Friday, May 12, 2017
Location = To Sandia Crest and Back Distance = 61.42 Time = 8:55:28 Ave. Speed = 6.9 Max. Speed = 37.8 Monthly Dist. = 61.42 Yearly Dist. = 335.16
I left the house a little bit after 8:00 a.m. and headed down the mountain. It was a cool 45 degrees but it would warm up quickly and become a beautiful day. I hadn't been working out very much so I was planning on taking it easy and just enjoying the ride. Little did I know, this would turn into an agonizing ride from hell.
I started out with my arm and leg warmers on and my medium gloves and thin headband. I took off the gloves and headband when I reached the sidewalk on the other side of I40. I cruised through Cedar Crest and took my usual break at the Y. I began the climb up to the crest and as I passed the hairpin curve just above Doc Long Picnic Area, I noticed that my bike felt sluggish. I realized that my rear tire was going flat so I pulled over and changed out my tube. After a few minutes I was back on the road and heading up. There were a lot of other bike riders out who were also climbing the mountain and they were all passing me. I didn't mind a bit and I kept to my slow and steady pace and kept on climbing. As I approached my next break spot at Capulin I had a couple of twinges of cramps in my legs so I drank a bunch of water and sucked down my energy drink. I ate a PowerBar at Capulin and then continued my climb.
As I neared the 10K trailhead the cramps came back and started to get worse. I drank more water and slowed my pace to a crawl. About a quarter mile before the Ellis Trailhead my legs seized up with severe cramps in both my quads and hamstrings. I got off my bike and just stood there holding it as I drank more water. It wasn't helping. A rider coming down the mountain noticed me in my distress and asked if he could help. He ended up pouring his energy drink into my empty bottle and I drank it down and got back on the bike. I couldn't turn back now -- I was only about a mile and a half from the top.
I made it about a half a mile further and the worst cramps that I have ever experienced gripped me like an electrocution. I fell off of my bike and just laid in the dirt in total agony. A couple guys in a pickup truck pulled over and asked me if I was okay. I was not okay and they ended up tossing me a half filled bottle of vitamin water. I drank that down and in a few minutes I was back on my bike and trying to ride the last three quarters of a mile that separated me from the top.
I pedalled as slowly as I possibly could and eventually I made it up to the parking lot and thankfully stopped by the wall near the snack bar. I was going to go inside and buy several Powerades but that's when I realized that I had forgotten my wallet. Could this ride get any worse? I decided that I would try and call my wife for help and ask her if she would bring me some money. She wasn't home. I knew that she was at a neighbor's house but I didn't have her phone number. I called another neighbor to get that phone number, but when I called it she didn't answer because she didn't recognize my number. Just then a guy who had overheard my distress came out of the snack bar and gave me a Fruit Punch Powerade. My favorite flavor! I drank that down and finished off what little water I had left and I headed down the mountain to try and get to the gas station at the bottom.
I made it and I was able to fill up on water but I really needed some electrolytes. I tried calling Josh because I knew that he lived nearby, but he was in Rio Rancho. Another rider overheard my plea for help and he gave me three dollars to go in and buy a Gatorade. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, to all four of the strangers who helped me out in my hour of need. I could never have made it without you. I wasn't out of trouble yet though, because I still had to ride back through Cedar Crest and make the ten mile climb back up 337 to get to the house.
I removed my arm warmers and leg warmers and I was headed for home. I could barely turn the pedals but I wasn't going to give up now. I drank a lot of water as I made my way back and as a result I had to pull over and pee about every fifteen minutes. I had one more agonizing attack of cramps that had me standing next to the bike for a few minutes, but I was able to continue after a little bit of rest.
I felt a huge sigh of relief as I turned onto Raven Road knowing that I only had one more steep hill to climb and I could coast back to the house and walk up the final little hill. This ride, which usually takes around six and a half hours, ending up taking almost nine hours. I suffered greatly -- but I made it!!!!!
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