Bend over and leave the driving to us

May 21, 2019

I don’t know much about ART, but I know what I like.

Ho, ho. While Tariff Man is busy playing chicken with China, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is up to his fat wallet pocket in BYD, the Chinese electric-bus bidness that intercoursed the penguin so fabulously here in the Duke City.

That little news nugget didn’t make it into the WaPo story about how McCarthy “services” his constituents, of course, because no white people got shot. Not yet, anyway.

Matt Sparks, a spokesman for McCarthy, defended the congressman’s actions. He said McCarthy has long advocated for companies in his district and denied any connection between McCarthy’s receipt of campaign contributions from BYD and his actions on Capitol Hill.

“McCarthy is proud to support job creation for his constituents and community,” Sparks said.

BYD sure did a job on us here. So much so that the mayor told them to get their FUBAR’d e-buses the hell out of Dodge, ordered up some old-school diesel stink-boxes from New Flyer of America, and took BYD to court. The company said last month that the parties “are now close to resolving this matter.”

What’s not close is any Albuquerque Rapid Transit service along the clusterfuck that is Central Avenue. The New Flyer buses are expected to be ready to roll by the end of winter 2020 — three years after ART’s e-buses were supposed to be buzzing along the Mother Road.

Pirate off the port stern

May 21, 2019

Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment), ever on the alert.

Oh, sure, you can buy ’em cat furniture. Get ’em a second home in Santa Cruz and a Catalina 400 while you’re at it. They’re still gonna commandeer your chair.

Full Lycra Jacket

May 20, 2019

Souvenirs of the 2019 Santa Fe Century. I should’ve gotten 666 for a bib number, but the organization has apparently forgotten about me.

The dozens of balloons dotting the western sky looked like fat exclamation points, the kind that nmroads.com uses for traffic alerts, as I swooped down Tramway toward Interstate 25 and the Santa Fe Century.

It was too bloody early, the weather was screwy, and I had no idea what I’d need in the way of kit to do a rolling 50-miler south of the City Different. So I brought everything, and in some cases two of everything.

And as usual, I chose unwisely.

In my defense, the menu was extensive. Short-sleeve and long-sleeve jerseys. Bib shorts and bib knickers. Tights. Leg warmers (two pair). Arm warmers (likewise). Knee warmers. Low-rise and high-rise socks. Full-finger and short-finger gloves. Bandana and tuque. Even a light jacket, the need for which often causes me to leave the jacket hanging in the closet and the bike in the garage while I skulk about the house, muttering to myself around mouthfuls of this and that.

Decisions, decisions.

In the end, when I linked up with Khal, Pat and Andy at the start-finish, they were all wearing jackets. Uh oh. It being far too late for me to stay indoors and eat everything, I likewise pulled on a jacket, along with bib shorts, leg warmers, high-rise socks, long-sleeve under-jersey, and short-sleeve Mad Dog Media jersey, dragging a pair of arm warmers over the under-jersey’s sleeves because (a) they give you that two long-sleeve-jerseys’ worth of warmth, and (2) they are a lot easier to pull off and stuff in a pocket than an actual long-sleeve jersey.

I started with the tuque and full-finger gloves because I hate cold ears and hands the way Darth Cheeto hates anyone who doesn’t have his butt on their breath, but carried the bandana and short-finger gloves just in case it warmed up.

Which it did. And in short order I filled up my jersey pockets with jacket, arm warmers and full-finger gloves. I’d have stuffed the tuque and leg warmers in there too, but the trunk was full. So nobody got to see my black Evil socks, white calves, and commie-red bandana. Shoulda done knickers, short sleeves, arm warmers and headrag. But as you know, I will never be smart.

One Mad Dog deserves another. Photo: Khal S.

The ride itself, you ask? I’d call it an unqualified success. The wind wasn’t really a bother until the very end. The roads were in much better condition than I recall from my glory days pounding out the kilometers with the Sangre de Cristo Cycling Club. And, unlike some of our fellow cyclists, we suffered no punctures, mechanicals or painful get-offs.

For my money, when all was said and done, Andy and Pat took the top two steps on the podium. Andy and his wife, Liz, flew from the flats of Florida to southern Arizona to meet up with Pat and his wife, Sandy, and then the four of them drove the 500 miles from Sierra Vista to Santa Fe — the day before the lads were to tackle a 50-miler at altitude with 2,485 feet of elevation gain.

Oof.

Khal gets the bronze for eating the lion’s share of the wind out there, along with a few kilos of PB&J. He scored bonus points for getting a post-ride blog post up most ricky-tick, and for snapping a photo of me when I yelled, “Hey!”, pulled off the road just before Lamy Hill, and pointed to the Maddog Drive sign.

And a note for anyone planning to race the Iron Horse on Saturday? I’d bring the jacket. Just sayin’.

Dialing it back

May 18, 2019

This is not a century, though it often took as long. This is the fabled 115 ride from Bibleburg to Penrose and back, circa 1995.

I can’t remember the last time I rode an organized century.

Back when I was a man, instead of whatever it is that I am now, I rode ’em alla damn time. I rode them sonsabitches the way Beelzebozo tells lies, which is to say regularly and rapidly, with no thought of the morrow.

The Hardscrabble Century out of Florence, Colorado, was my favorite. That one I’ve done as a 100-mile road ride and as a 100km mountain bike loop.

But I’ve also ridden the Front Range Century, the Tour of the Rio Grande Valley, and of course the Santa Fe Century.

In 1990, I rode the Hardscrabble with my burro-racing buddy Hal Walter. It took around five hours — Hal could and can do pretty much anything off the couch, but 100 miles is a long way for an occasional cyclist, no matter how fit.

I had a ton of racing miles under my bibs and thought I could have done it a half hour quicker — I finished in 4:49 in 1988 — but I just dialed it back and enjoyed the ride.

Three decades later, enjoying the ride is what I hope to do tomorrow at the Santa Fe Century. I’m only doing the half, with Friends of the Blog Khal S. and Pat O’B., plus Pat’s nephew, who is visiting from Florida.

And I’m not expecting to post a time for the ages.

I rode the full century in under five hours in 1989 and ’91, but that was long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away, when the Force was strong in this one. The Farce has since taken charge, and it’s not at all the same thing.

But I am delighted to be doing the half, which veers off the 100-mile route well short of Madrid, which is hosting a two-day drunkathon this weekend.

Back when I was a man, instead of whatever it is I am now, I might have chosen the beer over the bike.

But like I said, long time ago, etc. et al., and so on and so forth. Now it’s the legs that hurt afterward, not the head.

I’m so tired

May 15, 2019

The Soma Shikoro, named for the neck guard on a samurai’s helmet.

The Nobilette finally has some “new” rubber.

I call it “new,” but these 700×33 Soma Shikoros have been laying doggo in the garage for the better part of quite some time. I only just now got around to clamping ’em onto a pair of hoops.

They’re a pretty skinny 33mm. At 60/65 psi I make ’em more like 31mm. But they have a nice round profile, are armored from bead to bead to fend off the nasties, and went on smoove like butta.

As you can see I’ve already had them in the soft stuff, and they performed adequately, but then “soft,” like “new” and “33mm,” is relative. We’ve had an unusual amount of rain and the trails are nicely packed (where they’re not rutted all to shitaree).

You can get the Shikoro in 700×23, 28, 33, 38 and 42, steel or Kevlar bead, and in a 700×48 tubeless edition.

Eagle-eyed

May 13, 2019

“We just saw an eagle go by. It was carrying a baby.” (h/t E.B. White)

Just what the e-doctor ordered

May 13, 2019

I’m shocked, shocked, that some people seem to believe that e-bikes are the modern equivalent of the philosopher’s stone.

This just in: E-bikes cure* Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, post-nasal drip, gout, piles, dandruff, denture breath, and the heartbreak of psoriasis (Christ, you don’t know the meaning of heartbreak, buddy, c’mon, c’mon).

* You will note the caveat buried deep in the piece: “(A)ttaining these health benefits requires tackling the problem of poor street design and infrastructure in America. Everything from high speed limits to wide roads to light timing that prioritizes the flow of vehicles poses a threat to older people walking in their communities … and also creates barriers to people participating in cycling.”

Wake-up call

May 11, 2019

Hey! Who shit on my radio?

Ho, ho. Robinson Meyer at The Atlantic examines NPR’s new “Morning Edition” theme and finds it wanting.

He’s not the only one. Composer Timo Andres and jazz singer Theo Bleckmann had thoughts as well.

“For me, it was so reminiscent of childhood, of car rides to school,” Andres told me later of the old theme. “Even though, objectively, it sounds like an artifact from a universe where Steely Dan was co-opted into writing state-propaganda music.”

The new theme, meanwhile, was summarized more pithily by Bleckmann. “Yeah, it sucks,” he said.

Ouch.

But what do you expect when you commission a committee to compose your theme song?

Robert A. Heinlein was wrong about a lot of things, but he was right on target when he noted that a committee was “a life form with six or more legs and no brain.”

And yeah, the new theme: It sucks.

Bull in a China shop

May 10, 2019

There’s a new tariff in town.

MAGA, etc., et al., and so on and so forth. I’d speculate as to whether Art O. DeDeal is trying to croak the bike biz because of the relentless roasting I’ve given him, but he doesn’t know Schwinn from Shinola.

He apparently wants everyone else to lose money the way he did.

So. Much. Winning.

Morning report

May 10, 2019

We won’t need any sunscreen today.

No, you haven’t stroked out. All is well. What you’re seeing is the wind-driven rain smearing Miss Mia Sopaipilla’s upper-deck observation window.

Frankly, she finds this irksome. The Enemy is everywhere, and eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, as we discovered last night when a stray cat materialized outside the Southwestern Sally Port.

I was loading the dishwasher when a horrific yowling and clatter nearly gave me a stroke. I thought maybe the Dead had breached the Wall, but nope. It was Mia, scattering the vertical blinds as she marched to and fro alongside the sliding glass doors, challenging a feline interloper to personal combat, while Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) formulated strategy and tactics from his command post in the rear.

This morning I awakened to find that the commander and his staff duty officer had deployed various biological countermeasures overnight (the Geneva Convention notwithstanding), and terrorists had disabled the coffee grinder. But I was able to bring the base back to full readiness with various cleaning products, some elbow grease and much bad language.

Opening a few windows helped, too, until the rain started coming in sideways.

That is all.