Sandia Crest Road Race: Southern Rockies Racing at its Finest

“Albuquerque’s got a lot of history…a lot of great races.  Road and Mountain Bike.”
–Ned Overend, 1st mountain biking world champion in 1990, and still racing (and winning!)

One of the best races in the West is this Sunday, the Sandia Crest Road Race.  It’s starts in Albuquerque and finishes at over 10,000 feet in elevation at the crest of the Sandia Mountains.  Beginning racing licenses are available, so anyone can do it providing you have the fitness and preparation.  This course is one of the best in America, and on par with excellent venues such as the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic from Durango to Silverton, Colorado.

Register for the Sandia Crest event here

The Sandia Crest road is a National Scenic Biway

The Sandia Crest road is a National Scenic Byway.  There is an Aerial Tram to the top for an easier ride

This is a difficult ride.  So why would people do it?  I think road racing and especially events with big hill climbs are a metaphor for life.  Nothing worth doing is easy.  The rewards match the challenge.  You’ll get to a point on the Crest climb where you are not sure that you are up to the task.  Seeing that through is a test of faith and self reliance.  It’s amazing what resources you can find to overcome, or how much one little thing like a sip of water, a break in the gradient, a deep breath or someone calling your name can do to restore your rhythm.  The sense of accomplishment at the finish can be a big release.  I get a heightened sense of appreciating simple things like water, food, and rest.  The intensity that a race brings to the Crest climb can make a relatively short moment–about an hour of climbing for the quickest–expand into a longer journey, one that can help bring life into focus.  Sharing the challenge with a supportive community is extraordinary, and the energy from so many valiant people spreads inspiration.

Highlights of the 2013 Sandia Crest Road Race courtesy of Chad Patterson, Proview Networks:
Heartbreak Hill  Good footage here of the riders struggling up one of N. Mexico’s steepest hills
Kip Taylor, winner, being interviewed post race.  “You start getting those doubts in your head…you can’t push that away…work with it…Just believe in yourself”.
Ned Overend, cycling great, interviewed post race.  “It feels good to finish third out here.”
“I was in trouble when there were still five guys in the group.  Fortunately for me there were some other guys that were in worse trouble than me.”  –Ned Overend
The whole race.   There’s some footage of me on the Crest climb around the 2:05-2:15  mark.  The race, like life, is very humbling.

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