Silver City, NM to Kingston, NM
Emory Pass climb, highest point on our Southern Tier journey. 8228 ft
Did it! Wow what a day. Beyond exhausted.
So thankful for our rest day yesterday as refreshed my legs, and gave me the strength that I needed to make it through today.
The ride today was beautiful, so although it was a hard climb – the road to and up Emory Pass was terrific.
Along the way we passed a rock structure called the Kneeling Nun, and another copper mine.
The first 22 miles had a few small climbs and rollers, then we had a 18 mile climb up through the Gila Forest and Emory Pass . All that hard work was rewarded with an 8 miles descent.
During the early part of the day, I hit a downhill at 40 mph. This was a long but straight downhill. It is exhilarating, until you come to a stop and and have to start climbing up again. 5 miles from the top, my legs were jello and I was working hard to move the pedals. I was stopping frequently only for a minute or so to try and find life in my legs. I walked for about a half mile in total- this helped to use different muscles for a bit and to make sure my brain and legs were still communicating. Breathing was getting a bit harder as we were nearly at 8000 feet. I have not had any problems before, but I was exerting myself a bit – and my lungs were in need of more air. A mile and a half before the top the SAG swung down to see how we were doing. I have gave them the thumbs up that I was going to get to the top. Somehow. Nancy the SAG driver turned around, and shouted that i only had a mile to go and she would be there when I got to the top.
By this point I was calling on my angels and all heavenly bodies as well as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny to help me get to the top. For hours I was churning at 3-4 mph – but this last mile, somehow a slight tailwind rose up and I was moving at 5. The final climb was torturous for me, and I was alternating between breathing and weeping. By the time I made the final few feet to where Nancy was parked (and she and two other riders where cheering me on and waving me up) I was at full blown sobbing. Relief, exhaustion, and a flood of other emotions washed over me.
We took a few pics, walked up to the scenic vista and I took a deep breathe as I looked across the vast and beautiful New Mexico landscape. I took a few minutes, and then started my descent down. The road was twisty and had lots of turns, no guardrail and a deep canyon to the side. The good news was there was little or no traffic- Once the SAG vehicle passed me – I was the only person on the road.
Challenging, but fulfilling day.
Time to log off and get to bed. 88 miles tomorrow