Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Awtumn

October 1, 2019

O, ’tis a fine soft first day of October.

Fall, stat! Whoof, the Universe is on the ball today. No sooner is it October than boom, the gray skies, the likelihood of thunderboomers, and the yellowing of the maple leaves.

With the changing of the seasons in full swing those fat bastards in DeeCee no longer need fear breaking a gravy sweat as they continue stripping the Republic for salable parts.

Has the Grand Experiment finally failed? Is it time to return to a monarchy? Some people think so. Liberation from the drudgery of managing their own affairs certainly would free up scads of time for watching cute kitty videos, Instagramming their Starbucks orders, and piloting defective e-scooters into phone-thumbing pedestrians.

The sunflowery side of the street

September 26, 2019

OK, so Graham Watson I am not, but then this wasn’t the Tour, and I wasn’t getting paid, so there.

Politics be damned for the moment. It’s time to avert our gaze, if only to give the bloodshot eyes a chance to heal.

I’ve been riding the Soma Sagas lately, being fresh out of review bikes. I needed to bed in the TRP Spyres on the disc-brake model, and I just plain like riding its canti’ cousin for no particular reason atall atall.

Today I loaded that Saga with a basic bike-overnight package and went around and about, climbing hills, just because I could.

The old-school Soma Saga catches its breath up at La Cueva.

The Kool Kidz would probably sneer at it, with its rim brakes, nine-speed drivetrain (Deore rear derailleur, Ultegra front, triple crank, and Silver friction bar-cons), and tires with tubes. But it rolls right smart with a load on, and I hardly needed the 24×32.

Though I was down to a walking pace while climbing to La Cueva Picnic Site. That is one short, steep, beat-to-shit piece of road. And I ain’t as young as I used to be, if I ever was.

Speaking of gearing, my man Alex Strickland, honcho at Adventure Cyclist, has had a chance to sample Shimano’s GRX drivetrain. And he suggests its 400-level offering may serve quite a number of our fellow adventurous cyclists, with the possibility of mating a 30-tooth chainring to a 36-tooth cog. He also likes the GRX brake-shift levers, a lot.

Does that mean my beloved nine-speed triple has been planned into obsolescence? Nope. But Alex says that for riders who tour only rarely and can’t have a garage full of bikes outfitted for every eventuality, opportunity, or mood swing, “something sporting 40mm of rubber and a GRX 2x drivetrain offers a path to almost anywhere.”

I cotton to them cottonwoods

September 20, 2019

There’s just a hint of yellow here and there along the Paseo del Bosque trail. More to come, I expect.

There’s a hint of color down to the bosque — not much, just a smidge, but it’s there.

Lots of folks out yesterday, on all manner of machinery, from tri-bikes to e-bikes to them stodgy old steel boys you can hang the luggage on.

I liked it so much I went back there today. Forty-five miles yesterday, but only 33 today (different routes).

Beats the hell out of keeping up with the news. Can you imagine the shitstorm if Obama … aw, who am I kidding? Of course you can.

 

Garbage in, garbage out

September 16, 2019

“Goddamnit, he wants to ‘drive’ again, which means he just sits there, turning the wheel back and forth, making ‘vroom-vroom’ noises and honking the fucking horn. Later he’ll want us to run over a few homeless dudes panhandling in the median, maybe pick up a few hookers down on Central. Jesus. We’re gonna be out here all day.”

Monday is trash pickup day here in the cul-de-sac.

In Rio Gabacho, however, the trash is being delivered.

The good news is, the Mickey D’s on NM 528 is gonna make bank today. Unless he stiffs them, which wouldn’t surprise anyone who’s ever done business with the crooked sonofabitch. One of the SS boys flashes a piece in the drive-thru and that’s that. Another free Happy Meal for ’Is Lardship. So much winning.

The usual protests are planned, of course. Here’s hoping the anarchists stay home, waxing their weasels into their black bandanas and denying the media its both-sides narrative, and that the hippies at Tiguex Park have a couple new chants worked up for the TV cameras. I don’t care how much weed you smoke, that “hey hey, ho ho” shit hit its sell-by date in the Nixon administration.

Lunacy

September 14, 2019

If you must do something outrageous around the full moon, try howling at the sonofabitch. Always works for me.

I’d love to be able to blame the full moon for this, or maybe Friday the 13th, but it happened on Thursday night.

The scariest part may be that this apparently was not a single incident, but rather three separate shootings.

What. The. Fuck.

And lo siento mucho, but candlelight vigils with Modelo backs are not the answer, any more than thoughts and prayers.

Put down the fucking guns, please. And thank you.

Refried

August 28, 2019

Mister Jones and me tell each other fairy tales on Trail 365.

Summer is leaving a few heat records behind as it lurches toward the off-ramp in a blue shroud of exhaust.

Even the space aliens are fleeing Roswell.

“Right, we’re off! Back to Vulcan, which should feel positively wintry by comparison. Live long and prosper. Or not.”

As I will never be smart, I pulled the Jones down from its hook and went kyoodling around the Elena Gallegos trails under the blazing sun. But there were plenty of other dummies impeding forward progress there, so I headed south for a quick inspection tour of Trails 365 and 365A.

Despite the heat the singletrack was crowded by vegetation, some of it spiky, and I found myself wishing I’d worn high-rise socks and maybe a pair of Kevlar shin guards. Perhaps 365 isn’t getting much use these days; I’ve noticed some similar narrowing of the trail between Candelaria and Comanche during my weekly runs. Makes it hard to spot the buzzworms until you’re right on top of ’em.

After a bit of lunch I went after my own vegetation with lawn mower and weed whacker, further enhancing my reputation for questionable decision-making. I was sweating like a Minnesota farmer in trouble with the bank and thinking seriously about ordering up a gravel truck and/or an airstrike.

At least there aren’t any hurricanes in the forecast. I don’t know that I’d care to surf the diversion channels down to the Rio Grande. I’d rather ride my bike.

Maple syrupy

August 20, 2019

Even a faux Canadian like me can appreciate the maple leaf, especially when a whole bunch of them shade the house as the temps inch into the upper 90s.

Sticky out there today. Eighty by the time I finally got out on the bike around 9:30. Much warmer by the time I got back. Much, much warmer.

All praise to the shade tree. It’s enough to make a druid of Franklin Graham.

The path of least resistance

August 17, 2019

Shade: One of the upsides of following the Paseo del Bosque south toward Rio Bravo.

Yesterday’s ride sort of got away from me. But in a good way.

I felt like riding a light bike for a change, and since I hadn’t been aboard the Nobilette for a while, it got the callup. And off we went to the Paseo del Bosque.

Now, my usual practice is to roll out and down Tramway, slip under Interstate 25 onto Roy, then bear left at the roundabout on 4th to Guadalupe Trail, which meanders over to Alameda and thence to the bosque trail. This prelude takes around an hour because as a elderly gentleman of semi-leisure I am rarely in a hurry.

The clouds are pretty, but don’t do much to damp the UV on the homebound leg.

From the Alameda parking lot I spin casually down to Interstate 40, nodding, waving, and smiling to no particular purpose at all the stone training faces floating grimly over aero bars like participants in some penitente balloon fiesta.

At the interstate underpass I’ve generally had enough of that, so I pull a U and head for the barn. This is good for about 40 miles, depending on which route I take home.

But yesterday, being on a sub-30-pound bike for a change, I pressed on past the interstate, down to Rio Bravo Boulevard, where the curious can ride an extra-credit loop that tours ’Burque’s industrial underbelly. This I skipped, my curiosity in such matters having been satisfied some time ago.

Joyless watt-watchers notwithstanding, the Paseo del Bosque is one of Albuquerque’s jewels. It’s as flat as flat can be, a real rarity in these parts. And if you’re lucky, you’ll have a slight headwind down and a tailwind back.

I was lucky, and so I didn’t even notice I was doing a half-century until I was coming up on Juan Tabo via Bear Canyon Trail. At the end of the day I wound up with 54 miles under my bibs.

Perhaps best of all, I missed the news that Dealie McDealio is shopping for another land of opportunity. I’d recommend that Greenlanders stick with Denmark until they can arrange for independence. Dude is a notorious slumlord who won’t even keep up the property he’s managing now.

Gravity and its opposite, comedy*

August 4, 2019

Looking down toward the valley from just below the tram.

Herself wanted to do a 30-mile ride this morning, so I laid out a loop east of Tramway that took in a few of the “fingers,”  a scattering of popular short suburban climbs that rise from the northbound rollers toward the open space east of us.

Grind up, fly down, next finger. You get the idea.

As suburbs go, this one ain’t half bad.

We were not breaking any speed records, and we skipped more than a few fingers, as Herself is a 95-pound recreational cyclist on a 23-pound steel cyclocross bike, while I am a feeble old fart on (in this case) a 31-pound steel touring bike (before I strapped the Arkel TailRider full of spares, tools and rain jackets onto the rear rack).

Anyway, this young roadie comes roaring up on us as we were doddering along, and I’m expecting the blank fuck-you-I’m-training face, but what we get is a hearty greeting and a brief give-and-take before he rockets up the road.

A little further along, here he comes again. “I’m really not stalking you!” he shouts, then zooms off.

And again, a bit later: “OK, now you’re stalking me!” Zip, etc.

I’ll confess that I found this oddly cheering. There may be hope for the species after all.

* Stolen from Nino the Mind-blogger via The Firesign Theatre’s “Everything You Know Is Wrong.”

He went down, down, down

July 31, 2019

It’s all downhill from here.

Nope, I didn’t break the speed limit. I maxed out around 35 mph as I dropped from the top of Tramway to Roy, 4th, Guadalupe Trail, Alameda, and finally, the Paseo del Bosque.

As you know, I am a law-abiding fellow, and rarely in a hurry.

Last trip down I was on the Soma Saga (disc). This time I took the Soma Saga (canti), having finally toed the squeak out of the TRP RevoX brakes.

The TRP RevoX. You need a jillion Allen keys and a 13mm wrench to make this dog hunt. But hunt it does. I never had to Flintstone to a stop.

I’ve tried a bunch of brakes on this bike and hadn’t really liked any of ’em. Paul’s MiniMoto would be the shit, but cabling proved a little crowded with 38mm tires and fenders. And I was fresh out of my go-to stoppers, Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, having shifted my last pair to the Voodoo Nakisi.

Happily, I had this set of TRPs idling around the garage, so on they went. A little fiddly for a half-assed mechanic to set up, and on our last outing they brayed like jackasses, but now they work and sound just fine. Still, when time and finance permit I’ll give some more money to my man Paul, just ’cause.

The bosque was nuts for a workday morning. Racer dudes and dudettes, recreational riders, e-bikers, recumbents, joggers, skaters, strollers, equestrians, even one grinning young woman aboard what I think was an ElliptiGO.

I had thought about doing the whole enchilada, continuing down past Rio Bravo and back around, but discretion proved the better part of valor. I hung a U at Interstate 40 and went back the way I came for a grand total of 47.8 miles, which felt about right.

As I rode up Roy toward the Tramway climb I saw a rara avis indeed — a triplet, barreling down toward the roundabout at 4th and Roy. I waved, and the dude in the middle waved back, but he looked like he’d rather have both hands on the bars and I can’t say I blame him. That was one crowded bike and like our “democracy” I imagine it demanded everyone’s attention and participation.

If you’re looking for them “Deep River Blues,” they’re off to the left, behind the cottonwoods, and they’re actually more of a brown.