Happy trails

Don't let the apparent solitude fool you — the Piedra Lisa/Embudo Dam trails were crawling with people trying to sweat out their hangovers.

Don’t let the apparent solitude fool you — the Piedra Lisa/Embudo Dam trails were crawling with people trying to sweat out their hangovers.

Right. New Year’s Day has come and gone, and it’s all downhill from here.

Instead of Hoppin’ John and cornbread, deadlines are on the menu — print reviews of the Trek 520 and Specialized Sequoia are due this month at Adventure Cyclist, along with video of the Sam Hillborne. Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, meanwhile, wants a column and cartoon.

The struggle continues.

Bellying up to the bar on New Year's Day.

Bellying up to the bar on New Year’s Day.

Meanwhile, the first ride of the year is in the books. I performed a cassette transplant on the mango Steelman Eurocross to replace a 26-tooth cog with a 28 — 36×26 is too tall for some of the trails I ride around here — and went out and about for an hour.

Riding touring bikes has spoiled me for cyclocross. I need to think about rearranging the technology on this Eurocross, losing the balky old eight-speed Ultegra brifters for bar-cons and aero brake levers; shortening and raising the stem a tad; and going wider with the handlebar. Also, and too, pulling a few teeth on the chainrings, going to 46/34 from 48/36.

And while I’m at it, I could go nine-speed. Forward, into the past!

I’m probably stuck as regards tires — 32mm is what I’m rocking now, and I nearly slid off a greasy off-camber bit and into a ditch full of sharp rocks and cacti because I’m used to riding nice, fat, squishy 38s and up. But I think I’ll be lucky if I can shoehorn a 35 into that rear triangle.

And if I’m unlucky, or unfit? Well, I guess I can always ride the Soma Double Cross, which already has bar-cons and aero levers, plus a triple crank and 700x42s. Gotta look for that silver lining, don’t you know.

Along those lines, consider this: At least Mariah Carey won’t be the next president. Too soon?

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29 Responses to “Happy trails”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Ride? Good idea. The SOMA ES waits in the garage.

  2. Sharon Says:

    I started off the New Year with my most favorite thing – a bike ride with friends on a gorgeous 75-degree sunny winter day! My resolution is try to do more bike trips in 2017, but ride less miles. In 2016 I rode 11,869 miles, the most ever. I am definitely taking this retirement thing too seriously!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Nearly 12,000 miles? Are you woofin’ me? I’m not even gonna tell you my pitiful tally. Well done indeed.

      I will tell you that I never rode anything like 11,869 miles, even when I was racing. The biggest number I can claim with any certainty is 7,857 miles in 1992. That was my first full year as a free-lancer — we were living rent-free in Bibleburg, taking care of my mom, and I had teammates to keep me on the straight and narrow.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Chapeau, Sharon! Well done indeed. I have never come close to 11,000 miles except maybe adding up the last 5 years. But, it still begs a question. When did we ever find time to work?

  3. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Our New Year’s Day – http://cycleitalia.blogspot.com/2017/01/happy-new-year-2017.html
    Best wishes to all for a great (well, as great as can be expected with Il Duce II in the White House) 2017. America should be great again very soon, right? Great for oil barons, arms merchants, white nationalists, etc. For Duce I guess that’s all the people who count?

  4. Sharon Says:

    It’s amazing what you can do when every day is a holiday, it rarely rains, the winters are mild and luck is on your side in terms of staying healthy…Really am shooting for closer to 7,000 to 9,000 this year.

  5. mooremediaone Says:

    2016 ended with a bang – and not in a good way 😦

    A driver so intent on making a left – forgot to check if others (who actually had the right -of-way) where going to cross the intersection. I will be fine, but the poor DC is a goner. Those poor Tange Prestige tubes!

    So, will be on the prowl for a new “do everything but serious mt biking” set of wheels in the coming months.

    Love the DC. But am I asking too much for something with a bit more chain-stay length? Was thinking Saga, but I’ve only ridden the DC.

    Meanwhile I am building a Franken-bike from an old Trek 4300 beater that will somehow have to get me to the office until I get something more serious. And – yeah, did the cassette / chain ring transplant yesterday. My version of lipstick on a pig 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ouch! Glad to hear you’re OK. Seems that if the bike bites it, the rider is OK, and if the bike is OK, well. …

      Most of Soma’s chainstays are in that 425mm range, though the Saga is more like 450. Definitely a different ride, though, and more weight. You notice you’re on a touring bike, is what.

      Their sister op’, New Albion, does the Privateer (frame only), which is in the middle with 435mm chainstays. BTI-USA distributes them and they have a number of retailers; maybe one in your neck of the woods.

      What’s your budget? The folks at Rivendell love them some long-ass chainstays. The Joe Appaloosa goes for $1,300 (frameset) and it’s most definitely a “do everything but serious mountain biking” kind of a steed.

      And chainstays for days and days.

      Masi’s Adventure series has some affordable ready-to-ride bikes with Saga-esque chainstays. We saw ’em at last year’s Interbike and one is on the review schedule (Nick Legan, not me).

      • mooremediaone Says:

        Budget wise, my Double Cross came in at just over $2700 – which I remember my wife giving me “that look”. It’d be nice to trim that some what for round two of “that look”.

        I actually took Southwest from LAX to Oakland and had Brad at American Cyclery give me the once over with his cloth tape measure and spent a Saturday afternoon while we geeked out on all the parts for the build. That was some mighty find customer service. I recommend that shop for anyone on the West coast.

        Oh, and forgot about the Joe App. Thanks for the reminder and the other links too. Jeeze, so many great bikes out there. Where are all the junky ones? Wait. Nevermind. Just remembered: Wall Mart.

        Let the analysis paralysis begin!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        The American Cyclery boyos built my disc-equipped Saga, a bike I really like. I’m thinking about selling the canti Saga, because the garage is something of an embarrassment of riches, bike-wise.

        “Analysis paralysis.” Ho, ho. I am so stealing that. Just enjoyed a bit of that myself while shopping for jeans at the local Macy’s.

        I estimate 2,382,950 SKUs for Levis and 1,693,207 for Wranglers. Skinny, slim, straight leg, flared leg, low waist, stretch, loose fit, boot cut, casual fit, etc., et al., viz., to wit, and so on and so forth.

        I tried on a six-pack’s worth and said to hell with it. Haven’t worn through the seat of my old pants yet. I can wait a spell.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Salsa Vaya perhaps? Name brand Sanko tubing, 450mm chainstays, and light touring capable with rack mounts and extra water bottle/pump bracket mounts.

    • mooremediaone Says:

      Good suggestion, Pat O’Brien. I’ve always liked the Vaya -at least to look at it via the inter-tubes. I wonder if our esteemed host and bike reviewer has taken one out for the day?.

      And – as of this afternoon – the ins company has offered a healthy sum to ease the pain of my Double Cross loss. Check’s in the mail as they say. Which – it better be, I’m looking forward to some test rides and get a build going.

  6. Dale Says:

    Hoppin’ John – so I am not the only white boy to eat black-eyed peas on New Years Day!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We are afflicted with honky cuisine on both sides of the family. Herself’s people have roots in Texas, while my mom was from Sioux City and the old man was raised up in Louisiana and Florida.

      Dad loved him some pickled pigs’ feet and grits. That’s where I draw the line.

      I wasn’t tickled with the Hoppin’ John recipe I used yesterday. Emeril has one that looks quicker and tastier.

      • Dale Says:

        I my memory serves me well, Grandmother was a minimalist when it came to black-eyed peas. Peas, pork of some sort (fatty of course), onion, and water. Apple cider vinegar was a garnish on the table. I just like the taste of those things unadorned.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        Chitlins, turnip greens with chopped onions on top, and maybe some black-eyed beans slow-simmered with a ham hock will do very nicely…..thank you! 🙂

  7. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Jeans? Last pair I bought were cheap “KEY” brand I think. Look like the major brand stuff and probably made in the same factories in Mexico? Funny about all the SKU’s – the big bike brands have ridiculous catalogs of specs, colors, etc, but the damn things too often come in “too small, too big and close enough” when it comes to the freakin’ SIZE!
    $20 sneakers come in more than S-M-L, why can’t $2K+ bicycles?

    • JD Dallager Says:

      Larry: Before you leave for Italy (temporarily or permanently) you ought to try out Carhartt jeans. Rugged, relatively inexpensive, blue-collar functional, designed for “working stiffs”. And they LAST. Same with their other stuff.

      You could intro them to Italy and become famous/rich! 🙂

      Or not. 🙂

      • mooremediaone Says:

        +1 for Cardhartt. Wife, being a horse-woman – (we have a rescued Mustang from Nevada) wears Cardhartt. Those threads are bomb proof. They might even outlast a Trump presidency.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        They already have it – I saw a store with that name in the window in Rome awhile back – a fashion label there.
        Sadly, too many stores in Italy have become “same s__t, different money” which includes bike shops.
        The “KEY” branded denims I mentioned cost under $15 in a place in Iowa that also sells Carhartt, Dickies and Cat branded clothing.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Word. I have some green Carhartt jeans and I will wear out before them dudes do.

      ‘Course, that’s not much in the way of a recommendation, considering the wear and tear on me. But still.

  8. veloben Says:

    Umm, big tires, slimy off camber turns and touring. With this the kitchen sink and plumbing can come for the ride.


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Wowsah. A bike for the Apocalypse. Get some Carhartt kit and you’re ready to battle cannibals, zombies and Trumpetistas who caught typhoid fever from the undrained swamp (now the Donald J. Trump-Foggy Bottom National Monument) and no longer have health insurance.

      Which reminds me: The Long Haul Trucker is another good, affordable all-rounder with long chainstays. I’ve seen at least one guy riding one on some moderately technical trails (and no, it wasn’t me).

      • JD Dallager Says:

        Can’t say enough good things about the Long Haul Trucker. My nephews rode them from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego (16,700 miles, self-supported, one year enroute) about a year and a half ago now. And they bought the bikes themselves.

        Their website chronicling the more-than-“epic” trip is still up at: End2end adventure.com.

    • mooremediaone Says:

      Man, it reminds me of my neighbors Ford Excursion. In a good, non-fossil fuelish kind of way – of course.

  9. ryansubike Says:

    SRAM makes a 11-32 8 speed cassette as does Shimano..just saying

  10. Wideload Says:

    Last night’s kickoff to this year’s Arnie Baker 26 session HIT series found the leader rocking an Old Guy’s jersey. 6:30 Tuesday’s and Thursday’s at Las Puertas. Conveniently located across the street from one of ABQ’s brew houses. Sweat it out, pour it back in.

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