I’ve covered over 1,000 miles now. I’m taking a few days off in Silverthorne, Colorado to transfer data and get ready for the second half of the ride. I’m finding it’s hard to write on the blog when I come into towns because I’m so busy running around. The best place to find updates about what I’m doing is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/payton.macdonald
Please check in there and see how the Sonic Divide is going. It’s going great!
The Sonic Divide started with a bang. The first 80 miles from El Paso to Columbus were very hot, though fast. I made it there in 6.5 hours after consuming more than 12 pounds of water (some mixed with electrolytes).
Then yesterday was positively Epic. The first 70 miles went reasonably well and I performed Michael Gordon’s piece just north of Hachita at the first divide crossing, which is conveniently marked. The performance went well, though it was super windy. The wind guard on the Zoom seems to work brilliantly, though.,
The rest of the ride up to the little outpost of Separ were fine and I even got to hang with a border patrol man named Brian for a bit. I rested in Separ for two hours and then set out for Silver City. I felt okay when I started pedaling, but the heat really got to me in the afternoon. I was in a very remote place and although I had plenty of fluids in me I got concerned about heat stroke. Fortunately I found a ranch and the foreman let me rest in the shade for about 3 hours. That was definitely a low point. I was nauseous and I felt horrible and I began to think that I wasn’t going to be able to pull this off and be a big embarrassment to my friends and all the wonderful people who are supporting the project. But after a few hours I started feeling better and some clouds rolled in and the weather improved in terms of the heat so I set off again. I was in a very remote place and it was incredibly beautiful, but the storm began to rage with these incredible gusts of wind. They were so powerful I had to walk my bike so I didn’t get blown over. And then suddenly it stopped, and I was magically right at a continental divide Crossing. Somehow I found the strength to perform John Link’s piece, see photo below.
And then I still had another 30 miles of tough riding and climbing to finally get to Silver City at 10:30 p.m. I’m staying with a host family who likes to support cyclists They are literally angels from heaven.
So I’m finding my legs, but I’ve learned to really respect the heat. The plan for a while is to ride early in the morning and late at night, and from about 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. to just sit in the shade somewhere and try to keep my heart rate down and stay cool. Trying to play music while dealing with all this is tough. I don’t think these are going to be my greatest performances. But I also know it’s only my first couple days and I believe I will find my rhythm as I keep going.