Sunday, June 8, 2014

New Mexico and Moab!

By: Brent Moody
Starting to get hot in Arizona, so off to the higher elevation in New Mexico and Utah. I was really looking forward to getting some higher elevation rides in.

Cloudcroft, NM

Top of Cloudcroft, NM
This was on my bucket list… Big climb in only 19 miles, about 4500 feet! I started early in the am, as the wind was supposed to come up around noon time. I know I wanted to at least beat the wind going up the mountain, but I could handle it coming down. I ended up getting about 5 miles of warm up before the road quickly took a turn UP. The great thing about New Mexico is the shoulders are pretty wide. The ride up doesn’t give you many breaks, so no relaxing, but great views all the way. You go from white sands desert to a ski resort in just 19 miles. Beautiful ride up to the top, but never saw another cyclist.. could have been since it was a weekday. Definitely put this on your bucket list if you’re down in the southern New Mexico area. This fall, I’m going to take the back way up with is all gravel road, about 27 miles and a little more climbing. I reached the top feeling pretty good. I took a small rest and new I had to beat feet back down the mountain. Sure enough, wind came up strong! It about blew me off the road a few times, and pedaling down the mountain not as fun into the wind.

The Next ride was set to leave from Alamogordo and follow the “Billy The Kid Trail,” thru Ruidoso an onto Lincoln, NM. I was planning on about a 100 mile ride, which the loop out of Ruidoso to Lincoln and back would reach that mileage. I felt like an outlaw that day, just imagining and laughing of what people would think if I had “six shooters” on my side while pedaling a bike, LOL! This was a great climb for 50 miles, and the weather was perfect, no wind. I had to stop at one of the coolest looking churches I’ve seen
St. Josephs Church Mescalero, NM
St Josephs Church Doors, very cool

Once you arrive in Ruidoso, it’s a winding road, and up you go again. Cool area out there as I could imagine some of the deep canyons around there would be great hideouts for Billy the Kid. Wind came up as usual after

12 noon. I think I had some times of 30-40 mph gusts, tough rest of the ride, but worth it! Never saw another cyclist again.. Hopefully I haven’t scared them off. 
Billy The Kid Trail Blazers Mill historic site
Santa Fe, NM
Ride up Hyde Park Road
I was really looking forward to this little gem. We were only there about a week, so had to cram a few rides in and check out the area. WOW, all I can say. Amazing cycling, Amazing food and drinks, amazing art galleries. I took off the first day and road up thru Canyon Rd, which is full of art galleries and eateries. This is Old town Santa Fe, so a must to ride and dine at if you’re visiting. I really wanted some climbing today, so the starting point was at 7700 ft. I knew I was in for a long day.. The route I was looking at was up to the ski resort above Santa Fe, which had an elevation above 11,000.
Half way point to the top of Hyde Park


I did finally see some cyclists, A LOT! It was a beautiful am, no wind, temps in mid 60’s. It was a climb right out of the gate, so only had a 2 mile warm up. Once I was above Santa Fe, I battled a few flats within a couple of miles, but finally cleared that up. At least it was on my mind as I was out of Co2 cartridges and tubes. You quickly ascend out of the homes and desert into the tree line of pines and aspens. This was pretty close to heaven, clear and no noise, only me and the bike. Again, no breaks at all on the climbing and was quickly in the snow level. I started getting a little worried, on top of no tubes or Co2, that a storm was approaching. All I know is in the mountains in the spring; it can quickly turn to snow. I kept grinding determined to get to the top and see all of Santa Fe below. Most of the cyclist turned around below me, so all by myself! 

Near the Top of Hyde Park

Great trails and mtn biking around, so if you’re into that, another must go to place! This road kept bending and climbing just when you thought you might be on a plateau, so the road is tricky. I finally made it up to the top in a few hours, took a small rest, and was a quick descent. Make sure to visit the square downtown Santa Fe and hear the church bells ring.
Jim Riding up 11%
Moab is a place that is the vacation land of every cyclist. You can road bike, CX bike and mountain bike here. It’s all about the outdoors, so in between rides, you can also get some Jeep tours in, skydiving, river rafting, or just post riding beer drinking in. Make sure you book well in advance before coming here, as it’s pretty packed all the time. I think I saw more cyclist in one day here than I had seen all year, lol. One of my friends from Denver brought his triathlon team over for a 4 day weekend, almost 100 of them! Another good friend and his wife from Ft. Collins were coming over to meet my wife and I, so was really looking forward to riding with them here.
First morning ride after we thought we would tackle the Dead Horse State Park ride, about 70 miles and some climbing. Lots of sun here, but always plan for the wind.. The canyons around Moab, wind is always swirling, so Murphy’s Law, wind always in your face.  Some great climbing, 11%grades, switchbacks, and taking turns blocking the wind.                          
Bethany riding up 11%
One thing about this state park, it’s on the edge of the canyon, and the final mile to the edge of the cliffs is only about 50 feet wide and 3000 feet down.. As I was riding across what seemed to be a single track, my legs and knees were shaking. The story goes that this is the place the cowboys or Indians drove the wild horses here so they could not escape. The mere 50 feet wide spot was an easy place to put a fence up. Some of the horse went off the cliff or died of starvation here.   We took a little a little break and took some amazing shots. Just the mere short rock walls that separated us from the drop made me a little uncomfortable, LOL. There were people there who crawled over the way and was sitting on the very edge of the cliff...not the smartest.
Jim and I at top of Dead horse
Breathtaking views looking down from Dead horse State Park. Check out the Jeep trails below

This was only the half-way point, so all the way back was for sure head wind. Tough ride, but breathtaking! WE took a day off, and then the next day was planning a ride up thru The Arches. Another amazing ride you have to put on your bucket list.
(Jim riding up Arches climb)

(Balanced Rock in the back ground behind me!)


 This was such a great ride, about 75 miles out and back and 4500 feet of elevation.

We decided to heck with the day off the next day and tackled the mountain bike. Jim and I both didn’t have a lot of time on the mountain bike, so we knew we wouldn’t get far. I really forgot how tough mountain biking was, kudos to you mountain bikers! WE had a great time though, a few flats, and had to walk as well since didn’t have enough tubes. The “whole enchilada” is the famous ride in Moab. WE watched a video only of a guy that had his go pro…Whoa!! Can you imagine single track about 3 ft wide in spaces at 8,000 feet? Each side was a sheer cliff of 2000-3000 ft. down. I was scared and nauseous just watching the video! Someday I will get enough nerve to tackle that!

Last few days were dedicated to my honey, since she doesn’t ride bikes. We ended up hiking a bunch and had some killer views in. Breathtaking at the least I can say. Each city we arrive at keeps topping the list. How do you top Moab? There are over 2000 arches around Moab, so go cycle or hike it while you can, it won’t be there forever. All this is sandstone, so formed by water. Landscape Arch, the most famous arch, had a big piece break from it a few years ago. Its days are numbered, so get up there!
Jen under Windows Arch
Me at Landscape Arch



Panoramic View of Dead Horse State Park


There are so many pics I could post; I just can’t explain the true beauty and breathtaking rides in Moab. Anytime anyone wants to ride there, call me, I will come meet you!
Next Blog coming up is Colorado/Nebraska and then Dirty Kanza Ride in Kansas. Waiting on pictures from Dirty Kanza.


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