Your snow of snows

The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail.

The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail.

After a few too many days of my own personal Winter Olympics (ride, try not to fall on the ice; walk, try not to fall on the ice; stay indoors, try not to fall on the ice)  I had the Subaru serviced, packed it with cycling and journalism gear, and got the hell out of a house that was starting to feel a tad too small for optimal mental health.

It was strictly a professional decision, of course. I’m reviewing another bike, the Kona Sutra, and it’s hard to evaluate a road bike if you can’t see the road for all the lumpy ice piled on the sonofabitch.

I considered Arizona, but time is short, and so is money. So I roared down to Albuquerque, set up shop in a Hilton property using Herself’s accrued points, and got to riding sans neoprene.

I shouldn’t be crowing about the lack of snow in a state so short of water, but it feels downright heavenly to ride the Paseo del Bosque Trail in shorts and short sleeves. Plus I had a small combo plate at Mary & Tito’s Cafe last night, and you just can’t find that kind of grub in Bibleburg, not even if I’m in the kitchen.

Sid Caesar got out of town, too. But he’s never coming back, more’s the pity.

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27 Responses to “Your snow of snows”

  1. psobrien Says:

    A nice trail. And that aquarium and botanical garden was an unexpected pleasure when we visited a few years ago. I read the Nobilette review while waiting at the doctor’s office today. Nice work, but then I got jealous when I figured out you OWN it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Patrick, if more towns had a trail system like Albuquerque’s, I expect more people would ride bikes.

      Thanks on the Nobilette review. I proposed it as a backup in case any of our inbound bikes went walkabout and sure enough, we threw it into the rotation. It’s my midlife-crisis convertible, is what.

      • Pat and Sandy O'Brien Says:

        And, it is a beauty! I have A520 pedals on my SOMA ES, and really like them in combination with the new Shimano recessed SPD cleat road and touring shoe. I have A530 pedals on the SOMA Saga, and Use them with mountain bike shoes. Have you tried the A530 pedals yet?

      • khal spencer Says:

        Lucky Albuquerque has that trail system, because if more towns had drivers like those in Albuquerque, there would be plenty more ghost bikes on the sides of the road.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Ghost bike on Washington at Indian School.

        Well said, K. “Aggressively bad” describes the local motoring style. I’m surprised there aren’t daily rolling gunfights as these pendejos careen from lane to lane, 20 mph over the posted limit, with malfunctioning headlights, tail lights, brake lights and turn signals (the horns always work, though).

        And it has been disconcerting to cycle past a few ghost bikes and the odd mortuary situated alongside a bike lane.

        Still, the bike paths are impressive. And, as you note, crucial to cyclist safety.

      • Larry T. Says:

        While not a fan of Shimano in general, the SPD road pedals work well for us. The 520 is just fine while the 600 is nicer, with a rust-resistant axle and cleaner look. I ordered a set of 530’s but sent them back as I couldn’t see much benefit over the old 324’s. Way-too-much hanging down when you’re using the clip-in function, but less sneaker-friendly than the old 324’s – to me kind of an answer to a question I didn’t ask.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Gents, I’ve used the A520 and A600 and like them both, but have yet to try the 530s. I have M520s, M540s and Deore XT pedals on bikes, too, so I can mostly stick to one pair of Sidis, though I have to use an older pair of shoes to ride the bikes that still have Time ATACs on ’em. Those remain my favorite pedals.

      • khal spencer Says:

        God Damn, Patrick, you would take a picture of that one. Matt, who worked at REI in Albuquerque, was about to be married to the sister of Joe Martz, a friend, scientific colleague, and fellow cyclist up here in BombTown.

        The fuckin’ idjit who killed him, Memori Hardwick, was typical of the drug addled fools who are behind the wheel down there.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Jeebus, K. It’s a small world we live in. That intersection was three blocks from my hotel, and I rode through it often.

        Interestingly, I felt more at risk in my car than I did on the bike. Bibleburg’s drivers are pretty damn’ bad, but I think Albuquerque’s may top the auto-eejit podium.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Small world. We drove by that bike a week ago. Haunting.

  2. Libby Says:

    Glad to see your work assignment can double as a cabin fever break. I’m in the midst of a storm – 20 inches expected. Lost a family member last week – 91 – the same age as Sid Caesar.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      My condolences, Libby. It doesn’t help to say that 91 is quite a run. Only the women in my family make it that long — both grandmothers were well into their 90s before passing on. Tough old gals; one outlived two husbands.

  3. Sharon Says:

    Glad you got a respite. We are finally out of the winter weather and into about a week of 70 degree days. Can’t wait to do some riding. Hopefully Spring is around the corner for good. This winter is one for the ages.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I don’t mind some winter, Sharon. But this endless ice on the deck was driving me witless. 28mm tires and lumpy ice make for sketchy cycling, especially in shady corners. I’m running out of bones to break and fingers to dislocate.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    I would have preferred a three foot dump of snow on this part of the world, covering you and me. Next summer, we will once again be looking at the forests as standing books of matches. Or worse.

  5. bromasi Says:

    Ass not ice.

  6. Larry T. Says:

    Good for you! I’m counting the daze here until our escape from winter. If we could get enough snow to XC ski on, it would be much more bearable, but it’s getting hard to consider another session of pedaling to nowhere down in the shop. I’m almost desperate enough to drag out the old NordicTrak. Agghhhh!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      If winter lasted longer here, or were more generous with the snow, I might invest in a fat bike and brave the elements more often. But it seems like an extravagance for those rare days where (a) there’s enough snow to make those tractor tires worth the pushing, and (2) the temps are not in the teens or below. A road trip is cheaper and more beneficial, I think.

  7. weaksides Says:

    Don’t do it Larry! You just need the right bike for winter. Might I suggest a fixed gear and a flask- together?

    10-12″ of the white stuff here gave 2 paid days from work. That’s the good news. The bad news is my Dad died yesterday. Dementia was bad enough; but (maybe?) thankfully cancer sped things up a lot. I still don’t know which is worse. At least he went peacefully.

    But now I have to get a Valentine’s dinner together for the far better half.

    Get busy livin boys, because we’ll be dead a lot longer!

    • Larry T. Says:

      I’ve got a MTB and a set of carbide-studded tires. I just don’t want to be COLD. Three winters in a row living in Sicily have destroyed my tolerance for being cold. At least with XC skiing one is (especially with my awful technique) generating enough heat to stay warm, but we’ve got no snow. So the NordicTrak may end up the lesser evil until we can escape near the end of the month.

      • weaksides Says:

        Cold is the easiest part to beat.

        The fixed gear is more reliable for braking than rim brakes, and if you have hills like I do here (something I doubt about Iowa) then you have to work riding downhill too. Riding flat pedals with straps also allows you to wear warmer shoes or boots; and you can skid the back wheel easier.

        And there is the flask if you’re still cold- or even if you’re not.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Dementia and cancer? Damn, that’s heavy lifting. I’m sorry for your loss. The O’Gradys generally take their diseases one at a time (Alzheimer’s, alcoholism, etc.). We’re not successful multitaskers.

      Larry, you want awful technique, you should see me ski sometime. I look like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner.

      • weaksides Says:

        Thanks Patrick. The dementia wasn’t too surprising since 2 of his sisters had already died from it and 2 others have it in various stages. The cancer was out of left field though. That’s one disease on both sides of my family that hasn’t shown up until now.

  8. Derek Lenahan Says:

    Bad technique? Bad technique? Do you know how hard it is to look like you are going fast without actually catching that stupid bird? Wile E. Coyote was a Supa-Genius

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