Today Jeremy and I took the ski lift up Sandia mountain to ride our bicycles down. Jeremy has a monster downhill bike, while I have a Trek mountain bike. My bike held up well, but I need to greatly improve on my balance, judgment and confidence on a mountain bike. My legs and cardiovascular system are in good shape from road biking, but I don't have the mountain bike skills yet.
Initially, Jeremy and I loaded up our bikes in his truck. His Toyota Silver Tacoma has an aftermarket bike rack in the back, that he installed, which allows for a bike to be supported through the front fork. Simply quick release the front tire and put the fork in the supportive bar and you're good to go.
After we drove up the mountain, I purchases two one-lift tickets for us (yesterday was Jeremy's birthday.) The process of getting up the mountain is identical to that of getting on a ski lift, except that the lift operators take the bikes and place them on empty lift chairs with big hooks on the back. The entire trip up the mountain takes about half an hour, and involves riding through a beautiful forest during the summer.
Once we made it to the top of the mountain, Jeremy and I began riding a trail that appeared to be the easiest trail present. After about thirty minutes, and a number of extremely difficult to navigate ('technical') rock formations in the trail, I recognized a scenic vista from two and a half years ago death-hike up the mountain, and thought that we must be wrapping around the mountain instead of going down it. I mentioned this to Jeremy, and he replied "You know, I thought this was awfully difficult for the easiest trail..." We began to push our bikes back up the trail we were riding when we encountered a hiker that corroborated our belief in taking the incorrect trail. Later, we saw a sign marking the trail as a wilderness area, closed to bikers. Whoops. After about an hour of pushing our bikes, we made it back to the ski lift drop.
I'll upload some pictures of injuries I sustained during our foray into the wilderness.
The correct trail basically connected up with the wilderness trail, but in the other direction. This trail had almost no rocks compared to the wilderness and was much, much easier to ride. Most of the trail was about twice as wide as a mountain bike and fairly packed dirt.
One of the coolest things about biking down the mountain was the alternation between grasslands and forests. Most likely, this was due to the fact that the grasslands were cleared for downhill skiing, as opposed to some naturally forming phenomenon, but the entire layout was very pleasant. The trees were tall for New Mexico, with pines standing 50+ feet tall. Whenever I would take a shortcut avoiding a winding path down the mountain and simply head straight down (to catch up the Jeremy) the grass was up to my chest. This made consciously avoiding obstacles in the grass impossible, but the ground tended to be very smooth. We spent close to an hour and a half riding down the mountain, with the trail only being 9 miles long. Jeremy waited numerous times for me to catch up, but overall I feel good about the ride and my speed, especially for a first trip riding down a mountain.