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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello,

I'm visiting NM next week and have an adventurous ride planned. I hope to leave from Eagle Nest, ride through Red River to Questa, then back. It's 60 miles or so with around 4,000 ft. of elevation gain.

I'm from central Texas so the climbing will be completely new to me. I have downloaded the profile, but am still wondering just how hard it will be to climb Bobcat pass twice in the same ride (once in each direction). Also, from Questa back to Red River is mostly uphill, but I can't tell just how steep it is or hard it is. I have prepared the bike as best as I can with a low gear of 39 x 29.

For a 9 am start, any advice on clothing?

I know my success is Dependant on my fitness, but any advice is appreciated.
 

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Starting from Eagle Nest it's about 8 miles to the Moreno Ranch which is where I consider the climb up Bobcat Pass starts. The next four miles are definitely uphill and then you turn right and will soon see a mile marker that is slightly more than two miles from the summit.
Those two miles are tough, close to 10% grade. But I've only ridden this climb as the end of the Enchanted Circle Bicycle Tour. When it's mile 90 when you start, it's very tough.
The 4 miles into Red River are downhill although expect wind in your face at the top. You may have to pedal a little even though it is descending. Not for long though.
The ride to Questa is also downhill. At 8:00am it is still in the shade but by the time you get there, the sun should be shining over the mountain.
Haven't ridden the opposite way to Red River from Questa.
I have ridden the climb out of Red River toward Questa several times for training. Didn't seem too bad but I had started in Red River so only had to warm up. It's definitely uphill!
When we do the Enchanted Circle ride which starts at 8:00am, it can be very cold going downhill to Questa in the shade. From Eagle Nest starting at 9:00am and climbing, you'll warm up quickly. You may not even need warmers.
Needless to say, consider the possibility of rain, particularly in the afternoon.
Have a safe trip!
 

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Power Napper
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Altitude, altitude, altitude. Dude. Bobcat tops out at over 9K feet. And Central Texas is what? Below sea level?? Just kidding. But Merlin is right. The last couple miles are killer, but it's uphill pretty much all the way from Eagles Nest. Will 39/29 be low enough. Depends. Are you 60 yrs old with bad knees? Or a 25 year old lung on a stick? It's probably doable, just pace yourself.

By "next week" I assume you mean Labor Day weekend.Going to be lot of big campers etc on the road between Questa and RR. If you can get and earlier start, I would. Sunday might be the best day as most folks will be leaving on Monday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
MerlinAma, This just what I wanted - a blow-by-blow account of your experience on this route. Thanks for sharing!

theBreeze, This is what everyone says - "Do you know how high it is up there?" Altitude will limit me for sure. I'm halfway between the riders you describe. The good news is I don't carry much extra weight at 145 lbs. The bad news is I still don't have any experience on extended climbs. That is good advice about the traffic on Labor Day weekend. I'm targeting Tuesday or Wednesday after - hopefully it quiets down a bit by then.
 

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Tues or Wed should be good. The key to long climbs is to start them slow. If you blow yourself up in the first mile or two the rest is going to get ugly. Treat it like one of those all day Texas headwinds!

Take more water and food than you normally would for a flatter 60 mile ride. Bonking sucks. There is a gas station and small grocery store in Questa, convenience store in Red River. There's a community center on the north side of the highway in Red River that has public restrooms.
 

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Darling of The Lounge
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Did The Same Ride and it Was Great!

Back in May 2007, I rode from the post office parking lot in Questa to Angel Fire and back. I recall starting out early with the temp in the low 40s. The climb was nice, but I got hailed on right at the summit of Bobcat Pass on the return leg.

I went back a week ago (sans the bike) to look at property in the area and to do some horseback riding. Sadly, the Country Kitchen eatery was closed and looked like it went out of business.

Here's a link to the thread I started a few years ago, which includes a couple pictures.

http://forums.roadbikereview.com/showthread.php?t=93564

Enjoy the ride!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
TheBreeze - Good advice on pacing. I started using a HR this year - I will try to keep an eye on it and keep the heart out of the stratosphere when starting the climb. Yes, wind has been my only climbing training. Every windy day for the past month I have tried to bear down into it and imagine I'm climbing. It's the best I can do - at least the scenery will be much more enjoyable in NM.

Retro - Thanks for the link!
 

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Here's the ride profile http://ridewithgps.com/routes/168669
Bring a light jacket, arm and leg warmers. The weather can change quickly, esp in the afternoon. The climb up Bobcat is 5 miles in both directions. From Moreno ranch the grade is about 3%to 4% for 2.75 miles then it kicks up to about 7%to 8% for the final 2.25 miles. After summitting, it's 5 miles into Red River, then downhill all the way to Questa. Returning from Questa, it's all uphill but you are likely to have a tailwind to Red River. The climb from RR to top of Bobcat is more difficult for the first 4 miles(8 and 9%) then gets easier for the last mile. It's all downhill to Eagle Nest but you may have a headwind that negates some of that. OTOH you might get lucky and have a tailwind too. It's a crapshoot. While in Eagle Nest be sure to stop at Kawliga's and have a green chile cheeseburger. It'll be among the best burgers you've ever had. The fries are good too and so are the genuine milkshakes. If you need to refuel on the ride, stop at Der Market in Red River. They have your regular gatorade type stuff and a pretty mean chimichanga. If your timing is good, the chimi may provide you with a tailwind into Eagle nest.

Birddog
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, Thanks to everyone for the advice on the ride - It really helped me to get motivated for this ride.

I have to admit I ended up cutting it short. I planned to do Eagle Nest to Red River to Questa, and back. The road from RR to Questa is almost entirely downhill and I had to ask myself how good I would feel making up that elevation and then climbing up Bobcat pass. I decided to ride 5 miles west of RR and then turn around. Made the ride 45 miles instead of 60.

I'm very pleased with the way it went. Traffic was low last Tuesday - weather was clear and wonderful, if a bit nippy at the start. Finished the ride and didn't stop to rest during the meat of climbing up Bobcat. My speed and cadence were lower than I expected when the grade went steeper than 6%, but I stayed relaxed and finished without much distress.

The road west of RR was a bit of a suprise. My profile sheet showed mostly uphill into RR with a maximum grade of 4%. On the ride, the Garmin registered 6% grade on three different hills. They were short, but still a bit steeper than I expected.

So, how are the climbs different comparing Bobcat from the East (from Eagle Nest) and West (out of RR)? Just like people described here to me. From Eagle Nest, it wears you down with 2-4% stuff, then ramps up right at the end to 8%. The good news is the meat of the climb is short and it ends abruptly at the top.

From Red River, it is the opposite. No gradual stuff - it just gets nasty right off the bat! I didn't have a power meter, but looking at the data, it seems that the effort from Red River was more difficult. Slightly longer sustained grade above 6% and my HR was higher. Could have been fatigue, but I think the slog up from RR is tougher than from the other side.

Thanks to my Dad for letting me borrow his Garmin 500. Very nice device! Interesting to get a full graph of elevation vs. HR.

Final note to self: I could use a gear lower than 39 x 29. Don't make fun, but my speed dropped to 6.5ish mph up the steeper grades and cadence was in the 60's. That's not a comfortable range of cadence for my knees and I needed lower.

Note to people doing the Enchanted Circle Century this weekend: You people are tough! Facing the climb up Bobcat pass at mile 90 is a bit insane. I could see myself completing it, but I would need easier gears (compact cranks) to help out at the end. Best of luck to you all!
 

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Glad your ride went well, your observations are right on the mark. If you do a similar ride again, skip the portion to Questa. Instead, right at the bottom of Bobcat on the RR side, take a sharp left turn and head up the road to Upper Red River. It's about 5or 6 miles miles to the end of pavement and is mixed climbing. It's a pretty ride and total elevation gained from Eagle Nest out and back is in the 4,000' range, maybe slightly less, but challenging for sure.

I"m relaxing this AM after finishing my 15th EC. The weather had to have been top 5 of the EC's I've done, maybe even best all time. There were a lot of smiling faces after the ride this year, esp compared to last year when only about 250 were able to finish. You're right, Bobcat is still a beatch after 90 miles in the saddle. Some things never change.
Birddog
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Birddog - 15th EC! That's amazing! Congrats on that accomplishment. I now have that ride on my radar and might give it a shot someday.

Thanks for the route idea of the upper RR road. I will look that up and keep it in mind.
 

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Do they still do a rest stop at the base of Bobcat? I never could understand folks who stop and get nice and cold right before starting a major climb like that.
 

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Do they still do a rest stop at the base of Bobcat?
You are probably referring to the East Moreno Ranch rest stop which is 5 miles from the summit. I haven't stopped there in years but I do see the necessity for many riders that need to refuel their bodies and mentally prepare for the finish. Except in rare circumstances, I only stop twice. first the Hondo rest stop (27 miles) and usually only for a single bottle, and then at the Black Lake rest stop (67 miles) for two fill ups. The rest stops at Kit Carson Park and the top of Palo Flechado are on the wrong side of the road (dangerous) and in the wrong place for my needs.

Birddog
 
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