Location =  To Sandia Crest - AND the Mail in Tijeras  
Distance =  94.09
Time =  7:48:27
Ave. Speed =  12.0
Max. Speed =  41.0
Monthly Dist. =    94.09
Yearly Dist. =   654.83

This ride was very difficult, but I only have myself to blame. The weather forecast was for a sunny day, with temps getting up into the low 70s, so I had a plan to ride up to the Sandia Crest, visit my friend Leverett on the way down, and then ride up to the other house in Tijeras, to get the mail. I managed to accomplish everything, but I paid a high price for my efforts. My butt is killing me.

Things started out smoothly enough. I left the house around 8:30 in the morning, wearing my leg warmers and a jacket, with all of the zippers wide open. I headed down Tramway, and then up through Tijeras Canyon, and just before the underpass to the freeway, a guy caught up to me and passed me. It must have taken most of his energy to do that, because he wasn't able pull away from me. Before we got to Tijeras, I passed him back, and I never saw him again. I continued through Cedar Crest, and then stopped at the bottom of the big climb to take a break.

After a few minutes I started the long 14 mile climb to the top, trying to take it easy. With about 4 miles to go, and somewhere above 9000 feet, I started to feel very weak and dizzy. I was forced to come to a stop, and take a few minutes to gather my wits about. (That's hard to do when you are witless.) At 10,000 feet, with 2 and a 1/2 miles to go, I became very cold, so I stopped again, and put on my full fingered gloves, and zipped up all of zippers on my jacket. I felt much better, and I pulled into the parking lot at the crest, and then walked up the snow to the viewpoint. There was a group of foreigners up there, having some kind of a religious ceremony. About a dozen people were milling around a woman who seemed to be the center of attention. A man had his hand on her forehead, and they were all chanting something in a language that I was not familiar with. It definitely wasn't spanish. I rested for a few minutes at the top, and took this picture, looking toward the south. The Monzano Mountains are in the distance. No matter how many times I go up to the crest, I never get tired of the view.

I checked the thermometer at the gift shop, and it was 35 degrees up there. I put on my headband for the ride down, and then began the descent. A lot of places on the road were wet with melting snow, and if I didn't slow way down for them, I was treated to a painful spray of ice cold water. All I could think of was getting back down to a lower elevation, and back into the warm air. I hit the bottom, and then rode the extra 2 miles to go over to Leverett's house, and visit for a while. We sat in the sun for about 30 minutes, so I could warm up, and then I filled up on water, and continued my journey. I was still undecided if I was going to make the 10 mile climb up to get the mail or not, especially since my butt was already in pain. At least it was warm out, and I didn't need my full fingered gloves, or my jacket. When I got to Tijeras, I was feeling pretty good, and a quick look at the time indicated that I could get the mail, and still make it home before dark, so I decided to go for it. On the way up, a rider who was obviously very fresh, passed me by, and pulled away, quite a ways. I increased my efforts to try and keep him in view, and much to my surprise, I started to gain on him. I was starting to feel like I could catch him, when he turned around at Juan Tomas, and rode back down. What kind of rider rides half-way up a mountain?

I picked up the mail, put on jacket, and headed back down. I stopped at the bridge over the creek between the middle school and the community center for another short break, and to remove my jacket. I then headed back through Tijeras Canyon, which was made more difficult by some very strong winds. Then it was back up Tramway to the house, and time to get some much needed food into my system. What a relief.

The outline of my bicycle seat across my ass, will be a painful reminder of this ride, for the next few days.

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