August 9, 2011

Location =  Tijeras, NM  
Distance =  22.30
Time =  3:30:54
Ave. Speed =  6.3
Max. Speed =  29.5
Monthly Dist. =    22.30
Yearly Dist. =  611.06

I was going to set up my bike in the kitchen and ride for an hour on the stationary trainer when I decided to go for a ride in the real world. It was a hot afternoon, around 95 degrees, with no chance of rain so I dusted off the mountain bike and headed out to Mars Court. My plan was to have a leisurely one or two hour ride and try to recapture some of the love that I used to have for being out in the forest.

I rode out on Cajun Pine Trail and about a mile or so in I noticed a trail I had never seen before heading off to the right, marked with a pile of rocks. I thought that it probably looped back to Cajun Pine. I rode to the end of Cajun Pine and when I didn't see it return to the trail I backtracked to the new trail to see where it went. It turned out to be a most excellent trail that wound it's way for a mile or so through a really pretty part of the forest that I had never seen before. There was a really cool tree near the beginning that made a big arch that the trail went through. There were some downed trees that had rock ramps built on each side so that you could ride over them. I walked over most of these because my riding skills are pretty rusty and I didn't feel like crashing. There were also some giant boulders that would make great spots for a picnic lunch. Whoever built the trail put in a lot of work and did a very nice job. It was probably built without the knowledge of the Forest Service.

The trail eventually came out on to the old forest road and I took it back to the south so I could make the loop back through Turkey Trot. I took another singletrack that went off to the right that I knew (or thought I knew) followed along the edge of the airforce base. I rode to a dead end that I knew was a dead end, just to help me familiarize myself with where I was. I went back to the trail and continued heading toward the south. After a little while the trail seemed to be unfamiliar to me but it was a well worn trail and there was somebody else's tire tracks so I continued onward. The trail dumped me out on to a road that also seemed to be unfamiliar. In my mind I thought that it should be the road that would lead me Turkey Trot but it wasn't as overgrown as that road used to be. After a short ride on that road I came to an enormous steel gate that I had never seen before. The gate was so massive that it looked like it could stop a tank. At this point I probably knew that I was on the air force base but the gate was open and there were no signs so I continued onward. A little further up the road a trail went off to the left and there was a tire track there so I took this trail. The trail was still heading to the south which was the direction I wanted to go and I assumed that the trail would have to come out somewhere. The Isleta Indian Reservation is the southern boundary to the National Forest and the air force base so I figured that eventually I would have to run into the reservation. The trail I was on looked like it was, or had been, fairly well traveled and it was easy to follow. I kept on going. The sun was beginning to drop behind the mountains and I began to think that maybe I should turn back but the thought stayed in my mind that the trail I was on had to come out somewhere so I pressed onward. At this point I think that I knew that I was on the air force base because not only was I heading south but I was drifting west as well. I kept going anyway for a couple of miles until I reached a forest fire burn area. This was the site of the Rainbow Fire that burned a couple of years ago and the trail I was on was probably used by Forest Service personnel to access the fire and put out hotspots. The trail did not continue through the burn area and I knew that I would have to backtrack to get myself out of there. I had no jacket, no food, no matches, and only a limited amount of water. I needed to get the heck out of there so I put some muscle to the pedals and made my way back the way I had come. I breathed a big sigh of relief when I got back to the road with the giant gate which led me back the the National Forest. I was very glad to be back in familiar territory.

I rode up to the old forest road on the ridge and having some daylight to spare I made my way over to Turkey Trot which was my goal the whole time. I rode down into David Canyon and then back up to Mars Court and back to the house.

It's good to know that even though I haven't been doing much riding for the last few years I haven't lost my sense of adventure.

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