Jun 11, 2009

Riding in New Mexico

As promised this one is about the riding in New Mexico. First off, the elevation made things interesting, coming from Sugar Land which is at sea level and heading up to Santa Fe which starts at 7000' made riding a bit tougher.

IMG_0489Santa-FeOn my first ride I started from the Comfort Inn on Cerillos Rd, I rode up Cerillos to Hyde Park Rd, then on up to the Chamisa trailhead, that took an hour of steady climbing to get to. There were two trailheads in the parking lot, I took the trailhead that had a steep entry point, not sure if they are different trail systems. The Chamisa trail was a steady climb up to the obvious saddle at 8400-8500' I took a break at the saddle and then rather than dropping down and heading off to hook up with the Winsor trail I took a less traveled route that was described to me as a technical singletrack called 'Serpentine?' which was a great trail that runs along the ridgeline and kicks you out on to Hyde Park Rd again.

I rode back up the road till I got to Dale Ball trails and decided to take the North Trails, after banging around in that area it was time to head back to the highway again and point towards home. 10secs before the end of the trail I clipped an evergreen sapling with my Ergon bar ends going just a bit too fast and got thrown off the bike right over the handlebars. The superman flying through the air and subsequent smashing effect onto the rocks on the trail along with the associated sliding downhill caused me to smash my ankle, which I noticed immediately after trying to stand up, within a matter of seconds my ankle had ballooned up to triple sized goose egg status and as a added bonus my saddle had been torn off the rails.

IMG_0471nosaddle

I stopped by Santa Fe Mountain Sports to try and get the saddle back on the rails, they were super helpful but I had no luck getting it back on. While there one of the young guys scored me an ice bag and tensor bandage to take the swelling down, bonus!

Riding back down off the mountain and then down Cerillos for 45mins on Ti rails with no saddle was a drag - not the highlight of the Santa Fe trip.

IMG_0475kneehighThe next couple of days I popped ibuprofen and wore compression socks to keep the ankle swelling down. I took this image on an evening ride the following day, somewhere out in the Santa Fe desert, it's probably a good thing not too many people had to witness the knee high cycling socks they are quite a sight. The ankle was hurting quite a bit but I wanted to see if it could handle the pedaling load and it did.

I decided to wear the compression socks for the next few days to keep reducing the swelling, I don't think I will travel without them again, they have come in super handy even if they make me look like an old German tourist.

One thing that worked out really well after the accident was the Santa Fe commuting trails. The city has mile after mile of pedestrian trails dedicated for running, walking and cycling and after Doreen gave me the finger wagging "you have to be careful" speech I spent the rest of my time in Santa Fe on tarmac, still getting in some good elevation gain trg.

IMG_0468TaosIn Taos I got some good advice (and a challenge) from a local bike shop called Gearing Up. After discussing all the recent rain in the area and snow up at the higher elevations I had to cross the South Boundary Trail off the list and started making plans for Devisadaro Peak. The trailhead is only a 3mile ride from Taos, that's pretty convenient. After chatting a bit with one of the mechanics he figured I wouldn't do more than 2 loops of the trail, I told him I would get in at least 3 loops, we bet beer on it. Shortly after that conversation I decided to ride out and take a look at the trail for the next morning's ride. I ended up doing a loop that evening, it took me an hour to do the loop providing approx 1500' vert gain. Loads of climbing for the first 40mins and nearly all technical descending for the last 20mins, quite a bit of the technical was tricky and a ton of really tight switchbacks with no room for error based on the drop-offs, a couple of spots had me getting off the bike to walk through the rock garden. It was loads of fun and I think I smiled the whole 3 miles of road riding back to the hotel. The route can be found here.

The next day I started riding from the trailhead at 1130hrs and ended up with 4 x loops. Good for approx 6,000' vert gain, totally fun! I made sure to take an iPhone shot every time I hit the peak (just for laughs). It took me nearly 5hrs till I got back down to the road. The entire time I only saw one other rider. The most memorable point of the ride was ripping along the ridgeline while U2's "Where the streets have no name" was blasting on the iPod, perfect weather, sun streaming through the Aspen's and the trail all to myself. Nice.

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IMG_0501lap3IMG_0502lap4

IMG_0507fattyburritoBack down in Taos it was off to Eske's brew pub (still in riding gear) for a pint of their ESB and a pint of their guest tap, Stone's Brewery 'Arrogant Bastard' along with an order of 'The Fatty Burrito'. Doreen and the boys walked over from the hotel a few minutes after I had ordered my pint.

Sitting on the patio in the sun in a perfect 75 degrees - was worth 1 million dollars. The black and purple bruising on my right ankle, left hip, left leg and left hand are barely noticeable after a day like this.

Tomorrow we are heading in the direction of Durango, CO. I'm not sure if we will be there tomorrow evening or somewhere in between. With no real concrete plans I guess it will be wherever the wind takes us. We still have another couple of weeks until we have to be in Vancouver to get ready for BCBR. Hopefully all this riding at altitude is going to pay off. ;-)

I want to give a shout out to Ray "harder than steel nails" Porter who starts racing the Tour Divide Race tomorrow at 1000hrs. Over the last 2yrs in Texas I've raced against Ray, had lots of laughs with Ray and my family has hung out with Ray and Gina in their pit at various races. It's was always good to see them at an event (was it ever a serious event unless Ray "capable of folding time and space" Porter was there?). Anyway, you can track Ray at their blog, Gina is going to be making daily updates. To learn more about the race you can go here.

I'd like to do the Tour Divide Race some day, mainly so I can beat Ray's time by at least 5mins. ;-)

Go Ray "hardest man in Texas" Porter, Go!!!

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