An example from the monkey*

Heading down Spain. If I’d had a little more tread I’d have stayed on High Desert and picked up the short stretch of dirt to the Embudito trailhead.

Well, we don’t have any fire tornadoes swirling through the neighborhood, so I’m gonna go out on a limb and call it a pretty pleasant day.

Herself was busy with this, that, and the other, so I slipped out for a solo ride on the old DBR Prevail TT, which doesn’t see much daylight anymore.

It was my road-racing bike Back in the Day®, when I still did what I called “road racing” and actual road racers called “getting shelled.” So it was a pleasant change from the usual 32-pound touring machine. Even a no-hoper like me feels frisky on a 20-pound bike.

So we climbed some hills, and then some more hills, and I didn’t even need the 34×25, because I’d left a dozen pounds of bike back in the garage.

Meanwhile, the Democrats have their own hill to climb starting tomorrow. I don’t see a virtual convention crushing it, eyeballs-wise. The traditional dog-and-another-dog show has rarely been what I’d call must-see TV. Not even the Yippies could put some zip into this mutt.

Anyway, the GOP has stolen their best bit, what with running a pig for president not once, but twice.

* “The higher it climbs, the more you see of its behind. — St. Bonaventure, “Conferences on the Gospel of John.”

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39 Responses to “An example from the monkey*”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    I need to leave a dozen pounds of my midsection behind. Thankfully, I am down to 161 pounds from the peak fatness of 173 which happened the year after I had a broken foot, two surgeries, and a move to a house too far to bike to work. But when I pretended to be a racer, I was under 150.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Good man y’self, K. The only thing I know of that’s harder than losing weight is quitting smoking.

      Some night I dream that I’ve started smoking again and I wake up with a start, fumbling at the nightstand to see if there’s a full ashtray there.

      Oddly, I never dream that I’ve started drinking again.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        Well, if you haven’t starting drinking again in 2020, then that’s it. Don’t worry about any Barrio Rojo going to waste; Alan and I have you covered. If Trump wins, we are moving next door to the Barrio brewpub!

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Oof. Don’t even think about it. He wins, I’m going back to the drugs.

      • khal spencer Says:

        JFC. Given the political situation, you picked a helluva time too give up drinking.

      • Hurben Says:

        I’ve never smoked, even through several years of combat. Both my parents & my sister smoked.

        One of my memories as a child is lying in bed & hearing a scuffle, followed by a match being struck, followed by cough, cough , hack, hack.

        Fuck that.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Smoking is a vile habit, one of the worst, right up there with voting Republican, watching “reality TV,” and driving 10 mph under the speed limit in the passing lane.

        I don’t know what possessed me. Both Mom and Dad smoked (Camels and Lucky Strikes) and my sister and I were always fanning secondhand smoke away from our Cheerios at the breakfast table. The old man finally quit, cold turkey, sometime in the Sixties when we were stationed at Randolph AFB in Texas. Mom never did, not until she developed Alzheimer’s and we moved in with her; putting Benson & Hedges off limits was one of the first things we did.

        Man, you should’ve seen us trying to mop a quarter-century’s worth of exhaled nicotine and hydrocarbons off the walls. We finally had to use a couple-three coats of KILZ primer and as many more of paint.

        • SAO' Says:

          I think the best way to get someone to quit is to make them try to sell a smoker’s house. Moving every 2-3 years, and mostly in the south, I’ve seen a lot of them, and when you live there 24-7, you don’t realize how yellow the walls are or how thick that crap is.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          And if you yourself smoke, you never notice the stink. It settles into the walls and carpets and floorboards and every damn’ thing. Makes a cat’s litter box on a hot day smell like Chanel No. 5.

        • khal spencer Says:

          My old man was a two pack a day Pall Mall guy. Then he injured his back in the Chevy plant and needed back surgery. They put him in a semiprivate room with a guy who had half the side of his face amputated for smoking related cancer. Everett came home and went cold turkey.

          He was a bear to live around for about a year after that. Nicotine is a terrible drug to give up. Meena finally kicked the habit when she turned fifty after failing a lung test and getting The Lecture from our doctor. That was fun too.

          Thankfully, that is one of (the few) vices I never took up.

        • Shawn Says:

          My folks both smoked. But that was common in their time and for the years after I was hatched. When I was 5 or 6, I stole a partial pack of cigarettes, ran across the street to the school with my buddie Joe (it was a weekend), crawled behind some bushes and lit up one of the cigarettes. A couple of puffs later after coughing and wondering why the hell anybody would do this, I ended my smoking habit. My folks finally quit frozen turkey together in the mid ’80’s. But as later health issues occurred, their heavy smoking habit had already made its mark.

          My Mom is now very anti-smoking and is critical of anybody that is smoking around her. She didn’t like the legalization of marijuana because she associated it with smoking.

          Regarding the kilz and restoring a home, I wonder if simply tearing out and replacing the sheetrock would have been better.

    • SAO' Says:

      Peak fatness of 173 … Hah! I weighed 175 in 5th grade!! And I was a scrawny 175 at that. My coaches always gave me shit about that, scrawniest kid on the basketball team but 20 pounds heavier than everyone else.

      (The only reason I remember that number is because I lost my appendix, the Army doctor left a couple of sponges in there, and it got infected, resulting in an entire summer in the hospital. Went from 175 to 150 overnight, and took me until the end of the next basketball season to get it all back.)

      Weight is a funny thing. I ran the Honolulu Marathon twice and 45 miles of the Oahu Perimeter Run at 210. (140 miles, 7 kids on a team, but me and the colonel were the oldest and also the only ones who trained for it, so he and I did 40-45 miles each, and the other five split the remaining 50. Sucked!!!!!)

      25 years of humping a 75 lb ruck sack, my body just kept getting wider and wider to compensate, and now I think if you stapled my stomach and put me through six months of liposuction, you’d never get me below 200. Only explanation is thick-ass Irish skin. One big physical and emotional callus.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’ve always been a little guy at five foot six if I stretch to the sky and small boned. Ran track in high school at about 135 and did USCF about ten pounds over that. I’m happy in the one fifties or one sixty but above that I feel like a fat slob.

        Never did the Perimeter run. I trained one year for the Honolulu Marathon but one day after doing nine miles I saw all these swirling floaters in my eye. Turns out I partially tore a retina and needed laser surgery. Doc said it probably had nothing to do with my pound-pound-pound style of running, but it scared the shit outa me so I stuck to biking century rides after that.

        • SAO' Says:

          The Perimeter Run was a hoot. You break it up into 3-5 mile legs, and you think, ain’t so bad, can do that all day. Problem is, you have to do it all day and then all night and then the next day again. Your body expects recovery to be doled out in 24 hour increments, and when you’re demanding it turn over every couple of hours, it rebels. Jens can yell “shut up, legs!” at you until the cows come home, but they just ain’t going to stop screaming until you go horizontal for nine hours.

          In classic Army style, we totally over-thunk it. Had heard that the recovery during the middle sections was the tough part, so we broke the team in two, and instead of an even rotation, A Team ran double or triple legs while B Team slept, then we swapped. Brilliant, right? Everyone gets double recovery time. Problem was, B Team bonked out on us early, so A Team did their turn and then had to do it again and again. I remember coming around Barbers Point, seeing Tripler (butt ugly salmon building that you could see from everywhere), and thinking, “hey, we’re almost done … ” and then also thinking, “Fuck, we still have 20 miles to go!!” Legs were so locked up, they could run but couldn’t walk.

          Made for some good stories, though.

          I never would have signed up for the Honolulu Marathon if it wasn’t for the military discount. Two bucks got you an “in-training” and “finisher” t-shirt, so you had to do it.

          Ever do the Schofield Barracks half-marathon? Easiest to race to finish but also the most painful the next day. Started in Mililani, ended in Waianea, I think. So it was 3 miles of flat, 3 miles uphill, then 6 miles downhill with a mile of flat at the end. Nobody trains for 6 miles downhill, so you’re stretching muscles you didn’t even know you had, and you feel great while you’re running, but the next morning everything quits on you.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I was a beanpole until I entered the Automobile Age. Something like 130 pounds soaking wet on my high-school swim team, with a 27 waist.

        I swam for Billy Mitchell High School in the fall and the Racquet Club team in the summer, and I couldn’t keep the pounds on. Ate a jillion calories a day and still had to chug cans of Nutrament just to keep from sliding down the drain in the shower. Come senior year, when I said adios to competitive swimming, I think I got up to 140 or so. Still your basic ectomorph.

        But I was still walking or riding a bicycle for transportation. No driver’s license, no car. As you may recall, my first relationship with the Colorado DMV ended badly in under a year, when I was between colleges.

        Once I graduated college, got my license back, and acquired a truck, that’s when I started packing on the pounds. Bad diet, late nights, lots and lots of booze, desk job, and driving everywhere. I was headed for 200 elbees until I rediscovered the bicycle.

        Now that I’ve been off the sauce for seven years it’s easier to keep the weight off. I don’t do near the bike mileage that I covered during my racing days, but I don’t take in nearly as many calories, either. I’ll never get back to that 27-inch waist, though.

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Inciweb updated the Loyalton fire incident report 3 hrs ago. Meanwhile, Death Valley hit 130 degrees yesterday and might beat it today. And, the dumpster oks drilling in the Alaskan Arctic Wildlife Refuge so we can get more oil to make the planet hotter. There is no end to the greed of the current crop of elitists who run this outfit. As Patrick says, “they would steal the pennies of their dead mother’s eyes.”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Colorado’s in the shit too. Beaucoup blazes up to there. And we need all that Alaskan oil because the millennials are all buying cars and Giant is hedging its bets as to whether the ongoing bike boom has (wait for it) legs.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Legs? The Master has stumbled. Maybe 2020 has hit you harder then you think. Take two St. Pauli Girl NAs and call me in the morning. Meanwhile, down here, it’s hotter than hell, to be continued, and I am waiting for one more doctor appointment to see if I may be hanging up the cleats for good. If so, expect a box with some goodies in it.

        • khal spencer Says:

          That sounds serious, Pat. Hope you are OK and that you are not required to hang up the cleats.

          Had my annual physical yesterday. All is well so far.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Nothing serious mi amigo. I may have done some minor vascular damage over my 25 plus years of mountain and road cycling. Won’t know until the next appointment. I almost expect to hear that I have muscles and tendons that are adapting, and causing some aching, to a serious drop in exercise since this pandemic has started. If riding is no longer a good idea, I will substitute hiking for it. Starting to enjoy walks and hikes more than riding anyway. And I always have my guitfiddles to fiddle with and to punish those silly enough to hang when I start strumming. Welcome to my seventh decade of tripping ’round the sun.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Oof. This getting-older bidness iddn’t for sissies, is it?

          I slid out descending a loose trail last week, during a hike, and slammed my left thigh into a big round rock. Happily I missed all the sharp ones, and the cacti too, and didn’t spear that sucker with a knee.

          Anyway, I limped the downhill mile and change back to the rancheroo, put some ice on it, even took a couple Advil. Boy, you oughta see that leg now. Looks like a Hunter S. Thompson Vegas sunrise.

          Here’s hoping you get some good news from the doc. Tell you the truth, I’m starting to enjoy hiking quite a bit myself. Especially when I don’t fall down.

          • khal spencer Says:

            Up this-a-way, the hiking trails are busier compared to the roads I can ride off on to the north and west of the city. I rarely run into a crowd on my rides. Single riders, occasionally people walking down the quiet semirural streets but no clots of hikers giving each other stink eye over mask etiquette or lack thereof.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            The trails on our side of the Sandias have more in common with Las Cruces and Arizona than they do with Fanta Se or Colorado. Not a lot of shade, loose footing, sharp bits ever’whur.

            In some tight, rocky, spiny spots it’s nearly impossible to yield trail even if one is so inclined (plenty of mannerless fucks are not). So I’ve been greatly minimizing my off-road cycling, which is kind of a drag. I’d already given up on the bosque, figuring that it’s wall to wall, along with most of the officially designated off-street bike paths/trails.

            Mostly I cycle the mean streets these days and reserve the trails for my less-than-fancy footwork.

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            Ouch! Bruises take a while to heal. But, it will. At least you didn’t stick that leg in a cholla! I am almost expecting the all clear from the doc, or perhaps a diagnosis of minor arthritis or bursitis. Then I can put some miles on that flat bar Double Cross.

  3. khal spencer Says:

    Son of a bitch….

    • B Lester Says:

      This is fucked up. I live in a nice sort-of-rural county where it’s easy to find low traffic country roads. I’ve still been buzzed by the occasional autoasshole.

      I hope this gets some kind of positive outcome, but I’m not confident.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Got a live one up this way.

    • khal spencer Says:
    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I heard about that earlier today. That’s a wee bit too close for comfort, yeah? I’ve spent some time up there and I’d hate to see it all wind up in an ashtray.

      • khal spencer Says:

        One of my usual rides is from here up through Tesuque and into Chupadero and Rio en Medio. Not to mention, the watershed ain’t too far away.

        The smoke is really starting to stink here. Air quality is mostly OK but smells like an ashtray in this house.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          O, to be sure. Back in the Day® the Rio en Medio ride was muy populár. IIRC there’s a short, steep hill up there some’eres that caused me to hit 203 bpm in a sprint once.

          Based on Google Maps it looks like there’s a whole lot more people out there than there were in 1990.

          On the way back we’d beat the shit out of each other on the Bishop’s Lodge climb.

          • khal spencer Says:

            Oh, yeah. Its a nasty little bugger of a climb. First time I went up there rather than veering left down into Chupadero I had no idea what to expect and my heart monitor went TILT. Fortunately, its pretty short.

            I usually go north on Bishop’s Lodge and come back Old Taos Highway, mainly to avoid overtaking traffic while riding back up the Bishop’s Lodge climb. Sometimes I do go back that way and its a nice ride if you ignore the 50 mph overtaking traffic and nonexistant shoulders.

          • JD Says:

            OK PO’G: Inquiring minds want to know: How do you know you hit 203bpm? Especially in a sprint when you should have been looking elsewhere??
            The rule of thumb (or middle finger) is “220 minus your age for max heart rate”. Inaccurate to be sure, but still a reasonable approximation, eh? So, you were 17? What technology was available when you were 17 to measure your heart rate? Accurately?
            Aaah the old stopwatch and finger to the carotid? Jugular? One of those bloody things?
            Or were your eyes bulging out of their orbs, an intense headache pounding, heart valves spraying oil, adrenaline flowing in quest of a Strava “win” or an FKT (Fastest Known Time) (Oops, those weren’t invented yet)? In a sprint? 🙂
            Sorry….at 73YOA I’m training to be an investigative reporter/fiction espionage writer and “I don’t believe in coincidences”. 🙂

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            JD, it was a hill sprint on a club ride, so there weren’t a whole lot of psychos to keep a weather eye on. I was using one of the early Polar heart-rate monitors with chest strap, and had the wristwatch element clamped to the handlebar. Glanced down in mideffort as I was about to fall off the bike and croak, and that’s when saw the number, which I didn’t believe even then.

            I would’ve been 35 or 36 back then, and my numbers rarely corresponded to any of the cookie-cutter stuff I saw in bike mags. For instance, if memory serves, I routinely used to time trial at 170-180 bpm. And this was over 40km, mind you. I’d have to dig into my training logs to see if I’m right, but I’m pretty sure I am. I didn’t even consider myself to be training if I was rolling along at under 140 bpm.

            My resting heart rate was usually somewhere in the high 40s/low 50s. But then I was reading a lot of news, which would elevate anyone’s heart rate, resting or not.

          • khal spencer Says:

            I’m 66, three months ahead of O’G in the annual Race Around the Sun, and generally if I am running anything less than 140 bpm feel like I am taking it easy. If I am holding it at mid 140’s I know I am working. I generally hit 160 bpm on a hard climb today but that is pushing the envelope. Back in Honolulu, when I still worried about a training log when in my mid thirties, I would hit mid to high 190’s on a hard effort, so O’G’s 203 Back in the Day seems reasonable.

            Main reason I track bpm today is that I have a heart monitor on my bike that still works. Plus, I don’t have a lot of confidence in longevity on my paternal side. When the heart monitor dies (hopefully before I do), I won’t give a shit any more. I know when I am riding hard and when I am fucking off and that’s more than enough data. Its one thing to collect numbers in the laboratory and quite silly to play lab rat with myself when I don’t pin a number on any more.

          • Pat O’Brien Says:

            Hi JD. I use the digital sensory method to measure bpm. Two fingers on wrist, count for 15 seconds. You can also use it to determine VO2 max. Put those fingers under nose. If there is air coming out, your VO2 is good. No batteries required.

            PS: I tried to market the lyrics for our song “Down In The Bunker” with no results. Seems it’s dated.

          • carl duellman Says:

            I hope you’re not infringing on the REM song.

          • JD Says:

            Pat O’B: Rimshot and tip of the old sombrero mi amigo. Well played…..stay safe and healthy……rubber side down to all!!! 🙂

      • khal spencer Says:

        Nice picture in the Journal.

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