Sunday morning I met the Scalo Veloce bicycle team at Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters for a classic ride called around the mountain. Here’s a map. Here’s the soundtrack. The ride circumnavigates the Sandia Mountains. I first heard about this ride from Michael Hernandez while I lived in Reno, NV. This ride is helping me put new roots down.
The pace was relaxing as most folks oriented towards racing this time of year are doing the cyclocross series.
The railroad tracks that carry the Railrunner, the commuter train between Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and the valley communities south, are adjacent to this roadway. The Fall has been splendidly mild here. What a great day today.
The Day of the Tread festivities–charitable bike rides, walks and runs–were happening today and we passed some of the riders along the route. It is inspiring to see the community come together around activities that share in the spirit of celebrating life by creating new adventures, and helping others along the way. The difference in the Scalo ride was once through Placitas and the paved road came to an end, we kept going on the dirt to traverse the mountain. All the charity riders turned around, being perhaps more reasonable adventurers. They were following their course, we were following ours. It was fun to overlap a bit.
Las Huertas canyon is the secret way up the Sandia Mountains. There is a cave with ancient history. A stream. Piñon and Juniper trees changing to Ponderosa then Spruce and Fir then back again in areas with high sun exposure.
We regrouped at the top of dirt climb. It is funny how the suffering you endure on the climbing melts away on the summit. The giddy feelings of accomplishment and a roaring descent turn the corners of the mouth up. Going down the Crest road on new pavement towards Sandia Park is a blast.
The Crest byway is a good road. My favorite ride is up this and then down this. Honestly if they allowed me to take the aerial tramway home at the top I wouldn’t necessarily bother all the time with the descent, especially in winter. I like climbing! After descending the Crest we meandered through the east mountains heading back south again before making a coffee stop at the Pedaler’s Café. Home through Tijeras Canyon completed the loop around the mountain.