Not so hot

The wisteria is calling it quits for the year.

The mornings are brisk around here lately. Upon arising I find myself compelled to don pants. This will not do, not at all.

This is one of the few downsides of living snuggled up to the Sandias. Come fall the sun doesn’t peek over the mountains and through the trees until 9:30 or later, which causes Miss Mia Sopaipilla to burn the early morning hours hunting a toasty napping place that does not yet exist as such.

Here comes the sun. “About time,” grouses Mia.

The geezers I ride with a couple days a week likewise search for that sweet sunny spot. There has been some debate as to whether rides should continue to begin 9-ish or be delayed a tad to minimize the need for extensive layering.

It’s not unusual to experience a 30-degree temperature swing in the course of a 90-minute morning outing, which fills the jersey pockets to overflowing with wind jackets, arm and knee warmers, long-fingered gloves, skullcaps and whatnot. Jersey zippers rise and fall with the terrain.

Our location here, at the bottom of a cul-de-sac in the shadow of the foothills, often causes me to believe it’s colder outdoors than it really is. Yesterday I rode the Jones south on the foothills trails and inside 10 minutes I knew I was ridiculously overdressed. Nevertheless I persisted, because there wasn’t much I could do about the long-sleeved jersey and I didn’t stuff any short-fingered gloves into a pocket before leaving.

I found myself riding with a distinct lack of competence, confidence, style, and grace, dabbing on pretty much everything that wasn’t a nice flat sandy patch, and swearing a lot. After a series of miscues on mild obstacles I lost my mojo entirely and tried to focus on simply avoiding injury. This was nearly as irksome as wearing pants in the morning.

After an hour of embarrassing myself I called it quits and headed for home. I should probably get back out there right now and seek redemption.  But I’m thinking about dialing it down to a road ride. Maybe I should wait until we fall back before I fall off.

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22 Responses to “Not so hot”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    There is an official Geezer Organization here, the Seniors on Bikes, having an appropriate acronym. I’ve just put in my retirement paperwork and will probably join them soon.

  2. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Ah, life in the high country. Perhaps a run to the river on the Saga will clear the bike handling cobwebs? Take a picnic in a pannier, go to the Biopark, and make a day of it. Did they start the concertsat the Biopark yet. Seems I remember a nice bandshell by the pond there, and I thought two lawn chairs in the grass would be the best seats in the house. Going to see Tommy Emmanuel in concert tomorrow at the Fox, not that one, Theater in Tucson. Ten fingers and six strings making music.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Paddy me lad, I just rolled out for a short spin on the New Albion Privateer. That thing practically rides itself.

      If I’m gonna ride the Jones on the neighborhood trails I need to get it through my head: lower tire pressures. Squishy is your friend. Roll right over the bits you have to dodge on the cyclocross bike with its 33mm tires. Either that or stick to the ’cross bike. But I’m feeling the years of that kind of riding in my wrists and shoulders.

      The concert sounds fun. I’m not sure what’s going on down to the bosque this year. I’ve been giving it a wide berth. Too many people down there, same as on the trails up here.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        The concert was magic. Very nice venue that required proof of vaccination and masks for entry. The Fox is and old art deco theater that has been restored and has a killer sound system.

  3. sharon Says:

    The older I get, the warmer the temperature must be before I will want to ride. And I always review a complete spreadsheet of factors in the decision-making process that determines what time to start. I want to be able to do at least 40-50 miles without a tremendous change of temperature/clothing. Thus, I look at wind direction, wind speed, humidity, cloud cover and of course temperature. Overthinking it for sure. But it works for me as I am still able to ride about 600-700 miles most months in the winter.

    • Shawn Says:

      600 to 700 miles a month in the winter? Wow! I’d like to be able to get half of that in these days. It reminds me a young woman that just rode 514 miles in 24 hours.

      But I agree with you on the temp for riding. That’s why I don’t roll my butt out until sometime after noon during most of the non-summer months. About the time that all those folks wearing all those clothes come riding back into town.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’ll go out in the 40s, with tights or leg warmers, long-sleeved jerseys, long-fingered gloves, Gore-Tex shoes, wool sox, tuque, etc. I used to go out in the 30s and below below to do cyclocross, but since I quit running that’s more or less off the menu. I might try running again, though, so who knows? A new pair of shoes might push me over the edge.

      Riding the road on the mountain bike while all bundled up is another cold-weather option. Heavier bike, fatter tires, slower speeds, keep that core warm.

      But I ain’t doing no 600-700 miles a month, not even in summer. I think my best week this year was 160-some-odd miles, and 100-milers were a lot more common. I bow before The Mistress.

  4. Dale Says:

    Wisteria? You are growing wisteria? Why?
    Many years ago back east in Maryland, Gloria (my neighbor) professed an interest in planting wisteria along their chainlink fence that bordered our property. We took her for a drive (not that kind of drive) to show her how the plant thrives in our area. The example was a house being pulled apart and pulled down by the vine that had enveloped it.
    Well she planted wisteria, and for the last 7 years we have been removing it.

    • JD Says:

      Dale: Big difference between Maryland and New Mexico. You have great steamed crabs and New Mexico has great chiles. There’s a reason for that. Mother Nature knows best and plays the long game to perfection. 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The wisteria came with the house, Dale. It’s in the shady entryway, doesn’t catch much love from Tonatiuh, so it hasn’t run wild yet. I think I’m allergic to it, though, so it’s still winning.

  5. Herb from Michigan Says:

    20 years ago I decided mowing 4 acres was not doing the planet or my leisure time any good so I let 2 acres go back to being “natural “.Jeezus the invasive plants took hold with a vengeance with viney, thorny and poisonous plants galore. The worst? Trees of Heaven which is the biggest misnomer ever. It took me most of a summer and several thousand Yankee dollars to beat the invaders back into submission. I’m still battling with various noxious plants and I’ve heard wisteria can actually eat garages and homes. Be careful POG!

  6. SAO' Says:

    Stumbled onto this cycling yarn, wanted to share amongst this crew:

    https://luciantruscott.substack.com/p/we-rode-10-speed-bikes-halfway-across

    I have a Reminders file of words of wisdom, all set to randomly repeat, and this morning’s is below. Thought the article and the quote went well together today.

    In the end, during our brief moment in the sun, we are tasked with the noble charge of finding our own meaning. Let us embark. (Brian Greene)

    • Shawn Says:

      I hope in the past and maybe even the future we’ve all had the pleasure of doing a long trip like Lucian & Fritz’s. Mine along with three other friends wasn’t quite as far (~1700 miles), but it sure had some interesting moments. Our trip also took advantage of the excess of sugar in glass bottles of cold coke.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ho, ho. You had to learn how to deal with the colonels. Never hit ’em up for anything until after that third martini.

      I wasn’t that adventurous as a young cyclist. I rode a lot around Randolph AFB, and when we got transferred to Bibleburg I rode or walked everywhere, to school, swim practice, work, etc.

      When I became a faux hippie sans automobile I kept cycling and hoofing and did a fair amount of hitchhiking, along with the occasional greydog ride. These types of locomotion were nearly always educational in one way or another. You think you invented it until you first read Steinbeck or Kerouac.

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