02/04/06

Location =  Sandia Crest Loop  
Distance =  79.38
Time =  8:24:15
Ave. Speed =  9.4
Max. Speed =  48.0
Monthly Dist. =    79.38
Yearly Dist. =  252.11

Leave it to me to find a way to take something that is already hard, and make it harder. That's what I did for this months streak ride. It wasn't enough that I take my road bike, and ride up to the top of the crest on my usual route. Nooooo...... That would be too easy. I've got to change things up, and take my mountain bike, so I can climb the highway on the north side of the mountain, which involves more than seven miles of dirt road. This route is only about three miles longer, but the weight of the mountain bike, compared to the road bike, is huge, and climbing up the gravel slowed me down even more. The amount of time that it took to complete this ride, almost eight and a half hours, says it all.

It began last night, when I started to prepare myself, and the bike, for the ride. My tires have been having some bad experiences with thorns and goatheads, so I bought some super duper tire liners off of the internet. These things are supposedly made of the same stuff that the Rovers crash landed onto Mars with. I installed one into my rear tire, and put in a new slime tube. I'm not taking any chances. The liners are light, but not weightless, and the wheel is pretty heavy. Oh well, that's the price I pay for living in the desert. I thought about replacing my shock with a spare that I had picked up from ebay, but decided to try and get one more ride out of my old shock. I added some air to the shock, lubed the chain, greased the pedals, and adjusted the shifting, and brakes. I put my backpack together, and I was ready to go. It was supposed to be relatively warm, so things were looking good.

I headed out at 7:30am, under very chilly conditions, with temps in the 20s. I made it to the County Line Restaurant, when I realized that my shock wasn't holding any air, so I looped around back to the house, and changed it out with my spare. I should have done it last night! I headed out again, but this time my shifting was all messed up, so I returned to the house for some more fine tuning. I threw the bike on the stand, but it shifted perfectly, and continued to, for the rest of the day. Weird. Third time was a charm, and I pulled out for good, some time after 8:30am.

For the new route, I rode down Tramway, and then up the highway to Bernalillo, and then up the next highway through Placitas, and took a break and ate a power bar, at the bottom of the dirt road. I had already put in thirty miles, just to get there. I began the climb up the road, and it was very peaceful, and beautiful. There was hardly any traffic, because of closed for the winter signs, at both ends of the road. Conditions were excellent, with some hard packed snow in the shady spots, but hardly any ice or mud. About five miles up the road, I began to get fatigued, so I stopped in the sun, and ate another power bar. I continued up to the paved highway, and headed up the final six miles or so, to the top. At the 10K trailhead parking lot, (that's 10K for 10,000 feet high), fatigue set in again, and I stopped and ate a third power bar. I had a fourth one, but I wanted to save it for possible use on the ride home. I made it to the top, where it was windy, and 33 degrees, but feeling balmy, compared to last month.

I went inside the snack bar, sweaty, cold, and thirsty. There was a big line of people buying things at the cash register, so I grabbed two bottles of Gatorade from the cooler, and told the snack bar man that I would come back and pay for them, when the line wasn't so long. He was okay with that, and I guzzled down the drinks in no time. I carry 100 ounces of water in my backpack, and when I have my road bike, I take two 16 ounce bottles on my frame. Since I had my mountain bike, I didn't have the extra bottles, and I was a little bit short in the liquid department. That's why I had to make the purchase, at the top.

I rested up for a few minutes, and then went outside and shivered in the sun for a few more minutes, and then headed down. I wanted to go back the way I had come, but my departure delays put me behind schedule, and I didn't want to be heading for home up Tramway from the Casino, in the dark, so I went back the usual route through Tijeras. This would allow me to be on the trail seperated from Tramway, instead of right next to the traffic.

The trip down the mountain was a blast. I managed to achieve a higher maximum speed on my mountain bike, than I do on my road bike. 48mph! I think that the reason I was able to go so fast was because I have better traction on the knobby tires, and more confidence in the curves. That skinny tire bike is scary. It's the difference between riding a whippet, or a rottweiler. I'll take the rotty, any day.

Streak ride number 14 is now history, and I look forward to number 15, being warmer, as springtime approaches.


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