Location =  To Sandia Crest and Back  
Distance =  69.22
Time =  7:40:51
Ave. Speed =  9.0
Max. Speed =  40.0
Monthly Dist. =    69.22
Yearly Dist. =  1941.49

Three years of rides up to the top of Sandia Crest are now complete, and this one was very difficult, due to my poor physical condition, caused by a major lack of riding. The only things that made this accomplishment possible are determination, perseverance, and extreme stupidity. Luckily, I have ample amounts of all three, especially the stupidity part.

I have been worrying that my feet were going to be cold when I got up to high elevation, so I bought some booties to go over my shoes. Before I left on the ride I put a toe warmer inside each bootie. I don't know if they helped, but my feet weren't cold. I left the house around 8:30 in the morning, and it was starting out to be a decent day. The temps were probably in the high 30s, and I was dressed warmly. I took my time, and didn't try to go out too fast, because I know that I am out of shape.

I cruised down Tramway, through Tijeras and Cedar Crest, and then began the climb up to the crest. As soon as I made the turn onto the crest road, the wind slammed me head on. I thought I was going to be in for a tough climb, but the wind was intermittent, and sometimes it was even a tail wind. The climb was very tough, and my speed was very slow. When I reached Tree Spring, just below the ski area, I noticed that it was getting very cold, and I was getting very tired. I stopped for a power bar break, and to change the battery in my mp3 player. As I headed out of Tree Spring, there was snow on the ground, and at the side of the road. The mp3 player started to play Smoke on the Water, by Deep Purple, and then it played it again, and again, and again. I skipped to the next song, and Reach Out, by the Four Tops began to play, again, and again, and again. I finally shut the thing off, and figured I'd fix it when I got to the top.

The top was a long ways off, and at the rate that I was going, it seemed to feel like the pace of a turtle. A cold, lonely turtle. I took several brief rests on the way to the crest, and eventually I made it. It took me 4 hours and 45 minutes to get up there. I've made it in the past in as little as 3 hours. I was suffering, but my feet weren't cold, and it was 28 degrees up there. The place was deserted, with only about four cars in the parking lot. I didn't want to stick around at the top for too long, because I had run out of water about two miles from the crest, and I wanted to get down to the gas station to get some more. I tried to fix the mp3 player, and then I headed out into the cold.

As soon a I started the descent, my left eye began to tear up, and it felt like my eyelid was freezing shut. All I could do was keep it closed for the first few miles until I dropped down to a lower elevation, where it was warmer. There were a couple of places where there was snow and ice on the road, and I slowed way down for them, so as not to make my situation even worse, by crashing. The mp3 player was not fixed, and it kept playing Eleanor, by the Turtles, over and over, and over. I stopped at the ski area, and finally figured out how to turn off the "repeat one" function. It was very annoying. I did make it to the gas station, where I bought a gatorade, and filled up on water.

I thought that the worst of my troubles were behind me, and I could look forward to an easy cruise back to the house, but nooooooooooooo. As soon as I left the gas station, I immediately noticed that I couldn't breathe. A normal person would have called for someone to come and pick him up, but I don't fall into the normal category. Instead, I decide to tough it out. The downhill streches were easy, but whenever I was faced with even the tiniest of climbs, it was a huge struggle for me to try and make it. I stopped to rest several times, on what should have been the easiest part of my ride. It was taking me so long to get back, that darkness fell, and I had to stop and turn on my blinkie light, which I was smart enough to bring along. I made the climb up Tramway to the neighborhood, suffering with every turn of the pedals. When I reached Live Oak, I had to zig-zag across road, in order to take out the steepness, and get back to the house without having to dismount and walk.

I made it back to the house, and thought about how crappy I felt. I can't remember any ride where I have felt worse. It took three hours before I could finally breathe normally. I was suffering, big time. I am very glad that I made it, and I vow to get back into better shape, before I try it again next month.

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