Thursday, December 3, 2015

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  62.27
Time =  6:30:29
Ave. Speed =  9.5
Max. Speed =  39.0
Monthly Dist. =    62.27
Yearly Dist. =  998.02

I got December out of the way early. That always takes some of the pressure off. Especially, when it gets near the end of the month and maybe the weather is not so good.

I headed out at 8:00 a.m. and it was a cool 25 degrees as I left the house. My fingers and face were a little bit chilly as I rode down 337 but it wasn't too bad. It was going to be a perfect day with beautiful, blue skies and not a hint of wind. The day warmed up quickly, and by the time I made it to the sidewalk on the other side of the freeway it was warm enough to take off my heavy gloves.

I took my break at my spot near the Y and got ready for the big climb. I opened up all of my zippers and put away my headband and headed up the mountain. There was very little traffic and I was enjoying the climb. I was keeping my effort level down enough so that I wouldn't overheat. I felt strong on this ride because I have been riding the indoor bike for the last few weeks and it has started me on my way to getting back in shape. There might be some more racing in my future......

On my way up to Capulin snow started to be seen before the ski area. It's not enough to ski on but it's better than nothing. I took my break at Capulin, ate a PowerBar and then headed for the top. There were several people in cars that offered me encouragement as I climbed. That's always nice. I rolled in to the top and headed inside the gift shop to warm up and eat a cookie. The parking lot was almost empty and the temp at the top was 34 degrees. I was out of water so I zipped everything up and put on my hat and facemask and overmitts and headed down the mountain.

I was descending at a pretty fast rate of speed when a giant patch of ice appeared right in front of me. I hadn't noticed it on the way up because the uphill side of the road was in the sun and it was ice free. The downhill side was in the shade and it caught me by surprise. I grabbed as much brake as I dared and I went into the ice prepare to fishtail at least, and crash, at worst. I looked for patches of pavement that I could aim for and hope to gain traction with, but there weren't any. Somehow, I managed to stay upright. A little bit of skill combined with a little bit of luck saved the day. Phew!

I made it down to the gas station where I filled up on water and put away all of my warm clothes. The ride back through Cedar Crest and up 337 went smoothly and I made it back to the house with a smile on my face. Eleven years worth of rides to the top of Sandia Crest are behind me. How many more lay in front of me?


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