Thursday, 10 July 2008

Jenn reaches Grants

No she's not home again..... Jenn has now pedaled 200 mile since Abiquiui (sorry - wasn't she meant to be sick?) to arrive in Grants. This from the official blog tonight:

Jenn called at 3:30 p.m. Thursday from Grants. "Last night didn't go as planned," she said. "I got about 30 miles from the stretch outside Cuba when I was pulled over by a police officer and told to get off the road and get to sleep because it's not safe to be riding out here on your own." She said she pulled over and went to sleep because she was "really knackered." (Note: I'm a bit curious about this police officer incident. It's not safe to ride on the road but it is safe to lay down off the side of the road, unconscious? I'd love to hear more detail on what this strange police officer said when Jenn reaches the finish.) Anyhow, Jenn said she got some good sleep and woke up and plowed into a really big wind for most of the day - not fun on a single speed - and was spending a little while in Grants because she was not looking forward to Pie Town. "I've been hanging around Grants at a McDonalds and eating ice cream and more ice cream and food and stocking up," she said. She said she was heading out for Pie Town but didn't expect to reach Silver City until the day after tomorrow.

Pie Town, contrary to its optimistic name seems to be not good. I think it was Simon who called it the saddest town he'd ever seen. So head down, turn your face from the pie (it always seems to be closed anyway) and pedal though Jenn. You're doing great and we're all very proud. I may have to start setting fines for use of the 'proud' word, but we are. So there.



BikerBob said...

Howdy from New Mexico,

I really don't want to be cantankerous, but I've always enjoyed my stays in Pie Town, New Mexico. On this basis, I beg to differ with some of the recent disparaging reports. If I am not mistaken there are only about 50 people who live there. So, the fact that there are two restaurants is pretty outstanding for such a small population base on a back road.

I am sorry to hear that some racers have had a discrepancy between their expectations and their experiences in Pie Town. There really should be better information available for them in terms of telephone numbers and hours of operation. I provide Mary Collier (aka Siren Mary) on the Tour Divide Blog last night for resources south of Pie Town. I put it in the TD Blog as a Comment under Mary's call-in last night from Grants.

Earlier this summer I was touring northbound on the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) with five other cyclists, and we received the red carpet treatment in Pie Town.
Nita Larrande, a resident of Pie Town, was the most recent recipient of the Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) Trail Angel award. We stayed at her famous “Toaster House.” The only thing she asked of us was to sign her guest book and leave some good vibes and inspiration thoughts behind.

ACA is the organization that researched and developed maps for the GDMBR, on which the Tour Divide (TD) and the GDR ride their races. Nita actually lives a few miles west off NM60 and then a bit south. She lets Continental Divide Trail (CDT) hikers and GDMBR cyclists crash at her Toaster House. It is right on the route.

I'd check with the neighbors, and also try the door on the north side of the house that has the chalkboard by the entrance. I don't know if the front (east) door is ever unlocked? The worse case scenario would be to just sleep outside on the couches on the porches. The only "ones" who are going to possibly disturb your peace are the noisy chickens in the back. They get up quite early, which shouldn’t bother a racer. I hope Jenn has a great meal in Pie Town, and possible a restorative snooze too.

By the time the racers reach Pie Town they are usually exhausted and cranky (except Rainer Klaus of course). They still have slightly more than 300 miles to go to Antelope Wells. Even in the good weather some of those miles are brutal. Besides the lack of services, you have to know how to find water and be able to treat it. Unfortunately, now that the monsoon rains have started it can be several levels worse than brutal. This is because the baby powder-like soil turns to a sticky baby poop-like consistency when it is wet. It is great for making adobe bricks, but impossible to ride a bike through it.

In terms of the Navajo Reservation Police Officer advising Jenn to disappear off the road last night, was excellent advice. I'm glad she followed it, and got some safe rest. He knew what the realities of the situation were, and we need to respect his opinion. If he did not care about her safety, then he would have just driven by and left her to the fates. By having her pull off the road, it was easier for him to keep track of things for her while she slept. Otherwise, she might have been okay, or not?

There are miles and miles of wild, open country out there. There are very few Reservation Police Officers to cover hundreds of square miles. He made a sound recommendation, and Jenn was smart to follow it. Since she followed his advice, he probably watched out for her until he was sure she would be okay. He would know who is running around loose at that time. Best of all she got some much needed rest and remained safe. I'd say that prayers were answered. Many years ago a police officer pluck me off a street in Bombay, India, as I was waiting for a bus. Although I had no sense of danger that night, he probably saved my life. Let's be thankful instead of getting our shorts in a bunch.

I have a lot of pictures of the New Mexico portion of the GDMBR on my blog and in my public Picasa Web Albums. My blog address is: and the web address to my Picasa Web Albums is: . Perhaps by looking at some of these photos and reading the captions it might help you gain an appreciation of what Jenn is seeing in New Mexico. Let’s keep sending her, and the remaining racers on the course, thoughts of health and safety. Cheers.

Simon Kennett said...

Yay!! I am so happy to see that Jenn is making good progress again. When I last saw her (just before entering New mexico) she was starting to slow down - that's always a worry when you are talking about such a strong rider - but was still super determined. It was a real pleasure riding with Jenn.
Pedal on!

P.S: After I called in from Pie Town I managed to get pie from the Daily Pie (which was actually closed). Tasted great!

Minx said...

Hooray! Pie Town is great after all.... we were always rather hopeful because of the name... Glad you got pie Simon!

jo said...

just one more hill.......


BikerBob said...


I'm not sure what your definition of a "hill" is, but if you go to and toggle between Map and Terrain in the southern half of New Mexico you can see that Jenn has got some significant inclines (and declines)ahead. None of the grades are more than 10-12% and a lot of them are in the 5-8% range.

Nevertheless, the real challenge is mud. According to the weather report there are some big holes in the clouds where she is riding today. The sun might be shining through and converting some of that sticky mud to a hardpacked adobe road for Jenn to whizz along on.

Mary Collier (aka Siren Mary) of the Tour Divide race is a half day ahead of her. According to her SPOT gps transponder (, she is cooking along today. There was a soft section in the road that she is coming up on, but the rains may have firmed it up.

Also, I'd be surprised if Jenn doesn't get a good meal in Pie Town today, because both restaurants are open! It is the last food stop for about 150 miles. There are some brutal miles in there. I hope she tops off her tank in Pie Town.

Felix said...

Heh, actually, I think it was actually me who called Pie Town the "saddest town I've ever seen:"

I admit I was being a little unfair, but I guess being tired and hungry will do that to a person. :)

Anyhow... man!, so Simon managed to get pie there??? He was there only a few hours earlier than I was, I think! I should have called ahead.

Congrats to Jenn, Simon, and all the others!