Day 77 (2016-11-11): ~85 miles from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, NM. Mix of urban trails and Highway 14 which was largely pretty quiet and rather scenic.
Once again, I start late this morning since it is barely above freezing when I wake at 6:30. I fly out of Santa Fe along the well-maintained trails leading along the railway and towards Highway 14, but eventually must rejoin the road and deal with mildly heavy traffic for a while until I escape the immediate vicinity of the city. I listen to hours of podcasts and commentary on the election, catching up on two weeks of limited information when my phone was out of commission. I must say, having something to listen to makes the time fly way faster. I switch over to some of my favorite 90’s jams when I need a break from the talk and keep a strong pace throughout the day.
I pass through Madrid, a tiny town with a very artsy, coffee and chill feel in the middle of the high desert. Beyond that I pass little all the way to the outskirts of Albuquerque along I-40. I flow through rolling hills and flatands in the high desert, with one long climb and even more epic descent breaking the otherwise consistent riding. The landscape is gorgeous – sweeping views across valleys rimmed by jutting ridges underneath a blue sky with puffy white clouds.
I think of the election a lot, of how it was the disbelief of the majority that resulted in Trump’s victory. I wonder at the mass of angry liberals in the streets and wonder: how many of them voted? How many put in a real effort to affect this election? How many just like to protest? I also think about my own passive approach to electioneering having done little to advance a major candidate or issue, outside of talking, besides my work for Let’s Move Seattle. The thing is, as much as I love this stuff from an intellectual level the at of sitting down in a circle and talking about it, the basis of a lot of organizing, doesn’t much appeal to me. Nor did door knocking and phone banking. Perhaps I will find a new avenue for civic engagement in the political realm.
After a long day on the road I make the final push into Albuquerque. It’s a sprawling mess of a city but I ride historic 66 to its edge then a multi-use path for a good while to avoid some of the worst traffic. Finally, a neighborhood street takes me the last several miles to my host with a mix of semi-busy and quiet traffic. Along this stretch I meet a fellow rider named Kevin and we chat as I struggle to keep his roadie pace with my loaded bike.