Monday, March 17, 2014

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.59
Time =  6:41:43
Ave. Speed =  9.1
Max. Speed =  39.5
Monthly Dist. =    69.96
Yearly Dist. =  350.60

I delayed my departure from the house because it was cold in the morning. I finally left sometime after 8:30 and the temps were in the low 30s. I haven't been riding much lately so I decided that I would take my time and enjoy the scenery. I cruised down 337 and then stopped to take off my headband at the sidewalk on N14. I headed up 14 and took a short break at my spot by the Y.

I started up the long climb and it didn't take long for snow to appear along the side of the road. If I had a couple of inches of snow at my house which is at 7600 feet, then there is bound to be more on the way up to 10,678 feet. I was starting to think that maybe I should have waited until later in the week to do this ride. I really started to think that, when a snowplow passed me.

I made my way up to Capulin and then took a break there. I was feeling fatigued so I ate a PowerBar and drank a lot of water. There had been a few snowy curves on the way up to this point, but it was starting to look a lot worse. Sometimes, I only had a narrow rut of pavement to try and ride on. A couple of times I made cars go around me because I was hogging the road and I didn't want to put a foot down in the ice water. I used both sides of the road to make my way to the top. I was not going to be denied.

On the way up a car slowed down and there were several young ladies inside who clapped and cheered me on. That always brings a smile to my face, even through the suffering. Right behind the young ladies was a car with two guys in it who stopped and asked me if I had ever ridden on the road that goes through to I25. When they said that, I knew that they were talking about La Madera. I told them about the ruins that are back there and if the road is muddy, to turn around and come back another day. They thanked me and I continued my way towards the top.

As I neared the crest there was more snow on the road and less pavement to try and ride on. I finally ran out of road completely when I reached the parking lot. I ended up walking the last hundred yards or so because there was no traction for my skinny tire road bike. I took a short break inside to warm up a bit and then I headed down. It was 35 degrees at the top.

The ride down was horrible. The ruts in the snow were rushing rivers of ice water that I had to ride through. I tried to keep my speed low so that I wouldn't spray myself with too much water, but it was pretty hopeless. Also, having to go slower just lengthened the duration of my suffering. I was very happy when I finally descended the first five miles or so and reached mostly dry pavement. Hurray! The rest of the ride down was a piece of cake.

I was having a craving for one of Shannon the ski patroller lady's delicious burritos from the Phillips 66 gas station, so I skipped the Shell and headed further up the road. Wouldn't you know it? They are closed on Mondays. I bought a candy bar and then continued my ride towards home. It had warmed up into the low 60s so I was able to shed some of my clothing. I like that.

There were predictions of very strong winds in the afternoon, and occasionally I got blasted with a powerful gust, but I wasn't bothered too much by it. Streak Ride #111 is done!

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