The path is the Way

Light traffic, muted colors

I hate to do this to those of you who are wrestling with actual November weather. But oh, was yesterday ever a fine day to ride the ol’ bikey-bike down to the bosque.

It was a little late in the season to catch the prime fall colors, but there was a flash or two here and there.

Traffic was light on the Paseo del Bosque trail, so instead of heading south past I-40 to Mountain and heading home via the mean streets, Indian School and whatnot, I pulled a U at the interstate — pulling off the arm and knee warmers — and enjoyed a double dose of the auto-free environment.

Then I enhanced the experience by riding the Paseo del Norte path, the North Diversion Channel Trail, and the Arroyo del Oso/Bear Canyon Trail. Hey, you got all this bicycle infrastructure, why not put it to use?

The whole trip added up to a little more than 40 miles and made a nice change of pace from the usual dawdling about in the foothills. I enjoyed my departure from the norm so much that I did it again today.

No, not the 40-mile bike ride. Today, I went for a run.

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24 Responses to “The path is the Way”

  1. Libby Says:

    Gorgeous! Enjoy that weather and light traffic!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Libby, it’s been insanely pleasant out here lately. Sun, light wind, feels more like May than November once the sun peeks over the Sandias. Hope all’s equally excellent out your way.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    A forty mile run?

    It was glorious up here yesterday, too. I pulled down the Litespeed and headed down the Rail Trail to Eldorado. I was headed for the US 285 crossing (recall Mad Dog Road?) but ran into someone along the way who told me, by way of one of those impromptu shoot the shit moments on a bike ride, that there was a singletrack shortcut from the Rail Trail down into the Galesteo Basin Preserve, and gave me directions. So I decided to look for it.

    So you head south on the Rail Trail past the last road in Eldorado, Spur Ranch Road, and it goes to singletrack along the old rail bed. There is a for sale sign on the left for the McMansions and on the right on the other side of the tracks, a little singletrack. So I hopped over the tracks and headed out that way. I got to where it started to go downhill fast and figured I had enough of a cheap thrill, given I had packed for a shorter ride. Turned around happy to have found it.

    35 miles mostly dirt and cinder. Was a fine day. Today was a 13 mile road recovery ride around the north side of town.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “A forty-mile run?” Hee, and also haw. I think my longest run ever was just over a dozen miles, up at Weirdcliffe. Today I did about three miles to see if I remembered how. Walking the downhills, as is my practice when easing back into running.

      My boyz Matt Wiebe and Marc Sani say the riding at Galisteo is top shelf. Good on you for finding the shortcut. Pack for a longer ride next time and give us a report.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    That Paseo del Bosque is a special place. When a path like that get used by lots of folks, it protects it.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      People take that path very seriously indeed, Paddy me boyo. One of these days I need to inspect the dirt options down there. I had slicks on the Privateer at about 60/65 psi and what I could see of the trails looked pretty powdery, so I saved that for another time.

  4. SAO' Says:

    COVID is really messing with my mind, so I didn’t pay much attention to spring rainfall and summer temps. But whatever happened this year made for picture perfect Colorado vistas. Any tree with red in it was just popping this fall. And the yellows weren’t far behind. By November, we’re usually looking at empty branches and beetle kill pines, but the pears are just starting to turn, and their colors are going up to 11.

  5. SAO' Says:

    Twas a brisk 31º when the first bell rang this morning, but that didn’t stop my oldest (11) and me from biking to school, along with maybe 175 of our closest friends. Give kids just enough infrastructure, and you can’t get them off their bikes.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Good on the kiddos. Growing up (or at least older) we were fortunate enough to live within easy walking/cycling distance of schools. And since Mom didn’t have a car of her own, well, walking or cycling was pretty much how we got around.

      “You wanna go somewhere? So go awready.”

  6. Peter Fix Says:

    “Actual November weather” ha, forecast for tonight up here in Fairbanks, AK is -11 F. First seasonal temps of the year. I think I’ve finally built up the courage (or stupidity?) to keep my bike commute going at least one more day. But I reserve the right to change my mind after looking at the thermometer tomorrow! Might take longer to put on the layers than the 7-mile ride…

    Enjoy the stories and pictures, Patrick!

    • Shawn Says:

      Peter, did you ever meet or hear of Jim Kowalski up there in Fbks? Jim taught (perhaps still does) I think it was music up at UAF and would ride in from CHSR year round. I think the News Miner did an article on him at one time back in the late 90’s. There were motorists driving into town who would know if they were running early or late based on where they passed Jim at.

      -11F. Is there decent snow on the ground up there so that you can ride the trails?

      • Peter Fix Says:

        That name doesn’t ring a bell. I moved here in 2002, so he might have retired by then? That is a long commute to UAF! I lived at the beginning of CHSR for about 12 years, don’t recall seeing him. Ok, just googled him, amazing person, very active in the environmental community. Embarrassed not to have known who he was.

        Snowpack is thin. I don’t think we are behind on snowfall for the year, but October was crazy warm so the snow we received kept melting. That also kept the wet areas from freezing. Things are finally shaping up for winter riding. However, XC skiing is my reason for being here, so, although tempted, haven’t jumped into the fat bike craze. Trails are finally skiable.

        • Shawn Says:

          Yeah, Jim likely retired. He wasn’t a youngster then so I hope he is doing well. But he set a great precedent and I can imagine there are many year round commuters up there. My commute was only about 4 miles so I rode in to work many times.

          I miss the XC skiing up there. The Birch Hill trails were/ are great. I was last skiing up at Birch before the stadium was improved. I think they have a large lodge / structure up there now don’t they? I miss doing the Sonnot Khazoot in the spring. Do Audun and Sally Endestad still put on the Nenana to Fairbanks race along the river?

          When I rode up there in the winter I was using Simon’s Snowcats with WTB Tyrannoraptor tires. Fat tire bikes weren’t being made then. I got around really well on the Snowcats and they weren’t exceedingly heavy.

          • Peter Fix Says:

            Yes, there is a large building with a trail that passes under one part of the structure. Several new trails near stadium, and others widened. I preferred it pre “improvements.” IMHO it lost its character. But, still enjoy skiing there during the off peak hours. Last I knew Simon is still around, and was operating out of Beaver Sports. Fred Raymond (perhaps you interacted with him at all weather sports) had a great little shop for several years. He finally retired about 5 years ago. Not sure about the Nenana race. Haven’t heard about it in awhile. Sonot still going strong, although Bad Bob passed along leadership role.

        • Shawn Says:

          Yes, I liked the Birch Hill trails when I was there pre-2000. I can imagine that widening a few of the trails really spoiled the “bombing through the trees” aspect. I really liked going up there in the evenings after work.

          I know Fred well. We raced together for many years. If you ever come across him, tell him that Shawn says Hi and hopes that Christine is doing well.

          Bad Bob Baker. I would have concluded that he moved on from the directorship of the Sonot. But I bet he is still skiing it, and in orange tights. Bob did some bike racing with me back in the 80’s. He would take off on a solo breakaway and be out for most of the race (ala: Jacky Durand or Thomas DeGent). Eventually we’d catch him. But I think Bob was simply training. One of those years was when he skied to Nome from Big Lake (Iditaski).

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oof. Minus-11 is a tad cold for me. We had some of that in Alamosa, and also in Weirdcliffe, but I never got used to it. Curl up under about eleventy-seven blankets and hope the Heat Fairy feeds the woodstove. No? “OK, honey, brace yourself, I’m getting up. There will be medium-heavy swearing and probably a bit of coughing because the chimbley draws about as well as I do.”

      Thanks for enjoying my nonsense, Peter. Not everyone does. But we have a few weirdos who pop around regularly. They’re probably Homeland Security.

      • Peter Fix Says:

        But it is a dry cold ; ) perhaps easier to get used to it when it is persistent. I did my time in Fort Collins; 60 in the a.m., snow in the afternoon, below zero the next, back to riding in shorts the day after…

  7. Shawn Says:

    Hey, we had a moment of similar bright and sunny weather for a few minutes. It’s not so bad though. It’s fall and the colors are great, the smell is great, and the moisture is on it’s way.

    I chuckled when I see your photos of the Bosque Trail. It reminds me of the Springwater Corridor in Portland. The only difference is that you probably don’t have to run the gauntlet of homeless camps and the associative detritus that exists along the fringes of the trail. If you stop too long you’ll soon see the components on your bike showing up on ebay. It’s a place where empathy and a can of bear spray coexist.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Wherever thou hast mild weather, trails, running water, concealment, and access to services and/or softhearted passers-by, there also shalt thou have the homeless camps.

      We had the national-news-making camps lining the creeks in Bibleburg, and we have them down here too. I think the camps along the bosque are further south, below I-40, where the downtown shelters and soup kitchens are fairly close. In B-burg the shelters and soup kitchens were right on the main north-south trail, like motel/fuel/fast-food clusters on the interstates.

      There are other camps here, along the North Diversion Channel Trail and down by Tramway and Central, where there’s a bunch of open space that Back in the Day® we used for a cyclocross course. It’s not uncommon to see panhandlers working the medians here in the foothills, though I occasionally wonder whether these people are pros, or maybe trafficking victims who get a cut of their take in exchange for food, booze/drugs, transportation, and shelter. You see trends in accessories intended to foster sympathy — wheelchairs, dogs with kerchiefs, and so on.

      I don’t know what the solution is, or even if there is one, and I don’t think anyone else does either, not really.

  8. B Lester Says:

    We’re getting ready for real Wisconsin November here. It’s been beauteous in the low sixties of late. Saturday reverts to form as it might hit 35. Oh well. As my Scandinavian ancestors would say, “Into the tunnel.”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “Into the tunnel.” This I like. Hal and I had a similar phrase we’d deploy when talking about something going well despite all expectations to the contrary. One of us would intone, “And then … winter.” Can’t remember where we got it, but it was definitely something a jaded newsie would say.

      • B Lester Says:

        Well I’ve never been as hearty as my Norwegian ancestors. Their “into the tunnel” referred to the part of the season at or near the Artic Circle where you didn’t see sunlight for a quite a bit of a long while. Me, I’d be stuck to the ceiling, or on a weekslong bender to cope with THAT kind of tunnel.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          I believe the Norwegian, Swedish, and Finnish used the same strategy when going into the tunnel. Sauna, bundles of twigs to beat the dirt out of you, pickled herring, rutabagas, and alcohol. At least that was my Grandpa Narva’s solution in Waukegan. When he picked up us kids on Saturday night for sauna, we knew we would get orange sodas right after since the bar was connected to the sauna. Both owned by the same Finnish feller. No tunnel there, but the tradition lives on.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          When the ceiling descended to ground level my people just uncorked a fresh jug of poteen and moved another pig into the houseen.

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