Swoopy Singletrack in the Sandia Foothills – Albuquerque, NM

Cacti and singletrack.  We all can get along.

Cacti and singletrack. You can see the cable and top tower for the tram if you look closely.

Had a real fun ride today.  Glad my arse is back to good and I’ve pretty much gained back the weight I lost a couple weeks ago while riding the Stagecoach 400.  My legs were kinda stale from the first week of shooting on Longmire – but it always takes me a bit to get used to being on my feet 12 hours a day… and throwing a camera around for a good portion of it… no matter how much I ride my bike, or telemark, I still get sore just from standing a lot.  Weird… specificity of muscles I guess…

Trailhead with some Asian tourists.

Trailhead with some Asian tourists.

Anyhoo, I figured I’d take advantage of the perfect riding temps in Albuquerque right now – high 60’s / low 70’s – before it starts to get zulu hot.  So I jumped in my pimp daddy Chrysler 200 rental… still getting used to all the fancy knobs and doodads… and drove an hour down to the “kirk”.  I’ve ridden pretty much every inch of singletrack in the Santa Fe area over the last few years, so this year I’m making a point of hitting up all the first class offerings that ABQ has to offer.  I rode up to Sandia Peak via King of the Mountain Trail a couple years back, but other than that, it’s all virgin to me.  So I decided to ride on the west side of the Sandias this time – on the North Foothills trail network.  I was not disappointed.

The shirt that dude was wearing was really orange.  Glad he was slow and I didn't have to see much of it.

The shirt that dude was wearing was really orange. Glad he was slow and I didn’t have to see much of it.

I did some recon on the MTB Project site, and found a cool loop to use as a reference for my ride.  Also got this Google Map for directions to the trailhead.  Next thing you know, I arrived at dirt church.

A big chunk of the ride skirted along the wilderness border.  Very cool.

A big chunk of the ride skirted along the wilderness border. Very cool.

I really dig this trail network.  It has a total desert vibe, with cacti trying to poke ya up around every turn.  The temps were perfect, but I can imagine this being a scorcher during the summer months.  A lot like AZ riding.  I think they might even close these trails in the heart of summer for fire danger.  You get enough elevation to get good views back down to the city, but also feel as if you’re in the Sandias.  I rode a counter-clock tootsie roll loop – pretty close to what the MTB Project ride recommended.  I just added on the out and back at the north end, because I’m the consummate touron, and wanted to see the tram.  The trails are all numbered, so here’s how it goes:  365 > 305 > 305A > 342 > 341 > 230 > 365 (go right for out and back to tram – when you come back to this intersection stay on 365 the whole way).

The Sandia Peak Tram heading up to the top.

The Sandia Peak Tram heading up to the top.

If you head out of the parking lot to the north, and stay east (right), you’ll be flirting with the wilderness boundary for much of the ride.  A couple techy bits keep you on your toes, as you gain most of your elevation during the northbound jaunt.  Mostly it’s smooth singletrack with those little ball-bearing sized pebbles that wreak havoc on SS’ers because they thwart traction every time you pedal out of the saddle.  Still a blast though.  Great scenery, and great riding.  Just watch out for peeps, because it’s a high traffic area with hikers and trail runners, etc.  If you’re a Strava plusser, you can download my gpx if you want – if not, shoot me an email… but it’s pretty easy to navigate.  Don’t forget to hit Marble Brewing post-ride for some tasty beer.  All their offerings are good, but I especially dug their Double White today (a witbier / hefeweizen style with lots of citrus and coriander – great for warm weather).  Okee dokes, hope to get some more fun between my legs next weekend 🙂

Best way to end a bike ride is always with a flight.

Best way to end a bike ride is always with a flight.

P.S. – Foo Mtb is the local IMBA chapter that cares for these trails – they do a great job.  Here is a link to some maps on their site.

Strava Map from the Sandia Foothills Ride.  See what I mean?  It is a tootsie roll loop.

Strava Map from the Sandia Foothills Ride. See what I mean? It is a tootsie roll loop.

 

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