Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Q&A: Ruta del Rancho Pendejo

April 17, 2018

Riding north along the Paseo del Bosque.

We’ve had some questions arise about the inaugural Ruta del Rancho Pendejo, slated June 2-3. Here are some answers:

Q. How long are the rides?

A. The Paseo del Bosque Trail is a 32-mile round trip on paved path from the Alameda trailhead south around the industrial Rio Bravo lollipop at the south and back again. Pat O’Brien and I rode it in just over two and a half hours last year. It’s flat, flat, flat, but expect wind (probably in your face for the return leg) and plenty of other trail users. Here’s a detailed description of the route (from south to north). We could skip the loop at the southern end — frankly, it’s not all that scenic —and turn around at Rio Bravo Boulevard for the trip back to the Alameda trailhead.

The Steelman Eurocross on Trail 505 north of Elena Gallegos.

The off-road rides I like cover about 10 to 15 miles, or from an hour to 90 minutes in duration. For longer rides, we could simply add laps, or additional loops, maybe sample both the northern trails around the Elena Gallegos picnic area and the southern trails below Menaul. The Foothills Trails start just a couple blocks from El Rancho Pendejo, and since I ride rigid steel weirdomobiles I tend to seek out the swoopy, flowy, less-technical routes in a network that one local wrench has described as “manicured.” That said, there is a fair amount of climbing, the occasional rock garden, plenty of sand, cacti out the wazoo, and some washboard descents. Here’s a basic description.

I’ve shot some video of the southern Foothills Trails, but none of their northern cousins.

Q. Are rental bikes available?

A. Indeed they are. High Desert Bicycles rents road and mountain bikes. Also, Your Humble Narrator has a dozen machines on hand, with the road, touring and cyclocross models ranging in size from 55cm to 58cm and in technology from eight- and nine-speed Ultegra/XT/Deore and rim brakes to 10-speed SRAM with mechanical discs. Condition varies from serviceable to shameful. My one actual mountain bike is a 23-year-old titanium DBR Axis TT with eight-speed XT/Sachs twist-shifters, V-brakes, a RockShox Judy SL fork and 26-inch wheels. A real relic of mountain biking’s distant past, is what.

Q. Will I get shelled without mercy and left to die alone in the Upper Chihuahuan Desert?

A. No, the usual Darwinian ruthlessness will be held in abeyance. This is an extremely casual, social weekend of riding. Dying is discouraged as it would dampen the frivolity.

• Note for anyone fetching his/her own rig(s): The Duke City goathead thorn is a ravenous and ubiquitous beastie. I recommend riding tubeless tires or using sealant-filled tubes, both on- and off-road. And carry at least two spares and a pump anyway.

 

 

Nasal barrage

April 14, 2018

The backyard maple is greening up, along with pretty much everything else.

Here at El Rancho Pendejo we are spared the cruise missiles but not the snot rockets. Faugh, sneeeerk, hyeeeeenk, auuuughhhhh, hoccccccccck, ptui, etc.

The apple tree next to the garage.

The incoming includes mulberry, ash, juniper, cottonwood and sycamore, fueled by red-flag winds. I haven’t been on the bike since Wednesday. So, yeah. Not bombed, but bummed.

And taking drugs, which I used to enjoy. But these ones are boring. You don’t get to talk to God but at least you can breathe through your nose.

Maybe we should drop a shitload of mulberry bombs around old Bashar’s secure location. If he’s honking his beezer 24/7 he might not feel chipper enough to get medieval on folks.

The wisteria bracketing the front door.

Ride the Ruta del Rancho Pendejo

April 13, 2018

A stretch of the Paseo del Bosque trail, south of the zoo.

A few of us who hang around this digital cracker barrel plan to get together for a weekend of casual cycling in the Duke City, and you can join the fun.

The inaugural Ruta del Rancho Pendejo is slated for June 2-3, with one ride on pavement (probably taking in the fabled Paseo del Bosque recreational path) and another on dirt (the largely gentle Foothills Trails).

There will also be the eating of green chile, the consumption of beverages, and the talking of shit. You can read all about it here.

Ruta del Rancho Pendejo

April 9, 2018

Southbound on the Paseo del Bosque, en route to the Rio Bravo loop.

Friends of the Blog Pat O. and Khal S. have expressed a desire to pedal around the Duke City for a couple of days, and thus we shall.

The inaugural Ruta del Rancho Pendejo shall be June 2-3, with two stages, one on road and the other off. Which comes first? Chicken or egg? Weather, the gods and other actors beyond our control shall dictate the schedule.

Sam on the jam to the Tram, just past the intersection of Tramway Boulevard and Tramway Road.

Likewise the routes. The road stage will probably cover the Paseo del Bosque (from the Alameda Open Space trailhead south and back again), but additional trails will be on tap (Paseo del Norte, North Diversion Channel Trail) should the spirit be willing.

The bosque trail is as flat as flat can be, so any old road/cyclocross bike will do, but we may find ourselves climbing The Invisible Hill (the New Mexican wind is renowned for its ability to adjust so that it is always in your grille). Also, and too, traffic is heavy on weekends, so gird your loins for other cyclists, joggers, skaters, dog-walkers, stroller-pushers and other impediments to forward progress.

There’s also the option of climbing Tramway east of Interstate 25, a pleasant half-hour grind with soothing views of the Sandias. You gain about a thousand feet from the Rio Grande to the intersection of Tramway Boulevard and Tramway Road (which in itself is a nice little climb to the Sandia Tram proper). Masochists who find us feeble taskmasters may sample the climb to the Sandia Crest.

The view from an overlook atop Trail 365A, south of the Embudo Canyon trailhead.

The off-road stage is likely to take in the trails surrounding the Elena Gallegos picnic area, and perhaps those to the south of Menaul Boulevard as well. The clinically insane ride these on cyclocross bikes, touring bikes, and even single-ring, flat-bar, canti-braked townies with a low end of 38×28, but we will not laugh at anyone who prefers an actual, y’know, like, mountain bike, an’ shit. Well, not much, anyway, and certainly not where you can catch us doing it.

The Ruta is an extremely casual, social weekend of gentle riding open to all Friends of the Blog. I recommend seeking lodging somewhere in the ABQ Uptown area (Interstate 40 and Louisiana). Over the years Herself and I have camped at the Hilton Garden Inn, the Homewood Suites, and the Hampton Inn (Carlisle and I-40) and come away with our throats uncut, our guts unshot, and all our possessions in hand.

Trail 366, which leads to the Elena Gallegos picnic area.

Sustenance is a work in progress at the moment. You’ll be on your own for breakfast, but depending upon turnout evening meals will probably be at one of the justly heralded green-chile beaneries in the North Valley, a 20-minute drive from El Rancho Pendejo and ABQ Uptown.

Post-ride refreshments may be available on the patio at El Rancho Pendejo, where your hosts will include Your Humble Narrator, Herself, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla.

Sound like your idea of a good time? Holler at me by May 1 — ogrady (at) maddogmedia (dot) com — so I can gauge the size of the peloton.

Checking the oldometer

March 31, 2018

The bosque is greening up, no thanks to the weather. New Mexico is nearly 100 percent drought-afflicted, with the Duke City environs classified as in “severe drought conditions.”

Boom! Another birthday ride in the books, just as the month skids to a stop.

Going up: The Saga tackles Tramway.

A few days late, it’s true, but remember, we’re running on O’Grady Standard Time here.

Anyway, today’s entry in the old logbook officially lists 40.2 miles, which is 64.7 kilometers. Naturally, I shall carry the 0.7km forward to next year’s ride, assuming I’m still above ground and not studying The Little Orange Book in re-education camp.

The weather being slightly insane — 63 degrees at the start, 73 at the finish — I rode down to pick up the bosque trail just west of downtown, took that to the Alameda parking lot, and then noodled over via 4th and Roy to the Tramway climb, which always seems to take about a half hour, no matter what bike I’m riding.

In this instance it was the Soma Saga Disc. Which reminds me: I get extra credit for logging my birthday mileage on a 33-pound bike, right? Right?

Trail of tiers

March 22, 2018

The Paseo del Bosque hasn’t leafed out yet, but it’s still a nice change, snotlocker-wise, from the juniper-heavy foothills.

Spring? Meh. Don’t talk to me about spring. We got summer down here, dude.

Yesterday I did a nice little two-and-a-half-hour ride that took in a number of the local bike trails — Paseo de las Montañas, Paseo del Bosque, Paseo del Norte, North Diversion Channel — and finished with the Tramway climb.

This is a really good ride for letting the mind wander alongside the body. The first hour is mostly downhill with a few tense moments — a couple dicey multilane-thoroughfare crossings, too much time on Indian School Road, and a narrow, stop-and-go, pain-in-the-ass stretch of Mountain skirting the north edge of downtown — but after that it’s smoove like butta, yo.

The bosque trail is flat as flat can be. The Paseo del Norte rises a bit to North Diversion. And Tramway is a pleasant steady-state, half-hour climb. There’s a little suffering at the bottom, near Interstate 25, and a little more at about the six-mile mark, but mostly it’s a matter of picking a gear you like and turning it over.

Mid-50s at the start, mid-60s at the finish, what’s not to like? When I got home I ate everything worth eating and then set about making some more — tacos, pico de gallo, spuds and turnips roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper. There were leftovers so I can eat it all over again today.

Then this morning I arise to learn that Il Douche and Uncle Joe are barking from a safe distance about throwing hands. Jesus H., etc. Can someone give these noisy old farts a couple of bikes, turn ’em loose in the desert sun for a couple of hours?

The only thing they’ll want to pound on afterward is a taco platter. But I ain’t cookin’ for ’em.

That Voodoo that I do

March 14, 2018

Remember the “Suburban Singletrack” video I posted a while back? This is a sequel of sorts that takes in some of the foothills trails south of Indian School Road. I threw in some northbound bits, too, including a rocky stretch that I usually reserve for running.

The Voodoo Nakisi taking a break before a fast downhill near the Elena Gallegos picnic area.

Different trails, different bike: Last time I rode the flat-bar, single-ring Voodoo Wazoo; this time it was the drop-bar, triple-ring Voodoo Nakisi.

What can I tell you? Sometimes it’s useful to have that 22×26 low end.

I’m particularly pleased to have been able to clean one sharp, rocky, left-hand hairpin that’s been confounding me regardless of the bike I’m riding. I’d been going wide, but turns out tight was right.

Who knew? Not me, brother. I’ve been dabbing on the sonofabitch for three years.

Next I’ll have to shoot some video of the Elena Gallegos trails, which I rode today. Those draw a bigger crowd. The trails, not the videos.

Turning up the volume

March 10, 2018

The backyard maple is springing (har) to life.

With spring on the horizon seasonal allergies have me by the snotlocker with a downhill pull. So it’s probably not smart to spend a couple hours daily pedaling briskly among the junipers.

But as you know, I will never be smart.

The start of the descent from the wilderness boundary at Pino Trail.

The bikes of choice lately have been a pair of fat-tired 29ers, the Jones Steel Diamond and Co-Motion Divide Rohloff. And I’ll concede it’s been a pleasant change to have smaller gears and bigger rubber — 2.4 and 2.1, respectively — on the dry, sandy trails.

That said, both bikes also weigh around 30 pounds with pedals, seven more elbees than either a Steelman or Voodoo, and thus there is something of a trade-off involved here. Bigger cushion, harder pushin’.

And it’s not as though these more trail-friendly setups give me mad skillz. I still can’t clean the rock garden on Trail 341, just below the wilderness boundary at the Pino Trail. And if you think I’m gonna shoulder either of these beasts to run the sucker you’re not any smarter than I am.

Still, fat tires or thin, it’s all good fun. Especially if you don’t get skunked, as an off-leash dog did the other day a little further down the trail. Would’ve been nice if the owner had mentioned it before I reached down to scratch the little stinkbomb’s ears.

A brief diversion

March 5, 2018

The Oscar, like the Pulitzer and Reuben, continues to elude me.

But the white man can’t keep me down. Underemployment and boredom are powerful motivators. Thus on Saturday I clamped a Shimano CM-1000 to the stem of my Nobilette and documented my first visit to the North Diversion Channel Trail this year.

The NDCT is an easy ride from El Rancho Pendejo, and it’s the trail that got me interested in Albuquerque as a winter alternative to Fountain Hills when we still lived in Bibleburg.

The Nobilette and I visited Balloon Fiesta Park back in fall 2014, shortly after we moved to town.

If February had me by the brain stem with a downhill pull I’d jump into the trusty Furster and motor on down to the Hampton Inn at Carlisle and I-25, which proved a perfect base camp for exploring the hundreds of miles of paths and trails available in the Duke City.

The hotel sits adjacent to the I-40 Trail, which feeds into the North Diversion trail a short spin to the west. The NDCT runs from the University of New Mexico on the south to Balloon Fiesta Park on the north. In between, you can connect with other trails that will take you east to the foothills or west to the Paseo del Bosque Recreation Trail, the crown jewel of the local network.

This 21-mile spin starts at El Rancho Pendejo, picks up the Tramway Recreation Trail a few blocks west, then crosses over Tramway to the Paseo de las Montañas Trail, which eventually bridges Interstate 40 and leads to Indian School Road.

A quick right-left on Washington and Cutler leads to the Hampton on the I-40 Trail and thence to the NDCT. Turning right on Bear Arroyo leads to a bridge over I-25, and from there the ride home is a blend of off-street bike path and quiet suburban streets.

Mostly I ride the road, but when I become exasperated with boneheads and leadfeet the trails are a pleasant diversion. Pun intended.

Marching on

March 2, 2018

Going up. …

February is gone, and good riddance.

It’s 66 in the ’hood right now, and we have begun the annual Running of the Noses, which lets us know that the junipers are acting up and spring is right around the corner.

… and going down.

I’m fresh out of review bikes and am working my way through the fleet to refresh my palate. The Voodoo Wazoo, Bianchi Zurigo and Soma Saga have all gotten some love, and so has the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff.

Today we went a-rolling along a clockwise lollipop loop near the Elena Gallegos Open Space and I was surprised there weren’t more cyclists out and about on such a pleasant day. Plenty hoofers, but few huckers. Maybe they were all on the road.

That had been my original plan, but I got distracted with some household chores and didn’t roll out until noon, when a short trail ride seemed to make more sense. Come the afternoon a stout wind tends to spring up and you can be certain that it will be all up in your grille when you’re homeward bound and all tuckered out.

Speaking of which, I got tired just reading about what Johnny Isaak does with his Divide Rohloff. You will too.