La Luz

“You do that for a while and you really build your strength up.”  T. Emmanuel on practicing.

big cholla cactus at the base of La Luz

big cholla cactus at the base of La Luz

La Luz is a most beautiful climb to practice bicycling on.  It is easily accessible from town but it takes you a world away.  You climb 975 vertical feet in two road miles.  That’s steep.  It begins at about 6,000′ and goes up to 7,000′.  There’s a trailhead for a path leading to the top of the Sandia Crest at the end of the road.  Many people run up that trail and then take the Aerial Tram back down.  There is usually very little car traffic on La Luz.  The road is windy so be careful.

La Luz is also known as Forest Road 333 and begins at the NE corner of Tramway

La Luz is also known as Forest Road 333 and begins at the NE corner of Tramway.  View from the base of La Luz.

Scintillating sky, mountain blue

The climb lures you in gently

The climb begins gently and lures you in

Scintillating mountain blue sky

Last winter I lifted weights in the gym.  This winter I’m looking forward to spending more time on the bike.  I much prefer being outside.  La Luz helps build strength and power.

you cover a lot of ground in two miles and come up face to face with the immense wall of mountain rock

you cover a lot of ground in two miles and come up face to face with the immense mountain

pinyon pine trees give off a sweet aroma and the air smells as clean as it looks

piñon pine trees exude a sweet aroma.  The air is pure goodness up here

Everywhere you look is inspiring and you are going slow enough to appreciate it

Everywhere you look is inspiring and you are going slow enough to appreciate it

The Sandia Pueblo call the range Bien Mur=Big Mountain

The Sandia Pueblo calls the range Bien Mur=Big Mountain

“All I’m interested in is this” Tommy Emmanuel tells us regarding his guitar playing.  Bicycling is the same for me.  My triathlete friends blow my mind.  I thrive on simplicity.  I am trying to learn to play new tunes on my one instrument.  That is endlessly challenging.

La Luz is one long crescendo

La Luz is a crescendo

2014.11.3 La Luz 180

The final bend before the top

The final bend before the top

Give La Luz a try after you have some base level training.  There is one hill more difficult than this in the area called Heartbreak Hill.  That is over on the other side of the Sandias and I’ll try it for a ride report.  The Sandia Crest Road Race goes over Heartbreak.

practicing on this climb humbles one

practicing on this climb humbles and uplifts

a road curving up

a road curving up toward a big adventure

felt sky

felt sky

You can play this climb over again, or do other climbs in the nearby foothills, or drop down Tramway toward the river and come back for an approach kind of like a tempo climb before you turn onto La Luz and go as hard as you can go

La Luz is a grand way to cap off a ride

You can do repeats on La Luz, or simply do it once.  You can combine it with other nearby climbs in the Sandia foothills, or drop down Tramway toward the river (elevation 5,000′) and come back for a tempo climb approach before you turn onto La Luz and go as hard as you can go.  La Luz is a great one for recruiting muscle fibers to work through your pedal stroke, and for training the ones you’ve got to sustain power!  Build the aerobic engine by climbing lots.

 

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