Bare trees

The Marin Four Corners Elite (dog not pictured).

The Marin Four Corners Elite (dog not pictured).

Back to work, and what a hideous chore it was, too — riding the Marin Four Corners Elite on a new-to-me trail south of Embudo Canyon.

Lots of dog-walkers out in the late afternoon; too many, actually. But who could blame them? It was fiddy-sumpin’, if windy, and a fine day to step away from the desk for a while.

Today should be equally pleasant, unless you live in New Hampshire, where evil weather and presidential aspirants abound. Marco 3P0 is still jammed on repeat (his programmers insist this is a feature, not a bug); Jeb (!) asked his mommy to fetch his testicles (apparently he’s discovered some use for them); and Trump, The Great and Powerful, is expected to dispute their very existence while simultaneously squeezing them (and everyone else’s) with his very small hands.

On the Donk side in today’s primary, Comrade Sanders is expected to deep-fry The Hilldebeast, who has let the Big Dog off the leash, which may raise as many questions as it lays to rest. As celebrity tag-team pairings go, this may not exactly be The High Flyers.

Whatever. As the elite political press corps says, after tonight we can all go back to not giving a shit about New Hampshire. There are bikes to ride, after all.

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16 Responses to “Bare trees”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Aint’ you the prolific one? You are posting faster than we can comment!
    I am really interested in what you think of that 1×11 SRAM drivetrain. I am so impressed with my TRP Spyke brakes that hydraulic brakes no longer interest me. Like Larry T. says, “give me cables or give me death! ” Only a New Orleans pimp would ride a bike with wires and hydraulic lines. Or was that pearl handles on their shootin’ irons.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s been interesting, Pat. The bike is a lot of fun to ride, being more than a little cyclo-crossy, but yeah, the gearing and brakes may discourage some buyers.

      In the past few days I’ve ridden three vaguely similar bikes on the same terrain: the Marin, my Bianchi Zurigo Disc, and my Steelman Eurocross, the only one of the two with cantilever brakes (Paul’s Neo-Retro in front and Touring in the rear).

      Only the last is a true ‘cross bike, and despite a weight of 21.8 pounds I was off and running on steep pitches, thanks to the Steelman’s low end of 36×26 (37.6 gear inches).

      The Bianchi weighs just a bit more, 23.3 pounds, but has a low end of 34×32 (28.7 gear inches), and I spent a bit more time in the saddle. This bike also has 700×38 tires; the Steelman has 700×35.

      The Marin is the heaviest of the three at 25.1 pounds, but its 1×11 drivetrain serves up the best low end of the trio at 40×42 (26 gear inches), and with the 700×38 tires I was able to climb just about anything without dismounting, though I was really, really slow on steep bits. Elsewhere it’s pleasant to have only one shifter to think about. On long descents, when I spin out the top end I just coast.

      The brakes? Some product managers say hydros are the shit; others say they’re not reliable enough to spec on a bike that you might take back of beyond, far from your own workbench or a reliable shop.

      Me, I like the feel — modulation is superb, as is stopping power, and all with the light squeeze of two fingers. But being a technical ignoramus I can’t say I’m excited about maintenance and repair. I think the Spyre remains the best choice if you’re sold on discs.

      That said, you’d be surprised how well the Steelman stops with Paul’s cantis tricked out with green SwissStop pads.

      • khal spencer Says:

        The hydraulics on my Specialized Stumpjumper are wonderful. I’m just not sure there is a fallback option if your hydraulics fail out 30 clicks the other side of nowhere. The cable disks on my Salsa LaCruz have plenty of power and are not that hard to modulate, and are simpler.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        After my hydraulic bashing above, I thought a little. I realized I was an early adopter of hydraulic discs on my Bike E NX back in the day. They were Hayes brakes and hubs, and I never had a bit of trouble. But being older, I like simpler. Installation, adjustments, and pad changes on these TRP brakes are simple, and they are quiet.
        Getting downright balmy down here for the next 7 days. Seventies and forties for highs and lows. Break out the shorts!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        “Fallback option” is what gives me The Fear. It’s pretty easy to carry a couple spare canti pads, a straddle wire and yoke, etc. But I could see myself sitting at trailside, hooting mournfully and hitting these hydraulic mothers with a rock, as the coyotes, bears and zombies close in.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I listened to some of Bill Clinton’s ranting and realized that compared to me, Bill has a Ph.D. in being a grumpy old man. Between his speech and the Albright-Steinem tag team, I am led to recall that Monty Python skit about knowing a king because he(she) is the only person without shit on him. Well, no one seems to be so lucky in New Hampshire.

    Well, I pulled out the bicycle yesterday and made it about fifty yards down the street and quickly decided to wait a couple more days. Sigh.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I smell a whiff of panic in the Clinton “juggernaut.” This is the downside of everyone having determined her inevitability about the time Obama was taking his second oath of office. A couple miscues and the smart set soils its pantaloons.

      Don’t try to come back too soon, Hoss. You don’t want the medicos getting under your hood again.

  3. John in GJ Says:

    Said Barbara Bush of her son Jeb (!): “But he’s not a bragger,” she said. “We don’t allow that.”

    Pphhhhhfffffffftttttt…..A Bush, “not a bragger”? I guess the Bush boys get their bullshit gene from both sides of the family.

    Or maybe in Texas being an asshole braggart is just called “swagger”?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Naw, they don’t brag. They just pardon the Iran-Contra crowd, lie through their teeth, croak savings and loans, torment brain-damaged women, start wars, botch disaster relief, erase surpluses, and enrich their frat brethren. But brag? Naw.

  4. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Billary’s starting to worry me. The Donc establishment is NOT going to give Sanders the nomination in the same way the Elefinks are NOT going to let Trump get the nod. So why the desperate flailing around? Doesn’t look very presidential to me, Hil and Bill. You both know in this case (unlike last time with Obama) the fix is in here so your antics just create doubts and open the way for a Rethug candidate to have a real chance, though I’m happy to see Marco “Dubya” Rubio having a little short-circuit in his wiring – great fodder for when the campaign finally boils down to Clinton vs Rubio.

  5. DownhillBill Says:

    Happy Mardi Gras to all! I’m studiously avoiding politics today, cooking shrimp & sausage gumbo, and planning to earn the traditional hangover for the start of Lent. The coincidence of the NH whacko race being the same day works for me!

  6. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Ole Billary is spinning how she just got her ass kicked by the Berne.

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