20090110

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  73.36
Time =  9:08:28
Ave. Speed =  8.0
Max. Speed =  35.5
Monthly Dist. =    73.36
Yearly Dist. =  73.36

I had a plan to take the road bike up to the crest for Streak Ride #49. It hadn't been raining or snowing for quite a few days, so I was hoping that the road would be clear. The weather report from the night before called for some snow, so I was prepared to take the mountain bike. I woke up in the morning to what appeared to be good conditions. Sunshine and blue skies. There was no snow in Albuquerque, the crest looked clear, however, when I looked to the southeast it looked like it was snowing in Tijeras Canyon. I didn't want to be forced back because of bad road conditions so I put the road bike back in the garage and grabbed the mountain bike. That turned out to be a good decision.

I knew that this was going to be a difficult day because I hadn't gone for a bike ride since last month's Streak Ride #48, and I had only ridden the indoor trainer one time, for about an hour. I headed down Tramway at 8:00 a.m., and it was quite cold with temps in the 20s. I was bundled up well, and prepared for anything. I rolled into Tijeras Canyon, and sure enough, it had just been snowing there. There was a fresh dusting of about a half an inch of snow, that was already starting to melt as the sun climbed higher into the sky.

I continued through the canyon, and then made the turn to head up north 14 through Cedar Crest. A couple of miles up the road there was a State Police car blocking the highway stopping traffic, and the "Special Event" signs were out. This usually means that they are filming a movie, but I was hoping that it wouldn't stop me. I rode up to the state trooper to find out what was going on. He confirmed that they were getting a shot for a movie, but it must have been a quick shot because just as I was about to ask if I could continue he announced that the shoot was over, and everyone could head up the road.

I continued through Cedar Crest, and the snow on the road got a little bit deeper, but only about an inch. I turned onto the crest highway and took a quick break at my rest spot. After a few minutes, I started up the big climb. I kept the pace slow because I knew that I was out of shape, and I didn't want to burn myself out. The road was snow covered and icy in places, but it wasn't too bad. It would have been bad on the road bike, but the knobby tires of the mountain bike were sufficient to give me traction through the worst spots.

It didn't take long before it became apparent that my lack of conditioning was going to make this a difficult day. I was crawling up the mountain at a snail's pace, and becoming increasingly tired. Before I got to the ski area I began to feel weak and light-headed, and I had to pull over to the side of the road and scarf down a PowerBar. I felt a little bit better, and continued my journey upward. As I was nearing the ski area a woman yelled out of her car at me, "Good job!" and that picked up my spirits a little bit. I continued climbing toward 10,000 feet and again my energy started to run low. I stopped at the 10K parking area and ate another PowerBar, and then continued toward my goal. As I neared the crest a guy coming down yelled out of his car window, "Incredible!" and that gave me another boost to my spirits. I finally rolled into the parking lot at the top and I was so tired that I didn't even go inside to warm up. I looked at my bike computer and it told me that I had taken almost six hours to get to the top. I've made the entire round trip in less time than that. I rested bent over my handlebars for a couple of minutes, and then headed down.

The ride down was very cold for the first eight miles or so, and then it warmed up quite a bit. Most of the snow had melted, and the road was even dry in most places. Three cheers for small favors. I pulled into the gas station at the bottom for a quick warm-up, and to refill on water. I hung out for a few minutes, and then headed for home. Tijeras Canyon had completely dried out, and you couldn't even tell that it had snowed last night. I began the ride back up Tramway as the sun was going down, and I made it back to the house just as it was getting dark. This ride was tough. At least the day turned out to be nice with lots of sun, and temps near 50. I better do a little more riding before I do this again next month for Streak Ride #50.



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