We awoke to the sun beginning to peak out from behind the clouds. As it shown down upon the road, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the path was rideable after the prior day and nights’ storms. We did, however, come to a somewhat less pleasant realization once we began riding. New Mexico was not going to be the easy ride that we had thought. After climbing through the soaring mountains of Colorado, the elevation profile for New Mexico looked easy – no high passes, no long climbs. What we couldn’t see was that New Mexico is full of rolling hills. Rather than climbing for an hour or two and then enjoying long, effortless downhill sections, we continually found ourselves climbing 50-100 feet. The descents provided no relief as they were short, wash-boarded, and generally terminated in sharp switchbacks that necessitated aggressive braking.
We also realized that most of New Mexico was not going to be as warm as we had thought. The sparser vegetation leads to some high winds and the temperature didn’t climb as high as expected. In fact, the rain we had experienced yesterday became snow when we approached 10,000 feet.