Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back,- The Hard Way  
Distance =  85.17
Time =  8:50:48
Ave. Speed =  9.6
Max. Speed =  35.0
Monthly Dist. =    85.17
Yearly Dist. =   2217.15

This Streak Ride was a little bit different from all of the rest. I wanted it to be a bit of a preview for Leadville, which is only a month away, so I decided to take the mountain bike, and make it an epic ride, by going up the back way.

I left around 8 in the morning, and headed down Tramway, only instead of going south towards Central Avenue, I went west towards the casino. I crossed under the I25 freeway, and then headed north to Bernalillo on 313. In Bernalillo I headed east on 550, and began the climb through Placitas. The first nine miles are paved, and not too steep, and I kept up a pretty good pace. At the end of the paved road there were barricades up, closing the road to traffic, due to fire danger. I wasn't going to let that stop me, so I went around the barricades, and began the more serious climb up to the crest road.

About a mile up the road I began to feel weak, so I stopped for a power bar break, and then continued on. After another mile, I again felt weak, so I stopped for a few more minutes to regain some strength. This was starting to seem like a bad idea. Onward and upward I went, and it was very nice not having to deal with any traffic. A couple of cars did go around the barricades, but it was nothing like it might have been, had the road been open.

After 8 miles of climbing, I finally topped out at the road, very tired, and behind schedule. It was here that I diverged from my previous rides up the backside. Instead of riding up to the crest on the road, I went down to the ski area to climb up the King of the Mountain Trail. Before I started, I went into the ski lodge to fill up on water. I began the final leg of my uphill journey, which still had 8 miles of climbing to go. Before I was out of sight of the ski lodge, I began to get a cramp in my left hamstring. Ouch! I had come too far to give up now, so I started sucking down my water, and easing up on my pedal stroke. The cramp came back several more times,and each time I'd come to a sudden, painful halt, and proceed to drink up more water. There were a couple of rocky curves that I could have climbed on another day, but this time I dismounted and walked them. I've learned the hard way, when to back off. I eventually topped out at the crest with a sigh of relief. I took a quick look at the view, checked to see if I had enough water to get down to the bottom, which I did, and then I headed down the Golden Eagle Trail.

Now the fun began. Those 25 miles of climbing that I suffered through to get up to the top, now became 25 miles of descending. Wonderful! I stopped at the ski lodge again to refill my water, and then I headed for the dirt road to take me down to Placitas. The Forest Ranger had rearranged the barricades to try and make it more difficult for cars to get around, but it wasn't a problem for me. I started down the dirt road, and i was cruising. I came around a curve at high speed, and my tires began to slide across the gravel. Visions of me going down in the dirt flashed through my head, and my innate fear of major blood loss, caused me to slow down, and be a little bit more careful. Also, there was also a chance that I might meet a car coming up, so I backed off on some of the speed. A couple of cars did drive around the barricades at the bottom, so I was wise to slow down. When I got down to the bottom, one of the barricades looked like it had been crashed into by a car.

As I dropped down in elevation, the moderate temperatures that were in the forest on the mountain, gave way to oven like temperatures relative to the desert. The hundreds of butterflies that flew through the forest meadows, became lizards, zooming along the side of the road. What an amazing contrast.

I was on the home stretch now, so I cruised down through Placitas to Bernalillo, and then made the turn south to get back to Albuquerque. We were having barbeque ribs for the 4th of July, and I could almost taste them, from 10 miles away. The last obstacle between myself and the ribs, was the climb back up Tramway to the house. I was quite fatigued, but my goal was in sight, and I didn't want to stop, no matter how much I was suffering. I should have stopped and chowed down on another power bar, but instead, I kept turning the pedals, and crawled up the hill, back to the house.

I succeeded in my goal of making this an epic ride, and I can only hope that this has brought a little bit closer to succeeding at the Leadville Trail 100.

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