08/05/06

Location =  Tijeras to Sandia Crest  
Distance =  60.70
Time =  5:26:27
Ave. Speed =  11.2
Max. Speed =  39.5
Monthly Dist. =    96.64
Yearly Dist. =  1968.56

It's a new month, and it's time to make another attempt on the Sandia Crest, whether I'm ready or not. Today, I was more of the "not", and less of the "ready". Things started out well, I carried lots of speed down the mountain, and through Cedar Crest, but when I turned and began the real climb, it was obvious that I didn't have what it takes. I got into my granny gear early, and pretty much stayed that way, for the entire climb. About 3 miles up, I stopped and took a power bar break, put on my arm and leg warmers, and felt a little bit better.

I continued upward, and at the ski area, clouds closed in, and the world became very gray. Between there, and the top, intermittently, the sun would come out, and my spirits would be briefly lifted.

With about 4 miles to go until the top, I could feel leg cramps starting to come on, so I slowed my already crawling pace, and drank more water. With 3 miles to go, and no water left, cramps in my left leg brought my ride to a halt. I stood at the side of the road, straddling my bike for 10 minutes, suffering unbearable agony. I was hoping that a miracle would occur, and a car would stop and offer me something to drink, but no such luck. I knew that I could turn around and make it back down to the bottom, and get something to drink at the gas station, but my goal was the top, and I didn't want to be denied. I got back in the saddle, and pedalled mostly with my right leg, and made it.

I went in to the snack bar, and proceeded to spend nearly $13.00 on gatorade, and candy bars. That crap is expensive when it has to be trucked all the way to the top of the mountain. It didn't really matter what it cost, because I needed it to save my life. My hands were so cold that they took nearly an hour to warm up, and start functioning normally. It was about 50 degrees at the top, which isn't terribly cold, but it sure affected me in a bad way.

Having re-energized, I was ready for the trip downhill. I put on my jacket, and headed down. At the bottom, I stopped at the gas station to take off my jacket, and then headed back to Tijeras. I rode on the sidewalk, instead of the side of the road, because construction had the lanes messed up. I made it to the Ranger Station, where I was able to fill up my camelback with water, take off my arm warmers, and get ready for the climb back up to the house.

As I started to climb, a very large, very dark, very scary, cloud began to form just off to the east. The higher I rose in elevation, the bigger, and darker, and scarier it became. Soon, bright flashes of light came out of it, followed by tremendous thunder claps. All I could think of was please don't rain on me, please don't rain on me, please don't rain on me....

Thankfully, it didn't.



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