Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Ride in the Nat'l Park

A warm Easter Sunday
Finally, Gentle Readers of This Blog - finally I get out on the Mighty Trek!  Saturday was a bust as it rained all day.  The forecast called for more rain Easter Sunday - however whatever it was that came through was gone, and now things were clear!  The temps were quickly climbing so with haste I got the bike ready and then set out right at 10 a.m. - 45 degrees - and I'm happy to report NO WIND!

On the Western Boundary of Canyon de Chelly
After the rain, and now with sunshine, the air is sweet-smelling - I can feel and taste the fragrance of sage in my lungs - it's a good healthy breathe to take, Gentle Readers of This Blog!  I'm dressed just right - there still is a bit of a head wind but it does not have that cold bite like back in February and March.

I really want to see if I can improve my time, so I'm only going down to the Mummy Cave Pullout at the Monument.  Round-trip should be right at 30 miles.  With no real heavy wind to ride into, I'm riding pretty fast (for me) and actually I'm not gasping for air as in the past.  Very slowly I think I'm getting used to the altitude of where I live.

Still, while climbing in a headwind, the heart rate on my Garmin goes up pretty high - but my chest isn't on fire like the other rides down this road.  Rain is forecast to come back later today, so I want to get out and home before the wind really starts to get going.  I can see the storm coming, but for now it is far away.

Spider Rock, and in the left top corner, Black Rock
I pulled this image out from when I drove out to Canyon de Chelly and did a hike.  Then I drove up to the Spider Rock Pullout.  You can see Black Rock up there on the left.  There has got to be a way to ride from there to where I am - one big loop.  I need to once again find that Park Ranger and see what he says.  I would only ride back on Indian 12 as last resort - it would be very dangerous.

While coming down to Mummy Cave Pullout, I was passed by some Buck driving about 100 mph - I kid you not!  It was unnerving!  Hwy 64 that runs from Tsaile to Chinle, and then to the Monument Visitor Center is a tough and rugged road - but is has a shoulder.  The speed limit is 55 and really if you drive faster than that you are inviting disaster.  You can lose control, but even as I rode, there were cows, horses, and sheep right on the shoulder.  I also passed a big deer carcass on the shoulder coming back - you can easily hit a deer and get hurt, lose control of your car, and crash and burn!

After a short rest at the Pullout, I headed back.  Normally I would have had a better tailwind, but this time it was more like a crosswind.  With about 8 or 9 miles to go, the road heads back up in a more Northeasterly direction.  That gave me my tailwind and a push up the last two big climbs before I start my fast four mile descent back to The College.

Allure Libre!
My average speed today was 14.6 MPH, which is much better than the 13.2 (or maybe it was 12. something) the first time I was out here.  This road, kind of straight and not too exciting, is a course I can ride after work - go out for an hour to the Pullout, and then return, and well before dark.

Happy Easter!  Cheers!  Bruce

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