My favorite ride of the year is finally year here! The last long difficult training ride of the year - a 70 mile ride with over 4500' of elevation gain - and also wonderful team building ride (route here). Several riders met at the Journal Center Railrunner parking lot in the full dark of 5:40 am. They then slowly and carefully made their way the 10 miles to meet up with other riders at O'Neill's at 6:30 am. From there we all rode along the southern edge of the city to the final rally point to pick up additional riders at the Tramway Smiths. There were 10 of us riding today - Eric, Laura, John, Evil Gary, Good Gary, Danielle, Craig, Greg, Olga, and Captain Snookums - plus Calvin who was riding out to Tijeras with us.
The hard part of the ride is the first 20 miles, where you slowly pedal from ABQ up to the Triangle - a 20 mile ride with 1800' of constant climbing. Spirits were high though as we slowly made our way through the canyon. We were blessed with beautiful cool weather after yesterdays rains (the high of the day was ~84 deg). At the first rally point we all stopped to refill water bottles and eat. We were also surprised by Jeff, who materialized suddenly at the rally point. Jeff kept his record of showing up unannounced and unexpected on 3 of 3 rides this year.
|Yeah, it is this gorgeous|
From this point, we had the first downhill leg of the trip - doing a quick 5 leg keeping a brisk pace of ~22 mph for most to the way. The next 20 miles were a series of rolling ups and downs, gaining back all the elevation we lost in the last 5 miles. Three riders peeled off to do the infamous Heart Break Hill (Jeff, Eric, and Evil Gary) - a short 2 mile ride with extreme grades in excess of 15%.
|Pace line heading out of Madrid - Eric looks happy!|
The last 15 miles into Santa Fe was a slow climb out of the Madrid valley back. Compared to last year, this leg of the ride was almost pleasant. It was relatively cool, and a wind which seemed to be circling, sometimes opposing us but it mostly felt as if it was speeding us on our way. We rolled into El Parasol, on the sourthern edge of Santa Fe around 12:30, a total ride time of about 4:30. We all stuffed our selves silly with great New Mexican food. After a slight rest we then biked over to the Santa Fe Brewing Tasting Room to have a well earned beer.
|The best lunch of the year!|
From here it was a quick ride over to the Rail Runner stop to catch the 3:48 train back to ABQ. We were a little surprised when we saw the train approaching from the south. They were running about an hour late, and a bike sympathetic conductor encouraged all of us to get on here, ride north into Santa Fe before returning back to ABQ. Good advice - as Spanish Market was today so the southbound train was very, very full.
|Not sure why I appear to be embarrassed by my teammates.|