A new beginning
I had mixed feelings about getting back on the bike. Every hour I checked the weather forecast for Gallup, and the more I looked, the more I was worried about returning to New Mexico. I had ridden in winter conditions, but minus 17 Celsius were way below what I had experienced on the bike so far. Too cold to cycle, at least with the kit I had available for my trip. I had about 12 hours left to make a decision, as any change of flight would have to be done by 11am on Sunday. I didn’t sleep properly, got up at 5am and looked at the forecast again. It hadn’t changed, the temperatures in Gallup where still way below what was realistic to ride in.
Many thoughts were running through my brain when I boarded the plane to Dallas. What would I do, would I take a ride or sit around for a few days and ride then? Finally I had made a decision to fly back and book a flight from San Francisco to Auckland on 2 Jan, the rest was still a big question mark. “Why do you only carry hand luggage?” The officer at the border quickly gave in when I explained the reason for my time in Germany. “Good luck, I’m sorry.” I heard those words a few times now.
When I walked up the hill to Ryan’s house my face hurt from the cold. I must have woken Ryan up that night, after a good sleep in the bread truck I was back, reunited with my bike. Everything had gone to plan, if there ever was one. At Bob and Val’s place I spend the day with Egor and Tom, two guys from Siberia and the Ukraine that has the same crazy idea. When looking at their equipment I recognised that I really had no excuse not to ride from Gallup.
I quickly checked Facebook when I woke up Friday morning, someone had tagged me in a post. A few days ago I had been shortlisted by Charlie (the Bikemonger) for the Cyclist of the Year, yet I didn’t really feel like cycling. After fixing my tyres, both were flat when I looked at my bike, I had taken a short spin through Gallup, and could feel the excitement for the adventure returning. After all that happened in the last four weeks, feeling the fresh air in my face was wonderful. When I saw that I had been awarded two awards from bikepacking.com, I had no other chance than to grab the bike an ride again.
Suddenly big tears ran down my face. My dad would have been proud, I thought. Suddenly I remembered why I was back in the place where I had stopped more than four weeks ago. This is my dream, and I had just been awarded for having the guts to die around the world singlespeed. Even now that dad was not there anymore, he would have not wanted me to stop.
At 3 I checked into my motel in Chambers. I was still feeling fresh, but the next place to stop was about 50 miles away. As much as I wanted to carry on, there was no point in doing so. The riding had been outstanding today, and I feel great being back on the bike. With a mix of sandstone rock formations, equally covered in snow or not, I fully enjoyed cruising through the High Desert. Crossing the state line marked my arrival in state number 13 on my crossing of the United States, Arizona. Finally my mojo was back. I took a picture, and sat outside enjoying the sun. When the sun finally set on I40 I was happy that I finally picked the bike up again. It was never meant to be easy, but what things in life are?