Tunnel vision

Miss Mia Sopaipilla is locked and loaded.

Everything old is new again.

Miss Mia Sopaipilla has rediscovered the joys of an old crinkle tube, some coarse wrapping paper, and a Wholeazon Amafoods shopping bag, all of which make fine sounds when run through, sprawled upon, or snuggled into.

Me, I likewise got back on the old hoss, metaphorically speaking, which is to say I started running again after giving my damaged toe a month of downtime.

Bikewise I hardly broke stride. Kept cranking out the 100-mile-plus weeks even with a pulverized piggie, and so far (knock on wood) I have avoided doing anything else inexplicably stupid to myself.

It’s nearly fall here in The Duck! City, but you’d hardly know it. Oh, the leaves are coming off the trees, but the weather widget says 87° in midafternoon and the hummers are still hitting the feeders like a cluster of knee-walking bog-trotters who just heard the barman call, “Time, gentlemen, time.”

Time, indeed.

A certain restlessness I ascribe to muscle memory. Come September Back In the Day® I would be in the early throes of cyclocross season, with a side of Interbike, and there would be much motoring and bicycling and running around to no particular purpose.

Your Humble Narrator at Dirt Demo circa 2005.

My Septembers are less hectic now. I did my last ’cross race in Bibleburg, way back in 2004, rocking a Steelman Eurocross but no spare bike, not even spare wheels. I rode to the course from the DogHaus, and when I flatted midrace, I simply replaced the tube and rode back home. It could be argued that I was not taking the whole thing seriously.

Thirteen years later I did my last Interbike. I lasted longer at that game because the finish-line payout was better and getting sockless drunk on the publisher’s dime was more or less a condition of employment.

But the publishers changed, and so did the game, and in January 2022 I retired, an event with all the significance of a mouse fart in a haboob.

I hadn’t expected to waltz offstage in the middle of a plague — which is over now, I understand, so, yay — but as the fella says, you go to retirement with the virology you have, not the virology you might want or wish to have at a later time.

Anyway, here it is September again and I still haven’t tapped my generous pension to buy a Peace Van and finally buckle down to the serious business of writing my great American road-trip story, “Travels with Snarly.”

Some days that Nobel Prize in Literature seems farther away than the finish line  with a slow leak and no spare. At least I’m still riding and running.

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38 Responses to “Tunnel vision”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Been a slow month up here, exercise-wise. I managed to get an infection that makes sitting on a bike…remarkably unpleasant. So I am just getting back on the bike after most of a two week hiatus while popping Cipro.

    Still, you better keep your running shoes and running temperament handy, in order to outrun the lunatics running around stabbing people down your way (is there ever a calm day in the Duck! City?) Fortunately, outrunning a nutcase with a knife is a little easier than outrunning a bullet. Makes me breathe a big sigh of relief that we didn’t buy that house at Monroe and Southern Ave. SE, back when I thought I wanted to spend more time at UNM. Didn’t realize I was looking at a place spitting distance from the Zuni catastrophe. Instead, being lazy in Santa Fe suits me fine.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Owie. I’ve come close to that class of discomfort but didn’t have to resort to the drugs. I ride Voler bibs now exclusively and use a liberal dab of Chamois Butt’r before every ride. All seems well, for now, anyway.

      The Plague caused me to greatly restrict my movements, and this has become a habit I’m having trouble breaking. But on a whim the other day I drove Central from Tramway to 2nd Street or thereabouts and holy hell, did it ever look like David Cronenberg was shooting a feature down there.

      There are advantages to living in the ’burbs. You lose a degree of walkability, but shit, maybe you don’t have it on Nob Hill either. Runability, mebbe. But not a slow saunter, unless you’re wearing body armor and an AK-47 slung over one shoulder.

      • JD Says:

        PO’G et al: I must put in plug here for Vermont Bag Balm. 15 years of semi-serious road cycling (back in The Day) and never a problem. Good for a lot of other uses too.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’ve heard good things about the Bag Balm. I used to use the Assos cream but switched to the Chamois Butt’r a few years back and have no regrets.

    • Shawn Says:

      I hope the cipro works well Khal and your back to “thinking clearly” again soon. I recently made the mistake of taking a bike out that I had purchased and hadn’t switched out the saddle. I thought that the existing one would be fine adapting to my tuch. Nope. I’ve been doing a lot of shifting around and out-of-saddle riding.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Feeling sorta better. This was actually my once every couple years attack of prostatitis. I started having them in graduate school, in place of ulcers; it is my stress indicator. Just the luck of the draw, I guess.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Here’s to getting better, K. I guess the bright side for all us geezers remains: If something hurts, you can be pretty sure you’re still alive.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Word, bro. Word.

        • khal spencer Says:

          Speaking of which, NY Times reports that Maury Wills just stole home.

          • Sao’ Says:

            Back in high school, we had this pretty amazing shortstop, and his dad, was something of an infield whisperer. Never got excited, never cheered very loudly or argued a bad call. He would just stand near the dugout, and he would whisper what was about to happen two seconds before it happened. There’s a hard grounder directly at the second baseman, and he could tell by the players first step what was going to happen, so he would say something like “he’s gonna boot at one.” and he was always right.

            Found out later that he played triple a ball in the Dodgers organization, got the call to move up to the big leagues, and in that game, was making a tag at second base, base runner slid in funny, and they collided… Breaking his wrist.

            So they called up the AA kid instead… Kid by the name of Maury Wills.

          • Patrick O'Grady Says:

            “Maury Wills just stole home.” Well done, sir; well done indeed.

  2. SAO’ Says:

    I’ve been putting up big miles lately. Maybe 5 miles, round trip! And that’s with an 8 hour break in the middle.


    So far, no ill effects from the Eddie Bauer khakis that have replaced my Volers.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Are you riding one of those newfangled e-bikes now? The neighbors with the two kids just bought a cargo model and they’re using it to fetch the squirts to and from school.

      • SAO Says:

        100% no-twitch,old guy, hairy-legged muscle power pushing my Fat Tire-branded Brooklyn Bikes cruiser.

        And lugging around my 15 stone bod ain’t enough of a challenge, so there’s another 5 lbs of tools and textbooks. All together, C-DOT is going to be wanting me to pay the by-axle road tax for the damage I’m doing.

      • SAO' Says:

        We might be the last e-bike hold outs in our neighborhood. Our schools are near HP and Intel campuses, and that consortium can’t look at anything with a power cord without throwing money at it.

      • khal spencer Says:

        I was recently reading that someone is suing RadPower because their kid and someone else’s kid were joyriding on and managed to auger it on a fast downhill. I wonder if all e-bikes should come with a warning label: not to be used by kids or adults who act like kids while not knowing what they are doing.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          I’ve seen more than one e-bike pilot come to an unnecessarily abrupt stop at a red light. Or just blow right through one, but that’s not a practice limited to e-bikers.

          I think I’d want to hone my mad e-skillz by tooling around in some deserted strip-center parking lot before taking an e-bike out on the mean streets of The Duck! City. We do not lack for abandoned retail clusterplexes around here.

          Sure, you risk getting sliced, diced, and fried by meth-crazed homeless zombie cannibals, but just getting out of bed is a roll of the dice anymore.

  3. JD Says:

    PO’G: Simply an ingenious photo from “The Far Side” (referring to Gary Larson whom I adore) and literally from the far side. Your creativity is top 1%!!!!
    OK … plaudits aside …. “and so far (knock on wood) I have avoided doing anything else inexplicably stupid to myself.”
    How about the explicably stupid? With which I am very familiar!! 🙂 And perhaps many of your readers??!!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Thanks, JD. The photo as per usual was pure serendipity. I noticed Miss Mia sighting down the hallway through the tube, grabbed the iPhone, and snap! Looks like a publicity pic for “The Time Tunnel,” if the old Irwin Allen TV show were rebooted for cats.

      The explicably stupid I do all the time. I should have the phrase “I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway” tattooed somewhere.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        Nah, no tatoo. Just keep it on the Mad Dog Media (retired) T shirt. I had that T shirt on in Bisbee last year. At lunch a guy at the table behind us tapped me in the should and said, “I love that logo including that phrase. Where can I buy one.”. Sorry buddy, This is a classic but no longer available.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    O’G, your link on my blog just changed, and went to

    And wants to download something onto my computer. Weird.

  5. Pat O’Brien Says:

    “…a mouse fart in a haboob.” That’s so, uh, stealable.

  6. Libby Says:

    I remember that you wrote about the Mercedes Sprinter Van some years ago. Last week there was a news story that mentioned a Sprinter in connection with a violent crime. I knew what it was because of your blog. There are other examples of enlightenment and connection that have occurred over the years and I thank and salute you, Patrick!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      See? See? I keep telling the Thought Police that it’s not just porn here. A person can actually find a diamond in the doo-doo.

      The Sprinters are all over The Duck! City. Clearly someone has more disposable income than Your Humble Narrator, despite his decades of service to The Craft. Myself, I favor the various conversion possibilities available using the Mercedes Metris, which can be garaged if you don’t get carried away. But even then you’re looking at a substantial outlay.

      Frankly, a 2005 Subaru Forester with a Big Agnes tent, Marmot fartsack, and Coleman two-burner may be more my speed. And whaddaya know? I already own ’em.

    • Shawn Says:

      Yes, enlightenment. I knew there was something that I needed when I came here. Can I get some popcorn and a beer with that?

      Regarding the Sprinters though, I believe there must be a lot of debt rolling around on the roads these days. But I’m saving my money for one of those Jags like the Queen last rode in. All those windows and the great light.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        A Sprinter is one of those deals I look at and think, “Hm, which of its various gizmos do you suppose can generate a catastrophic failure in the middle of nowhere?”

        Also, “How long before a simple lane change involves some leadfooted drunk parking his Honda Civic street racer in my shower stall at 120 mph?”

        And last, but not least, “Where the hell do I park this beast when I’m not on The Loneliest Road suffering catastrophic failures and sudden impacts with texting drunkards?”

        • Late update: Whoops, almost forget the real question: “Who’s gonna pay for this thing?”

  7. carl duellman Says:

    At first I thought this was an endoscopy photo gone awry.

  8. sao Says:

    Paraphrasing Satchel Paige, don’t stop riding and running, they might be catching up!

  9. Shawn Says:

    Yes, I love your shot of Mia through the tunnel of fun as well. “Come closer, closer. Do not worry about my sharp claws.” Excellent!

  10. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Is that a shot of a cholesterol cat getting ready to block an artery? You bring another dog into this joint and I’ll show you a trick!

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