Archive for the ‘Bike stuff’ Category

Putting on the Dog

September 15, 2015
For today at least, Sin City is not a scorching hellhole.

For today at least, Sin City is not a scorching hellhole.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (MDM) — Early rising makes me disagreeable, even more so than usual. So rather than make my usual pilgrimage to Late for the Train, I fled Flagstaff for Vegas, where one more bad attitude is the equivalent of a mouse fart at a sewage treatment plant.

interbike-bugOddly, my arrival was completely incident-free. I checked in at the Luxor, picked up my show badge, and settled into my spacious Cycling Journalist’s Suite at the Luxor, awaiting the first of what I hope will be many meals at someone else’s expense.

The kickoff is always dinner with the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News mob. Then Adventure Cyclist takes a pounding for the duration.

That's Smirnoff, but not of the Yakov variety.

That’s Smirnoff, but not of the Yakov variety.

Throwing a few meaty bones to the old Dog is a small price to pay to keep me out of the office, and indeed across state lines. More than one of them, too, BRAIN being a California concern while Adventure Cyclist is based up Montana way.

On the way over to score my badge I noticed that someone had already had his dinner. Well, like they say, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Specifically, in and around the toilet at the Luxor.

Next: It’s showtime!

Sin City, here we come

September 14, 2015

Dire woof

September 12, 2015
Winter is coming! Also, Interbike.

Winter is coming! Also, Interbike.

I dreamed the other night that I was racing cyclo-cross, and doing pretty well at it, too, which was how I could tell it was a dream.

Sleep has been in short supply lately, with Herself off visiting friends in England. The menagerie is used to her schedule, not mine, and if you can sleep through reveille as sounded by Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), I regret to inform you that you died during the night.

Thus, instead of dozing until 6 a.m. I’ve been up and at ’em around 4:30, not least because Mister Boo has been suffering the usual separation anxiety, which manifests itself in peeing in the house and bouts of diarrhea alternating with constipation.

Also, and too, sniveling. Nobody snivels like The Boo. He wants that lady who gives him things, and I’m sure he suspects that I have finally driven her away for good, perhaps to some other, younger Chin with two good eyes and no incontinence issues.

Once everyone’s gotten fed and watered, I’ve been logging in at Live Update Guy with about half the voices in my head still clearing their respective throats. This annoys my colleague Charles Pelkey, who like me enjoys a quiet hour to himself in the morning and has come to expect me and my diagnoses to arrive 7-ish.

After a few hours of Vuelta bloggery I’ve lost interest in other blood sports, like politics, though it’s impossible not to notice that Hillary seems hellbent on topping Fritz Mondale, Michael Dukakis, Al Gore and John Kerry in the Worst Democratic Candidate for President In My Lifetime Sweepstakes. I’ve rarely seen a coronation go so horribly sideways, and I’ve watched all five seasons of “Game of Thrones.”

Speaking of the White Walkers, Interbike starts next week, which probably explains why I woke up no fewer than three times last night, the final time with the Son House version of “John the Revelator” playing in my head, which, surprisingly, remained attached to my neck.

I should be in tip-top shape by the time I hit the show floor in King’s Landing with the Adventure Cyclist mob. Hey, those aren’t bags under my eyes, pal. Those are panniers.

Cave man

September 2, 2015
The Sandias from La Cueva Campground.

The Sandias from La Cueva Campground.

The boys were climbing today in the Vuelta — oy, were they ever — so I felt obliged to do a little vertical my own bad self once we wrapped the coverage at Live Update Guy.

Looking southeast toward Tramway.

Looking southeast toward Tramway.

There’s a nice, steep grind not far from El Rancho Pendejo, the 2-mile climb to the La Luz trailhead, but after running for an hour on Tuesday I thought that might be asking a bit much of the old legs. So instead I hung a right and did the 1-mile climb to the La Cueva campground.

The surface is what we Phlegmish types call “heavy,” the chips in the chipseal being slightly boulderish, so I was glad to be riding the Soma Double Cross with its Little Big Bens. Quite a view from up there, but the helicopters were something of a nuisance, harshing my mellow and distracting me from the view.

Turns out it wasn’t just flyboys logging flight time. Some poor dude turned up dead in the Sandias, and I’m guessing they were part of the search. Me, I got to come down the easy way.


EL viejo rojo

August 30, 2015
The coveted red leader's jersey.

The coveted red leader’s jersey.

I attacked myself without mercy in today’s stage of the Vuelta del Viejo and rode into the red leader’s jersey.

In an astounding bit of treachery intended to bamboozle my enemies, I actually wore the jersey throughout the stage, but as chief commissaire I chose to look the other way, as did nearly everyone else who saw me.

Naturally, both A and B samples came back positive for bacon, which is good for 10 bonus seconds, eggs over easy and a side of home fries.

Shoes for industry

August 29, 2015
The view to the west from atop Trail 365A.

The view to the west from atop Trail 365A.

Definitely on a down cycle as regards the bicycle. Running is the thing lately.

It’s so bloody simple: Pull on some shorts and a raggedy T, add shoes, and leave. Return when suitably sweaty and enfeebled. What’s not to like? Besides the pain and suffering, that is.

I did break out the old Voodoo Nakisi the other day for a short jaunt along Trail 365 and its various offshoots. I got a long-distance look at the haze from the Washington-state fires. It wasn’t my first — during my trip back to the Duke City from Bibleburg I couldn’t even see the damn’ mountains.

I’ll probably go for another short ride today, because not even I am dim enough to run two days in a row unless something really big and ornery is chasing me. Like, say, Peter Sagan, who got knocked off his bike by a race vehicle today and decided to punch a couple of them. Hulk smash!



Runnin’ down this dusty road

August 15, 2015
Wheels in the sky keep on turning; I don't know where I'll be tomorrow.

Wheels in the sky keep on turning; I don’t know where I’ll be tomorrow.

Every year, at some point, I develop an allergy to the bicycle.

Maybe it’s more of an overuse injury. After months of writing, blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, cartooning, photographing and making videos of bicycles, I pull a mental muscle. I don’t even want to ride the sonsabitches. Game over. Move along, move along, nothing to see, nothing to see.

So I spent much of the past few weeks easing back into running, and it was a pleasant diversion indeed.

Cycling is preferable to motoring in large part because it slows you down, lets you take a closer look at the world as you pass through. Running — OK, in my case, jogging — takes you deeper into slo-mo, gives you a fresh appreciation of the trails you ride.

First step: Lower the expectations. The trails I ordinarily negotiate with verve, grace and panache on two wheels feel entirely different on two feet. I become a stumblebum. Herself punks me on the hills. It’s not one little bit like “Chariots of Fire.”

Since I no longer run year round for cyclo-cross, I have to ease back into the discipline, tentatively, like a Republican faced with a substantive policy question on the campaign trail. First I jog the uphills and walk the flats and downhills; then I start jogging the flats, too; and finally I add the descents.

After a few outings I reach a point at which I can perform an act that looks slightly like running, only much, much slower. To pass the time I imagine myself to be in a Bizarro World “Godzilla” movie in which I am the monster and the lizards scurrying out of my path are the terrified residents of Tokyo.

Eventually, of course, I go back to the bikes. That’s where the money is, and I have to pay attention. Also, bills.

Still, it’s refreshing to drop the pro act and go full-bore amateur for a while. Oh, no — there goes Tokyo! Go go Godzilla!

Fat Kit Friday

July 31, 2015

FatGuy-TIght KitThe early reviews are in, and it seems that the revived Old Guy kit is running a little snug for some folks.

At 6 feet tall and 175 I feel OK in a large, but it’s summer, and winter is coming! So I might invest in an XL, if only for (ahem) layering purposes.

So, if you have any doubts at all as to whether your usual size will fit, you might consider going up one. There’s no shame in it. Shit, I gotta go 2XL in some of the Euro stuff unless I wanna look like a chorizo swelling up in a skillet.

And if worse comes to worst, Voler advises that they have a great return and exchange policy.

Rest day

July 13, 2015
Time to exercise something other than my fingers on a keyboard.

Time to exercise something other than my fingers on a keyboard.

Whew. Some folks hate Mondays, but I’m telling you, any day I don’t have some undone chore leering over my shoulder is a very good day indeed.

Those of you who have actual jobs (my condolences) with regular days off (you sonsabitches) may not appreciate how sweet it feels for a freelancer to have a 24-hour period during which absolutely nothing of financial consequence needs doing. It’s like finding a Benjamin in your jeans while doing the laundry, pulling a goathead from a tire to find it still holds air, or hearing a lawyer say, “No charge.”

In a word: Fantastic.

Oh, there are a few items that will require a smidgen of my attention:

• I should hear from Voler today about the online store through which our fondest dreams are to be realized (yours, a new Fat Guy jersey; mine, obscene, unheard of and uncountable wealth).

• The Boo remains in recovery from dental work, and the meds are disrupting his regularity (I fear for our brick floors).

• And we’re still a one-car family, so I snoop around now and again to see if there’s anything out there that’s worth the trip to a car lot for one of those conversations (“Mr. O’Grady, what will it take to get you into this fine pre-owned automobile? Just let me talk to my manager. …”).

But mostly I plan to ride the bike. Blue skies, smiling at me … nothing but blue skies do I see.

Editor’s note: Looks like “Bloom County” is coming back. Getting better all the time. …

Editor’s note the second: Himself speaks with The New York Times.

Happy solstice

June 21, 2015
What this sucker needs is a sprinkler system that comes on when you cycle through.

What this sucker needs is a sprinkler system that comes on when you cycle through.

It’s the longest day of the year, and is it ever a scorcher. Ninety-nine in the Duke City at the moment. A tip of the sweatband to Willis Haviland Carrier, who gave us air conditioning.

Got a couple nice rides in recently as part of a concentrated effort to (a) not read every word written online about the Charleston massacre, and (2) not apply for emigration to Mars.

On Friday, Adventure Cyclist contributor Merrill Callaway and I rode down to Two Wheel Drive on Central to chat a while with owner Charlie Ervin. If you’re ever in Albuquerque make sure you pop into Charlie’s shop. Lovely people, a friendly dog, and bike stuff, too. If TWD had a taqueria, bar and swimming pool the place would be perfect. But then pretty much anyplace would be, que no?

On Saturday Herself and I rode out to Tijeras and back. She claimed afterward that she would have ridden faster without me. I proposed that she get in line with all the other people who are faster than me.  That would be quite the paceline.

The underpass above is about the only shade between here and there and back again, so it seems that I must become an early riser if I’m to be cycling up to Madrid, Santa Fe and points north in this brand-new summer.

But I’d have to get up very early in the morning to even come close to thinking about maybe, possibly, approaching the marker that our most recent guest at Chez Dog has laid down.

First, he cycled from Las Vegas to Bibleburg for a nephew’s wedding. Then he rode up Pikes Peak.



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