All ’crossed up

I managed to take the flowers in a one-rider field. Huzzah, etc.

There’s nothing like a little cyclocross to take your mind off pretty much everything save the few meters of the Earth directly in front of your wheel.

It was chilly in the Duke City this week, and as I revisit the old training log I see that I ran twice and ’crossed twice. Didn’t get an actual road ride in until yesterday, when the temps finally inched back up into the 50s.

Running is a useful alternative to riding the road in Michelin Man kit (or worse, riding the trainer). And cyclocross is a pleasant diversion from all of these things. So I pulled the bottle cages off my favorite Steelman Eurocross, dug up the Sidis with the Time ATAC cleats, and got after it.

The trails that loop around the Sandia Foothills Open Space’s Menaul trailhead parking lot make a pretty good circuit, albeit one without much in the way of flats for motoring, which would be nice for recovery (since I have trouble motoring in my dotage).

The first course I laid out had one too-long uphill gravel run, so I made some revisions for the second outing, awarding myself two shorter runs, one at each end of the circuit. There was too much twisty singletrack, a whole shitload of cactus in various flavors, and some deep gravel that made a couple corners sketchy with 32mm clinchers at 35 psi. And it took me a few go-rounds to remember all my mad skillz from days gone by.

But I never fell over, and I even managed to amuse a couple dog-walkers who apparently had never seen an elderly fella running around wearing a perfectly rideable bike.

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16 Responses to “All ’crossed up”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Did the Tour de Back Forty yesterday for about an hour. I have not tried that on the cross bike. In part because I have a perfectly serviceable double boinger to go with my bad back and in part because the cross bike looks like one of those fully loaded F4’s from the Vietnam era with all the commuting bits on it. Besides, its pretty rocky and I do recall doing it on a hardtail with 2.3’s on it and that was bouncy enough.

    But yes, when the temperature drops, time for the dirt bikes to come out.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      You’re right Khal. Rode the Saga Friday. It’s clean, adjusted and lubed. Everything works. Went of the rack. It is the same thing with the ES, which I will ride tomorrow after it’s time in the repair stand. Now it’s time for the Niner MCR and I to play in the dirt.

  2. JD Dallager Says:

    Good on ya, PO’G, Pat O’B, and Khal!

    Ran across this yesterday re road cycling in NM (or for that matter anywhere nowadays). A sad commentary on many facets of current day norms, distractions, and prejudices.

    https://www.outsideonline.com/2267126/road-riding-worth-risk

    I’ve been on trails only for the past five years…..still alive to talk about it…..must be something to it.

    Ride on!

    • larryatcycleitalia Says:

      The Outside guy was hit on the bit of road connecting his off-road activities. This must be the logic behind the massive SUV’s and the like that are driven the couple of miles to the start of bike trails where the bikes are unloaded and fun/exercise begins. Same as those who drive to a gym to climb on a spin bike or treadmill.
      To each their own, but I won’t let fear of being run down keep me off the roads, including SoCal next week.
      They’re MY roads too, gawdammit!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Fanta Se is a tough venue for the road cyclist. The roads are skinny and the vehicles, um, not so much. Plus, as in the Duke City, everybody driving same is distracted, drunk, drugged and/or deranged.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        That’s what I remember about Tucson. Never figured out why so many think of that area as a great place to ride, other than the climate in winter. I’m happy to avoid roads and motorists if there’s a bike trail that goes somewhere, but in the US of A (or Italy) that’s a rare treat. In the latter case it’s not that big a deal since the motorists are the polar opposite of your average Chevrolet Subdivision pilot.
        Hoping the smoke’s cleared by the time we get out to SoCal so the motorists are the only things we battle!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Larry, there’s some nice road riding out north of Tucson, toward Oracle. The trick is getting to it without getting croaked.

        Likewise there seems to be some pretty good mountain biking in the area, but I bet a lot of folks drive to the trailheads. I’ve only run in Catalina State Park, but that place seems pretty a’ight, a’ight.

        I’ve gotten spoiled by being able to ride singletrack more or less straight out the damn’ door. I hate driving to a ride.

        Holler at us from Cali’, let us know the state of affairs out thataway. And have fun, too.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    The story is appalling and so to is the lack of anyone on SFPD giving a shit about what happened to Irena Ossola. Now that it looks like I will be living down ther in the City Indifferent, I guess I better make sure my bills are paid and I’m prepared to meet the Grim Reaper.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The joint is not well suited for auto traffic. I propose banning the automobile from Fanta Se entirely. Residents and visitors alike shall park their vehicles in lots outside of town and bicycle, skate, ski, snowshoe or walk about their business.

      The elderly and infirm will be permitted to use solar-powered golf carts with a maximum speed of 10 mph.

      UPS, FedEx and USPS shall park the big rigs outside like everyone else and employ cargo bicycles for in-city delivery.

      Taxis will be replaced by rickshaws and pedicabs.

      Drones are forbidden upon pain of crucifixion (first offense). Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Distracted driving is a fact of life now. Manufacturers support it by offering more and more distractions. It’s just not cell phones anymore, although they are a largest part of it. Government support it by refusing to legislate against it. Money talks and safety, especially for cyclists, loses. But, when does “the fear” force some of us off the road? Are any of us ready to give up the dream of a bike tour? Does getting older increase “the fear.”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m judicious about where and when I ride, on road and off.

      On road, I don’t always take the direct route from point A to B if I feel it’s unreasonably hazardous. If a slightly more circuitous route is safer, I take it. Also, I don’t have a problem with using off-street bike paths where they’re available.

      I won’t lie: Touring is a challenge. With racks and sacks you’re a little less maneuverable and thus an easier target. I think this is one reason lightly traveled gravel roads and lightly loaded “bikepacking” have become so popular (or so sayeth the Fake News, anyway).

      Off road? I tend to avoid the trails on weekends, reasoning that the folks stuck working Monday-Friday gigs should get their share while I get mine during regular business hours.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I do likewise. The Saga gives a smooth, predictable, and pleasant ride, so I keep it even though it has only been used for a few overnight trips. I still have the itch for a multi-day tour. I scouted routes from here to Duke City, but roads without the fear factor are few from here to there. I guess I will just keep checking the ACA tours for an inn-to-inn tour that meets my needs. The roads from city to city in the Southwest are challenging, and many times scary, for cyclists. Plus, you might end up on interstate highways for part of the route to get most places, like from Duke City to Lost Wages. No reason to ride there anymore since Interbike left town.

        • Carl Duellman Says:

          a friend and i did a four day self contained ride through talladega national forest in alabama over thanksgiving. probably 75% of the route was rails to trails or gravel roads and there was a brewery at the end of the ride. it was so nice to ride without worrying about traffic although i would rather die on vacation than sitting at my desk.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I’m lazy. I like to sleep in a bed. But even an inn-to-inn around here is sketchy. I keep thinking about an extended tour north, but NM 14 is a tad hairy from Duke City to Fanta Se, and some of the other roads I’d need to use are worser.

          Im Bibleburg I could roll right out the front door and keep on going. I hate to give B-burg the advantage in anything, but there it is.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Touring around in the USA is whole ‘nother thing. Some local guys here did a ‘cross the country ride this past summer. One guy crashed out on day 4 but that was his own fault while one of the others told me 2 or 3 guys involved in this ride got hit by cars or trucks and hauled off in a meat wagon before they made it to the other shore. Nobody died, but I had to wonder about the outfit they chose to look after them and their choice of route after some of the hair-ball descriptions of the roads they rode on. We no longer ride on 101 in CA for example, though plenty of cyclists still do. In Italy I just don’t worry about it though Michele Scarponi got croaked just this year and Chris Horner got busted up pretty badly on Italian roads. Overall for me it’s more of a “when your #’s up, it’s up” kind of thing. I’d rather be riding my bike than doing pretty much anything else!

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