Clutch effort

The descent from the intersection of Pino Trail and Wilderness.

More adventures, still more!

Today I decided to challenge the ankle a bit with some off-road foolishness in the Elena Gallegos area. I thought I was being smart by waiting until 10 a.m. to head out, reasoning that the weak would get theirs earlier, in the cool of the morning.

Well, you know about me and smart. Never happen, is what. Everybody and his grandma was out there with me.

I had to dab a couple times while climbing one section I call Cholla Clutch Cañon because I screwed the pooch riding it as a descent back in 2017, grabbing a fistful of cane cholla to keep from skidding over the edge. (See “me and smart” in the previous paragraph.)

Anyway, the trail wizards have been waving their wands at this stretch since I last rode it and muscle memory was of no help whatsoever. Also, everybody else was riding it as a descent, on full-suspension mountain bikes, which proved something of an impediment to Wrong Way O’Grady, with his rigid, drop-bar Voodoo Nakisi weirdomobile and mad climbing skillz.

Speaking of mad skillz, the Adventure Cyclist boyos have posted my latest review online. Surly has updated its Disc Trucker with an eye toward the gravel-gobbling, bikepacking market.

And wonder of wonders: You can still buy the rim-brake Long Haul Trucker if that’s how you roll. I don’t know that you’d necessarily want to ride it up Cholla Clutch Cañon … but hell, I’d probably try it.

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17 Responses to “Clutch effort”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Alex is not too find of the Disk Trucker paint job. I thought it was kinda cool. Anything off-normal beats Boring Blue, which is how my LHT arrived.

  2. JD Says:

    PO’G Me Man: Being a NICA MTB coach myself and attuned to showing/teaching the proper courtesies on trails….I have to ask you:

    How many of those downhill full-suspension folks yielded to you as you were climbing?

    How many said “Hi” or some other welcoming salutations?

    Why did you put your ankle and ego under such pressure? 🙂

    • khal spencer Says:

      I see a reprise of “wave dynamics” headed this way.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      JD, everybody I met today was well behaved, but that is not always the case. When I yield to hikers they are invariably astonished that a cyclist would give them the right of way. In fact, one oncoming hiker today insisted on yielding to me after I stopped at a safe distance and bade him proceed. He said it was so rare an event that he felt compelled to reward me.

      Frankly, I yield trail to pretty much everyone, which is probably as bad as not yielding at all. But I can go out whenever I please, and am never in a rush, so I consider it a little squirt of grease for our societal hubs. Plus I’m almost always doing something dimwitted, like riding a decades-old cyclocross bike up a rocky stretch of singletrack, so I should be the one to suffer.

      As regards the ankle and ego, now, I was pretty sure about the one but less so about the other, so an experiment was in order. I need new shoes, though. My ancient Sidis are useless on sandstone with a scattering of kitty litter; I need something with grippy Vibram soles for those desperate dabs.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I do the same as far as yielding and get amazing looks too. As if “what, you are being civilized? Is this a setup for a trap?”

        Meanwhile, there is now a SWAT team, a crisis intervention team, and a dozen cop cars set up down the street from me by St. Francis and Paseo de Peralta. Let the fun continue.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Was this the party down your block?

          I see the white-supremacist welcome wagon showed up to a local Indian eatery, too. Thirty years late, and they can’t tell a Sikh from a Muslim, but hey, these people are a little slow.

          Funny how white supremacists are the best argument against white supremacy. Maybe not.

          • khal spencer Says:

            No, actually. There was a second call out of the SWAT folks late last evening. I was putting my lighting system back on the LHT and took it for a spin down the street to align the beam and ran into so many cop cars that I thought someone was giving away free donuts. Not sure what the deal was.

            I don’t know if this latest right wing stupidity is a reaction to the lefties trashing the monument, but the difference in response by the People’s Republic was night and day. The shock and horror of apparent white supremacists acting out compared to to the ho-hum reaction to the lefties trashing the Plaza is absurd. The Plaza story, with a tiny picture, was buried in the back of the front section of yesterday’s paper and the Mayor mumbled something about how awful it was.

            I’m not particularly fond of any of this shit nor of double standards. As you folks found out in Albuquerque, when you let these riots get out of control, people can get hurt.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            I’m opposed to vandalism, which — as far as I’m concerned, anyway — fails to hasten the Revolution.

            That said, the damage done to the Plaza obelisk is a political act against a monument that native people have hated since at least the 1970s, and probably much longer. The vandalism done to the India Palace is an act of hatred against people of color who feed other people.

            The monument will not have to contend with cops, insurance companies, cleanup, increasing security measures, and the fear that no matter what, this may happen again, all in a time when people are not particularly interested in going out to eat.

          • khal spencer Says:

            I don’t want to argue too hard that there is a justifiable distinction between trashing monuments as some sort of sanitary political vandalism as opposed to trashing a person’s livelihood in a way reminiscent of Kristallnacht. If the folks who want to destroy what they don’t like are claiming to be justified, they better be ready to be on the receiving end.

            Also, as you say, its not clear that vandalism supports The Cause. Besides, its not clear to me that some of these folks know their asses from a hole in the ground about what they are busting up, but they are sure good at breaking up the furniture.


      • JD Says:

        I have an Intellibell on my MTB and use it religiously to let other trail users know I’m there. It gets rave reviews and smiles from most because it’s a more soothing, less startling way than yelling to announce your presence. Probably triggers memories of their first bike as a kid in many people too! 🙂

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I use bells on all my bikes, and even those fail to draw the attention of the willfully deaf, the folks who insist on taking their music, podcasts, and/or phone conversations with them into shared spaces.

          There are a few blind corners in the Elena Gallegos area, and I always give my bell a ring or two as I enter them, just as a head’s-up to anyone who might be coming the other way. This notwithstanding, yesterday I still managed to startle the THC out of a mountain biker who was sawing off a corner in deep sand without a thought to whether there might be someone else on the planet. Sigh.

          I agree with you that the bell is much better than a shouted “On your left!” I’ve had a few people comment on it. I usually hit the bell from a distance and say something like, “’Scuse me, folks, mind if I ride around you on your left?” Then I’ll make some innocuous comment about the weather or their dogs or whatnot as I go by. Just a leetle how’d’ye-do to keep the trails a friendly place.

  3. Herb from Michigan Says:

    “a little squirt of grease for our societal hubs.” THAT explains it! Why Americans have become so self-centered and divided. I’ll bet if we research this and go back in time we’ll see things began socially fraying when hubs, cranks and headsets became “sealed”. So greasing was unnecessary and people now feel they can do and go anywhere which then led to saying and posting bald faced lies. Bring back cones, special wrenches and ball bearings all over the floor. And Phil Wood green grease. Teach people you just can’t go after this freedom thing willy nilly.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Phil Wood green grease. O, for the days when that blessed balm adorned the threads of my Lyotard pedals as I spun them onto a 48/38T cyclocross crankset. One was tempted to use it as a chamois cream.

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Cups and cones for this old Luddite. And, I lube them with Finish Line Synthetic grease. I have 105 hubs on the Double Cross.

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