Entering New Mexico was a breeze. Riding through New Mexico into Arizona and across Arizona has been like, as one road stop clerk put it, bucking the wind. We caught a wind/dust storm, with gusts up to 50 MPH. One day we rode 20 miles fighting the wind and it took 3 hours. The next day we pedalled 65 miles against the wind, overall speeds up to 20 MPH against us with gusts higher, and the next two days just an hour or two at the end of the day with strong headwinds. We took a rest day after the 65 mile day as the next day was going to be high winds the whole day, too. As part of this windstorm, the high winds correspond to the rising heat of the day, so we’ve been rising before sunrise and riding for an hour or two in pitch darkness to try to beat the strong winds and heat. A local explained to us that the later in the summer is monsoon season and that the winds usually precede monsoon season. One area, east of Lordsburg, NM, gets dust storms so bad that roads from Lordsburg westward get rerouted 100 miles. Apparently this is due to a farmer in San Simon, AZ who has 700 acres of uncultivated land (dust). We’ve seen several dusts storms and have luckily not been caught in any of them.
Bucking the wind has been the hardest, mentally, part of the trip. One day we rode a couple miles in the wrong direction and coming back with the wind at our back, we did double the speed with zero effort. It’s the fact that putting in such tremendous effort–the hardest of the whole trip–produced such little mileage or speed. Sure, we climb hills slowly, but getting to the top, you can see the obstacle you surmounted, the distance you conquered, and you get the reward of the downhill. One day we climbed 7 miles up hill over the course of an hour. The rest of the day we coasted downhill off of that effort. The wind has no reward except escape or avoiding it altogether. The next day’s forecast predicts less than 5 MPH wind so we can go back to paying attention to the temperature and precipitation and hopefully ignoring wind speed. Here’s some of the food we rewarded ourselves with after a long day filled with angry headwinds.