9-26-2010 : New Mexico : Mimbres Valley to Hillsboro

Rise before the sun. layer up. shit. pack sleeping bag. sleeping mat. pillow. pile panniers outside tent. make coffee in bathroom. shit. brush teeth. contact lenses. tear down tent. pack tent. hang foot print to dry. eat energy bar. drink coffee. attach panniers to bike. pump tires. shit. unlayer. roll up footprint. attach glove box and camera. fill water bottles. helmet on. gloves on. sunglasses ready. check map. re-lock Garrett’s bike. say farewell. greet the sunshine. roll on…

Climb from 5600 feet to 8228 over the course of eighteen long miles – so long that this morning will feel like yesterday. So steep that your quads will burn. So compounded that shooting pains will fly up your left leg as you approach the summit of Emory Pass. When it burns – walk – and walk proudly. You will make it to the top. And you know this. Breathe deeply through the pines. You have longed and will long for this smell again. Let the cool mountain air tickle your skin.

You will reach the summit sooner than you imagine. And when you do – open your eyes. BIG. It will be one of the most magnificent sights you’ve ever seen. Soak it in. Absorb it with the entirety of your mind, body and soul. And play in it. Celebrate. Breathe. Enjoy.

You will have no cell service. Don’t let this bother you. In fact, don’t let it consume any of your thoughts or energy whatsoever. Having a connection to the outside world is not what’s important right now.

When you feel that you’ve soaked it in, and you being to fret over remaining water supplies, some angels will arrive with water – their names will be Cara and Joe. Cara will have just placed 2nd in a triathlon, and not only will she have water, she’ll also have gatorade, noon, gels, granola bars, and an awesome smile. The universe will convince you to stay just a bit longer, and then you’ll pack up, mount the bikes, and begin the most fabulous decent of your life.

You will feel like you are flying. Like you are 12 again. Like riding your bike down a big hill is the coolest thing ever. Because it is. And because you’ve earned it.

You will roll into Hillsboro, and the old timey mostly-vacated mining town will tickle your senses. The people will greet you with smiles. An awkward man will incessantly talk at you while you devour your evening breakfast burrito. And then you will meet Jim, magical maker of plastic rocks. A transplant. He will fill your water bottles from his hose and invite you over for a fire. You will adore him. And do not take lightly his advice to “be 12″.

Camp will be free and cozy – and you will find a deeper love for this nomadic lifestyle than you have yet. …breathe. Swallow.