Map of Albuquerque

Albuquerque, I just like to say the word Day 24 was a great day in the saddle, the roads were long and wide with near perfect tarmac. The sponge was still lodged in place and cushioned me as I drafted off of the RV maintaining an average speed of 30 miles per hour almost all day. When cruising at these sorts of speeds your days become shorter, life becomes easier and everyone is smiling. The faster I could go, the quicker the team were able to get off the RV.

Drafing, however, is challenging. I needed everyone to be working as a unit in order to make it work effectively. I stayed about 6 inches off of the back bumper of the RV a horrible and dangerous place to be. I couldn’t see what was coming up and traffic behind me didn’t always realise that we were going pretty slowly. On occasion cars came screeching to a halt behind me, this is according to the team, thankfully I couldn’t see this happening!

The team sat on the bed at the back of the RV looking out of the back window at me, the driver at the front could not see me at all. The communication was kept very simple – thumbs up meant that I wanted to go faster, thumbs down meant that I needed to slow down and OK meant that we needed to stay as we were. It worked very well for the majority of the day, the RV almost pulled me up some of the smaller climbs. The only time our communications let us down a little bit was when I was going very fast downhill and I felt like I was going to plough into the back of the RV or when I was going up a long climb and I couldn’t quite keep up with the RV.

Map of Albuquerque Photo Gallery

As much as I loved going fast and eating up the mileage, 6 inches off the back of the RV is a nasty, dusty and incredibly warm place to be. Dirt from the road is constantly flicked into your face, the air is think and warm and no air can get into the little vacuum that the RV creates. The next problem is that if you drop back from 6 inches to three feet, the wind hits you like a punch in your chest and before you know it you are 20 feet further behind the RV using a lot of energy to catch back up to the RV It was very much a trial and error situation – sometimes we could cover 30-40 minutes of no problems and at other times we would be having near death experiences every 2 minutes.

The route had taken us back closer to civilisation, back somewhere close to what you might call normal’, although, the landscape was anything but normal. From my position tucked in tight behind the RV I could see nothing in front of me apart from the back window of the RV but when I looked to my side I was awes-struck, sometimes forgetting that I still had to pedal. The arid, red dirt had given way to rolling mountains, salt flats and the plains of America. Acre afer acre of breath-taking unbroken land, no buildings or telegraph poles, no turbines or motorways – the landscape was heavenly. Willard, Vaughn, Chillini and Tijeras were a few of the towns we journeyed through before descending into Albuquerque. As we arrived into Albuquerque, I crested a large climb, the city was sitting beneath me. I could see right across the huge city and off into the distance. The city looked like someone had gathered it up and just placed it haphazardly into the middle of the desert. There are no other towns or cities on the horizon, it is seemingly cut off from the rest of America. Off in the distance before the land met the sky on the horizon you could see yet more desert, an empty vastness. The idea of being cast out of the city and told to walk into the unknown as a form of punishment shoots through my mind.

I descend in to the city, whizzing down the hill at pace, I keep up with the motorised traffic. As we near the centre of town, we call it a day.

A good day on the bike.

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