Wednesday,February 8, 2017

Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  61.35
Time =  6:52:14
Ave. Speed =  8.9
Max. Speed =  39.8
Monthly Dist. =    61.35
Yearly Dist. =  122.95

I left the house a few minutes after 8:00 a.m. Temps were right around 30 degrees and it would warm up nicely as the day went on. It was also windy with occasional gusts that would almost blow me off the road.

I rode down 337 and then stopped when I reached the sidewalk on the other side of I40 to take off my heavy gloves and hat and put on my medium gloves and headband. I continued riding through Cedar Crest and took my break at the Y.

I started the climb toward the top thinking that maybe I would skip my break at Capulin and try riding non-stop to the crest. It sounded like a good idea in my mind but as I approached Capulin the fatigue that my body was feeling overcame my mental bad judgement. I had to remind myself that I really do this for the fun of it. Why suffer? I should probably add -- More than necessary. (Define "necessary")

My picnic table was snowed in at Capulin so I found a spot on the pavement that was dry and in the sun and ate a PowerBar. The wind was really blowing hard and when I tried to make my way uphill again, I could barely move. I was struggling to keep my bike on the road in the face of gale force winds and a roar through the trees that was making my music hard to hear. I wanted to quit. I might have quit except for the fact that it wasn't cold. Temps were in the 40s and I would be a fool to give up and not make it to the top. Onward!

The headwinds were only temporary. They would die down around the next curve and sometimes even turn into tailwinds. When I got up to 10,000 feet and about 2 1/2 miles to go, the winds disappeared altogether and everything was calm. It felt like I had ridden through the jet stream and now I had reached a peaceful place. It was kind of surreal, as if I had reached some kind of reward for my efforts. I might as well enjoy it!

When I reached the top everything appeared to be closed. The only car in the parking lot was a guy who had just pulled in and he was headed for the restrooms. I didn't even bother to ride up to the building. Now, I was glad that it was relatively warm out and I wasn't going to get hypothermia if I couldn't get inside to warm up. Temps felt like they were in the upper 20s which is fairly mild at 10,678 feet in early February. I stopped in the parking lot just long enough to tuck in, zip up, put on my my heavy gloves and overmitts as well as my hat and face mask, and down the mountain I went.

I stopped near the ski area, where the road starts going uphill, and I took off my overmitts and face mask. The snow looked pretty decent on the mountain and the skiing is probably okay. I still won't ski there but it's nice to see decent conditions. Too bad they are only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays -- if they are lucky.

I stopped at the gas station to fill up on water and then headed for home. It had warmed up considerably and I was able to put on my half-fingered gloves. That would be the 4th different pair of gloves that I wore during this ride. Temps were probably in the upper 50s.

The climb back up 337 was its usual bit of a grind, but I made it!

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