Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Las Campanas - Cycling

Riding west on Gov. Miles Rd
32mi Loop, 2hrs
Shoulders, bike lanes, light traffic

I hadn't been out on the roads all year until my leg crapped-out on me in October, but now I've been out several times because it's the only activity I can get out and do comfortably. Ticking off miles in the saddle I mostly think about how getting back into decent running shape is going to be painful. I also think about how being on the roads alongside cars is really freaking dangerous.

Roads are ridiculously dangerous even without the damn cars - there are tire swallowing cracks, potholes, debris, sand traps on corners, and goatheads seemingly everywhere (sudden flats). If concerns related to self-preservation and mortality can be successfully set aside, the benefits are many - miles and miles of new hills and trails and panoramic views, speed, and an other-worldly feeling of never growing tired.

The roads most free of cars are out in Las Campanas. Traveling through there at dusk, it's almost as though it's one large opulent ghost town.  Perfect for riding.  When traveling west to east the views of Tesuque and Baldy Peaks are magnificent.  With a near-full moon rising up over Picacho and Atalaya peaks just to the south, the experience makes you want to yelp and holler into the rushing wind like a coyote. I got to watch a cool gray and orange electrical storm over the peaks a couple weeks ago. I don't see these things when I'm watching my footfalls on a trail.

Ride-stopping sunset over the Jemez in Las Campanas

Riding west on the SF River Trail
Big loops and out-and-backs surround town but I keep heading out to Las Campanas. One large loop of about 32mi will take you from the Zia Rd railtrail T/H out to NM 599, up and through Las Campanas and along Tano Rd, returning on Old Taos Highway, through downtown, and back up the railtrail to the starting point. Shorter loops of 22mi-27mi can be had by cutting that loop short via Buckman Rd and Camino La Tierra or Camino de los Montoyas. I prefer to ride counter-clockwise, finishing up riding through downtown.

Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving.  I hear the snow is pretty nice up in southern Colorado this week - might need to go see for myself...

A happy red cloud that followed me around for an hr.

View SF Road Ride - 35mi in a larger map

Related Posts:
 - The Santa Fe Century & Gran Fondo
 - Cycling's Grand Tour comes to Colorado - US Pro Cycling Challenge

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