Monday, April 21, 2014

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.73
Time =  5:56:41
Ave. Speed =  10.3
Max. Speed =  41.0
Monthly Dist. =    74.32
Yearly Dist. =  458.24

I was out the door at 8:00 a.m. while it was still a cool 43 degrees. I had my arm and leg warmers on as well as my full-fingered gloves, headband, and windbreaker. I was hoping that as the day warmed up I would be able to shed most of those items.

I decided early on in the ride that I would stick to smaller gears and faster spinning rather than try to push big gears that would only tire me out. I wanted to avoid any aspects of exaustion, if at all possible.

I headed down 337 and then rode through Cedar Crest and instead of taking my usual break at the Y, I decided to keep on going up the big climb. As I was climbing a guy started to pass me and he asked how far I was going. I told him that I was going to the top and that it is something that I do once a month. Then he said, "You're the guy that was in the newspaper." That made me smile at the small recognition of my fame. He then said that he hoped that I could make the climb to the crest 200 months in a row, and I said that I hoped so, too.

I rode up to Capulin and took a PowerBar break while I gathered my strength to make the last five miles of climbing to the top. While I was sitting there very large, dark, and ominous looking clouds started to form. I said to myself, "Please don't rain on me," and I got back on the bike and headed for the top. I played hide and seek with the sun while I headed for the top, but at least it didn't rain.

It was 44 degrees at the crest and I took a short break inside the gift shop to get ready for the downhill. As I was heading for the door a guy stopped me and asked if I had hiked up or ridden my bike. My bicycle helmet should have been a clue and I said that I biked. He shook my hand and said that that was something he couldn't do. He had ridden up there with his wife on motorcycles. We talked for a couple minutes and then I headed down the mountain.

The big, dark cloud had moved down the mountain a bit, and when I got down to Tree Spring it started to rain. It started out as light rain and then it picked up in intensity a little bit before turning back into light rain and then stopping completely. It was enough to get me wet but not enough to get me soaked. One thing is for sure - when raindrops hit you in the face at 35 miles an hour, they hurt. I rode down to the gas station and took a candy bar break in order to reenergize myself for the rest of the ride home.

After a few minutes rest I took off my arm warmers and headband and full-fingered gloves, and headed out the door. I saw the motocycle guy getting gas and we waved at each other. A glance at the sky told me that my dealings with the rain weren't over yet, and before I got to the Triangle Grocery I was getting wet again. Luckily, it stayed a light rain and in a few miles it stopped. It remained cloudy and cool for the rest of the ride home, but the rain was over with. I was thankful that it only rained on me on the downhills and not the uphills.

I spun my way in a low gear back up 337 to my house. I was surprised to see that I was able to complete this ride in less than six hours, because I felt slow and weak. Not bad. Temps were in the upper 60s and low 70s but it felt cooler because of the rain and clouds.

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