I saw The Day of the Tread, and I thought, this’ll be a dead man’s party. Who could ask for more?

Since the benefitting charity, Casa Esperanza, helps the families of cancer patients who have traveled to Albuquerque for treatment, I decided to make spoke cards in memory of those who have died of the disease and my many friends and family who have battled it.

Things I learned about making spoke cards:
1. You can’t really download photos from your iPhone at Kinko’s, even if you have the FedEx print app.
2. If you didn’t make a 2-sided copy, cut the plastic to extend beyond the 2 pieces of paper you want to join before you laminate.
3. Check that your wheels accomodate spoke cards.

Still, I got it done, and outfitted the fabulous Fuji Roubaix that the really nice guys at The Bike Smith rented to me.
(FYI, a one-day bike rental – anywhere – is more expensive than a two-day car rental in Albuquerque. And Enterprise took good care of me, too.)

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It’s great to stay in the host hotel, especially when they have a free breakfast, and double-plus good when they have a pumpkin decorating contest going on in the breakfast room:

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There were a few young soldiers eating breakfast along with the various athletes (there was a marathon, a half-marathon, and various other events, as well as 5 different bike rides). I was struck by how young they looked, younger even than many of the high school students I worked with.

We assembled in the near-freezing pre-dawn, and since it’s New Mexico, we had a balloon launch to go along with the national anthem. Alas, my Kodak Easy-Share camera is refusing to share the video, so we only have this still:
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I’m trying to put a good face on the fact that I’m already missing spoke cards:
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And then we were off and riding, down a bike boulevard (the sort of bike-designated, car sharing street I hope they turn Willoughby Avenue in West Hollywood into). Within a mile, I’d lost so many spoke cards that I gave up and stuffed the surviving cards into the back pocket of my jersey. At the end of the bike boulevard, we turned onto a bike path that ran along the Rio Grande. It was so cold that despite my full gloves, I spend the first hour squeezing my hands into fists in a futile attempt to keep them from going numb. Feeling in my feet was long gone. After we turned off the bike path, there was a long climb.

An out-of-this-world rest stop that reminded me of the Alien Xmas Tree Abduction I perpetrated years ago:

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Ride marshals always make me feel safer:

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As do Robin and Batman:

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The perennially popular tutu and deeliebobber combination:

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Mummy!

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When I got to this sign, I was at the halfway point time-wise, and I realized that I probably was not going to be able to complete the full century and get my bike back to the rental shop on time.

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But at the top of the climb, I learned that half the miles were behind us, and since downhill takes less time than up… Well, that explains this smile:

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I had the luxury of snapping some pictures of the view on the way down.

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At the 70 mile mark, I stopped to pose with the spoke cards I made in remembrance of my friends’ moms that they’ve recently lost to cancer:

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And then I ran into these guys:

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You should read this post: http://www.osohigh.com/2013-1-day-to-tomorrow-.html
It’s much better than anything I have to say about this ride. They asked me to ride with them, but I was so concerned about finishing on time, I declined, and headed off into the headwinds solo. This year has been about realizing I can’t do everything, and trying to make good choices. I’m really sorry I didn’t ride the rest of the way with them.

I did yo-yo with this rider for awhile:

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And took one moment to get this shot. When I’d landed in Albuquerque the day before, I’d been struck by the beautiful foliage that I could see from the air. I’d been here once before, in the dead of winter, and had thought it a bleak place, hardly a “land of enchantment”; This view changed my mind:

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Possibly my favorite rest stop of the day:

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You can still support Casa Esperanza and their mission of supporting families of patients who travel to Albuquerque for cancer treatment.

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