Archive for the ‘Heat’ Category

Desert crapshoot

August 25, 2020

We’re a little light on shade out here in the foothills.

“It’s been a pretty sad monsoon season across New Mexico,” says weather wizard Daniel Porter over to the Albuquerque Journal.

Truer words, etc. Water use has risen in one of the driest summers in a decade. And the phrase “hot as balls” gets used almost daily at El Rancho Pendejo, because somebody around here has a predilection for coarse language.

A sudden deluge has a go at pounding down the dust.

I wore a big-ass Carhartt boonie hat and plenty of sunscreen for my five-mile hike yesterday, well above the haze drifting along the Rio Grande. I’ll pay attention to an air-quality alert when I can’t see my shoes through the smoke and my shorts are on fire.

Still, it was as hot as balls out there. I forgot a handkerchief and had to lift my lid periodically to drag a paw across my soggy noggin.

Come evening the universe decided we deserved a break. Out of nowhere it suddenly rained good and hard, if only for a short while, and we threw open the windows and doors to let the cool breeze blast through the joint.

Nothing is likely to cool the fevered lowbrows at the GOP ‘s Nuremberg rally, alas. Short of putting the lot of ’em in the deep freeze for a few dozen campaign cycles, that is. Don’t look for links. They’re all missing. Badaboom, badabing.

Going up and back

July 12, 2020

This is the view from what I believe is the southern end
of that trail I couldn’t find.

The heat wave continues.

It was 100° here by noon, if you believe our weather station, which I’m not quite certain I do. Most of the other stations nearby were reporting mid- to high 90s.

But still, shit. Hot out there.

Nevertheless, the healthful outdoor exercise must go on. There’s a fat bastard around here somewhere, and he wants to be me. I gotta keep him down, the way Bruce Banner does the Hulk.

Mr. Sam Hillborne
with his new old pedals.

On Thursday I stalked around the Sandias trying to find an unmarked trail that supposedly loops around from Comanche to just north of Candelaria. No joy. Oh, there are plenty of trails up there, and I followed a few — more than a few, actually — as the sun smiled down upon me like a chef with his spatula.

One drew me into a shady, rocky area that smelled like cats. Not the kind you cuddle, either. So I got out of there and wandered back to and down Trail 365, to where this mystery trail is supposed to meet up with it on the south side, then backtracked a ways up the hillside.

Up on a ridgeline with a fine view of Albuquerque I saw what might be a path that could lead to the mystery trail. But by then my brain was thickening on a slow simmer and my ankle was muttering, “You know I’m gonna dump your dumb ass up here, right?” So I gave up and limped back to the rancheroo.

Old-school pedals.

The next day Mr. Sam Hillborne and I rolled out for a short one. The bike is now wearing MKS Sylvan touring pedals, deep steel toe clips, and some battered Alfredo Binda toe straps from my early cyclocross days. I hadn’t given them a spin, so off we went, in street shoes, baggy shorts and a red plaid Novara shirt that I almost never wear.

It was delightful, as you may have suspected. All my bikes save the Soma Double Cross sport clipless pedals, but it’s nice to take a short technological step back now and then. As with friction shifting, the pedal flip and slide comes back quickly. It’s just like riding a bicycle.

Harbinger

July 7, 2020

We’re headed for the red zone.

Last night’s fiery sunset was a glimpse of things to come.

The weather wizards say we’re in for a run of hot weather, with temperatures inching up this week toward triple-digit highs by the weekend.

“Yeah, but it’s a dry heat,” we quip.

Ho, ho, very funny, says meteorologist Andy Church. Not.

Clouds for now … but not for long.

“This heat, especially in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, with these types of temperatures this early, this high, is a pretty rare event,” Church told the Albuquerque Journal. “It is going to be a dry heat, but we know that doesn’t necessarily make much of a difference. We’ve got no clouds and little shade.”

And we’re light on river water, too.

The Bernalillo County Water Authority announced in early July that it would stop pulling drinking water from the Rio Grande, which is looking less and less like a river every day, and rely on groundwater throughout the summer.

Water resources division manager Katherine Yuhas told the Journal this type of shutoff usually doesn’t happen until August or September. It is also anticipated to last longer than in wetter years, she added.

“A lot of the snow sublimated, and we didn’t get the runoff we had expected,” Yuhas said. “With these dry conditions, the water authority wants to be off the river.”

Say, just how many horsemen are there in the Apocalypse these days, anyway? It seems to be staffing up.

The temperature is testicular

June 22, 2020

Smoke from various Southwestern fires is pooling down by the Rio.

Boom! And just like that, it’s officially hot as balls here at the Duke City Chuckle Hut.

We hit the century mark this afternoon, according to our Acu-Rite weather gizmo.

I got outdoors while the temperature was a frosty 84 degrees, so I didn’t explode like an unpierced spud in a microwave. I’m still not running, but a six-mile hike is a fine means of making a motheaten carcass carry its own weight for a couple hours.

Incidentally, if any of yis who commit pedestrianism have not yet tried trekking poles, you might consider giving ’em a whirl. I scored a set of Gossamer Gear LT5 poles when they went on sale earlier this month, and they give me something to do with my hands other than gesticulate while arguing with the voices in my head.

Also, moreover, furthermore, and too, they help buttress the bum ankle as I stumble up and down the rocky Sandia singletrack in my quest for the wily endorphin.

Alas, when I turned around up near the wilderness boundary a cloud of overcooked forest was obscuring the view. On a clear day it’s no trick to see all the way to Mount Taylor and points west.

Something else that’s not so hot: The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been canceled for this year. That’s a solid-gold kick in the ’nads for bidness and gummint. A study of the 2019 fiesta estimated the economic impact at $186.8 million, with a corresponding shit-ton of tax revenues for the city, county and state.

Skullcapped

June 6, 2020

The view west from Trail 365 and Candelaria.

We’ve finally surrendered to the inevitable and turned on the air conditioning at El Rancho Pendejo.

It’s been hot as balls for a while now. And though this morning we awakened to cloudy skies and light rain, before long the sun came out, the wind followed, and boom! Just like that our plans for a long bike ride got red-flagged.

The gabacho sombrero.

Herself opted for a short trail run instead, while I trudged out for an hourlong hike, my running days being more or less over.

One of the downsides of using hiking as a running replacement is that the practitioner is compelled to spend more time outside, where the sun is. And during a four-miler last week I got a bit toasted on the back of the neck, where my Santa Fe School of Cooking ballcap proved of no use whatsoever.

So afterward I popped round to a nearby surplus store, where I scored myself a cheapo Honduran boonie hat to replace the ballcap. And I’ve started knotting a raggedy-ass bandana around my throat, too.

Now I look like every other bewhiskered old gabacho hoofer in the ’hood. Imagine how Carl Spackler might look 40 years after “Caddyshack,” assuming he married well, and you’ll get the picture.

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.

Screwed again

July 21, 2019

Neither sealant nor lip balm will keep you rolling after you collect one of these bad boys in your tire.

You know what doesn’t give a shit about whether you have sealant in your tubes?

A big-ass screw, that’s what.

I collected this sonofabitch in the rear tire this morning at the bottom of the Tramway descent, just after I’d crossed under Interstate 25 and hung a left on the Pan American Freeway near Balloon Fiesta Parkway.

I heard a short clatter, then a “tick … tick … tick” that told me I’d picked up a hitchhiker, and so I pulled over to have a look-see.

“Th’ fuck’s this, a thumbtack?” I muttered, and then gave it a tug.

Spooge! Fwissssssssh. Phhbbbllllllllffff.

Seriously, it was like one of those volcano projects from junior high. Or Bluto’s zit imitation in “Animal House.”

And of course, it had to be the rear tire, on the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, so called for the Rohloff hub on (wait for it) the rear wheel.

What are the chances of picking up something like this in a bicycle tire? If you’re me, 100 percent.

Did I mention the Gates belt? Yeah, it has one of those, too.

I don’t know that I’ve ever had to deal with a flat of any kind on this bike, which is a testament to its Geax AKA 29 x 2.0 tires. But this fucking screw might’ve given even Superman a hitch in his gitalong if he ever happened to be afoot in Albuquerque.

As I was, on a scorching Sunday morning, hoofing it along the shoulder of the Pan American, looking for a shady spot and trying to remember how to remove and replace the rear wheel on a Rohloff/Gates-equipped bike, a chore I last performed in a workstand at Chez Dog in Bibleburg back in … 2012?

Lucky me, I found a bus bench with a sun shade at Balloon Fiesta Parkway. And then I set about rooting through the ol’ mental hard drive.

Lessee here: Shift into 14th gear. Break out a nickel to loosen the thumbscrew holding the cable box to the hub. Remove the cable box. Open the quick-release lever. Remove the wheel. Bingo.

The bus bench had a convenient trash can that made an excellent workstand to hold the bike while I swapped tubes (just affix rear dropouts to rim of can).

Reinstalling the wheel proved a tad more challenging. Unlike a chain, a Gates belt isn’t a greasy mess. But it kept wanting to hop off the crank or the sprocket as I tried to mate hub with dropouts and brake rotor with calipers. Lacking a hammer, I was compelled to employ patience, which is always in short supply among the Irish.

After a few tries, the belt surrendered, I closed the QR, snapped the cable box back into place, screwed it down finger-tight in case I lost my nickel at the casino on the way back, and hey presto! I had all 14 gears and a slightly soft rear tire (about 30 psi, as it turned out, despite my best efforts with my thousand-year-old Blackburn minipump). That was enough to get home.

And a good thing, too, ’cause I only had the one spare tube. One more flat and it was the patch kit for Your Humble Narrator.

Now how’s that work again? Lessee here. …

So 15 minutes ago? How about 85 years?

July 18, 2019

Don’t let the clouds fool you. That’s steam boiling off my bald noggin.

Seventy-one at 5 a.m. No, not me, the temperature.

And that’s outside, mind you. In the office, it’s 78.

We have at least three days of the roast-a-rama ahead, so it’s ride early or not at all. Hunker down in the air conditioning like we did as kids at Randolph AFB outside San Antone. You were either marinating in poisons and pee at the O-club pool or camped out in front of the Fedders window unit, playing Monopoly. Venture outside and you’d sink into the tarry streets like a dinosaur at La Brea, later to mystify alien archaeologists.

The God of the Tar People, discovered when a skeleton was unearthed by Vulcan archaeologists sometime in the distant future. Historical note: Like many a cartoonist, F.O. Alexander got stiffed for his work drawing characters for Monopoly.

“Chlorine must have been an essential nutrient for these semiaquatic creatures. And their god appears to have been this fellow with the archaic headgear and outlandish facial hair, who seems possessed of astonishing wealth.”

The Masi Speciale Randonneur review for Adventure Cyclist has been shipped, as has the August cartoon for Bicycle Retailer. I’m been thinking not very hard about an episode of Radio Free Dogpatch, but it seems podcasts are so 15 minutes ago, just like blogs. Or phrases like “so 15 minutes ago.”

In other news, Ginger Hitler has taken his song-and-dance routine to another Nuremberg rally, where he debuted a new three-syllable chant (he’s a man of few words, which is to say he only knows a few). A new low? Not for long, according to Kevin Drum at MoJo.

And finally, Le Shew Bigge is heading into the Pyrenees, just in time for Zoom-Zoom Froome — who is absent while recovering from a nasty pre-Tour get-off — to be named champion of the 2011 Vuelta a España after Juan José Cobo rang the Dope-O-Meter®.

Yes, that’s 2011. We’re not all the way back to 1934 yet, but we certainly seem headed in that direction.

 

Yeah, but it’s a dry Hell

July 27, 2018

And you thought it was hot where you are. On June 28, the temperature in Quriyat, Oman, hit 109 — and that was the low, “the hottest low temperature ever recorded on Earth,” according to The Washington Post.

As a buddy noted, you gotta give the Chinese credit for going the extra mile to make their climate-change hoax look like the real deal. Why, they went so far as to make it rain here in ’Burque. I thought that was a little over the top, but what isn’t these days?

The hardboiled eggheads of climate science, as usual, predict the worst — roads melting, airplanes unable to take off, human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

The good news is, there’s water on Mars, which is really close to Earth this weekend. Cowabunga! Come on and safari with me!