Cycling Along The Way...

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Silver City, NM, United States
Riders of the wheel. Racers, Roadies, Mountain bikers, Touring cyclists, Commuters, and others. Diamond frames, recumbents, trikes, and more. Sharing a web of connections often misunderstood or unappreciated by those who don't ride. Herewith, my attempt to share some of the more rational thoughts that flit around inside my head while bicycling, knocking back a brew or three, or just thinking about life. Reviews of bicycles, gear, touring, and more, plus some unsolicited posts about people, politics, and philosophy. Other things, too. Me: retired, gave up my TV in 1988, avid cyclist, several cross country tours completed with more to come. Your thoughts?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

3rd Annual Lt. Col. Raymond T. Rivas Memorial Ride

On July 15, 2009, Lt. Col. Raymond T. Rivas was found dead in his car at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX.  He had sustained numerous concussions while serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and was being treated for traumatic brain injury.  Article on Lt. Col. Rivas  Article on Lt. Col. Rivas

Lt. Col. Raymond T. Rivas
In 2010, Lt. Col. Rivas' brother, Andrew Rivas, did the 1st Annual Lt. Col. Raymond T. Rivas Memorial Ride, riding from Flagstaff, AZ, where he lives and works, to Las Cruces, NM, where the Rivas brothers grew up.  That year, I was training for my cross country bicycle ride and met up with Andrew out on Rt. 180 in Cliff, NM, at Parkey's Restaurant.  We chatted for a while and then headed towards Silver City.  Since Andrew was pulling a trailer, I gained on him quickly.

The road crews were out on Rt. 180 that day, laying down what I fondly refer to as "road makeup"...oil and crushed stone in an attempt to make the road look pretty.  On a bicycle, this type of "road makeup" is, in my wife's new phrase, "suck ass".  It does nothing to fix the broken road surface and leaves lots of loose gravel to make cycling a pain.  At one point, I had to stop because they had traffic down to one lane.  While waiting to ride on, Andrew showed up.  We started chatting again and, this time, stayed riding together once our lane opened.  On arrival in Silver City, NM, Andrew and I headed to Twin Sisters Cycling shop, where Andrew had his bike checked out.  We took photos of each other and I headed on home.  We kept track of each other on Facebook and he followed my cross country bicycle ride via SPOT postings and Facebook postings.

In 2011, I rode out and met up with Andrew in Riverside, NM,on his 2nd Annual Memorial Ride.  We both remember that day because it started out so beautiful and ended up hot, hazy and smokey.  The big Arizona fire of 2011 had started just days before as Andrew bicycled in the vicinity of Alpine, AZ.  It got miserable as we headed back to Silver City.  About 6 miles out from Silver City, We were both out of water, so Andrew called his older brother, Ralf, who was in Silver City (Ralf  was driving a truck with a 5th wheel, which he had already set up at the KOA in Arenas Valley) to bring us some water.  While waiting for Ralf, Andrew discovered he had a flat and, instead of fixing it, we decided to wait for his brother, who took both of us back to town, dropping me off at home, then Andrew and he headed to Twin Sisters/Annie.  I had also gotten a tack in my tire and had flatted...which is what happened with Andrew.  Some local had put down about a mile of tacks along the road that the Tour of The Gila uses with hopes of causing problems for the racers that do the ride to Mogollon along Rt. 180.  Delightful person, I'm sure.

Andrew and I kept in contact via Facebook until I discontinued my Facebook account.  We had been in email contact and I knew when he was coming through Silver City in 2012.  3rd Annual Memorial Ride details  This poster was also on the door of Twin Sisters and Andrew, this year, was staying with us for the night.  Once again, the weather was good but the smoke was thick.  I headed out by car to see where Andrew was and caught up with him in Buckhorn, NM, about 37 miles out of town.  He'd gotten a late start due to it being about 33 degrees when he awoke this morning.  When I left him at Buckhorn, it was 11:00am, so I figured I'd see him around 3pm.  I headed out on the bike from our house around 2:10pm, rode out about 5 miles and waited.  Sure enough, within just a few minutes, I could see Andrew coming up the hill.  Yes, I waited at the top.  I wasn't going to head downhill if I didn't have to.  After he got to the top of the climb where I was waiting, we headed to my house, dropped off his trailer and rode our bikes to Twin Sisters.

Annie checking out Andrew's bike
Annie and Andrew
Andrew picked up a few items at Twin Sisters and we chatted with Annie for a bit before heading home for a beer or two.  Andrew showered, changed clothes, washed some of his jerseys and other items so he'd have some clean clothes for when he left for Caballo Lake on Thursday morning.

Eileen joined us for a beer when she got home from work.  I had made spaghetti sauce the day before, so just about every thing was ready for dinner.  Andrew had to get a few items at the Silver City Food Co-op, so Eileen and I got dinner going.  Despite Eileen's new saying being, "That's so suck ass.", she's a good wife.

We enjoyed our meal and, while I was doing the dishes, Eileen played some Irish fiddle tunes for Andrew.  Spent the rest of the evening sitting in the living room talking about a variety of topics, mostly Andrew's upcoming wedding and whether a chainsaw was an appropriate wedding gift to ask for.  I thought it was.

A few photos of the day for y'all:

Andrew on arrival at our house in Silver City

Andrew's bike/trailer

Andrew on Thursday, ready to head out

Andrew in Las Cruces, NM, at the Memorial Wall
This morning, Andrew was up at 0500.  I got up and fixed him some scrambled egg burritos and coffee.  He headed out at 0600 toward Rt. 152, Emory Pass and on to Caballo Lake, maybe Percha Dam State Park, depending on how he's feeling.  I'm glad to count Andrew as a friend and I certainly admire his dedication to his brother, Ray.  Says a lot about him.  Hoping to make it to his wedding this July in Flagstaff.  If we aren't able to, Eileen and I wish Andrew and Dawn much joy and happiness.  And a cabin in Alaska!

Here are a few more photos in this article about the 2nd Annual Memorial Ride: Photos of Andrew on the ride in 2011

Alright, time to go.  A tune to keep you company: Warrior's Mourning Song

Please think about those who have died in combat or as a result of combat throughout the world's history.  We all know someone who has died as a result of war.  Buddy, Jimmy, John, Joe, Berg.  The list goes on.  They were all friends, family, fathers, brothers, sons, daughters, cousins.  Honor them.  And then learn a better way.