Sanitized for your protection

The new descent.

I haven’t spent a lot of time on the Elena Gallegos trails lately. But somebody has been putting in the hours over there. And not on a bike, either.

Two rocky stretches have had the kinks ironed out of them, which is both good and bad.

The old climb out of the sand pit has been rendered impassable.

Good in that they’re much easier to ride on a cyclocross bike now. And bad in that they’re much easier to ride on a cyclocross bike now.

One I usually rode as a short descent. It was a real tooth-rattler, rocky and rutted, and I always took a good look around at the top because I didn’t want to meet anyone coming up when I was halfway down. It dumped into a sand pit and turned into a short, rocky climb with poor line of sight, so I usually hit the bell a time or two on the out of the pit.

The other I generally rode as a short climb after a longish rocky descent. It required some negotiation with medium-sized stones in tight corners, and I occasionally dabbed because it looked like it should have been easier than it was.

Well, they’re both easy now, which means people will be riding them faster, even me. No good deed goes unpunished.

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12 Responses to “Sanitized for your protection”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Looks lovely.

    • khal spencer Says:

      I’ve tried using the cross or the gravel bike on La Tierra trails. It works but I get home with my wrists in pain and usually a sprained thumb or two. The double boinger is way better.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ve been doing it forever, so I’m used to it, kinda, sorta. Though I am starting to feel the accumulated damage from 30 years of riding singletrack on rigid steel ’cross bikes.

      It helps to have wide bars, top-mounted auxiliary brake levers, and the fattest, softest tires you can fit. Unfortunately the Eurocross maxes out at 32mm. Damn, I wish I’d never sold the Voodoo Loa ti’ ’crosser. That beast would run 40mm rubber, which is a lot more like it on trails like these.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I’ve gotta learn to let some air out. The Salsa will take at least 45mm; I’m running the Donnelly 40’s right now. The Litespeed has 38 mm on it and I imagine if I dropped the bikes to 30-35 psi or so, esp. the tubeless, they would be more comfortable on rough trails. But I never learn.

  2. katholoch Says:

    Both before and after look totally ridable on a simple little mountain bike. But I guess you like being the retro cyclocross guy, I take it? I rode for years in Elena Gallegos on a hardtail Klein. It was tons of fun.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, these trails were/are totally rideable on a cyclocross bike, too. I can ride most of the Elena Gallegos and Foothills trails on a ’cross bike. There’s one big rock garden near where the Pino Trail enters the wilderness that I can’t clean in either direction, and a few bits of 365 between EG and the Tram that are just too bloody rocky to be any fun.

      I used to mountain bike quite a bit, in Colorado and New Mexico, but I was never any good at it. On a mountain bike you feel obliged to try to ride shit that scares you. But a ’cross rider knows it’s OK to get off the bike and run.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      32 on trails? Me thinks you have accumulated some damage somewhere. Hard tail mountain bike, si. Cyclocross bike on Southwest single track full of rocks and sand? Watsamattayou? Have you rattled the little grey cells once to many times? I guess vibration does build bone. Jones!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hey, I used to ride the trails on 28mm. That was fun. You don’t so much ride over things as crash into them.

      I will concede that 38mm-50mm is preferable, but I can’t fit the fatties in my 1998 Steelman Eurocross. That’s what the Voodoo Nakisi is for. I need to get some lighter wheels for it, though. The Velocity Cliffhangers I’m rocking on there are a tad burly for the kind of riding I do.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      I couldn’t skip a chance to rib you a little. Please forgive buddy. I get the challenge and skill it takes to ride single track on a cyclocross bike. You probably get onto flow quicker due to the concentration it takes to pick a line and keep your momentum. Chapeau! Me, I lose my concentration easily and needed fat tires and a suspension fork to keep from crashing. Fat tires is a relative term now days. I thought 2.1 inch width was fat. Now my flow, when I can get it, comes from six strings. My buddy and I are trying to nail down Prine’s last song. It requires me to bass note pick with my thumb and strum with my index finger. Something new to learn.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s a different way of riding, for sure. Reminds me of the bad old days of racing rigid steel mountain bikes on 1.95-inch tires. You need finesse and strength, and I’m running out of both.

      Now, the git-box is a whole other story. I was never any good at that.

  3. Shawn Says:

    I suppose those darn Franchies, Italianias, Swissinaros and Basquionios should just go out and straighten those damn mountain pass roads out. I mean hairpin turns! Who needs those anymore. Straighten everything out so it is smoother, less steep and we can then get our goats, cheese and chocolate over the hills faster. Why do we need to challenge ourselves so much?

    Disclaimer: For those of French, Italian, Swiss or Basque heritage, my comments are for humor only. Without you the world would not be as great a place as it is. Now get out and fix those alpine passes !

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