Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Santa Fe Ride Recap - part 1

JDRF ride #14 is finished. Santa Fe was one of the hardest JDRF rides we've done yet. The city is 7,000 feet above sea level and there was over 4,000 feet of climbing on the route I did. Oh, and it was 38 degrees at the starting line. But more on all that later.

Tom and Mary at the San Antonio Springs trail head.
Understanding that the New Mexico elevation may be an issue, Mary and I went out there a few days early. Our plan was to do some hiking and get acclimated to the conditions. Our first two nights we stayed in a bed and breakfast in Jemez Springs that was 6,300 feet above sea level. Figured that was a good start. We noticed right away how dry the air is. We immediately started using our Death Valley hydration protocol. We both had mild headaches the first two days, but those went away as we drank more water and took a little vitamin I.

On Wednesday we drove the rental car up into the mountains to the San Antonio Hot Springs Trail (8,000 feet above sea level). It was snowing as went up the mountain. We wanted to drive the access road and park at the trail head that is only a mile from the hot springs. However, the "road" was barely passable. When we found an abandoned car in a mud hole about two miles in, we decided to park and walk the remaining three miles to the springs. The hike was worth it. The view was great and the hot springs felt great, even though it started to snow on us as we were getting out of the water. We hiked for about a mile in the snow. Although it was cold out, it didn't feel as cold as a similar temperature in Michigan. The dry air and lack of wind are probably to account for that.

The canyon at Bandelier National Monument.
On Thursday we met up with some of our JDRF team mates and went hiking in Bandelier National Monument. It's interesting getting to the monument, as you have to drive past the national laboratory in Los Alamos. That's where the built the first atomic bomb. You still need to go through security checkpoints when entering or leaving the city. The hike was done in two parts. The first was through a canyon to a waterfall. According to the ranger at the information center we were in luck because the waterfall was actually running that day. It's been very dry in that part of New Mexico and for most of the summer there was no waterfall. We saw some amazing rock formations that looked like tents that have been eroded away. The second part of the hike was to a 500 year old cliff dwelling. We were able to climb up into a few of the dwellings. It's amazing that anyone could live in a space that small.

After Bandelier we headed to Santa Fe to check into the hotel and get ready for ride weekend. I'll go into more detail about the ride in Part Two. Did I mention that it was hard?

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