Friday, January 18, 2013

P4W2 Day 12 Radium Springs, NM - Clint, TX 89 miles

Today was a tale of two halves.  In the morning I continued down the picturesque
Rio Grande valley.  This back road towards El Paso was wonderful.  I stopped and
met some fellow cyclists at a local coffee shop in the lovely southwest town of
Mesilla, New Mexico. 

My way was often lined with pecan trees - tens of thousands of pecan trees.  Like with my comment on the chiles from Day 11, I wondered how
many pecans humans eat.  It seemed like the pecan groves would go on forever. It made for very pretty cycling.  I got the taste for pecans badly and
stopped along the side of the road to put a few in my bike jersey.  One of the farm workers told me New Mexico ranks third behind Georgia and Texas in pecan production.

Later in the morning, I got the really appreciate how dry things get out here.
Even the great blue herons vacated this section of the Rio Grande.  Today I passed many churches with beautiful architecture.

By mid day I made a big sweeping turn east into the outskirts of El Paso.  Phoenix
had spoiled me with its city-wide bike lanes.  In El Paso, there was no bike lane,
and even the sidewalk had a myriad of troubles to either walk or bike it.  Wind
bit into me and cars blew by me through tight roads lined with endless strip malls.
Human control fences are everywhere in and around the city.  Gates guard stores.
So, late in the day, it was good to be creeping out of El Paso and heading east.  Not
all desert cities are the same when it comes to quality biking. 

One of the most intriguing facets of a bike trip is how abruptly new situations pop up.
The most memorable I've had was bumping into ' Bicycle Bob' in Sault St. Marie, Michigan,
who gave me a carillon concert high atop that lovely city.
One of the reasons I went through downtown El Paso is to get a serious bike tune up
at 'Crazy Cat Cyclery.'  I hadn't been in the store for 30 seconds before a reporter
put a camera and mic in my face, and ironically I happened to be in Texas. 
On a snowy October day in Alaska in 1996 I watched Lance Armstrong's battle with cancer commence in a soulful and somber news conference.   His epic struggle back to the top of a difficult sport seemed like a feel-good fairytale, a story that folks from all walks of life could embrace. 
Turns out it was a fairytale.  Here's my take:
Choose your inspirations carefully. 

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