2011/01/21

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  60.41
Time =  6:45:41
Ave. Speed =  8.9
Max. Speed =  38.0
Monthly Dist. =    60.41
Yearly Dist. =  60.41

It's a new year and this year is starting out like the last one ended - slow. At least I'm still doing it.

I was very hesitant about doing this ride. The weather report said that it was going to be fairly warm but also windy. I woke up listening to the wind howling through trees and I really didn't feel like doing battle with it, but I was also running out of days in January to ride to the top of the mountain, so I forced myself to get bundled up and head out the door.

I waited until about 9:00 before I left the house hoping that the wind would die down and the temperature would warm up. I t didn't appear that either of those things was going to happen. Temps were in the teens when I started and it was blowing pretty good. When I leave the house with my road bike I walk it down the dirt road to the pavement and then start my ride from there. On my way down the steep little hill I noticed something weird on the cover of my water meter. A mouse had gotten himself into the hole that they use to take the lid off and he was frozen solid. I felt a little uneasy at seeing this. I was just hoping that it wasn't some kind of an omen portending that I was going end up in a hole somewhere, and frozen solid.

I made it to the pavement where I stopped to put on my booties and begin my ride. I was bundled up with my face mask and overmitts, and I was ready for the downhill to the freeway. The wind was blowing pretty good for the first few miles, but as I dropped in elevation it subsided and it wasn't really a problem the rest of the day. Three cheers for small favors! By the time I got down to the Ranger Station it was warm enough for me to stop and take off my mitts and my face mask.

I made my way through Cedar Crest and then I took a short break at the Y. I would have eaten a PowerBar if I had any, but I was completely out. I had a few chocolate covered raisins but I wanted to save them for later. I started up the big climb and I took my sweet time. I took a couple of short breaks on the way up so as not to become too fatigued. At around 10,000 feet I began to get pretty tired but I didn't want to stop because it was really getting cold. I kept the pedals turning and pretty soon I made it into parking lot. There was an old guy there who started asking me question about my ride like "where did I start from," and "how long did it take." I couldn't really hear him very well because my music was playing and I was tired and cold and hungry, so I gave him a couple of head nods and generic answers and then I went inside the gift shop to warm up. It was 20 degrees at the top and there was a couple feet of snow.

Now it was time to eat my chocolate covered raisins so I scarfed down a couple of handfuls. That made me feel much better so I decided to walk around the gift shop to see if I could find a present for my wife who was going to be having a birthday in a few days. As luck would have it I found a stuffed ristra with a couple dozen peppers on it. It was the perfect gift made even more special because it came from 10,678 fett high. Before I bought it I asked the lady if I could make sure that it would fit in my backpack. It did, so I made the purchase and then headed out the door.

I was all bundled up in my warm clothes for the descent, even going so far as to trade out my headband for a hat. I was well prepared. A lot of the downhill lane of traffic was not plowed and the road was only one lane wide in a few places. At one spot I could see where a car had crashed into the snow drift. I didn't want that to be me. Luckily, there was very little traffic above the ski area. I made it past the bottom of the ski area and I was cruising along without a care in the world, when I hit a pothole and popped the tube in my rear tire. Bummer! Also bummer was that I was in a very shady spot on the mountain and I had to get my weight up onto the front wheel and coast for about a half a mile before I found a little spot of sun where I could stop and change it. I haven't had many rides in the last six months but it sure seems like a lot of them have involved flat tires. The slime was squished out of the tube and coasting on the rim had pushed it everywhere. What a mess. I took a few minutes to change out the tube and while I was pumping it up I decided that I really need a new pump. Maybe I'll get one that can also use CO2 cartridges. That would be especially useful in the wintertime.

Before too long I was rolling again and I headed down to the gas station. I filled up on water and I was going to buy a Power Ball ticket but I had spent all my money on the ristra. That was money better spent, anyway.

After a few minutes I was back on the road and heading for home. I rode back through Cedar Crest to Tijeras and then I began the climb up S337 to Raven Road. There was quite a bit of traffic because I was so slow that people were now heading home from work. The sun was getting lower in the sky and I was in the shadows quite a bit. Somewhere above Juan Tomas a dog came out of a side street and started to follow me. It was a golden retreiver and he seemed friendly. He wasn't chasing me, just following along. After about a mile he turned back. I continued to climb towards home and just after I passed Pine Flat a small silver car slowed down and then made a u-turn and came back to talk to me. The guy rolled down his window and said to me, "Didn't I see you a little while ago at the top of the Crest?" It was the old guy who talked to me in the parking lot up there only now I was more than 25 miles from there and a couple of hours later. He said, "You don't give up, do you?" To which I answered, "No, I sure don't." Then he asked me, "Are you going for a ride tomorrow?" To which I replied, "No." What a small world.

I made it back to the neighborhood and then stopped to take off my booties at the end of the pavement for the walk up the hill back to the house. The frozen mouse was still there, and still frozen. I guess it turned out that he wasn't a bad omen after all.


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