Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.12
Time =  6:28:24
Ave. Speed =  9.4
Max. Speed =  40.1
Monthly Dist. =    61.12
Yearly Dist. =  498.58

My breathing difficulties have continued and I finally went to see a doctor. A rescue inhaler and a round of antibiotics have me feeling much better. One thing is for sure -- I won't be doing any racing this year.

I left the house at 8:00 in the morning and headed to the neighbors house because we are chicken sitting for them while they are on vacation. I started my speedometer when I left their house and back tracked for 3/10ths of a mile to make the distance come out even. The temperature was about 60 degrees as I headed down 337. I had my windbreaker on but took it off when I reached the sidewalk on the other side of I40.

I rolled through Cedar Crest and then took a short break at my spot near the Y. I only stayed long enough to eat a PowerBar and then I was back on the road. About three miles up the road I started to feel twinges of a cramp in my left hamstring. I slowed down my already slow pace and increased my water consumption. That worked for a little while but the twinges came back and tried to turn into full-fledged cramps. There were several occasions where I unclipped my foot from the pedal and used it as a flat pedal. That took some of the stress off of my leg but it slowed me down even more. I was glad when I reached Capulin and I could take a break and eat another PowerBar.

There was a small field of pretty, blue flowers growing at Capulin and I took a picture while I was there. I didn't stay long and in a few minutes I was continuing to make my way to the top. Several other bikers passed me on the way up. It was a nice day to be out riding. I still had a few cramp twinges going on but I didn't let them stop me from getting to the top. I rested for a few minutes in the gift shop, then checked the temperature which was 58 degrees, and put on my windbreaker and headed down the mountain.

I went in the gas station at the bottom to get more water and I also bought a gas station burrito because I was feeling very hungry. I lost some weight while I was sick and I didn't seem to have the energy reserves that I normally do. After a few minutes I was back out on the road and heading for home.

I climbed over mailbox hill and down the other side and when I came around the curve I saw this. It's hard to tell how far away a smoke plume is that's on the horizon, but it was to the south, and so is my house. At this point I was about 16 miles from home. I picked up my pace a little bit to try and get closer to home as fast as I could, but I admit that I was struggling. Temps were now in the 80s and the closer I got to home the more it looked like the fire was coming from my neighborhood. To say the I was "freaking out" would be an understatement. All I could picture in my mind was my house in flames and my dog, Sofie, trying to save herself.

I put more effort into getting home as fast as I could and my heart rate average for the last hour was the highest it had been for the entire ride. I finally reached Raven Road and it was only then that I could tell that the fire was still eight or ten miles to the south. I breathed a huge sigh of relief that my house and dog were okay, at least for now.

The relief that I felt didn't last for very long. Over the next 48 hours the fire would go from nothing to 17,000 acres. It burned 25 square miles and came within two miles of our house. We packed up everything we wanted to save and took stuff over to our son's house and then we waited for the order to evacuate. Thankfully, that order never came. The winds changed direction and slowed the fire and firefighters came in and did the work of creating fire lines. For six days the fire was 0% contained and we could have been toast at any point, but everything that needed to happen in order to save us, did happen.

That was a very close call. Whew!

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