Around the Mountain

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 North Diversion Trail is a multi use path that follows a water channel. Famous for great views during Balloon Fiesta

The North Diversion Trail is a multi use path that follows a water channel. Famous for great views during Balloon Fiesta

Chis and JP with Sandia Mountains above town

Chis and JP with Sandia Mountains above town

crossing the Rio Grande approaching the Sandia Pueblo lands where we'll turn north to Bernalillo

crossing the Rio Grande approaching the Sandia Pueblo lands where we’ll turn north to Bernalillo

The pace was relaxing as most folks oriented towards racing this time of year are doing the cyclocross series.

We are going around those mountains you see. Part of the traverse involves a dirt road

We are going around those mountains you see. Part of the traverse involves a dirt road

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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 Sandia Pueblo and Mountains highlighted by Sunday morning sun

The Sandia Pueblo and Mountains highlighted by Sunday morning sun

313 north to Bernalillo is a great bike road edged by farm and ranch land, views of the Sandia Mountains, and trees along the Rio Grande

313 north is enveloped by farm and ranch land, views of the Sandia Mountains, and trees along the Rio Grande

from Bernalillo we climbed up to Placitas

from Bernalillo we climbed up to Placitas

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.

an old church on the scenic route through Placitas

an old church on the scenic route through Placitas

some steepness here

some steepness here

with climbing comes the views

with climbing comes the views

twisting around the north side of the Sandias

twisting around the north side of the Sandias

last stretch before the dirt. All the pavement here is buttery smooth

last stretch before the dirt. All the pavement here is buttery smooth

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.

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Las Huertas connects to the main road up the Crest, which has just been repaved to the aki area

Las Huertas connects to the main road up the Crest, which has just been repaved to the ski area

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.

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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.

the east mountain landscape is a relaxed and approachable place, character also embodied by the people

the east mountain landscape is a relaxed and approachable place, a character embodied by the people

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Cedro Peak in the background

Cedro Peak in the background

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good ride today

good ride today

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