Off to see the Doc

Sam Hillborne, meet Doc Long.

Doc Long, that is.

Dr. William Henry Long, a forest pathologist, lived and worked in New Mexico from 1910 through the 1930s, living in a cabin on the site of the Cibola National Forest picnic grounds that now bear his name. He was a Texan, a Baptist and a Democrat. Feature that, if you can.

It’s pretty much an 11-mile trip from El Rancho Pendejo to Doc Long’s if you leg it up and down Embudito Trail, Trail 365, Pino Trail, and Grand Enchantment Trail, or so says Google Maps. More like 20 if you do it on your Sam Hillborne via Old Route 66, NM 14 and NM 536. You get a couple thousand feet of vertical gain in that 40-mile round trip, too.

Also, moreover, furthermore, and too, wind. Tailwind up, headwind back, as per the rules. Unless you get a headwind both ways, which is not uncommon in New Mexico.

Back in the Day® Doc Long’s old hangout was either the parking lot, the start or the finish for the Sandia Crest Time Trial, one of the countless events at which I failed to distinguish myself.

I was no great shakes on the bike today, either, covering the out-and-back in three hours.

The worst part of this ride, for me, is always the return trip through Cedar Crest. You’d think it would be a fun plummet back to Old Route 66, but it’s not a descent in the strictest sense of the term, because it serves up a few short humps to break your rhythm, spirit and balls. Plus the wind is always in your chops, the shoulder is strewn with debris, and the traffic lanes runneth over with assholes.

If you’re lucky you don’t get runnethed over. I was lucky.

Once at Doc Long’s I was briefly tempted by delusions of grandeur to leave Cedar Crest in the rear view, where it belongs, and soldier on to NM 165 and thence to Placitas, Bernalillo and home via NM 313, Roy and Tramway, making the ride more like 62 miles. But I didn’t have enough food or water for that one.

Now that I think of it, though, I could’ve stopped to refuel at the Range Cafe in Bernalillo. Then I would’ve been full of beans and generating my own tail wind for the remainder of the trip.

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21 Responses to “Off to see the Doc”

  1. Shawn Says:

    Glad to hear that you are well and un-runnethed over. Sounds like a great ride. I would have voted for the beans…. I like beans… Kind of reminds of being around the campfire…..

  2. Keith Willy Says:

    Nice Finish

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    To finish 40 miles, on the Sam, with a rack trunk, and with that much climbing, in 3 hours impresses me. I bet it was a hoot.

    Remind me not to suck your wheel after a nice lunch in a Mexican restaurant.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    I think 165 up through to Placidas is dirt. At least it was when I tried riding it on the BMW (NM 14 from Fanta Sea, up 536, and then onto 165) and got dirty and the bike overheated. Do you know if it is paved, dirt, or gravel? Sounds like a great metric century on go everywhere bikes.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It was dirt back in the Nineties, when we used that Bernalillo to Four Hills course for the Watermelon Mountain Classic. Seven miles of unimproved dirt Forest Circus road, if memory serves. I raced it on 28mm slicks once and cyclocross tires once, and neither helped me much. I lost places on the descent, curse it, yes.

      Great fun, though. And yes, loads of laughs on touring or adventure, all-road or gravel bikes, whatever the Kool Kidz are calling ’em these days.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Looking back through the training logs I see I did the Sandia Crest TT in an hour flat back in 1989, the same year I first broke the hour for the Moriarty Record Challenge 40km ITT. I did Sandia mostly in the 39×21, getting into the 19T and even 17T now and then.

      “This course isn’t nearly as tough as the [Santa Fe] ski-basin road,” I sniffed back then, when the world was young and so was I. “Good steady climb.” I did the SF Hill Climb that year in 1:09, finishing seventh among the geezers and winning $5.

      Earlier that year I raced the Watermelon Mountain Classic from Bernalillo to Four Hills and finished third, rocking a Trek 1500 with 700×28 Specialized clincher slicks for the sand and gravel section (cyclocross tires back then being mostly sewups) and what for me was a fairly typical hill-climb drivetrain (53/39 chainrings and 13/24 freewheel).

      And whaddaya know? Turns out I’ve actually done the full 62-miler — back in 1990, with Cliff Loucks, who lived in Cedar Crest back then. We started from his house and rode the sucker counterclockwise — NM 14, Old Route 66, Tramway, 313, 165, etc. — in three hours and 26 minutes. I was rocking a Specialized Allez Epic with a 53/42 and 12-21.

      In the Year of Our Lord 2018, you’d have to point a firearm at me to get me to install that drivetrain on a bike, much less ride it.

  5. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Sounds like a nice ride except for the wind. I hate wind. Here on the soon-to-be-frozen plains of Iowa it’s all I can do to get out on the bike for an hour or two – I guess I’d forgotten just how boring riding around here really is? But I have less than two more months to suffer, depending on what the Italian bureaucrats say in a couple of weeks.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, it’s not all that bad, Larry. The wind only blows here if you want to ride your bike. Mostly it dogs you like an ADHD Jehovah’s Witness, always up in your grill, whether you’re coming or going.

      I did have a tailwind up NM 14 and Tramway yesterday, though, so I shouldn’t complain.

      Two months, hey? Does that mean you have to endure the first snow in Iowa? At least you don’t have to endure Interbike. I haven’t heard a positive word about this year’s show yet.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        That’s funny stuff. You could always do stand up to buy the kibble.

        Are all Herself’s kinfolks out of North Carolina? Going to be a real mess there over the weekend. No worries, donnie dainty digits will take care of it better than it has ever been done before by anyone, anywhere, anytime.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        It’s December 1 or bust around here, but with some luck we’ll be out by mid-November. Our house buyer coughs up his deposit in a couple of daze (or we move to plan B…a real estate agent…horrors!) and we visit the authorities who give out visas in a few weeks – so by the end of September we should be able to buy some one-way airtix 🙂
        Meanwhile – anyone need a ‘cross bike?

        • JD Dallager Says:

          Larry: Best wishes on your buyer(s) meeting his/her/their obligation…..and to you and your lady on your imminent lifestyle “permanente” transition to the “dolce vita”. 🙂

          Please remember and enlighten us “poor Americanos” as you enjoy, relish, and encourage the Mediterranean lifestyle/food/beverage/cycling passion et al.

          BUON VIAGGIO!!!!!!

  6. Tony Geller Says:

    Have you tried Guttierez Canyon as an alternative to N14? Only slightly longer with about equivalent climbing (either direction). A lot prettier and much less traffic.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I never have, Tony. That I can recall, anyway. ‘Zat the one starts as Rider off Frost? I don’t know as I’ve been anywhere near it since the state road championships in 1990 or ’91. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll check it out.

      • asgelle Says:

        Yes, going south it starts at Rider off Frost. Heading north, N. Zamora Rd. to Gutierrez Canyon Rd. It’s only been fully paved for a year or so. By the way, I was a finish judge for the Watermelon Classic in ’89. I believe that was the year a rider from Texas was leading solo coming into the finish, but took a wrong turn with about a mile to go and ended up on I40. He felt he should be given the win because the course wasn’t clearly marked.

        • asgelle Says:

          O.K. it’s been paved for five years. It all becomes a blur at my age.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Ho, ho — I raced that race. It was one of those rare occasions when the Cat. 4’s got broken out of the 35+ category. With Tim Schoeny and all the other fast dudes in the 3’s I was able to podium for a change. Russ Marr won, Jim Counce got second and Your Humble Narrator crossed a very distant third after stinking it up down NM 14.

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