August 21, 2013

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.34
Time =  5:34:30
Ave. Speed =  11.0
Max. Speed =  42.0
Monthly Dist. =    88.08
Yearly Dist. =  737.34

The weather report predicted a 30% chance of rain, so I left early and pushed myself to get the ride done before the rain would start. It usually doesn't rain until late afternoon, but it didn't quite work out that way on this particular day.

It was sunny and cool when I left the house, with temps in the 50s. I headed down to the freeway and then made my way through Cedar Crest to my break spot at the Y. I took a short break and then headed up the big climb. I tried to keep a good pace going because as I gained elevation I could see large clouds beginning to form at the top of the mountain. I took a break at Capulin and then continued the climb. Augie, from the ski area passed me on the way up but I don't think he saw me when I waved.

I eventually reached the top and I was surprised and happy to see that the gift shop and snack bar were open. I went inside and asked a lady there why they had been closed all winter and all summer. She said that in the winter there is not enough business. Sometimes they will only make $10.00 in sales and it costs $300.00 to keep the place open. Also, she said that the place has been sold and it is now operating under new management. I hope they can keep it open in the winter because it sure is nice to be able to go inside and warm up.

It was 60 degrees at the top and a look to the sky revealed ominous looking clouds building up and I need to head for lower elevations. The start of the ride down was chilly as my sweat was evaporating but once I reached the ski area it had warmed up substantially and blue skies had returned. I stopped in the gas station at the bottom and ate a burrito which was very disappointing when compared to Pinkies. I miss you Pinky!

I filled up on water and then headed for home. I fought a tough breeze going back through Cedar Crest and then I saw what I was hoping I would not see. Big, dark, scary looking clouds were building up in the direction that I was headed. I reached 337 and started the climb up toward Raven Road, hoping for the best. Just past the Ranger Station it started to rain lightly and by the time I reached the Chamisoso trailhead I had to pull over and put on my raincoat. I was very glad that I had it with me. Just to the west of me there was blue sky and also to the south, but it didn't really matter much because I was getting wet. As I climbed higher I could see the blue sky to the south getting closer and I was hoping that I could pedal out from under the rain. As I neared the break in the clouds it seemed to rain harder and the wind got worse. Finally, I made it into the clear. At Thunderbird, which is a little before Pine Flat, I was able to remove my jacket. Hurray! For the rest of my ride back to the house the storm moved off to the west and I saw flashes of lightning and heard crashes of thunder. By the time I got to Raven Road the streets were dry and it hadn't even rained there. Maybe, if I hadn't been riding so fast I might have missed the rain altogether. I'll never know.

All in all, it was a nice ride and I can't complain about being a half an hour faster than I was last month. The ride didn't get too hot with temps only around 80 degrees. Of course, I was freezing cold when I was wet, except that I was also hot because I was climbing. I'm just glad I made it.


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