Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another Nice Fall Day in the Mountains

I was going to do a Bandelier Loop today, but decided to take advantage of moderate temperatures and the fact that I overdressed and so headed up the mountain instead. It really was a glorious ride.

Start of ~7-8% descent back towards Los Alamos 
from the top of the Jemez climb.
Lest anyone think my recent screed about Strava was a damnation of spirited riding, it is anything but that. The bottom line is to have fun but consider one's responsibility to the public, if not to one's own skin. NM4 on the Bandelier Loop and up in the mountains has a dearth of crosswalks, downhill "bombs" into busy intersections in the Castro District, or school zones to contend with. One's principle worries are excessive speed (such that you lose control, overcook a curve, or god forbid, get a ticket), gravel, F150's, "surprises", especially on blind curves (such as bloggers stopping along the side of the road to take pictures), or herds of elk and deer suddenly crossing the road in front of you. I've seen or heard of all of that and more--this is anything but a closed course. So control your bike, don't force anyone else to do something risky to save your careless ass, and have a good time. Be aware though, that good ascenders can gain minutes on adversaries to the seconds gained, at considerable risk, by good descenders hell-bent on making up time. 

As far as online counts of who is beating whom in online competitions, I can assure you that some of the local folks logging times on the Strava site can probably lap me on the Bandelier course in one loop. But unless one is racing under identical conditions, its not clear to me what having the "best time" really means when it comes to close competitions. Does it mean you had a tailwind and I had a headwind? Who the hell knows...its all about enjoying the ride and enjoying honest competition.

Shortly after you top the main climb into the Jemez you get to a tight
downhill hairpin.  A few years back, a cyclist and motorcyclist "apexing" in
 opposite directions met each other nearly head-on here, resulting in serious injuries.
Other side of the hairpin, both being fast descents

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