Q&A: Ruta del Rancho Pendejo

Riding north along the Paseo del Bosque.

We’ve had some questions arise about the inaugural Ruta del Rancho Pendejo, slated June 2-3. Here are some answers:

Q. How long are the rides?

A. The Paseo del Bosque Trail is a 32-mile round trip on paved path from the Alameda trailhead south around the industrial Rio Bravo lollipop at the south and back again. Pat O’Brien and I rode it in just over two and a half hours last year. It’s flat, flat, flat, but expect wind (probably in your face for the return leg) and plenty of other trail users. Here’s a detailed description of the route (from south to north). We could skip the loop at the southern end — frankly, it’s not all that scenic —and turn around at Rio Bravo Boulevard for the trip back to the Alameda trailhead.

The Steelman Eurocross on Trail 505 north of Elena Gallegos.

The off-road rides I like cover about 10 to 15 miles, or from an hour to 90 minutes in duration. For longer rides, we could simply add laps, or additional loops, maybe sample both the northern trails around the Elena Gallegos picnic area and the southern trails below Menaul. The Foothills Trails start just a couple blocks from El Rancho Pendejo, and since I ride rigid steel weirdomobiles I tend to seek out the swoopy, flowy, less-technical routes in a network that one local wrench has described as “manicured.” That said, there is a fair amount of climbing, the occasional rock garden, plenty of sand, cacti out the wazoo, and some washboard descents. Here’s a basic description.

I’ve shot some video of the southern Foothills Trails, but none of their northern cousins.

Q. Are rental bikes available?

A. Indeed they are. High Desert Bicycles rents road and mountain bikes. Also, Your Humble Narrator has a dozen machines on hand, with the road, touring and cyclocross models ranging in size from 55cm to 58cm and in technology from eight- and nine-speed Ultegra/XT/Deore and rim brakes to 10-speed SRAM with mechanical discs. Condition varies from serviceable to shameful. My one actual mountain bike is a 23-year-old titanium DBR Axis TT with eight-speed XT/Sachs twist-shifters, V-brakes, a RockShox Judy SL fork and 26-inch wheels. A real relic of mountain biking’s distant past, is what.

Q. Will I get shelled without mercy and left to die alone in the Upper Chihuahuan Desert?

A. No, the usual Darwinian ruthlessness will be held in abeyance. This is an extremely casual, social weekend of riding. Dying is discouraged as it would dampen the frivolity.

• Note for anyone fetching his/her own rig(s): The Duke City goathead thorn is a ravenous and ubiquitous beastie. I recommend riding tubeless tires or using sealant-filled tubes, both on- and off-road. And carry at least two spares and a pump anyway.




33 Responses to “Q&A: Ruta del Rancho Pendejo”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Swoopy and flowy? Count me in for that! The cactus, especially the cholla, we will simply ride by.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Shit. I just put the Schwalbes on the tandem.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      If they are Schwalbe Marathon or Marathon Plus tires, you should be good to go. In my experience, they are almost goat head proof.

      Is Meena coming also coming down to ride?

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Oh, and if there is a movement for a road trip, there’s stuff up here.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, there’s fine trail riding up Fanta Se way. I’m not as big a fan of the road up there.

      And I’ve yet to find a ’Burque beanery as good as The Shed or La Choza. Those two, and Orlando’s in Taos, are my gold standard.

  4. shawninthegorge Says:

    Argghhh ! Tribulus Terrestris… Isn’t it unique that once you get off a paved trail or railroad right-of-way and out on a true native trail, you don’t have problems with Goatheads? And that goes for road riding in areas away from civilization. Goatheads seem to be a curse of progress…. somewhat….

    I spent an hour or so yesterday out in front of my domicile pulling up nice “green” Goathead plants. Bad,… bad plants…..

    I yearn for Alaska and the only Goat Heads are those eating lichen high up on ridgelines.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Brian Gravestock at Old Town Bike Shop in Bibleburg used to devote some of his free time to clearing the local trail network of the dread puncture vine. Sisyphus had it easy.

      The goathead seems to have a particular fondness for cyclocross courses. My first races, down here in Duke City, were puncture-fests, as were the races in the old balloon-launch area at Chatfield Reservoir outside Denver. My sewup bill was starting to look like the Pentagon budget before I wised up and went back to clinchers.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        Puncture vine, a very good name for goat head plants, loves disturbed soil. The normal surface crust that forms on the Sonoran desert soil won’t let them germinate or take root. Once that crust is broken, look out buddy! I use Schwalbe Smart Sam Plus tires on the mountain bike. They have stopped goat head punctures so far. I have found them to be a good tire if you ride pavement to the trailhead.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I run Schwalbe Little Big Bens on several bikes. Maxxis has a presence in the peloton (Raze and Ardent), as does Clement, now Donnelly (USH and MXP); Continental (Gatorskin and CrossRide); and Bruce Gordon (Rock n’ Road).

        Ever’ one gets theyselfs a goopy inner tube. New Mexico is the onliest place I’ve ever double-flatted all simultaneous-like.

        • Carl Duellman Says:

          i also run big bens on my fargo. i think i could hide behind them if i got caught in some crossfire as they seem to be bulletproof. i run tubeless on my mtb. we’ve got plenty of thorny vines on our trails and i can’t say i’ve ever gotten a flat from those. looking forward to the rides!

  5. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Sounds great (except for all the stuff about thorns) so as they say over here in It’ly…”buon divertimento”.
    I fly up to Brussels tomorrow to see L-B-L live, in-person on the weekend. Forza Nibali!.
    Not so much looking forward to what passes for food up there compared to here in Sicily, but at least the beer and frites should be good, no?

  6. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Well then, since you promise not to leave me behind (with characters from Breaking Bad circling me) I better check the flights into town. As luck would have it I ride 58 cm road bike meself and love retro gear so if them stars align perhaps I could push the pedals of one of your steeds. I’m still a working stiff but since it’s over a weekend I could eke out a few days on either end and meet up with kindred spirits. I do have a few bike industry tales to spin.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Herb, It would be great to see you there. I’m going to start shopping around for a hotel to stay at, with some more advice from Patrick, and will let all of you know what I find and decide on.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        Should be a good time. Do you have some spare oxygen tanks POB? It should be interesting at 5300 feet since I wallow around here at 600 feet. I’ll try to get in at least a day early so I can wheeze around a little.But from what I saw of the road course the “climbs” should be doable given enough daylight. Tomorrow it will hit 50! Could mean a quick ride which will be numero uno in 2018. XC skiing doesn’t do squat for training your sit bones to accept a foreign object. Let me know what hotel is good for setting up camp.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      We got all manner of machinery here, Herb. What pedals do you favor? Most everything is wearing some sort of SPD setup now (A520, M520/540, etc.), so if you have some shoes with those cleats, bring ’em along and we’ll hook you up.

      I have a few pair of ancient Time ATAC pedals, too, and maybe some Crank Brothers Eggbeaters or Candys hidden away some’eres.

      The 2014 Bianchi Zurigo Disc (55cm) is in fine condition, and so is my 1994 DBR Prevail TT (56cm). The two Soma Sagas (both 58cm) are likewise in good repair, but a tad heavy. The two Steelman Eurocrosses are what Brent called 55cm, but both have longish top tubes and stems. Both also need a little attention from the house mechanic, who is a notorious slacker.

  7. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Well thanks POG. I’m a shade under 6 foot with 33 inseam (nowadays-what the hell happened- I was 34 inseam-who stole my goddamn inseam?) and will ride whatever you loan me. Speaking of which you should know at least something about a guy who sponges a bike off you. Well when I was in the bike shop I used to pull my hubs and cranks apart monthly just to pet and inspect the bearings and races. Obsessive. Course I used to ride a hell of a lot more. But over time it’s become “meh..if something falls off or freezes up on the bike I’ll look into it….eventually…maybe” And despite having a LOT of tools and stands I still let my local bike shop do all but the most simple work. So SPD pedals are fine, canti-brakes, heavy steel tubes, anvils and such. It’s all good. A few grams here and there won’t slow me down a bit….I’m already there.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Herb, I rode my rim brake Soma Saga on the Paseo del Bosque trail last year with Patrick, and it was just peachy. I’m driving the Rav 4 up with a two bike rack on the hitch and room for one bike inside. So I can shuttle a rider and bike around while we are there.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        Well I swallowed hard and booked a flight on Southwest and the damn engines better stay where they belong. Probably best to just not read anything about flying in the next month if you saw 60 Minutes and their Sun Country expose. There was a time when I was in the air almost every week and I’m damn glad that time is past. So look for a ghostly white pencil-neck from Michigan to show up and if no one else does, I’ll just settle in and sample the local brew pubs which I’ve heard are getting pretty good at slinging suds.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Welcome aboard, Herb. Herself just jetted out to Virginia and back via Southwest without incident. That said, I wouldn’t take a window seat. Keep some big ol’ boy between you and that engine.

          Brewpubs out the wazoo in these parts. Marble has a tasting room just up the road, Canteen has one just down the road, and my man Matt Wiebe was checking out Bombs Away down on Eubank yesterday. I haven’t gotten a report from him yet.

          Where’d you book your room? I’m partial to the hotels around ABQ Uptown. The traffic is obnoxious, but that’s the case everywhere around here.

          Somebody screwed the pooch at I-25 and I-40 yesterday just as I was motoring over to the Sunport to fetch Herself and a colleague. Shut down the two right lanes and consequently a short trip became a longer one.

  8. khal spencer Says:

    Looks like TCWSNBN just cried uncle to the former sponsor. 5 million buck penalty for fraud.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      So, two dopers walk into a court room…. I’m surprised one had that much money, and not surprised the other one needed a few bucks. And, I’m really surprised that someone, even a lawyer, was willing to spot Landis $1.65 Mil.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        One was the premier rider and one was the domestique superior. The premier rider “has” to reward the domestique who made his success possible. Eh, mon ami??

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I don’t imagine Big Tex will miss many meals. AP says he “is still believed to be worth millions based on a vast investment portfolio and homes in Austin, Texas, and Aspen, Colorado. He also owns a pair of bicycle shops in Austin and WeDu, an endurance events company.”

      WaPo says he recently put the Austin property on the market. Asking price: $7.5 million.


    Love the music on your video! Who is the artist?

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