Saturday’s ride in a hot air balloon was special, but Thursday of Balloon Fiesta Week is Special Shapes Rodeo and that is also a not-to-be-missed event. The weather doesn’t always cooperate so we closely watched the forecast for the day and planned accordingly. Mass ascension is set for 7:00am. We were riding our bikes and it’s a 30-minute ride to Balloon Fiesta Park so that meant getting on the bike path while it was still dark. Even with bike lights, riding in the dark makes me nervous. I was relieved when the last couple of miles daylight started to creep over the mountains to the east and we could see without our lights.
Balloons were already going up when we got on the field, but most of the Special Shapes were still being inflated. It’s like being a kid in a candy store running up and down the aisles, not sure where we should stand to get the best views of our favorite balloons. The clouds didn’t clear until most of the balloons had launched. Photos aren’t quite as colorful without the light of the sun and the bright blue background of the sky. But weather conditions were great for keeping the aloft balloons from moving up and away too quickly. And the “box effect” brought many of them back over the field again in the opposite direction of where they had headed out. All in all, another memorable day at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.