Archive for the ‘Trails’ Category

The luck of the Irish

March 17, 2022

A wee bit monochromatic for the wearin’ of the green.

O, ’tis a fine soft day we have here so.

The rain awakened Herself, but not me. I thought she was selling me a bill of goods when she said it rained during the night, until I glanced outside this morning.

There’s a dusting of snow just up the hill, and the cul-de-sac is dampish. This wee sprinkle will do a fine job of tamping down the sand in the arroyo I’ve been riding lately. I’ve only seen one other cyclist in there and he was riding a mountain bike; also, down, not up.

It will save me from the raking of the lawn as well. No point in busting my hump corraling all those soggy pine needles now. Wait until they dry out and lighten up.

Ditto for the trails. Never ride ’em wet. After a rain the knuckleheads in Bibleburg would slash the gooey singletrack into something that looked like Rodan the Flying Monster’s landing strip. The ruts would set up harder than times in 1929, and riding them on a cyclocross bike meant taking a hot lap on Satan’s Slot Car Track.

The ground here in The Duck! City is mighty thirsty, though. Getting it wet enough to damage with bicycle tires might require the sort of deluge that made a sailor of Noah.

Trails, please, and hold the tears

January 19, 2022

The Duck! City as seen from just above the Embudo dam.

I’ve been in something of a metaphorical rut lately, bikewise, so today I thought I’d get in an actual rut as a change of pace.

The Voodoo Nakisi and I took the foothills trails south to the Hilldale Loop and back, and real, physical ruts there were aplenty. I hadn’t been down that way since November 2021, and it seems weather and traffic have done some remodeling in my absence.

Is that gravel or dirt? The UCI Gravel Committee is never around
when you really need it.

The weather was brisk, and there weren’t a lot of people out and about, which was fine. The trails and I were getting reacquainted, and we’re both old enough to do without chaperones. Nobody needs to see me busting a move, especially if it ends with a busted bone.

My attention has been known to wander, and occasionally I find myself riding the trail in my mind, not the one under my wheels. This caused me to perform a trick dismount once in Bibleburg’s Palmer Park, when the mental and physical trails differed by a couple crucial meters after some unheralded renovations by the trail fairies. The bike went down, but I did not.

Today I kept the pace moderate and the autopilot off, and my miscues left neither paint nor DNA behind. I have an appointment with the dermatologist coming up and I don’t need any quips about leaving skin removal to the professionals.

Speaking of getting skinned, here’s hoping that the Jan. 6 committee gets to hang a big, greasy, orange hide on its wall now that the Supremes have declined to pull The Very Stable Genius’s fat out of the fire he started.

Ordinarily I don’t approve of trophy hunting, but some heads just beg to be mounted. The National Archives taxidermist better have all of his shots and a hazmat suit.

And now for the rumors behind the news

December 5, 2021

This photo has nothing to do with the blog post. I just like it.

This morning I awakened, cracked one eye, gauged the light levels in our bedroom, and guessed the time to be 6:33 a.m.

It was 6:35. Boom. Close enough. The ol’ temple of the soul is back on track after two days of the Pfizer Pfeebles.

Coffee and the news. I see via my former employer The New Mexican that some douchebags are tearing up the Nambé Badlands. My old riding buddy Dave Kraig, who is very much not a douchebag, is on the case with the Friends of the Nambé Badlands.

Down here, meanwhile, Herself saw someone throwing an unread bundle of 20 Sunday Albuquerque Journals into the recycling bins near the Lowe’s on Juan Tabo. When I was a paperboy the idea was to throw the papers onto readers’ doorsteps so that the readers could throw them in the trash. Division of labor, don’t you know.

FInally, up in Colorado, the latest in a seemingly endless invasion of out-of-towners is trying to make a silk purse out of the sow’s ear that is the dormant Cuchara ski area. Good luck with that, fellas. I hear they’ve been in touch with my man Hal Walter about doing a burro race. How about adding a “Little 500”-style gravel race in which all the competitors have to ride Range Rover Evoque bicycles? Electrify them sumbitches to bring ’em up to date and you’ll have a little sumpin’-sumpin’ goin’ on.

Not so hot

November 5, 2021

The wisteria is calling it quits for the year.

The mornings are brisk around here lately. Upon arising I find myself compelled to don pants. This will not do, not at all.

This is one of the few downsides of living snuggled up to the Sandias. Come fall the sun doesn’t peek over the mountains and through the trees until 9:30 or later, which causes Miss Mia Sopaipilla to burn the early morning hours hunting a toasty napping place that does not yet exist as such.

Here comes the sun. “About time,” grouses Mia.

The geezers I ride with a couple days a week likewise search for that sweet sunny spot. There has been some debate as to whether rides should continue to begin 9-ish or be delayed a tad to minimize the need for extensive layering.

It’s not unusual to experience a 30-degree temperature swing in the course of a 90-minute morning outing, which fills the jersey pockets to overflowing with wind jackets, arm and knee warmers, long-fingered gloves, skullcaps and whatnot. Jersey zippers rise and fall with the terrain.

Our location here, at the bottom of a cul-de-sac in the shadow of the foothills, often causes me to believe it’s colder outdoors than it really is. Yesterday I rode the Jones south on the foothills trails and inside 10 minutes I knew I was ridiculously overdressed. Nevertheless I persisted, because there wasn’t much I could do about the long-sleeved jersey and I didn’t stuff any short-fingered gloves into a pocket before leaving.

I found myself riding with a distinct lack of competence, confidence, style, and grace, dabbing on pretty much everything that wasn’t a nice flat sandy patch, and swearing a lot. After a series of miscues on mild obstacles I lost my mojo entirely and tried to focus on simply avoiding injury. This was nearly as irksome as wearing pants in the morning.

After an hour of embarrassing myself I called it quits and headed for home. I should probably get back out there right now and seek redemption.  But I’m thinking about dialing it down to a road ride. Maybe I should wait until we fall back before I fall off.

Glide path

May 5, 2021

The second of two birdmen sails in for a landing.

Some days it’s not about the bike.

No, that’s not me up there, banking in for a landing at the Menaul trailhead yesterday afternoon. You won’t see see me leaping off the Sandia Crest until the cops have cornered me up against the ragged edge and all is lost.

I was just out for a brief hike that turned into a longer one because it was a preposterously gorgeous day in the foothills. Also, I wanted to keep an eye on these glider pilots stooging around over the Sandias.

At least one of them was up there for a couple of hours, because that’s how long I was on the deck watching them. The other was packing up trailside as I headed home.

“Flying today?” I asked.

“Yep,” he replied.

“How long were you up?”

“Not as long as I wanted to be.”

Weather or not

April 28, 2021

The turnaround is at the bottom of that arroyo.

I looked out various windows, considered clothing options, added and subtracted layers, clapped on a sun hat, stuffed a North Face rain jacket into a day pack, then dropped the pack onto a chair, muttered, “Aw, fuck it,” and went out for a walk.

A glance to the north of where Comanche Road NE meets Trail 365 told me I probably should’ve left the sun hat on the chair and taken the pack, maybe given the rain jacket some gloves and galoshes for backup. The sky was blacker than that shrunken chunk of boiled batshit Tucker Carlson uses for a heart.

Too bad, so sad, I thought. Onward.

The view north after my U-turn.

Wasn’t long before I heard an occasional “pok” from the brim of my superfluous sun hat. Pok. Pok, pok. Pok, pokpok, pok. Etc.

I decided to pull a U down by the bridge. And as I turned to face the north without my North Face, I said: “Holy hell. I am gonna get wet.”

Now, this isn’t a long walk. Just under an hour depending upon how I want to do ’er. But all walks are long when it’s pissing down rain out of the north and you don’t have a Gore-Tex shell with hood concealed somewhere about your person. Just a stupid fucking sun hat.

Happily, it wasn’t raining quite yet. So I double-timed it, or maybe time-and-a-halfed it, jogging the uphills and flats. Hup hup hup. Try not to break another ankle, shit-for-brains. This time you’ll have to swim home.

About 30 seconds after I hit the door, boom. It started raining. For maybe a minute.

Shit. I don’t know why I keep holding on to this stupid fucking rain jacket.

Sanitized for your protection

April 14, 2021

The new descent.

I haven’t spent a lot of time on the Elena Gallegos trails lately. But somebody has been putting in the hours over there. And not on a bike, either.

Two rocky stretches have had the kinks ironed out of them, which is both good and bad.

The old climb out of the sand pit has been rendered impassable.

Good in that they’re much easier to ride on a cyclocross bike now. And bad in that they’re much easier to ride on a cyclocross bike now.

One I usually rode as a short descent. It was a real tooth-rattler, rocky and rutted, and I always took a good look around at the top because I didn’t want to meet anyone coming up when I was halfway down. It dumped into a sand pit and turned into a short, rocky climb with poor line of sight, so I usually hit the bell a time or two on the out of the pit.

The other I generally rode as a short climb after a longish rocky descent. It required some negotiation with medium-sized stones in tight corners, and I occasionally dabbed because it looked like it should have been easier than it was.

Well, they’re both easy now, which means people will be riding them faster, even me. No good deed goes unpunished.

Git along, lil’ Dog-ie

March 13, 2021

Looks a little weatherish to the north
from just below the Candelaria Bench Trail.

In mid-March last year I had a hitch in my gitalong.

All I was good for was a short stroll with crutches, or a slightly longer spin on the stationary trainer. A Darth Gimp boot gripped the broken bone like an ankle monitor. Only the mind wandered freely.

Today, with the skies darkening, the wind thundering, and the pollen scattering, I almost — almost! — decided to stay indoors.

And then I remembered last March. So out I went.

I needed a thin watch cap, mask, hoodie, henley, pants, wool socks, and thin gloves, but still. Outside! On a trail! And a rocky one, too, even worse than the one that took me down last February.

Even jogged a few bits, just ’cause I could. What a difference a year makes.

Up near where the climb to the Candelaria Bench Trail steepens, I saw seven deer peering at me from across a ravine. They’ve been thick as rush-hour traffic around our place already this year, peppering The Compound with poop.

I’m not certain what they’re after down here in the ’burbs, before spring has actually sprung. But like most Americans deer will pretty much eat whatever is convenient. Free will is an illusion, at least for certain foods.

Speaking of airline travel, which we were not, do not expect to see me boarding a flight to anywhere anytime soon until (a) The Plague is over, and (2) the drunks have a clear idea where the toilet is.

Out out out!

October 17, 2020

No disrespect intended to the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service, but this absentee ballot is being hand-delivered.

We have voted the rascals out. You’re welcome.

Yesterday we voted ourselves out, for a quick five-mile march through the foothills.

Walking the Dog. Photo: Herself

It was a brisk morning, and we didn’t get out until noonish, because the sun doesn’t clear the Sandias at Rancho Pendejo until sometime after 9 and we’re rarely in a rush unless Herself has a long list of chores to be accomplished, which come to think of it is almost always.

The Merrell Moab 2 Mid Ventilator boots have broken in nicely after about 20 miles of light hoofing, and this morning I planted one of them in Adolf Twitler’s oversized fundament, metaphorically speaking.

It’s my second try at kicking his fat butt; let’s hope this time it helps do the job.

If the boots get ’er done, I’ll buy a second pair, because it seems that every time I find footwear that suits my dogs, that model is instantaneously discontinued and replaced with some Nazi bondage gear.

There’s always the stick, of course. But I don’t think the SS boyos will let me anywhere near Adolf if I’m waving Ol’ Hickory around and screeching about going all Andy Jackson on his ass.

 

Rocking out

August 28, 2018

Trail 365 near its intersection with Trail 230. One of the easy bits.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, they say.

I had every intention of shooting a bunch of video of the Jones SWB for Adventure Cyclist today. But there was a veritable horde of nimrods tramping around and about on my trails, cluttering up the background, so as I was about to continue my usual southward swing along Trail 365, in a snit, I abruptly veered north onto a rocky stretch that I was pretty sure I couldn’t ride.

The view from the 365-230 intersection. Yep, that’s the big bad city down there.

And I was right. But it was a giggle anyway, and a pleasant change of pace, not least because I had always let that northbound trail buffalo me into turning around. This time I went All! The! Way!

I am not much for technical trails, and absolutely worthless in rock gardens, but I managed to ride quite a bit of Trail 365 between Elena Gallegos and the water tank above the Sandia Tram. It’s not preposterously difficult for anyone who isn’t me, and as I came to understand that I could either do a lot of walking or sack up and ride, well, I managed to surprise myself a time or two on the lumpy bits. The 27.5+x3.0 Maxxis Chronicle tires sure helped, especially at around 15 psi.

And I saw exactly one other lunatic out there, riding the trail in the opposite direction. I yielded trail, we traded greetings, and that was that.

I saw exactly one big-ass rattlesnake, too. We did not pause in our travels to exchange compliments.

But the hell of it is I got so focused on trying to clean rocky sections that I only shot one short snippet of video. Now I gotta go ride the sonofabitch again.