Archive for the ‘Albuquerque’ Category

Return of the Bostisaurus

August 5, 2021

Your Humble Narrator, failing to distinguish himself
in a time trial at Alamosa. Photo: Casey B. Gibson

The USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships kick off this morning with time trials on the west side of town, and the prodigal — fabled powerhouse Kent Bostick — has returned to the Greater Duke City Metropolitan Area to see whether he can carve another notch in his top tube.

Back in the Day® I raced in the same age group as Bostick, but not in the same class. Dude was 10 minutes — yes, that’s 10 minutes — faster than me over 40km at the famous Moriarty-Estancia course southeast of here. He still holds a few national records, though John Frey pipped him for the 40km with an astounding 47:35:37 at Moriarty in 1990.

These days Bostick apparently hangs his helmet in Knoxville, Tenn. But back then he was a groundwater hydrologist who lived in Corrales and commuted by bicycle to his gig in Albuquerque because he liked to log a lot of miles. A lot of miles.

Bostick and Frey both raced for Team Shaklee, and the Bostisaurus finally made it to the 1996 Olympics at the ripe old age of 43, if memory serves. He’s been racing national championships since 1977, when I was pedaling a Schwinn Varsity around Greeley in various outlandish and illegal states of consciousness.

There will be a few other fast old dudes out there today. Norm Alvis is one — he raced for 7-Eleven and Saturn, did the team time trial at the 1998 Olympics, set a U.S. hour record that stood for a couple decades, and tackled the Tour and the Giro — and framebuilder Rich Gängl is another. Shannon Fox flogged me more than once in cyclocrosses back in Colorado.

I still have a time-trial bike, but my legs seem to have gone walkabout along with my racing license, so the bike will stay on its hook in the garage. They’d be timing me with a calendar.

• Late update: Boy, if you’re not using the social media, USA Cycling makes it hard to find a basic race report and results. I finally had to back-door the thing through BRAIN’s Twitter feed. Here’s the news from yesterday’s ITT.

Could be worse. …

August 2, 2021

August slipped in wearing its gray flannel suit.

Sixty-four degrees at 8 a.m., with a monochromatic sky and a forecast that would have Noah muttering, “Not again,” as he reached wearily for the red phone next to his spyglass and Mae West.

“Hello, San Diego Zoo? Two of everything, please, chop-chop. No, no delivery necessary. I’ll pick ’em up. Just truck ’em up to Hot Springs Mountain and keep a sharp lookout for a real big boat.”

Welcome to August.

It’s not what I expected, frankly. With The Visitation on hiatus and my calendar remarkably free of to-do items I had been pondering a brief escape from the sodden Duke City to air-dry the old brain-case.

Fewer deer, more roses.

But the weather is proving uncooperative, and it seems silly to drive somewhere else to watch it rain when I can do that right here at home.

Especially since travel involves either a cheerless motel room that was no bargain before the daily rent shot into the mid-two-hundies (plus you can’t find one anyway), or pitching a tent in a flaming puddle full of vampire bugs, shape-shifting cooties, and hobos who wish all these slumming hipster dickheads would just dig into their Hilton points and piss off so they could enjoy their mulligan stew and squeeze in peace.

Masque of the Dread Breath

Well, at least we’re back to the face panties again, hey? Some of us, anyway. The checker was not up for casual banter as I hit the Sprouts to replenish the larder, possibly because The Great Remasking seemed to be a few faces short of a full team effort at 9:30 on a gloomy Sunday morning.

I had noted some diamonds on my windshield during the drive to the grocery and was hoping the actual tears from heaven would hold off long enough for me to sneak in a quick ride without fenders or jacket.

Sure, we need the moisture. And no desert dweller should bitch about rain, unless he parks his shopping cart in an arroyo. But I’m just enough of a hipster dickhead to need the ride, too.

With the deer rustling their own grub up in the hills we were getting a rerun of roses in the yard, so, yay. But the murky mornings and low ceilings recalled Corvallis, Oregon, the only place I’ve ever lived without a bicycle.

The clouds sagged all the way down to the ground in that burg. The moist walls of my tiny apartment closed in around me like hungry freegans swarming a Whole Paycheck Dumpster and the firewood steamed before it burned in the cheap tin wood stove.

A neighbor’s ducks loved that climate, quacking contentedly outside my bedroom window. I drank a lot.

Horses for courses

Back home, with the groceries put away, I took another glance at the sky and decided to go for it. I used to race cyclocross, I thought. I’ve covered school-board meetings. I can do anything for an hour.

I felt another drizzle tuning up as I approached the base of the short climb to the tram. So I swung around and headed back south, weaving Tramway and a network of foothills avenues into a rolling 20-miler. It was just the ticket. Smoove like butter and dry as a good martini.

Today — eh, not so much. The rain started before I even left the house.

I thought about taking the day off, but I ride with a small group of graybeards on Mondays and Wednesdays, and had already committed to the meetup. I had a feeling they’d be out in it, and it was unfortunate that I had mentioned my fondness for cyclocross in their presence.

So I left the New Albion Privateer parked and pulled a Steelman Eurocross down from its hook. A cyclocross bike for cyclocross weather. A man must carry on.

Sharp-dressed man

I stuffed a jacket into a jersey pocket to make sure the rain stopped, but it didn’t work. Didn’t matter, either. The rain continued, but never turned into a frog-strangler; it was barely even chilly, though I kept my arm warmers on. The jacket stayed in its pocket.

And yes, the geezers were all there. And yes, the Steelman drew many admiring glances. So yes, I’ve fooled ’em again.

At one point as we took shelter under a tree there was a short discussion about cutting a climb and subsequent descent from the usual route. It ended when one of us (not me) observed, “Well, we’re already wet, so. …”

So on we rode, taking the downs along with the ups.

It made me wonder what I’d been missing by not riding a bicycle in Oregon. I mean, I was gonna get wet anyway.

It never rains, but it pours

July 28, 2021

It looks like feckin’ Ireland over by the Menaul trailhead.

We New Mexicans should probably apologize to the Pacific Northwest for stealing their climate.

But hey, you left it unlocked with the keys in the ignition, so. …

Puddles on the Duke City trails are as rare as original thought in government. (See the latest iteration of publicly funded downtown stadiums for privately owned sports teams.) This in a town where we have a six-pack of dudes — half of them part-time — to plug holes in the bike paths along which the homeless pitch their festive tents.

Standing water on a Duke City trail in July? Truly these are dire portents of the End Times.

In DeeCee, meanwhile … well, the less said about that, the better. But can we at least agree that a few more Republicans would be on board the Investigation Train if the treasonous fucks who invaded the U.S. Capitol, pounding a few John Laws along the way, had been socialist, gay, people of color, or any combination thereof? You know: Democrats?

Jesus H., etc. In Hell Mao is all like, “Damn, and I thought I had a cult of personality going on.” But this feels more like the Israelites and their golden calf, only with “Christians” and a plastic pig from the Dollar Store rattle-canned with metallic-gold Krylon.

This sort of behavior failed to amuse either Moses or the Lord, as I recall. Doesn’t do shit for me, either.

Speaking of things that are a monkey or two short of a full barrel, I see we’re back to wearing our face panties.

Bernalillo County is tagged orange, with a “substantial” level of community transmission, so the CDC would like us to cover up when visiting indoor public spaces, shots or no shots.

Oh, good. I was already sick of seeing smiling faces and understanding the speech emerging from same.

The bright side is that in the past two weeks a half-dozen family members from far and wide have been able to visit Herself the Elder before the portcullis drops again, as seems likely. So, yay, etc.. May yis all be in Heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.

Looks like rain

July 20, 2021

Isn’t rain supposed to fall down?

“Huh,” sez I, casting an appraising glance at the clouds glowering down at me from atop the Sandias. “Think I’ll mow the lawn.”

Boom. About 30 seconds after I finished and put the mower back in the garage, Thor gave the neighborhood a solid power-washing.

The deluge only lasted a few minutes, but that shit was coming in sideways. It was surf’s up across the cul-de-sac, and the mom next door probably wished she had an airboat to fetch the kiddos home from wherever because Nissan Altimas don’t float like the original VW bugs.

But hey, nobody bitches about rain in the desert. Unless it catches them from behind with the earbuds in, walking the Chihuahua down an arroyo.

Trail tales

July 20, 2021

A 2019 shot of the Paseo del Bosque trail.

A hop, skip, and a jump from the moneyed boutique community of Aspen, an abandoned coal mine with a grim history, an environmental disaster one expert called “the worst coal mine site I’ve seen in the West,” has become “a mountain biking park for the masses,” thanks to the grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton.

Writes Jason Blevins in The Colorado Sun:

The word “model” comes up in almost all discussions of Coal Basin, used by the landowners, trail designers, mountain bikers, land managers and locals alike. The single track trails are a model for restoring environmental danger zones. A model for Forest Service managers seeking partnerships with private entities to help build and maintain trails. A model for open space protectors offering landowners a way to marry recreational access with an easement that prevents any other type of development.

Down here in Duke City, meanwhile, just six full-time and seasonal workers strive to maintain about 160 miles of trail, including the fabled Paseo del Bosque, known to many of us here around the old burrito cart.

According to park-and-rec PR person Jessica Campbell, via D’Val Westphal at the Albuquerque Journal, our limited trail money “must also accommodate public demand for new trail segments” in addition to maintaining what we already have.

I guess the Waltons can’t be everywhere, though of course they are, especially when it comes to selling you something. Maybe we Burqueños need a new model.

If you build it, they will come, as folks are fond of saying. But don’t neglect the upkeep of your particular field of dreams.

Willin’

July 18, 2021

Nope, not a church. It’s the chimney for the bedroom kiva fireplace.

The Lowell George song is pretty much all I know about Tucumcari. That, and that round two of The Visitation occurs today, as another smallish herd of Texicans gallops in from there to see Herself the Elder.

Their trip looks like a stroll through the daisies compared to what Herself’s sis will endure when she jets in from Maryland midweek. Holy hell. That itinerary is why I drive any distance under 3,000 miles that does not involve an ocean crossing. A UPS driver at Christmastime makes fewer stops. Plus there are fewer psychos to duct-tape to their seats en route.

Meanwhile, the news of the world remains an ongoing refutation of both Darwinism and theology. One envisions the Son having a Word with the Father while the Holy Ghost spitballs a new PR campaign:

“I got nailed up for these people? What were You thinking? I’m going to put You in a home while HG and I try to figure out how to turn this thing around.”

Good luck with that. Me, I’d think about starting over with a fresh crop of monkeys. But judging by the state of the place, maybe that’s already occurred to You.

The meaning of life

July 15, 2021

We enjoyed quite the early morning rainstorm today, with thunder and lightning. Makes for one hell of an alarm clock.

Busy, busy, busy. Even a slacker has to take hold now and then.

We have a dispersed conga line of kinfolk snaking through El Rancho Pendejo, all of them from Herself’s side of the family, come to visit Herself the Elder between plagues.

The first of four visitations occurred yesterday; some very nice folks out of Texas, who took time away from a visit to Pagosa Springs to pop down and say howdy. A bit of tidying up was mandated, because somebody around here is remarkably untroubled by clutter (not Herself).

Round two commences Sunday with more visitors from the Lone Star State (Herself the Elder was born in Nacogdoches back in 1933). Then Herself’s eldest sis pops in from Maryland for a week starting Wednesday. Finally, yet another Texican niece drops by sometime in August.

Meanwhile, The Work goes on, as it must. I banged out a cartoon for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News yesterday, learning in the process that the Outside+ Global AdventureStuff Conglomerate had snatched up a couple more properties, Pinkbike and CyclingTips.

This, as Monty Python has taught us, “brings us once again to the urgent realization of just how much there is still left to own.”

Me, I’m still a rental. And something of a fixer-upper, too. Still, I’m open to offers. …

Dome sweet dome

July 9, 2021

Headed down, down, down to the bosque.

The more I read of the news, the more I want to ride my bicycle.

That said, holy hell, it’s getting hot again. The Heat Dome must be coming back for round two.

Another day, another century.

I was out for about three hours yesterday, down to the bosque and back again, and by noon I was starting to feel like a parched lizard in need of a shady rock.

My insulated Camelbak Podium bottles will keep water cold — OK, so, cool — for about two hours. But three hours in, what remains tastes like warm flu.

Today Herself and I got out early for our weekly leg-stretcher, about 90 minutes of pooting around in the foothills, and that was fine. Afterward we finished off the last of the tasty egg salad I made yesterday, in sandwiches of homemade bread, and I am not ashamed to say that we added some hipster potato chips to the mix.

Strictly to replace lost sodium, you understand.

Elsewhere, doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s hot, cold, up, or down, Mark Cavendish just keeps winning stages at the Tour. Dude is better at finding the hole than Ben Crenshaw.

Monsoon Weekend

July 7, 2021

The Paseo del Bosque was lush and green, even humid.

That’d be a good name for a band, hey? “Monsoon Weekend.” What kind of music, do you think? Blues? Shoegaze? Emo?

We’ve had a bit of a tuneup for what is supposed to be a dampish Saturday and Sunday, so when I rolled down to the bosque yesterday for the first time in quite a while I was aboard the Soma Saga disc, which still wears its fenders.

Good call. I had to surf a few puddles. And the extra weight of themoplastic mudguards, rear rack, and dynamo hub made it good training for … for … for what, exactly? I have no idea. I am neither racing nor touring. Just riding.

Taking a break in the Elena Gallegos Open Space

It was a nice change from my usual loops through the foothills, though. It’s easy to build a 20-mile circuit with 1,500 to 2,000 feet of vertical out here, but you know what they say about familiarity and contempt.

To disrupt the monotony I’ve been switching bikes — Soma Saga disc, Saga canti, New Albion Privateer, Nobilette, Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, even the Bianchi Zurigo Disc, the only alloy-and-carbon steed in the stable — but sometimes an old cowboy needs a new trail.

Speaking of which, I was doing a casual road ride with a couple other guys today. For no particular reason I was on a Steelman Eurocross, and it goes without saying that pretty much whenever a dirty alternative to asphalt presented itself I was on it like a dog on a bone.

I never jumped off and ran, though. That would’ve been rude.

The sky ain’t cryin’

June 28, 2021

Big, and bad, and bupkis.

Waiting for rain around here is like waiting for a Republican to grow a pair.

It huffs, and it puffs, aaaaaaaand … that’s about it.

Nevertheless, the clouds have helped keep us delightfully cool. Unlike the Tour de France, which so far seems to be a searing symphony of skidmarks and blood trails, scored for ambulance sirens.

Some pundits have been calling for a return to an “opening prologue” to mellow everyone out in the early going of Le Tour. Which might be smart, if we overlook that “opening” nonsense. A prologue is a preface, an introduction, a preceding event or development.

Have you ever seen a prologue three stages in? You have not.

Anyway, prologues are far from foolproof. Chris Boardman crashed in the 1995 prologue. Stuey O’Grady did likewise in 2007, as did Alejandro Valverde in 2017.

But it’s true that the carnage tends to be retail rather than wholesale in an “opening prologue.” A racer gets taken out by a tight corner, a slick descent, or a roadside eejit, and a writer gets taken out by the copy desk. Le Tour goes on.