Santa Fe Half Century

Map of the Santa Fe Half Century

Yesterday could not have been a more perfect day to ride 50 miles -- my first Half Century!  Comfortable temperature, minimal wind, and no need for layers.  I felt well-prepared and strong throughout the ride.  

The course started at the hospital, and the beginning was a lot of stop-and-go out of town.  The first hour or so was very congested with all of the Half and Full Century riders together.  I tend to be a little antisocial during athletic endeavors -- I like to run, hike, and bike alone -- and I'm not used to group riding.  It was nerve-wracking riding so close to others and not being able to see more than one or two bikes ahead of me at times, but I got good at listening for brakes and staying focused, trying to anticipate changes in pace.  I was eager to break out of the pack during the first hour, but it was probably good in the long run that I was forced to go at a slower pace and save energy for the hills later.

Getting ready to ride

Sandia Mountain
After the Half Century riders turned off of Highway 14 while the Full Century-ers continued on, it was much less congested.  It was nice to ride solo for a while and enjoy the landscape.  The route was really beautiful, consisting of rolling hills through the Galisteo basin.  Somehow I thought I'd meet up with friends along the way, but trying to find a few familiar faces among 2,600 riders proved to be impossible.  I bypassed the food stop in Galisteo and continued on.  There was a long climb at around mile marker 35, followed by a few more uphills approaching Santa Fe.  I practiced this section of the course several times in training and was in "race mode" for the last hour of the ride, passing quite a few people on the way back to town.  The course was more crowded with some of the 20-miler riders but I was determined to make my goal time.

Riding through the Galisteo basin

What the?!?  Yes, elliptical on wheels.

Riding through El Dorado

After passing Harry's Roadhouse restaurant, the rest was down hill back to the hospital.  I finished in under three hours!  I started much earlier than most of the other Half Century-ers, so the finish line was somewhat anticlimactic.  (The Beer Garden wasn't even open yet!)  But nonetheless I felt accomplished and excited to cheer Jaycob through the finish after his 100 mile ride a few hours later!

There are many important questions to ask oneself on the day of a big ride: What to wear, Which beer to sample first in the post-race beer tent, but most importantly...what snacks to bring!  I got a new snack pack on my bike for easy eating during the ride.  I'm really hooked on the Honey Stinger vanilla waffles!

My months of training paid off and I'm excited to have a Half Century under my belt.  I was comfortable on my bike and kicked butt on the climbs.  I hope to make this an annual event, and eventually complete a full Century!

Post-race brews at the Marble Grand Re-Opening!


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