Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  62.23
Time =  6:31:13
Ave. Speed =  9.5
Max. Speed =  41.0
Monthly Dist. =    85.04
Yearly Dist. =  251.36

I left the house around 8:15 a.m. and headed out into the coolness of a mid 30s morning. I'm not sure what I was thinking, as far as clothing goes. I must have had it in my mind that the day would quickly get warm, and then stay that way. I had on the thinnest of long underwear under my bike shorts and my windbreaker. Hindsight would tell me that I should have brought a warmer jacket.

I headed down 337 and I was riding against a very strong headwind. I said a quick "uh-oh" in my mind and prepared myself for what I knew was going to be a blustery day. I made it down to the sidewalk on the other side of the freeway where I took off my headband and changed my heavy gloves for half-finger gloves. Temps were up and winds were down. I cruised through Cedar Crest and took a break at my spot near the Y. Earlier in the year, after we had that big storm, I thought that we might get enough runoff to have water flowing in the creek at my break spot, but it hasn't happened. Maybe next year.

This was the first ride to the crest for the pro version of my bicycle app, and I have learned a few things. My regular bike computer exaggerates my mileage by a little bit, which I knew, but by less than I thought. It's less than 2%. At least the bike computer gets it right as far as time is concerned. The computer stops when the bike stops. Simple. Not so with the bicycle app. It's relying on gps and not a spinning wheel to detect motion, so it has a difficult time detecting a stop when it's in my pocket. It's ride took about an hour longer!

I headed out from my break and started up the long climb. Early on the winds began acting crazy. One minute there would be a headwind and the next minute there would be a tailwind and the next minute there would be no wind at all. I never knew what to expect. It was the worst when a gust of wind would come from the side and try to push me around. I managed to stay on the road and upright, so things could have been worse.

I made it up to Capulin where I took a quick break, just long enough to eat a PowerBar, and then I headed out. Temperatures had fallen drastically and I put my headband back on and my medium gloves. It started to sink in that I had made a mistake with my jacket selection. I was okay when the air was still but when the wind started to really blow, I started to really feel it.

I made it to the top and there were a group of tourists gathered around a couple people who were catching finches and measuring and weighing them. They were so engrossed in what was going on that I had to ask them to move so that I could get in the door. I only stayed long enough to check the snack bar for cookies, which they didn't have, and then I headed down the mountain. It was 30 degrees at the top.

There's still a lot of snow at high elevations but it has melted back from the road and there was no water on the pavement that I had to ride through. That was nice. Not so nice was the first six miles of the downhill that were very cold, due to low temperatures, high winds, and my being underdressed. I learned a lesson that I know I have learned before. What was I thinking?

I watered up in the gas station at the bottom and then I was heading for home. Temps were in the 50s at lower elevations and I was happy again. The ride back up 337 was a workout, but it was a mostly tailwind assisted workout. Nice! When I got back to the house I checked the app for elevation gained. More than 8000 feet!

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