Old race, new race

July 28, 2016
Looking east at the Sandias from NM 313, en route to Bernalillo.

Looking east at the Sandias from NM 313, en route to Bernalillo.

It sure is nice to spend mornings riding the bike rather than writing the bike.

Yesterday I rode out to Bernalillo on NM 313, inspecting the first leg of what would be a fun training ride — basically an extended version of the old Watermelon Mountain Classic that I used to race back in the Eighties.

That race started in Bernalillo and climbed through Placitas on NM 165 to the Sandia Peak Ski Area, then dropped through Sandia Park and Cedar Crest before finishing on NM 333 just east of Albuquerque.

What made it interesting was a stretch of unimproved dirt Forest Service road — about seven miles of switchbacks, if memory serves — that climbed to the Sandia Crest Road just below the ski area, which used to host an occasional mountain-bike race.

After that it was mostly the old zoom-zoom, down, down, down to the Duke City. I was usually pretty aggressive on the climb, but whatever I gained on the uphill I lost on the downhill, suffering as I did from an overactive imagination and a feeble health-insurance plan.

My version of the Watermelon would start at El Rancho Pendejo, which adds 20 miles to the front end of the ride. The backside would be augmented by a half-dozen miles or thereabouts, from the old finish line back to the rancho. Eating the whole ‘melon would involve about 63 miles, many of them uphill. Good times. Maybe not.

Speaking of races and good times, Ronald McDonald McTrump came in for a vigorous thumping last night at the DNC. Even the prez got in on the act, which MoJo’s Kevin Drum summarized in 17 words:

Michael Bloomberg: Trump is a con man.

Tim Kaine: Trump is a liar.

Joe Biden: Trump is a sociopath

Barack Obama: Trump is an asshole.

Drum qualified that last by noting that it was his translation “from the original Obamish.” Pretty accurate translation, I’d say.

 

Grrl power

July 27, 2016
Gracie Allen ran strictly for laughs, as opposed to Donald Trump, who doesn't seem to realize that he's comical. Photo by CBS via Getty Images

Gracie Allen ran strictly for laughs, as opposed to Donald Trump, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s comical. Photo by CBS via Getty Images

Nearly a century after women won the right to vote in this country, a major political party has finally picked one to be its candidate for the presidency.

Others have had a go, of course.

In 1964, Margaret Chase Smith was the first woman to have her name placed in nomination by a major party (the GOP).

Too, the Green Party and various socialist parties have regularly put women at the top of their tickets.

And Gracie Allen — yes, that Gracie Allen — ran in 1940 under the auspices of the Surprise Party. Her platform? “Redwood, trimmed with nutty pine.”

“My opponents say they’re going to fight me ’til the cows come home,” she said in a campaign speech. “So, they admit the cows aren’t home. Why aren’t the cows home? Because they don’t like the conditions on the farm. The cows are smart. They’re not coming home ’til there’s a woman in the White House.”

Gracie was (mostly) kidding, of course. But Hillary isn’t. Neither is Sarah Silverman, a supporter of Comrade Eeyore who told the Bernie or Bust faction that they were “being ridiculous,” which they were.

And definitely not kidding was the other Clinton, the Big Dog, who brought his gift for rambling discourse to the rostrum last night.

Ol’ Bill freestyled a lot of his speech, ’cause he likes to and ’cause the teleprompter was acting out (Ber-NIE! Ber-NIE!). I always appreciated the way the man could shoot the shit (his mendacious Monica Lewinsky chatter not included). But I never voted for him, because I didn’t trust him out of my sight, and I said more than once that his old lady was smarter, tougher and meaner than he was.

Well, Bill seems to agree with me. And so does the works faction of the party, because they gave her the nod.

Now, I don’t trust the Hilldebeast any more than I do her old man. Peas in a pod, those two. The Clintons seem all too typical of our political elites, many of whom think rules are for rubes. That said, there’s no denying that they’ve done the work, unlike the other fella in the contest, who won’t even pay for it, much less perform it.

Herself and I placed our faith in Bernie. But clearly faith wasn’t enough. Works will have to do. Say g’night, Gracie.

Vuelta de Bosque

July 25, 2016
The northbound view.

The northbound view.

With the Tour in the books, I actually managed to saddle up while it was still coolish outdoors and went for a long, pleasant spin along the Paseo del Bosque trail.

Southbound, en route to the Rio Bravo turnaround.

Southbound, en route to the Rio Bravo turnaround.

Raptors and bunnies were playing hide-and-seek for keeps as I zipped down the Paseo del Norte trail, which drops off the North Diversion Channel trail and feeds into the bosque trail, and there were plenty of two-wheelers out and about as well, despite it being a workday (bums).

After enjoying a slight tailwind out, I decided to skip the 5.4-mile circuit south of Rio Bravo, which turned out to be a poor decision — I missed making my 62nd-birthday mileage by the length of the loop. And the headwind for the return leg was not so much of a much, though the steady climb back to El Rancho Pendejo was the usual struggle.

Speaking of struggles, it sounds as though Comrade Eeyore’s cadres are going all Little Red Book on pretty much everyone at the Democratic National Convention, including Dear Leader himself. Good times. Maybe not.

And yeah, I know me some Little Red Book, yo.

And yeah, I know me some Little Red Book, yo.

I feel their pain. As a retired commie myself, I enjoyed voting for the old socialist in the primary. And I’m certainly not feeling that old smash-the-State love from The Hilldebeast, though Comrade Downhill Bill speaks highly of her running mate in comments. Comrade Pierce approves, too, albeit with reservations.

But you go to vote with the system you have, not the system you wish you had. Ask any old Red.

And if the choice is between Ronald McDonald McTrump and The Hilldebeast, well, that’s no choice at all, is it? You pinch your nose, vote D, and then go home and give yourself a swirly for three or four hours in a toilet full of cheap gin.

 

Champs and chumps

July 24, 2016
We have clouds early, but it looks like another hot one in the Duke City. And in Paris, too? Stay tuned.

We have clouds early, but it looks like another hot one in the Duke City. And in Paris, too? Stay tuned.

The sun rises on the final day of the 2016 Tour de France. Yay, etc.

It wasn’t much of a Tour, from a GC point of view. Sky — for whatever reason — is just too damn strong. And while Zoom-Zoom Froome pulled a few new rabbits out of his hat early on, after a couple of frights he settled down into his usual act, and that, as they say, was that.

A couple of Frenchmen proved fun to watch — Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Julian Alaphillippe (Etixx-QuickStep) — and of course there was Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), who is a race unto himself.

But Fabio Aru (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) failed to mount serious challenges. Quintana may have been suffering from allergies, while Aru may have been afflicted with too many Vincenzo Nibalis. Richie Porte (BMC) had that mishap early on, and Tejay van Garderen had the usual meltdown; if he’s gonna keep fading like a cheap paintjob he should really spare us the breezy pre-Tour chatter about how Sky might buckle under pressure and how Froome is beatable. Not by you he ain’t, Sparky.

Sprinters who weren’t named Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) didn’t have much to celebrate this year, either. He won’t be banging bars on the Champs-Élysées this evening, and whoever wins the final stage will go home wondering whether things might have turned out differently if the Manxman had made it all the way to Paris.

Meanwhile, that other race — the one for the U.S. presidency — is a long way from the finish line, and I’m having trouble getting excited about pulling on my pistachio slingshot and fright wig, lighting a flare, and running alongside the field. Y’suppose we could ask the Badger to push ’em both off the stage?

 

Red moon rising

July 20, 2016

I’ve been striving mightily not to watch as the GOP continues eating itself alive — it will get around to its big orange asshole tomorrow — but Lord, is it ever a tough ol’ slog.

All my usual news feeds are awash in pomposity, prevarication and psychosis. Not even the Tour could cheer me up today, and I took little pleasure in being proved correct when I predicted early on that Tejay van Gardenhose would enjoy his usual jour sans. Even an old, blind dog can unearth a moldy Milk-Bone now and then.

Tonight’s speakers list is a veritable Murderers’ Row of mendacity: Koch-sucker Scott Walker, Marco 3P0, Texas Ted Cruz the Gucci Shitkicker, veep-in-waiting Mike “Deadeyes” Tuppence, and Newt and Callista Gingrich, who probably have never starred in an adult movie titled “Mr. Toad Boinks a Robot,” no matter what you’ve heard about the uptick in porn consumption during the GOP confab in Cleveland, City of Light, City of Magic.

A red moon rising indeed. I think I’ll go crawl under my bed now.

Honky, please

July 19, 2016

OK, white people have been appropriating black culture since, like, forever, but this seems a little over the top.

If Michelle Obama were Big Mama Thornton, Melania Trump would be thinking twice about trying to snatch a sister’s purse.

You told me you was high class … but I could see through that.

Putting the rumors to bed

July 15, 2016
Turk denies coup reports. "I'm right here, just like always," he told our reporter. "When's dinner?"

Turk denies coup reports. “I’m right here, just like always,” he told our reporter. “When’s dinner?”

Ventouxstep

July 14, 2016
Froomey, this is not cyclocross. This is the Tour. There are rules.

Froomey, this is not cyclocross. This is the Tour. There are rules.

Well, you can’t say this has been a dull Tour de France. Not when the maillot jaune is legging it up Ventoux in road cleats before being awarded a tiny yellow bike by Mavic neutral support.

There should be plenty to talk about (for a change) during tomorrow’s 37.5km individual time trial from Bourg-Saint-Andéol to La Caverne du Pont-d’Arc. I wouldn’t expect a lot of “There goes another rider. And another one. Aaannnnnd another one.”

Unfortunately, at least some of the chatter will be about what at the moment appears to be a terrorist attack in Nice. The evildoers don’t need box cutters and hijacked airliners any more. It seems a truck will do.

Smoke ’em if you got ’em

July 12, 2016

 

Yes, I shot it through the windshield. No cyclists were harmed in the making of this image,

Yes, I shot it through the windshield. No cyclists were harmed in the making of this image,

“Do not scorn day trips. You can use them to avoid nervous collapse.” — Jim Harrison, “Going Places”

We had a rest day in Le Tour on Monday, and Tuesday’s stage looked like a snoozer, so I abruptly decided to get the hell out of the scorching Duke City for a short road trip, the idea being to scout out a post-Interbike tour.

Mister Boo requires a bit of oversight, and I don’t like to impose on the neighbors, who have other things to do besides baby-sit a geriatric dog, so I wanted to keep my excursion short and sweet. Salida, I thought. Good cycling town, serviceable eats, haven’t visited in a while, not too far away.

Naturally, as soon as I pulled the trigger on the hotel room, the Hayden Pass fire erupted.

I will never be smart.

The sausage is made

July 7, 2016

fatso-WTF-2God damn. Another long shift in the barrel, including three-plus hours of Live Update Guy, one “Shop Talk” cartoon, and one “Mad Dog Unleashed” column.

Still, some people had worse days.

• The House GOP managed to fall into a barrel of tits and come out sucking its thumb.

• Der Trumpenführer invaded Washington and it went over about as well as the Russian thing did for that other guy.

• Roger Ailes seems badly in need of a lock on his zipper (the filthy old shitbag may find that it’s better to keep rubbing his little weenie all over the news business than trying to stick it into actual, you know, like, women, an’ stuff).

• Albuquerque seems to be a giant open-air, free-range prison populated entirely by killers, thieves, firebugs, rapists and burglars.

• And don’t get me started on cops killing people just because they can.


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