Going up and back

This is the view from what I believe is the southern end
of that trail I couldn’t find.

The heat wave continues.

It was 100° here by noon, if you believe our weather station, which I’m not quite certain I do. Most of the other stations nearby were reporting mid- to high 90s.

But still, shit. Hot out there.

Nevertheless, the healthful outdoor exercise must go on. There’s a fat bastard around here somewhere, and he wants to be me. I gotta keep him down, the way Bruce Banner does the Hulk.

Mr. Sam Hillborne
with his new old pedals.

On Thursday I stalked around the Sandias trying to find an unmarked trail that supposedly loops around from Comanche to just north of Candelaria. No joy. Oh, there are plenty of trails up there, and I followed a few — more than a few, actually — as the sun smiled down upon me like a chef with his spatula.

One drew me into a shady, rocky area that smelled like cats. Not the kind you cuddle, either. So I got out of there and wandered back to and down Trail 365, to where this mystery trail is supposed to meet up with it on the south side, then backtracked a ways up the hillside.

Up on a ridgeline with a fine view of Albuquerque I saw what might be a path that could lead to the mystery trail. But by then my brain was thickening on a slow simmer and my ankle was muttering, “You know I’m gonna dump your dumb ass up here, right?” So I gave up and limped back to the rancheroo.

Old-school pedals.

The next day Mr. Sam Hillborne and I rolled out for a short one. The bike is now wearing MKS Sylvan touring pedals, deep steel toe clips, and some battered Alfredo Binda toe straps from my early cyclocross days. I hadn’t given them a spin, so off we went, in street shoes, baggy shorts and a red plaid Novara shirt that I almost never wear.

It was delightful, as you may have suspected. All my bikes save the Soma Double Cross sport clipless pedals, but it’s nice to take a short technological step back now and then. As with friction shifting, the pedal flip and slide comes back quickly. It’s just like riding a bicycle.

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18 Responses to “Going up and back”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Its a mere 92 up this way. I think it hit 90 around noon. I went up Hyde Park on the Long Haul Trucker just for grins. It weighs a lot more than the fancy racing bikes, but I weight a lot more than I did when I fancied myself a USCF racer. But the nice thing about a touring rig is that there is always a lower gear. I dipped into the granny a couple times to use a 26×27 combo just because…well, because one doesn’t always have to flog one’s self like a medieval monk.

    The amazing thing is that bike handles so well on really fast descents. I’ve got Schwalbe Marathon Plus in 26×1.35 which roll nicely. You could go as fast as you wanted. Which for me wasn’t as fast as I could go because I never pushed those Schwalbes too hard and didn’t want to find their limits at those speeds.

    Was hot as hell getting back down to 7k feet.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      O, that’s a big ol’ hill. We went out for a short one to the Dark Tower, to check in with Herself the Elder, but we got started a little late. When the sun peeked around the corner as we stood by her window, chatting via phone, it suddenly got very warm indeed, and we buggered off back with all possible speed to El Rancho Pendejo.

      Incidentally, Herself was riding with a bandana over her face, bandit style, and reports that it did not enhance the cycling experience.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’m seriously thinking of malicious compliance. I bought one of those re-usable mesh cotton produce bags at La Montanita yesterday and am going to try to fashion a mask out of it. I never ride with people around anyway, so its more for appearances, i.e., looking like I give a shit, than for actually needing full functionality.

        Been thinking of that anyway after one too many choking experiences getting an insect lodged in the airway.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’ve had to hork out a bug or two or three lately. And some class of stinging insect got me right on the top of the head the other day. Flew into the helmet and nailed me through the headrag as I was navigating a spiky rock garden at speed. Wasn’t shit I could do about it other than take the hit.

        • Shawn blown away in the Gorge Says:

          I forgot my conscientious compliance mask today when I dove out into our pleasant 80 degree weather for a spin. Oh yeah and the 25mph west wind, which so happened to be the way I was going. Didn’t I say I lived in a doggammed Gorge? I thought about carrying a plastic shopping bag as a mask on the go. It’s lightweight and would allow me to pretend I’m altitude training at 10K feet…, 15k feet…, 20k feet,…..25k feet,… pppffft, uuugh, violins with wings….Wow it sure is hot where I’m laying in the road…, and why are those people looking at me? Perhaps next time I’ll acclimate better.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I’ve been stuffing an extra bandana into a jersey pocket for use as an impromptu mask on the bike. Now I guess I’m going to have to wear one and carry a couple more, because hoo-lawd, are these sumbitches gonna get damp in the New Mexican heat.

          Our revised mask mandate — wear one at all times when outside the home — is going to force some other changes in my velo-behavior too. I’ve already abandoned the bike paths and the bosque trail (too crowded). Now I’m going to give up the singletrack too (likewise overstuffed). There are a few broad trails a cyclist can use without getting too close to his/her fellow ’Merkins, depending upon their behavior, but I wonder whether the game is worth the candle.

          Absent rain the trails will get dustier and dustier. And in the heat, the masks will get soggier and soggier. A mud facial might make my skin as smooth as a baby’s butt. But I might just abandon trails altogether until the weather cools off and stay as ugly as a mud fence.

  2. katholoch Says:

    Hmm, google maps and the ABQ open space maps only show Trail 365 connecting those two streets–right behind some houses. However, it does look like there is a footpath/trail going east near Shadow Mountain Road and the ditch that loops east and comes out near Comanche.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yup, 365 is the official foothills trail, and we get to it via Comanche, which sort of peters out right into it just past Camino de la Sierra.

      I stumbled across this mystery trail in a Google Books excerpt from “60 Short Hikes in the Sandia Foothills” by Tamara Massong. She calls it the Candelaria Bench Loop (hike No. 44 in the book), and says it starts by winding north and east from Comanche.

      Well, sheeyit. I think I got off track somewhere to the east of Hidden Valley Road and missed the ascent to the fenceline. If you zoom in tight on satellite view you can see there’s a whole bunch of trail out there, where the deer and the antelope play. Next time I’ll bring some binoculars for spotting that high trail.

      Also, I gotta buy the book.

      The Candelaria Bench Trail

      The Candelaria Bench Trail, from “60 Short Hikes in the Sandia Foothills” by Tamara Massong.

      • katholoch Says:

        Ah, yes, I can now see it on googlemaps. This may be more of a footpath and not so much a good singletrack ride?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Indeed. There are some really skinny, steep, rocky trails up there, maintained by hooves and feet. It reminds me of our acreage outside Weirdcliffe. One winter we got about four-five feet of snow all at once and I stomped a zigzag snowshoe course from the meadow at the bottom to the house up top. It was quite a workout.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    And up from where I’m from on the Welland Canal…

  4. Pat O’Brien Says:

    106 in the shade. 99 at the airport where no one lives.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Jaysis. I remember those temps from 1980. Not fondly. We have more of the same on tap, it seems, though the weather wizards keep jollying us along with their “20 percent chance of showers” routine. Gonna be a long week.

  5. SAO' Says:

    To paraphrase the inimitable James Earle Carter, Jr, I have looked upon your Hillborne with lust in my heart.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It really is a damn fine bike. Shortly after I bought mine Rivendell went to cantilevers from long-reach road calipers. I’ve struggled mightily against buying that one to keep mine company.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      That is a gorgeous bike. It’s a nice color scheme on a lugged steel frame; what’s not to like? I would offer you $500 cash money for your current Hillborne only because it is too big for me, and I am 450 miles away. But, if it was a 54 cm frame, and you said $500 would get it, I would be there by dinner time! And, I would have beer and wine in hand when I rang the doorbell!

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