So there was this bucket list item....done yesterday. The Ski Hill road in Santa Fe, aka NM475, aka Hyde Park Road. Last time I broke 10k altitude via human two-wheeled power was around 2007 during the Red River Century. (That pic on the masthead was taken on the Red River circuit, with me on the Six-Thirteen and long dormant co-blogger Scott following closely on the Litespeed).
The Santa Fe Ski Basin route goes sinuously up into first the Sangre de Cristo foothills and then into the high peaks. From the home base in Casa Solana its about 1.5 miles of flat warmup to Artist Road, followed by about 16 miles of relentless climbing. Suitable for a TdF stage, I suppose. Probably not Hors Categorie (the average grade is about 4%; the 4 mile NM-4 climb into the Jemez is about 7%), but perhaps Hors Old Fat Guy. The Strava page here shows the gritty details better than the NM Touring Society illustration below. As far as my time compared to folks like Ferrara Fortunato, don't even ask.
|Santa Fe Ski Basin profile, courtesy of the New Mexico Touring Society|
Aside from getting enough oxygen to these old legs as I pushed towards 10,000 feet, the only other problem on the uphill was that my recently rebuilt right shoulder still fatigues before my left when pulling on the bars in hard climbs. But the psychological lift on hitting the imaginary red kite near the top (see Patrick Brady's beautiful description of the power of the red kite here), and then my personal finish line was enough to convince me to do the happy dance out of the saddle and then my usual Fates to the Damn Wind Screaming Descent™. Fortunately, there is not another Fabio Casartelli style memorial on the road resulting from my ride back down the hill yesterday.
Ok, bring it on...whatever "it" is. I feel whole again, albeit still a little overweight.
|If the city limit doesn't end, does the city go on forever? Another rider, in picture, tackling what Patrick O'Grady calls The Big Hill|
|Around 8500-9000 ft you go through Hyde Park|
|End of the road, circa 10,250|
|Road actually tops out at about 10,300 ft a little before the ski basin at Vista Grande Overlook|
|I'm not dead yet...|