October 1, 2011

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.48
Time =  6:04:36
Ave. Speed =  10.1
Max. Speed =  40.0
Monthly Dist. =    61.48
Yearly Dist. =  794.60

It was the first day of October and the weather could not have been any better. I left the house around 8 o'clock in the morning and although it was cool, the day was promising to warm up to the lower 70s. The start of my ride usually has 3 tenths of a mile of dirt road before I hit the pavement, but this time it was more than a mile. Road crews have torn out Skyland and part of Raven Road to get ready for repaving so that slowed down my start and finish. I might have been able to come in under 6 hours if it wasn't for that.

I started out the ride with my jacket on but once I descended down to the freeway I didn't need it anymore. I rode through Cedar Crest to the Y and then took a break at my break spot. After a few minutes I headed up. As I was riding past one the houses that was right on the crest highway there was a lady out front playing with her dog. It looked like they were getting ready to go off in the car somewhere. As I rode by I saw a furry little donkey behind the fence that seemed like he wanted to go along as well. He was really cute.

As I pedaled up the mountain it soon became apparent why October 1st was not a particularly good day to have chosen to do this ride. October 1st was the first day of Balloon Fiesta and there were about a hundred thousand tourists in town. They all got up before the crack of dawn to watch the spectacular balloon launch and when that was over they decided to drive to the top of the mountain and check out the view. I don't think that I have ever seen so many cars going up there on any other ride. There were tons of motorcycles, too. Everybody wanted to get out and enjoy the amazing weather. I was right there with them, just, doing my thing.

I rode up toward the crest and for the first time in quite a few months there was nobody working at the Capulin Snow Play Area. I stopped for a break at a picnic spot and checked out the new facilities. There are new firepits and aluminum picnic tables and benches. Very nice. The aluminum was hot from the sun and it was October and still covered in it's plastic wrapper. It will be impossible to sit on those benches in July without putting a towel down.

I finished off the ride to the top and pulled into a very full parking lot. It was 47 degrees up there. Not bad. I let some of my sweat evaporate for a few minutes and then I put on my jacket and headed down. The ride down was very nice. There were a lot fewer cars passing me on the way down than had been passing me on the way up. When I got to the bottom I decided to skip the gas station for the second month in a row, and I headed over to Pinkie's for one of her sensational, red chile, brisket burritos. It was absolutely delicious. It didn't hurt that I was very hungry.

I put away my jacket and leg warmers and I left Pinkie's feeling reenergized. I made the climb up 337 to Raven Road without any problems and rolled through the dirt road that was Skyland. At least it was packed down pretty well and I didn't have to fight with my skinny tires sinking into loose dirt. All in all, it was a very good day.

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