Sunday, March 21, 2010

Mariah, Mariah, The Call the Wind Mariah......(March 20: Day 17--Las Cruces)

March 20---Downhill for the first 10 miles.....should have been fun, fun, fun, but it was cold, cold, cold.  The temperature was a balmy 28 degrees, and it had rained during the night.
 Frozen Washcloth

The pavement was dry, but there were metal cattle crossings that were frosted with ice, so caution was the name of the game.

Riding down the mountain was like one of those cold winter days when, as a child, I went sledding...the downhill ride and cold crisp air were exhilarating, but every exposed skin surface quickly became numb and tears from the cold slid down my cheeks, leaving frozen rivulets.  Fingers, on this ride, threatened to become inoperable, so frequent stops were made to warm them up.  Once at the bottom, pedalling quickly warmed me, and as we all know, what goes down, must go up, and I was soon climbing again. Spin, spin, spin....5%, 6%, 7% and up...the BAM!  Holy moly!   A huge head wind hit and continued to blow the entire day, gusting up to 21 mph. As we made our way across the flat, flat valley, the headwind became a cross wind so strong that I could actually see the riders in front of me leaning into it, their bikes at an angle.  I tried to get a picture of it, but it didn't come out.  (the happy cow picture didn't come out either)--I am not good at handling a camera while trying to stay upright!  Eighty-eight miles of this wind....the good news is the last 20 were a tailwind, on smooth we flew.

We passed through acres and acres of chili pepper country and Hatch, the chili capital of the world.
Interesting facts about chili peppers:
  • One fresh medium-sized green chile pod has as much Vitamin C as six oranges.
  • One teaspoon of dried red chile powder has the daily requirements of Vitamin A.
  • Hot chile peppers burn calories by triggering a thermodynamic burn in the body, which speeds up the metabolism.
  • Teas & lozenges are made with chile peppers for the treatment of a sore throat.
  • Capsaicinoids, the chemical that make chile peppers hot, are used in muscle patches for sore and aching muscles.
  • Chile peppers are relatives of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, all belonging to the nightshade family.
  • The color extracted from very red chile pepper pods, oleoresin, is used in everything from lipstick to processed meats.
  • There are 26 known species of chile pepper, five of which are domesticated.
Adapted from the New Mexico Chile Institutes’ “Chile Pepper Facts”

We stopped and had lunch there at a little Mexican diner.  Being daring, (heck, you only live once), I ordered the house special.....stuffed fried chili peppers.  They were good, but the chili sauce they were in about took my head off!!  Once again that day, I had tears running down my cheeks!  Whew!
After lunch we caught the tailwind to which I referred earlier, and rode straight to an old fashioned custard stand on 20 miles of smooth surface. There I was finally able to cool the fire left in my mouth from lunch.

It was a very enjoyable day.  I reconnected with my intention on this ride, and slowed down.... To this point, I have had a hard time doing that.  Old habits die hard--I am very used to riding hard and fast with the bike clubs in Dallas, and that is what I have been doing up until this point.  Almost everyday I would start out at a moderate pace, but soon found myself biting at the bit to go....actually impatient, until finally I couldn't stand it any longer.  Then I would crank it up and go, passing people and missing opportunities to connect, and savor the new experiences....but I was going fast and hard, and it felt felt comfortable. Today, I have finally let that go and though I may not travel as fast, the ride is so much richer....

88 miles


  1. The__?____ is Tess,
    The___?___, Joe,
    and they call the wind Mariah

  2. The rain is...,the fire is..... That's one of my favorite songs.

    Could you find out if there are any sweeeeet chilis so I can get my iron and pass up on the flames?