2010/07/17

Location =  Albuquerque to Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  69.98
Time =  6:27:37
Ave. Speed =  10.8
Max. Speed =  37.0
Monthly Dist. =    142.68
Yearly Dist. =  800.82

I was ready for this ride this month. Bicycle camping last weekend got me in better shape than I've been in, in a long time. I was actually looking forward to this ride. I left the house a little before 8 o'clock in the morning and I made my way down the Tramway Trail. There were lots of people out early trying to take advantage of the day, before the heat sets in. I made way my way down to Central and then turned into Tijeras Canyon, made my way through Cedar Crest and took a break at my spot. There was still a little bit of water running in the creek but it won't be lasting for too many more days. I scarfed down a PowerBar and then began the long time to the top.

There was quite a bit of traffic on the Crest Highway this morning. It seemed like everybody was out enjoying the mountains. When I rode by the ski area I could see that the parking lot was full. The chair lift was running and hikers and bikers were taking advantage of the beautiful day.

I continued climbing and I was feeling so good that I didn't stop for a break at the Capulin Snow Play Area. I was plodding along minding my own business when a small silver Mercedes passed me on a curve and suddenly jammed on his brakes. I looked up and saw a light brown, kind of cinnamon colored bear strolling across the road in front of the car. He turned and looked at the driver and kind of glared at him as if to say, "You got a problem?" At that moment I have never been so glad to have a car on the road in front of me. The bear was right in front of the car and I was right behind the car, and if that car isn't there then I'm face to face with the bear. That's a situation that I never want to find myself in. That's one of life's "Oh Shit!" moments, and they are to be avoided if at all possible. The bear casually climbed over the guardrail on the other side of the road and disappeard into the forest, which I was very glad to see. We were somewhere between 9000 and 9500 feet, I would guess.

After that little moment of excitement I decided to take a short break at the 10,000 foot trailhead, and then I finished off the climb to the top. The parking lot at the top was full, which doesn't happen too often. It was 62 degrees up there which is very nice. I only stopped long enough to check the thermometer, and then I was back on the bike and headed for the bottom. I refilled my water at the gas station and then I was heading for home. As I neared Albuquerque I could feel the temperature rise dramatically. It was in the upper 90s as I head up the Tramway Trail. A couple of prairie dogs attempted to commit suicide under my tires but they weren't successful. It seemed like only the little ones that are out running around. The adults probably know better than to come up out of the ground while it's so hot.


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