Cycling the Enchanted Circle Century Tour

I was able to do half the Enchanted Circle Century Tour once before, and I cannot wait to do it again—this time, I am a little more confident. My goal now is to complete the whole thing. If you ever have a chance to do it, you really should. It is a great coursewith some really beautiful areas to ride through. It is also very challenging—between the terrain and the temperature changes, it really keeps you on your dressed-in-layered toes!

The course starts in Red River, and everyone heads out together. We got to enjoy the scenery of the gorgeous Carson National Forest, and now that I live here it is my new favorite place to be. As I rode through, I imagined coming back in the winter for some great skiing! I spotted a mine as we were leaving the campgrounds and heading downhill to Questra. They take pictures of everyone at the Lama turn-off, which I thought was fun. I made sure to get a copy of my picture; I think that will be a fun tradition for me to keep up. After that, we headed up a ridge. It was cool to see how the Sangre de Cristo Mountains change the terrain from a forest to the arid landscape you think of when you think of New Mexico. You look around and everything is green, and then you start paying attention to the ride, and then all of a sudden it warms up and you’re feeling that New Mexico sunshine. It was an awesome experience. I hear sometimes the temperature can change as much as 15 degrees!

Once we were out of Questra, there was a rest stop for anyone who needs it. I didn’t think I needed to stop, but I did it anyway and was super glad. I cheered up even more as I hopped back on my bike because the road flattened out a little. I had heard the next part was a little tricky, so I had buddied up with a rider who had done this before and followed him through the town. It turned out to be a smart move because I definitely would have missed the signs to keep me heading the right way. From what I’d heard, that’s not uncommon. So glad it didn’t happen to me!

Not far after this is the half-century point, which is where I stopped my trek last time. Next time, I am determined to finish! I will freely admit that my hesitation was because of the descent on Palo Flechado. Anything labeled “hairpin turns and steep” in the same sentence had me a little freaked out. I’ve talked to many people about it since then, and they’ve all told me the same thing: that as long as I take it very slowly and let cars pass me, I should be fine. I’ve heard that the ride into the (thankfully) flat area of Moreno Valley is amazing and totally worth putting up with Palo Flechado. I can’t wait to find out!