Who was that masked man?

A lot of nothing.

Today marked the re-enactment and expansion of various Bug-related restrictions, among them a requirement that New Mexicans wear masks while exercising.

I can’t be certain that this was behind the empty parking lot at the Piedra Lisa trailhead, but damn, I haven’t seen that sucker empty since, well, ever.

Meanwhile, during this morning’s 90-minute trail hike I encountered 10 people, only one of whom was wearing a mask. And she was walking a dog off-leash.

So much for the rule of law.

I was obeying its spirit, as the letter seemed to have some wiggle room. I haven’t seen anything specifying the type of mask to be worn, so I had a bandana looped around my neck, ready to be pulled over my gob and snout as the need arose, which mostly it didn’t.

NPR health correspondent Maria Godoy had my back:

If you’re doing something like running or biking outdoors and you’re alone or just with the people you live with, it’s OK to have your mask down if there’s no one else around, says Abraar Karan, a physician at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Massachusetts COVID-19 response team.

As long as you haven’t been touching stuff along the way, like benches or rails, you haven’t had a close conversation with a stranger, it’s OK to use your hands to pull it down. If you see someone coming, put up your mask until they pass. And if you’re running and passing someone, give them at least 6 feet of space.

I also had an actual mask tucked into a pocket, because quién sabe? When cycling I carry two spare tubes and a pump for the same reason.

Even this relaxed approach to masking during exercise took some of the pleasure out of my hike. But it was miles better than not going out at all.

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17 Responses to “Who was that masked man?”

  1. Pat O’Brien Says:

    There is something to say about “bipedaling” around in the dirt. It soothes the soul and refreshes the body, especially old bones. It must have been sweet. What kind of boots do you wear?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve had pretty good luck with Vasque over the years. Their Clarion was my go-to boot Back in the Day®; I burned through two pair of those.

      I went to Vasque Breezes for running when Saucony got weird, got good service (to wit, beat them all to be damn), and of course they discontinued the model I liked. Tried their Mantra 2.0, but it was too bulky and stiff for running, so I shifted to Vasque Constant Velocity, which is a nice trail runner/light hiker. Got two pair of those. Unfortunately, I was wearing one set when I broke the ankle, so I’m a little skittish of them now.

      So I went back to the Mantras. Vibram sole, good traction and support (especially with a SuperFeet insole), plus a low rise, so it doesn’t impinge on that ankle.

      I’ve looked at Vasque for something like my old Clarions, but they’ve got way too many models these days. Couldn’t pick one. So I bought a pair of Merrill Moab 2 Mid Ventilators, thinking the extra ankle support might be useful. Decent price, and they get good reviews. But the ankle doesn’t like ’em quite yet, so I may be in for more shopping.

      Happily, I seem to have time for that as I crouch behind the battlements, waiting for The Bug™ to storm my castle.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Thanks for the info Patrick. I am currently using an inexpensive pair of Columbia light hikers. I think I need something a little more substantial with a Vibram sole for traction. Sandy like Merrills, and she got them from a local ranch supply store. I might go sniff around there and see what they have. Otherwise, up to Summit Hut in Tucson if they are open. There is talk about another stay at home order for Arizona.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I think the Vasques these days are just a wee bit pricey. I bet the Merrills will suit you fine. The Merrill Moab 2 Mid Ventilator feels great on the left foot, but a little less so on the right, the one I bollixed.

        Meanwhile, I just did a quick hour in the Vasque Constant Velocitys, with neither trekking poles nor Brazos stick, and it was a nice change of pace. They’re half the weight of the Mantras.

        I’ve been alternating between Smartwool medium hiker socks and Darn Tough Light Hiker crew socks. The Darn Toughs are really comfy.

        I also use Superfeet insoles, either green or orange.

  2. Herb from Michigan Says:

    I’m still back on the Sam Hillborne post thinking it’s a 58 and think you should trade it to me for a Vision under seat steering recumbent with all 105 kit. Never mind you can’t climb hills worth a shit or carry any loads. And starting from a quick dead stop is often an adventure in physics gone amuck. You’ll get lots of “cool bike” call outs and waves along with Racer Boys trying to draft you. And the chicks… oh my…you have to shoo them away in droves. They think you are the Good Humor Man if you ting your bell a few times ( included with trade along with Dorkmeister hat) yup…..even trade would fine

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      O, I gots to keep Sam. We’re bros, bro. He’s so good, he practically rides all by himself. I think we’ll be going out more now that the trails are gonna be crawlin’ with masked desperados.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        Better think this through POG. You are crusin’ for a brusen’ as Hoosiers used to say. With all those bikes, there has to be some serious jealousy out there in the stable. Who gets ridden, who gets fresh lube and HEY! why did he get new handlebar tape and not me.? Before you know it the DBR will loathe one of the Somas who will take it out on a Steelman. Ultimately Sam H, being the mellow natured steed he is will not be able to defend himself. Is that anyway to treat such a fine ride? Let him go to a good home ….mine.
        On top of the Vision I’ll throw in a nicely broken in Brooks b15 and a rare Fujita Pro saddle along with an Eclipse handlebar bag AND…..a vintage rebuilt Silca floor pump.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Ah, but as you see, Sam is a House Bike. Got a kickstand and everything. That way he doesn’t have to mix with the riff-raff.

        Sam Hall

  3. khal spencer Says:

    That NPR piece is consistent with everything I’ve seen. Its possible that this new rule will actually inhibit people from exercising. That would be a dumb move.

    Sent two emails to Kathy Kunkel. Deafening silence in response.

  4. khal spencer Says:


  5. Shawn - Surfing maskless (No!) in the Gorge Says:

    Does anybody recall a quality framebuilder by the name of “Ouellette”. I of course know of Nobillette (sp?), but I distinctly remember seeing a very nice frame in a mid ’80’s Bicycling or Bicycle World magazine that was identified as an Ouellette. If I had to guess, perhaps it was crafted up in Canada.

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