February 13, 2011

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.84
Time =  7:35.49
Ave. Speed =  8.1
Max. Speed =  37.5
Monthly Dist. =    61.84
Yearly Dist. =  122.25

This day was going to be a very good day to ride to the top of the mountain. I left the house at 8:30 in the morning and it was already 29 degrees out. That is very warm for this time of the year. I had all of my warm clothes with me but I wasn't going to need them. I took my red cannondale mountain bike bacause I thought that there would be a lot of dirt and debris on the shoulders of the roads and the sidewalk, and I was right about that. In the last couple of weeks we have had quite a bit of snow and some frigidly cold temperatures. It was 21 degrees BELOW zero one night, up at the house. That is brutal.

I made the descent down S337 to the freeway, and by the time I got there I changed into lighter weight gloves. I rode through Cedar Crest, took a short break at my break spot and then began the long climb to the top of the crest. The mountain bike made it slower going than if I was on my road bike, but I was glad that I made that decision. There was a little bit of traffic that was going to the ski area but I missed most of the worst of it by leaving the house a little later than usual. Once I climbed above the base of the ski area most of the traffic was gone and when I reached the Capulin Snow Play Area I stopped for a break. Capulin was closed but I went around the gate and found a spot on the road next to a pile of plowed snow that to helped to block the wind. It hadn't been windy at lower elevations but it picked up a bit above the ski area. I pulled out a baggie of trail mix that my wife had packed for me and began chowing down. She had put a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the bag thinking that I would enjoy that, but she hadn't realized the power of the sun. The sun beating down on my backpack had gotten so warm that it liquified the peanut butter cup and my trail mix had become a gooey mess. I ate it anyway because I was very hungry. That's something I'll remember for next time. There is something to be said for melted chocolate that's a whole lot better than a frozen solid PowerBar.

I left Capulin feleing energized and I continued with the rest of the climb to the top. I checked the thermometer on the door of the gift shop and it read 31 degrees. I couldn't ask for better than that at 10,678 feet high. Nice! I went inside for a few minutes to rest up and warm up, and then it was back out onto the the road for the long descent. I took my time going down because there were a lot of spots on the road that were wet from melting snow and I tried to minimize the amount of ice cold spray that I subjected myself to. I made it down to the gas station without too much trouble and I went inside to fill up on water. After a few minutes I came back out to continue the ride, and I had a flat tire. I am getting sick and tired of getting flats on these rides, but at least I was where it was warm. I sat down right next to the free air compressor that was there for cars to use but I couldn't use it because I have presta tubes in my tires and I didn't have a presta to shrader adapter with me. I'll try to remember that for the future. To add insult to my situation my bicycle pump didn't work and I had to take it apart and apply a few gobs of spit before it sealed itself and let me put some pressure in the tires. I'm going to throw that pump in the trash.

The ride back through Cedar Crest was uneventful and I reached S337 with plenty of daylight left to make the climb back up to the house. As I started up I saw an old couple walking on the other side of the street. The old guy had a dog on a leash and they were getting ready to cross the street at the crosswalk by the elementary school, when suddenly the old lady began screaming at him. I'm not exactly sure what happened but she said something about, "Get back out of the way. How do you expect me to see the people if you are in the way. Asshole!" I looked at the old guy and we both felt a little bit uncomfortable. I felt sorry for him.

I settled in to the long climb back up to Raven Road, but I began to feel very fatigued as I neared Otero Canyon. I stopped there for a break and pulled out my bag of trail mix to get a little energy. The bag had firmed up a bit because I was in the shadows of the mountain a lot more than I had been earlier. After a couple of handfuls of mix I was ready to go and finish up the ride. I had one more obstacle in front me that I would have to overcome. Somewhere between El Cedro and Ramblewood roads three dogs came out of nowhere and started to chase me. I started yelling "NO! NO!" at them and one of the dogs gave up right away. An austrailian shepherd got very close to me before he gave up, but a black lab gave me a pretty good chase. He was being very aggressive and I was mad at myself for not having some kind of a weapon that I could use to defend myself with. He went out into the middle of the highway to try and catch me and I secretly hoped that a car would come by and run him over, but no such luck. Eventually, he gave up the chase but I was pissed off that I had to expend so much energy to out run him when I was already close to nearing exhuastion. If I ever see those dogs out there again I'm going to call animal control.

I finally made it back to the house and I went inside and collapsed in a heap on the floor in front of the fireplace. This ride was really hard. I swear that I am going back on an exercise program so that rides in the future won't be quit so difficult.


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