I am basically awesome

I let my boss talk me into trying something ridiculous. With no training whatsoever (I think I’ve ridden my bike to and from work a total of 3 times in the past 4 weeks) I agreed to meet him and a reportedly slow cycling team to ride up Sandia Crest. I would estimate that the maximum amount of climbing I had previously done in a single day is probably 800 feet-ish. Ohio doesn’t provide many extended climbs… Also, the furthest I’ve ridden in one ride in the past year and 3 months is just over 14 miles.

Given that background training information, what idiot would agree to do a route that’s somewhere around 26 miles and 4000 feet of climbing? This one.

Yesterday morning I met everybody at the start of the road that heads up the mountain on my 1970s steel bike wearing a camelback and baggy shorts. If you know road cyclists, you know that all these things are totally uncool. My goal was the ski area, which is about half way to the crest. My boss took off planning to climb all the way to the crest, then go back to the ski area and do the second half of the climb again in the time the rest of us did it once. Showoff.

Anyway, the group I was with truly was slow, as evidenced by the fact that I kept up with them just fine for the first half of the climb. When we got to the ski area I decided to keep going for a while. I was fine for the next few miles, but then I ran out of steam and had to get off to walk for a little bit because I was getting lightheaded. The slow members of the cycling team left me behind then. I got back on my bike after my head had cleared, and made it to the top only a few minutes behind the last members of the cycling team. I did NOT expect to be able to ride that with no training, so I was pretty excited to have made it! Google earth says that it’s a 4,089 foot climb. Only 5x anything I’d ever done before. Nice. I forgot to start my Garmin, so this isn’t the entire elevation profile or map, but it’s pretty close.


I think I would have made it faster without the need for a walking break if I had possessed a lower set of gears. I climbed in a ridiculously high gear. Apparently people were either stronger or didn’t go up long hills back in the 70s, because everyone else there had much lower gearing than I did.

The ride down wasn’t even as terrifying as I thought it was going to be. The road is in good condition and there’s not a lot of traffic, so it’s fun. You can ride a bike faster around those corners than you can take a car, so cars are not likely to catch up to you anyway. The important thing is that I didn’t heat my rims to the point of tires exploding (not that I’m convinced my big huge tires could get enough heat from the rims for that to occur), and my brakes still worked at the end of the descent.


After the ride most of us ate at a restaurant/bar together because we were all pretty starving and there was beer. I didn’t understand the desire for beer, but I did enjoy a tasty calzone. Yesterday afternoon I got home, took a shower, then laid on the couch and pretty much didn’t get up. I was beat!

Now I’m pretty sure I’ll have to get in better shape and try it again. Maybe someday I can start from my house! That would be 48 miles round trip and 5300 ft of elevation gain…


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August 2012
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