Happy trails

The Elena Gallegos Open Space was awash in goodwill on Wednesday.

Maybe it was the abrupt change in temperature from “hot as balls” to “ooh that’s nice.”

During a short ride around the Elena Gallegos Open Space yesterday morning everyone I met was in high spirits. Not a sourpuss in the lot.

Cyclists, equestrians, hikers, moms with kids, dog-walkers — everybody was smiling as though the Republic were ticking along like a fine watch instead of missing on three of eight cylinders, leaking vital fluids, and badly in need of a front-end alignment.

I haven’t been riding the trails much during the Year of the Bug because once everyone who could work from home was working from home, well … it seemed that a lot of them were not exactly working from home. Not unless their homes were on the range, where the deer and the antelope — and Your Humble Narrator — play.

With a dodgy ankle I doubted my ability to excel at “Dodge the Noob,” so mostly I abandoned the trails for the roads, though occasionally I’d hit some short, wide, low-traffic trail to cleanse the old velo-palette.

But six months later I’m more or less myself, or someone very much like him. And yesterday I didn’t have to dodge anyone. The thundering herd seemed to have thinned a bit, and those who remained didn’t give off that displaced-gym-rat vibe. Earbuds were very much not in evidence. Mostly I yielded trail, of course, even when I had the right of way. But occasionally people who had the right of way even yielded to me.

Cheery greetings were exchanged, munchkins on strider bikes applauded, horsemanship admired. Even my battered Voodoo Nakisi drew some appreciation.

“Doing some cyclocross, hey?” asked one guy after I complimented his dog, some class of burly curly black wonderpooch. I explained that my bike was a 29er with drop bars, your basic monstercrosser, just the thing for the Elena Gallegos trails, and then headed for the barn.

It was a random sample, not a scientific poll. Pundits will not cite it as evidence of a trend going into the November election. But I found it comforting. For an hour or so, anyway.

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28 Responses to “Happy trails”

  1. katholoch Says:

    How interesting…I had the same experience with the thinning crowds here in northern CA and even commented to a walker I encountered. And the weather was perfect and much less hot than it has been. Cosmic coincidence? I’m quite jealous that you have decomposed Sandia granite out your front door. I have to go quite a ways (generally in a car) to get to dirt around here.But then I get to see the ocean easier than you:-)

  2. Libby Says:

    Good news is in short supply. Your report on your most excellent day with the gentle folk of your neighborhood is most welcome.

  3. Shawn Says:

    “missing three of eight cylinders…” I thought American was still on the 8-6-4 design like Cat-A-Lack designed back in the ’80’s. But right now four of the eight are misfiring because of fouled spark plugs… Perhaps Trump, Barr, Kuchner(sp?) and little Donny (?). Perhaps those last two are simply accessory relays that control the power windows and gas gauge fuel level.

    I took a roll yesterday on one of my favorite rides. I’d say where but then I’d have to force you to vote for Trump. It involved some climbing and a lovely paved forest road that is now closed for bridge repair. Bikes and hikers on it are ok. Woohoo! It’s remote enough that to see one other person is rare. I used the 650 wheeled touring bike, MTB, gravel bike, whatever-somebody-wants-to-call-it-who the-phuck-cares-as-long-as-I’m-smiling-bike. I had given myself the option of adding a longer route to my forest road outing but my delayed start meant an 8 o’clock evening return so I left the extra part out. Oh, it was nice. I’m going to have to do that again very soon. I just wish I didn’t have to drive to my start spot.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ooo, forest road. Something else I haven’t seen in a spell.

      Closest thing we have here would be the climb to the Sandia Crest. A neighbor was up there the other day and said it was batshit, probably due to an invasion of Burqueños sick of the heat down below. The rescue people had to pull three folks off an affiliated trail after two got lost and one fell about 30 feet and clipped a tree.

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    When will the Jones get out to play?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Y’know, that’s a fair question. I haven’t ridden the Jones in forever. I need to pull it down from its hook, give it some time in the sun.

      One downside to riding the Jones around here is its broad handlebar. We got skinny trailhead gates and that bar goes 700mm. You don’t wanna hit the front brake too hard, either, with its 200mm rotor. Then you’ll get through the gate just fine, because you will have left the bike behind.

  5. carl duellman Says:

    i’ve been thwarted at every turn trying to get on my bike this week. rain, house guests, laziness. it’s good to see someone else getting some.

  6. B Says:

    I’m glad to see happiness. I certainly wish that on all y’all.

    Myself, it’s been a bit of malaise. With apologies to Bob Seeger, I’ve been “feeling old and restless and bored”.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The malaise, like the poor, is with us always. It follows me around like a bad smell. I have to constantly remind myself that unlike many people I have a roof to keep the sun off my dome, food and a place to keep it fresh, and a bed that is not made of cardboard and newspapers. Also, I get to shit indoors and Uncle Sammy sends a monthly check, which covers the buttwipe.

    • JD Says:

      B: So you should consider letting your “inner self” loose and making a list of all the things you really wanted to do, but put off for “real life” reasons. Then, explore each of those and I’ll bet several will light a fire and you’ll be perking along in no time. 🙂

      • B Lester Says:

        Yes, thanks very much. I’m a very few years close to retirement, and I’ve been trying to come up with a “what do you want to be when you grow up” list for some time.

        I was reflecting with a co-worker yesterday, and we decided that we have gainful, steady employment, and more than a single pair of shoes, so we are much better off than the majority on this planet.

        I’m hoping to have the words “recklessly optimistic” chiseled on my headstone. Until then, I’ll keep mowin’ the lawn.


  7. khal spencer Says:

    I got an email from Litespeed today saying my frame has been built and was being brushed. I guess now they gotta hang all the parts on it.

    • JD Says:

      Khal: Please keep us posted on the ETA and the initial and long-term impressions. Trying to set you up for future “paying” bike reviews!!!! 🙂

      • khal spencer Says:

        Will do. I had a long talk with Our Humble Narrator about the choice of components before I gave out the credit card number. I’m looking forward to the box arriving.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I have a bike too. Well, a frameset, and a box of bits (save for a rear derailleur), and one of my own wheelsets, because The Bug® continues to wreak havoc with supply lines. More as it unfolds. Unboxes. Whatevs.

      New Albion Privateer

      Click here for a larger pic.

      • khal spencer Says:

        What rear derailleur do you need? Do any of us have one?

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        No worries. The problem should be easily resolved. Merry Sales carries a lot of brands other than Shimano, SRAM, and Campy. I’ve gotten a bike from them with SunXCD derailleurs, and lately they’ve been selling Sunrace — but like everyone else on the planet, they’re fresh out.

        They’re expecting a shipment of S-Ride derailleurs, but haven’t gotten them yet.

        Happily, I’m going to be running a double-ring subcompact drivetrain (46/30T, 11-34T) with friction bar-cons, so pretty much whatever the lads lay hands on should work for me. If the pipeline remains dry the guys at Two Wheel Drive may have an old Deore unit I can use. I was down there the other day and the joint was jumpin’, so, yay, more good news.

        And more good news, still more! The Merry Sales/Soma Fab gang is having a Labor Day sale.

  8. Libby Says:

    Yup. Thanks again. And I am enjoying (again) those lush photos of Hawaii.

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