Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

These kids today

September 14, 2021

All tired out.

So there I was, just riding along, when the rear tire started going softer than Brett Kavanaugh’s FBI background check.

I was already heading home, so I figured I’d just head there faster. But first I stopped to pump the tire up a bit because cornering on the rim at speed is always iffy.

That worked, for a while, but it was clear I would have to stop to give the ol’ Zéfal another workout if I wanted to ride this mess home, where the floor pump, workstand, and air conditioning reside.

So there I was, just pumping along, when a couple young women on mountain bikes rolled up.

“Do you need any help?” one asked brightly.

“No, thanks, I’m good,” I replied. And off they went.

Wasn’t that nice of the younguns, to offer aid and comfort to the auld fella? Lucky for them I wasn’t a Supreme Court justice.

Benched

September 9, 2021

Looking NNW from the Candelaria Bench Trail after ascending from the southern end.

Since I didn’t seem to be suffering overmuch from Tuesday’s eight-mile hike, I decided I’d do ’er again Wednesday.

Not the same exact hike, of course. This time I paid a call on the Candelaria Bench Loop, which is right here in the ’hood.

I thought I’d get right down to business by tackling the steep and sketchy middle route up, which starts pretty much right from the northern trailhead, where Comanche dead-ends.

That’s the big city down there.

And then I thought again. Nossir, let’s have ourselves a little warmup first. Break loose a few of those old adhesions, see if the sludge will soften enough to lube the moving parts. The southern ascent will do.

It’s amazing how much a little weather will change the character of a trail, particularly one that wobbles upward like an errant bottle rocket. It was crisscrossed with ruts from runoff, grasses and cacti had closed in, and at one point about halfway up I wondered whether I had managed to wander off the trail entirely.

Nope. I arrived without incident and the Bench was as you see it. Pretty green still, especially for September, and I was the only two-legged beast in evidence, though if you linger near the Tramway side of things Albuquerque’s car culture manages to make its presence known (zoom, honk, roar, beep, crash, bang, boom, whoop whoop whoop, etc).

Up top some of the dirt was still dark with moisture, and so was I, because it was 80-something and practically windless. I cooled down by wandering around for a bit, appreciating the dearth of retail and rooftops, and then descended cautiously through the stair-stepped Valley of Boulders to Hidden Valley Road and headed for the barn.

The loss of flexibility that accompanies advancing age, buttressed by a pigheaded indifference to stretching, yoga, and resistance training, makes the descents interesting, especially when they’ve been rearranged by cascading water. At intervals I used my hickory stick like the safety rails found in certain toilet stalls, the ones with a wheelchair emblem.

Despite myself I made it down hat side up and celebrated with a delicious batch of chipotle-honey chicken tacos in the old Crock-Pot. If you ever find yourself both fatigued and famished after a hike in the hills this sumbitch is a culinary walk in the park.

Horsing around

September 7, 2021

A horse bypass leads to a saddle. Irony scratches her mosquito bites.

The day after a national holiday weekend is generally top notch for riding trail, if the weather permits. Everyone who hasn’t tripped the Bug-O-Meter® or gotten arrested for fleeing the fuzz is back to work, or school, and a fella has a little elbow room out there among the cacti and buzzworms.

But for some inexplicable reason I decided to take a hike instead. Go figure.

I got the traditional late start (O’Grady Standard Time), so with the sun up, the wind at my back, and a steady uphill trudge for most of the first hour or so, I was sweating like a sausage in a skillet, doffing my hat at intervals to mop the brain-case with a bandana.

Slouching up Trail 365 I turned for no good reason onto the Embudo Trail Horse Bypass, mainly because I’d never used it and was idly curious. Generally I loop around on 365A and head back down to El Rancho Pendejo.

The bypass wound upward to a ridge that overlooks Embudo Trail 193, and so did I. Thought briefly about following it down to where the two trails merge, but I didn’t know exactly where that was, or what the footing might be like after the monsoons. Plus I’d been out for 90 minutes already, probably sweated off all the sunscreen, and was down to about a half liter of water and a half tube of Clif Blox.

Hey, it was a trail for horses, not a horse’s ass. I turned around, whinnied, and hoofed it home.

For a minute there I was all aTwitter

September 4, 2021

This is not a buzzworm. It is, however, his office.

Touting this week’s installment of Desert Oracle Radio, Ken Layne notes:

Portents and signs, everywhere we look. But signs of what? Oh, the usual: plague, disaster, but at least we have social media to make it all worse.

On my hike this morning I saw two snakes, a buzzworm at the beginning and a bull at the turnaround point.

Surely this must have been a sign of something? Probably that I had seen two snakes in the actual grass instead of on Twitter.

The cool September morn

September 1, 2021

I guess I can skip the rubdown with SPF 70 this morning.

Huh. Must be a national-holiday weekend on the horizon. ’Cause there’s plenty grim-looking clouds up there to keep it company.

Looks like a page-one meeting at The Washington Post:

“Gloom, yep. Despair, check. Agony, roger. How about a light feature? ‘How the delta variant stole Christmas?’ We need art, maybe a Barbie on a ventilator.”

Gaia must have the DTs. She’s boiling Lake Tahoe like a teapot and power-washing Tucson like a redneck sheriff blasting hippies and coloreds off his streets. A brother-in-law had to drive from Maryland to Louisiana and back to rescue a daughter whose Nawlins vacation went all Waterworld on her.

And unvaccinated Americans are advised to avoid Labor Day travel. Ho, ho, etc. Unless they’re traveling to a vaccination clinic to terrorize health-care workers.

Me, I’m just glad I got a nice ride in yesterday, ’cause it looks like the surf’s up today. And when it comes to surfing, you can call me Charlie.

Mission accomplished

August 31, 2021

The backyard maple is shedding leaves, and it’s not even Labor Day yet.

’Twas a glorious day to ride the bike in ’Burque.

Nobody told me I had waited too long, or left too soon, or was just plain doing it wrong. That I had left my wife and cat behind raised nary an eyebrow among the chattering classes.

This may be because El Rancho Pendejo remained firmly under the control of said wife and cat; their autocratic ways are not exactly breaking news. Herself has been in the driver’s seat since 1990, and Miss Mia Sopaipilla has been a key member of the ruling class for nearly half that time.

In my absence they do exactly as they please, which is pretty much what they do when I’m around, the United Nations and Geneva Conventions be damned.

The only uproar arose when I returned after 90 minutes of pooting around in the foothills on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff.

“What’s to eat around here?” they yowled. The knives were out, along with the forks. Can a call for comment from The New York Times be far behind?

Tramway to the moon

August 27, 2021

I got mooned on Thursday’s ride.

The Sandia Peak Tramway actually goes the other way, to (wait for it) the peak of the Sandias.

I usually go that way myself, from Tramway Boulevard to Tramway Road and up toward the tram’s lower terminal, before veering off on Juniper Hill Road for a bit of up and down along the foothills.

By Thursday I was sick of the same-ol’, same-ol’, so I continued down Tramway and under Interstate 25 onto Roy, 4th, Guadalupe Trail, and eventually Alameda, then spun onto the Paseo del Bosque Trail.

But I got sick of that, too, and fast.

A massive allergy attack reminded me of the bad old days on Randolph AFB outside San Antone, where there were plenty of allergens to clog the pipes. Here, too, it seems, thanks to a hot, moist summer. I was firing snot rockets right and left, from both nostrils, and trying to breathe through my ears.

So instead of enjoying a nice flat spin along the bosque, dogged by whatever it was that had me by the snotlocker with a downhill pull, I hung a left on the Paseo del Norte Trail and struggled home via the North Diversion Channel Trail, Osuna-Bear Canyon, and like that there. Felt like hammered shit all the way, too.

You can always feel worse, though. Depend on it. Some days there isn’t enough Kleenex in the world.

What a difference a day makes

August 19, 2021

“Say, does anyone else hear gunfire and sirens?”

If this shit had gone down 24 hours earlier Miss Mia Sopapilla and I would’ve been right in the thick of it.

Miss Mia had an appointment with the veterinarian, and the only thing between her clinic and this firefight is a Valvoline Instant Oil Change shop.

I imagine it’s slightly anaerobic to low-crawl through a fusillade with a cat carrier in one hand and a mask on your mug and only a few barrels of flammable liquids for cover.

Especially if someone has pooped in your pantalones. A fresh set of drawers is not the sort of instant change Valvoline provides.

Meanwhile, a word to the wise: Shooting the John Laws is exceptionally stupid, even for Duke City pistoleros. It only makes them mad. Plus it scares the cats.

Here’s hoping the injured officers recover quickly. I’m very much not looking forward to reading about what swell fellas their assailants were and how their grammies just can’t understand what got into them.

Smoke gets in your eyes

August 8, 2021

Where’s the fabled New Mexico wind when you need it?

The smoke has finally paid us a visit here in the Sandia foothills.

The world sometimes feels like a very small place, and never more so than when a wildfire in Northern California can make your eyes sting in New Mexico.

“Very hazy, hot, and dry,” predicts the National Weather Service. The women must be happy to be first off this morning as the criteriums wrap up masters nats at Balloon Fiesta Park. It was already 63 in the Duke City foothills as racing kicked off down below, where the high temp should be challenging the century mark this afternoon.

A tip of the Mad Dog sombrero goes out to Colorado hardman Wayne Watson, who took the 70-74 road-race title yesterday with a solo break. Wayne was hard to catch Back in the Day® and it seems that this, unlike so many other things, remains unchanged.

Fire on the mountain, lightning in the air

August 7, 2021

Weather Underground ain’t got nothin’ on us.

Hot and windy for the old folks today as the USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships continue with more road racing northeast of Sandia Park.

The forecast is for a high of 88° with winds WNW at 10 to 20 mph. And the National Weather Service advises that we might expect some elevated haze since most of the western United States is on fire. Bother, wot?

Still, it beats Colorado, where Boulder meteorologist Russell Danielson advises that Saturday should be one of the worst days of the year in terms of fine particulates in the air.

Adds colleague Paul Schlatter: “We’re expecting very poor air quality throughout the day Saturday.” Cut me off an extra-crispy piece from the end there, Paul old scout. I like my air well done.

Speaking of very poor, after all the chin music about the fat stacks masters nats is expected to bring to our fair city, the homers aren’t covering the actual gold rush as far as I can tell. So you’ll need to keep an eye on social media, particularly Twitter, if you want to know who’s doing what to whom.

USA Cycling posts the bare minimum at the end of the day, basically writing off the results — I expect that other little event in Japan has been distracting the A team — and you can find the actual results at One2Go.

Meanwhile, our informal 15-mile foothills ride yesterday was a huge success. We saw a young Cooper’s hawk working the backyard doves before departure, and en route encountered quail, a bunny rabbit, and a six-pack of antlered bucks strolling through someone’s yard.

In the finale Herself won the driveway sprint when I stopped to check the mail. She’s sneaky that way.