20081018

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  70.28
Time =  6:52:55
Ave. Speed =  10.2
Max. Speed =  39.0
Monthly Dist. =    70.28
Yearly Dist. =  2976.97

It's been 34 days since my last bike ride, which would make this one of the longest periods of time off of the bike since 1991. Not good. And then I go out for a 70 mile ride up to the crest and back! What is wrong with me? I made it, but it wasn't easy. Streak Ride #46 is now complete.

The ride started out pretty well. I left the house around 7:30 in the morning. Skies were sunny, but temps were cool, in the low 40s. I stopped shortly after I started to change out my half fingered gloves for full fingered ones. I was taking it easy, hoping the sun would climb higher in the sky, and warm things up. I rode down the trail along Tramway, and then turned into Tijeras Canyon. About halfway through the canyon the temperature dropped to near freezing. The sun wasn't up over the edge of the mountain, and it was very cold in the shade. I picked up the pace a little bit in order to get back into the sunshine. I was back in the sun as I came out of the canyon, and feeling good as I rode through Cedar Crest. I took a break at my break spot at the bottom the big mountain, and then I began the long climb.

As I headed up the road I noticed a lot of rocks had fallen down off of the side of the mountain. Most of them were on the side of the road, but quite a few were on the shoulder. Some of them were quite large, and could do some serious damage to a car, or a bicyclist who wasn't paying attention. I was making good progress when all of a sudden I got a major cramp in my left hamstring. It immediately brought me to a halt, and I hadn't even reached the ski area, less than halfway to the top. I contemplated turning around and heading for home, but I didn't want to have to try it again next week, so I started sucking down my water, and in a few minutes I was able to ride again. If I was smart I would have gone into the ski lodge and replenished my camelback, but I didn't think of it. About three miles later, with four miles still to go to reach the top, I ran out of water. This was the earliest that I had ever run dry, and I knew it was going to be tough to make it to the crest, especially with the threat of cramps hanging over me. Again I thought about bailing out on the ride, but my mindless determination wouldn't let me. I did have one last attack of the cramps before I made it to the crest. It was on the inside of my left knee instead of the hamstring, which was a lot easier to deal with. I finally made it to the top, and knowing that I desperately needed water; I made a loop around the parking lot and then headed down without stopping. A couple of miles down the road I came up behind a slow car, and passed him on a blind curve, which was a little bit risky. I was not in a mood to have someone slow me down. About a half an hour later I reached the gas station at the bottom for a well-deserved Gatorade, and a fresh supply of water.

I hung out in the gas station for about 20 minutes, and then headed out for the stretch run back to the house. Temps had warmed up considerably, and I no longer needed my jacket. It was a beautiful day, but as I headed back through Cedar Crest, the wind started to pick up. I battled the wind all the way into Tijeras Canyon, and then pulled over for another break. I enjoyed the sunshine for a few minutes, and then finished off the ride with a slow cruise back to the house.

There were a lot of grasshoppers and butterflies on this ride, at all elevations. I even saw some above 10,000 feet. At the very end of the ride as I rode back through my neighborhood, I was swarmed by butterflies. I was wearing a red jersey and as I rode past the chamisa, the butterflies would abandon their feeding in the hope of finding an even better meal. They quickly realized that I was not the world's largest flower, and flew back to their chamisa. In my tired condition it all seemed very dream-like and surreal.

It was a sunny beautiful day, with temps varying from the 30s to the 70s. It was a big relief to be done with this ride. I should never go for an entire month without riding. What was I thinking?



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