Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.67
Time =  6:18:23
Ave. Speed =  9.7
Max. Speed =  41.0
Monthly Dist. =    61.67
Yearly Dist. =  335.69

Streak Ride #100 is Done!!!

I feel a great sense of accomplishment and elation having reached my goal. I need to thank my wife Debbie, whom I love so much, without whose help I still would have done it, it just would have been more difficult. You are wonderful. Thanks for encouraging me.

I left the house just after 8:00 a.m. and began by making the long descent down to the freeway. Temps were in the low 40s and the forecast was calling for lots of wind. The next few days were predicted to be even colder and windier, so this was my chance to get it done.

Since this was going to be a special ride the press was notified, and representatives from the Mountain View Telegraph and the Albuquerque Journal were going to be on hand to document the event. Mike Bush from the Telegraph came across me first while I was still on N14. I had prearranged with the Journal people to meet me at my break spot in the trees near the Y at 9:30 a.m., and Marla showed up right on time. I had it in my mind that they would find me and take a picture and then leave me to my madness. Instead, they shared my madness with me and led me up the mountain taking pictures along the way. I want to thank both of you, Mike and Marla, for being with me while I made the long climb to the crest. It's a lonely life doing this month after month and you helped to make this particular climb very enjoyable.

This being the 100th month in a row that I have ridden to the top of Sandia Crest, I should pause and reflect on why it is I do it, and what, if any, purpose does it have. I used the word "enjoyable" in the last paragraph. How is it possible that spending hours outside on a bicycle, pushing myself to climb 1000s of feet of mountain with heavy breathing and elevated heart rate, in all types of weather conditions, could be "enjoyable." If it is really "enjoyable" how come there aren't lots of other people doing it? Oh yeah, sure, there's lots of people out here in the summer, but where are they in the winter? Maybe I just get an endorphin rush and once a month is my preferred dose. Whatever it is, I'm going to try and keep on doing it.

Having Mike and Marla along for the ride made me work a little harder than I might otherwise have worked. I didn't want to keep them waiting. The wind that was forecasted was very strong at times, but it seemed to be a tailwind more often than it was a headwind. I can't complain about that. When there was no wind at all I would begin to overheat just from the strength of the sun. I can't complain about that, either. I stopped at Capulin to eat a PowerBar and we stood by the gate and talked for a few minutes. A Forest Ranger stopped by to make sure that everything was okay. After a few minutes it was back on the bike so we can get this climb finished off.

It seemed like just a few minutes went by and I was pulling in to the parking lot at the top. I made it! A sense of relief and accomplishment washed over me and I felt like I could finally relax. It was cold up at the top, about 40 degrees, and very windy. Mike took a couple of pictures and then he left. Marla and I walked up to the viewing area and she took this picture of me. The wind was blowing about 50 miles an hour up there. We didn't stay very long. Thanks Marla!

I put on my headband and full-fingered gloves and I was ready for the downhill. The temperature quickly warmed as I dropped in elevation and it was in the 70s by the time I reached the bottom. I took a few minutes worth of break in the gas station, ate a candy bar, watered up, and then headed for home. The wind decided it was time to make a showing and it was in my face all the way through Cedar Crest. I was fighting the wind so much that I warmed up enough to have to pull over and take off my jacket and leg warmers.

I stopped one more time on the climb up S337 to Raven Road, just to sit in the trees and enjoy the day. In a certain way, I wanted it to last forever. I started riding again and I noticed the wind behaving in the strangest way that I have ever seen. It would be a strong, in-your-face headwind, and seconds later it would be a tailwind. What made this so unusual was that I hadn't actually changed direction, only the wind. When the wind was pushing me along from behind I would pedal like crazy to try and take as much advantage of it as I possibly could. I never knew how long it was going to last before it turned around and became a headwind again. It repeated that pattern over and over. I've never seen anything like it.

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