak to Peak.
I thought one issue is the lack of efficient, safe, convenient routes across town. I definitely support boycotting the entire town until they recant.
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Old 07-10-10, 08:43 PM   #13
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While you're out goofing around Bob...I'm racking up miles.
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Old 07-11-10, 12:13 AM   #14
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If you are up in elevation and not used to it- find a slope with about 1 or 2,000ft climb with a few slopes in it at about 10% and a cafe at the top. That would put you in the mood to tackle one of the hills round there.

I live at sea level and when I get to Higher altitudes- I spend a couple of days just doing a few rides with climbs before I tackle anything serious. Gives me more time to spend round the pool.
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Old 07-11-10, 04:31 AM   #15
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By the third day I was doing pretty good in Gallup. we have now made it to Cortez Colorado and I get the aftrnoon wind and some summer rain. But don't let it fool you metric man I am still riding. Just not as much as I would like. But I am having fun. There are some great roads here in Colorado even if flat bar bikes seem to be the norm in this area. Along with wider tires. And Stapfam I did do a bit of climbing but I need air more than I need food when I get to the top.

Went to downtown Cortez yesterday and visited the lbs just to see what they were selling. The place was nice and had a good selection of flat bars with a few drop bars and some cruisers. It was called Kokopelli"s Bike and Board and it looked like a Trek store. Then I rode most of the way to Mesa Verde before I realized I was riding up a slight grade that looked like a downhill. I kept checking to see if I had a low tire. But when I turned around and headed back I was cruising along at close to 20 all the way back to our camp ground.
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Old 07-11-10, 05:08 AM   #16
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By the third day I was doing pretty good in Gallup. we have now made it to Cortez Colorado and I get the aftrnoon wind and some summer rain. But don't let it fool you metric man I am still riding. Just not as much as I would like. But I am having fun. There are some great roads here in Colorado even if flat bar bikes seem to be the norm in this area. Along with wider tires. And Stapfam I did do a bit of climbing but I need air more than I need food when I get to the top.

Went to downtown Cortez yesterday and visited the lbs just to see what they were selling. The place was nice and had a good selection of flat bars with a few drop bars and some cruisers. It was called Kokopelli"s Bike and Board and it looked like a Trek store. Then I rode most of the way to Mesa Verde before I realized I was riding up a slight grade that looked like a downhill. I kept checking to see if I had a low tire. But when I turned around and headed back I was cruising along at close to 20 all the way back to our camp ground.
Colorado is famous for its upside-down hills!!

When I did Ride the Rockies in 1999, we rode from Durango to Cortez on the first day. Heck, I thought I was going uphill when I was really going downhill.
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Old 07-11-10, 07:51 AM   #17
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Colorado is famous for its upside-down hills!!

When I did Ride the Rockies in 1999, we rode from Durango to Cortez on the first day. Heck, I thought I was going uphill when I was really going downhill.
I may try Cortez to Dolores Monday or Tuesday. Looks like some good rollers and a wide shoulder.
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Old 07-11-10, 11:59 AM   #18
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The 100 mile loop I believe jppe refers to is usually the 85 mile "Enchanted Circle" ride (plus extensions) that goes either clockwise or reverse, up to Red River and Eagle Nest Lake, over 2 passes. CW is considered somewhat easier due to the straight downhill to Taos off Palo Flechado Pass. Never done it, but it's popular on the Pedal the Peaks tour.
While I'd really like to do that loop I put together a couple loops the LBS told me about. I rode from downtown Taos out to the Ski Area and then headed back west-then north up to a park about 25 miles north of Taos as I recall-maybe above Questa?? Seems like it was Wild River-Winding River or something like that. All I recall is trying to beat a huge thunderstorm back into to Taos that day from the park. Someone here had told me to watch for the clouds buidling in the afternoon and sure enough I was doing a lot of watching and worrying. I managed to get back to within a couple miles of the hotel before all heck broke loose.
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Old 07-11-10, 04:10 PM   #19
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I may try Cortez to Dolores Monday or Tuesday. Looks like some good rollers and a wide shoulder.
I've done that, and on up to Rico. Nice ride. Rico is a quaint old mining town with serious mineral pollution problems.
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Old 07-11-10, 04:41 PM   #20
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"I managed to get back to within a couple miles of the hotel before all heck broke loose."

Amazing how friggin cold it gets on a hot summer day at 7,000 ft., when the heavens open and the temperature goes from 85 to 55 in like 15 minutes. That happened to me a few times in Santa Fe and I finally learned to carry a rain jacket in my C-Bak if I was going to out after 11AM.

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Old 07-14-10, 03:35 PM   #21
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Many years ago I used to carry a pertex on every ride. It is completely windproof so if the temp drops- wearing it will stop the body temp going down. Problem is that it is not waterproof so last year I found the ideal jacket in a Hiking shop. Bit heavier than pertex- completely windproof and waterproof for all except the heaviest of rain. It does breath but that is due to the number of zippable vents fitted. Packs up to handsize so fits in a rear pocket easily.

It is ideal for those cool mornings when you know it will warm up and there is the possibility of rain. But if it is that warm and moisture arrives- then just get wet.
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