Record Challenge

I ushered in autumn this morning out in the cool early morning air of Moriarty, sitting along State Route 41. Across the way, a tractor and a center-pivot irrigation rig (alfalfa?) sat silent. The little planes from the Moriarty airport droned overhead. And that characteristic “thunkthunk” of time trial bikes with disk wheels kept rolling by.

The Record Challenge is one of north-central New Mexico’s little treasures, a tiny Labor Day weekend event rich with tradition. There are people who come from all over the country to ride it, and for good reason: the stretch of road from Moriarty to Estancia and back is the flattest, straightest, fastest 40 kilometer time trial course in the country. Lots of national records have been set here, including the fastest men’s and women’s 40 k’s ever ridden in this country, plus nearly every age group record.

I couldn’t ride this year, but ended up about 100 yards up from the finish line with a camp chair and a two-way radio calling out riders’ numbers as they rolled by in that painful tunnel that is the finishing stretch of a 40 k time trial.

Three new national records over the two days of racing, the most impressive being Bill Meyers, whose 26:58.57 Sunday broke his own 65+ 20K. And then, for good measure, he came out Monday and did the 40 k in 56:18.03. As Bill McLain pointed out, “The guy is 68 years old!” Ah, to grow old so gracefully.