December 18, 2012

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.35
Time =  7:55:12
Ave. Speed =  7.7
Max. Speed =  33.5
Monthly Dist. =    61.35
Yearly Dist. =  1373.52

I left the house little bit before 8 o'clock in the morning. The temperature was a chilly 20 degrees and I was bundled up pretty tightly for the ride down the mountain. I had on my facemask, warm gloves with overmitts, and even arm warmers, but for some reason I didn't take my booties. I would be sorry about that decision in a few hours.

We recently had a little bit of a storm so road conditions were going to include snow and ice on this ride. I dusted off my Cannondale mountain bike for the ride because my skinny-tire road bike was not going to going to be able to make it. This always adds time and increases the difficulty of the ride. I was already discouraged and I had barely begun. To make matters worse -- my music player quit working on the way down to the freeway and I hadn't even been out for 20 minutes yet. Oh, well. The better to hear the traffic, I guess.

Once I passed under the freeway and reached the sidewalk I stopped and took off my facemask and overmitts. It wasn't much warmer in temperature down there but at least those initial ten miles of downhill were behind me and I could now begin to burn some energy. I didn't want to burn too much because I knew that I was going to be needing quite a bit to get my sorry ass all the way through this ride. I have not been exercising much and that always means increased suffering.

I rode through Cedar Crest and made it to my break spot, which was all snowed in. I took my break standing in the street trying to gain a little warmth from the sun, and added a little jumping up and down. After a few minutes I got back on the bike and headed up the mountain. There was quite a bit of snow and ice on the road but there was hardly any traffic so I had no major conflicts with cars. Just one time when a propane truck making a delivery to the snack bar zoomed by me, that scared me a little bit. What's the big hurry? Also, there were numerous places where tire tracks were off of the road from cars sliding out of control over the last couple of days. I didn't want to see any of that near me.

As I climbed I felt a few twinges of possible cramps in my legs. I increased my water intake and it kept the cramps away. I was becoming tired and cold and I stopped at Capulin to eat a PowerBar and, hopefully, gain enough strength to finish this ride. Capulin was closed and covered in snow so I stood in the street and pondered my existence. Why was I here? The wind was picking up, the temperature was falling, and my spirits were taking a beating. I wanted to quit, but somehow I kept going. I told myself, "You've come this far, you can make it." Then I'll have only four more rides to reach my goal of 100 months in a row. After that I can quit, but I won't want to because it will be the start of the warm months.

I got back on the bike and began the slow grind to the top. It helped that I had to pee about every five minutes so I used those opportunities to rest. Ever so slowly I crept upward. 9 Mile, 10K, Ellis, the TOP! I made it! I pedalled toward the building and something looked different. It was dark. They were CLOSED! Now I was really bummed. My feet were frozen and I wish that I had my booties. It was about 15 degrees up there and I wasn't going to be able to warm myself up. This was not a good situation. I quickly put on all the clothes that I did have, tucked everything in, and headed for the bottom.

The ride down to the bottom put the hurt on me, and I stayed in the gas station for almost half an hour while I tried to get warm. I had been out in the cold for more than six hours with only a bowl of cereal and a PowerBar to sustain me for the day. I need to get more PowerBars, that was my last one. I refilled my water and ate a four pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and then headed out the door.

I didn't need the facemask or overmitts anymore, which was a big relief. I took it easy on the ride back to the house. It was tough making the long climb back up S337 but it felt good knowing that I was going to make it. This ride had a little bit of doubt.


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