Saturday, June 10, 2006
Cycling in the Box
I'm sure you have all heard people complain that they went out on their long ride and ended up with a head wind the entire way out and the entire way back...right. Well, that is exactly what I did this morning. I took an excellent long flat ride north out along the "El Camino Real" a.k.a. NM 313 past the the town of Bernallio, past the hamlets of Rivajana, Angostura and Algodones and out to the Pueblo of San Felipe. This is an excellent ride if you are looking to push big gears for long periods of time. The pavement is generally smooth and large sections of the route are bordered by ancient cottonwoods, acequias and the Rio Grande.
As I was ridding along I noticed that I had a bit of a head wind, nothing too bad but noticable. I was thinking, "Cool, it's nice to get the headwind out of the way while I'm fresh and ride a tailwind home." By the time I made it out to San Felipe and turned around to head back south I noticed that once again I had a head wind and thought, "What the hell!? This must just be a thermal or temporary shift or trick of my immagination or something. Surely I am not ridding BACK into a headwind." And the it dawned on me, "BLAST! the Albuquerque box!"
Now, if you are a Hot Air Balloon pilot you love the box. As a matter of fact, Albuquerque is considered the Hot Air Ballooning capital of the world specifically because of the box. The box is a weather phenomena created by the fact that Albuquerque sits in the Rio Grande river valley and is flanked on the east by the Sandia and Manzano mountains and on the west by the giant Mesas and lava flows. This particular geologic set up tends to create winds that will blow from north to south in the mornings and than from south to north as the day progresses.
Ah well, good training. I clocked 80.3 miles in 4:17:36, which isn't bad considering I relegated all my climbing to the final 20 miles with a spin out the the Jemez dam, then west NM 550 to the National Guard Armory and back home via Unser, which is the largest part of the bike leg for the Rio Rancho Duathlon.