Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

White Christmas

December 25, 2016
I'm thinking we won't need to break out the Acme Atomic Snow-blower™ for this one.

I’m thinking we won’t need to break out the Acme Atomic Snow-blower™ for this one. Photo inspired by the works of Michael Brangoccio.

Well, a kinda-sorta white Christmas, anyway. We do what we can. Happy happy joy joy to the lot of yis.

Phys ed

December 23, 2016
Jogging in a winter wonderland.

Jogging in a winter wonderland.

As longtime visitors to the DogS(h)ite know, I will never be smart.

Still, “never” is an awfully long time. Especially now that a study indicates that running “seems to require a greater amount of high-level thinking than most of us might imagine,” or so says Gretchen Reynolds in The New York Times.

The study, published in a neuroscience journal, found that the brains of competitive distance runners “had different connections in areas known to aid in sophisticated cognition than the brains of healthy but sedentary people,” Reynolds recounts, adding: “The discovery suggests that there is more to running than mindlessly placing one foot in front of another.”

Well. Shit. Naturally I laced up the old runners straight away and toddled off for my first jog of the winter.

And … nothing. Bupkis. Still as dumb as a stump.

Still, I’ll probably keep after it. At least running gets you out in the open air. Like crucifixion.

Yesterday and today

December 22, 2016
From powdery to pouring.

From powdery to pouring.

So yesterday, I’m out for a bike ride, pulling off the arm warmers and glad of the sunscreen on my snoot … and today we got this whole other thing going on.

Hey, I’m not complaining. The trees like it, and I don’t have to to shovel it. It’s a Zappadan miracle!

 

He is risen

December 21, 2016
Bring me the Chrome-Plated Megaphone of Destiny. And a fresh diaper.

Bring me the Chrome-Plated Megaphone of Destiny. And a fresh diaper.

Happy birthday, Frank Zappa.

And a happy solstice to everyone else. The days get longer from here. Especially the ones following Inauguration Day.

Thus, “Whippin’ Post.”

Out comes the bird

December 29, 2015
Looks like a god damn Tim Burton movie out there this morning.

Looks like a god damn Tim Burton movie out there this morning.

The secret word for today — and for the rest of the week, it seems — is “cold.”

The weather wizards say temps in the Land of Enchantment should be 15 to 20 degrees below normal for a while, which means those of us who review bicycles for our bacon and beans will need to bundle up, if only to protect our bones against the inevitable spills.

And no, I’m not talking about spilled beverages.

Also, moreover, furthermore, and too, it’s snowing again.

And now, the good news: Al Qaeda is making a comeback. I’m starting to wonder whether Stan Lee is scripting geopolitics for Disney. We’ll know for sure if Hydra suddenly pops up on Exile Island, led by the Red Skull.

 

 

Marrakesh Polar Express

December 26, 2015
I was using the other hand to punch the snotsicles out of my beard.

I was using the other hand to punch the snotsicles out of my beard.

Heated fenders. Has anyone invented heated fenders yet?

Heated fenders. Has anyone invented heated fenders yet?

The first ride on the Salsa Marrakesh is in the books. You may be amused to recall that Marrakesh is in the Kingdom of Morocco, where the average temperature would have the devil pitching a bitch and snow pops round about as often as democracy.

There is a “ski town” about 45 miles south of Marrakesh, in the Atlas Mountains. I’ve been saving all my money to take you there.* But its chairlift is a donkey and I hear the Mexican food sucks.

* Well, Graham Nash has, anyway.

O, wholly night

December 26, 2015
My rigid Jones 29er plays a lovely moonlight sonata.

My rigid Jones 29er plays a lovely moonlight sonata.

A neighbor couple had invited us to join them for a full-moon Christmas ride on the Sandia foothills trails (.pdf), and while the field was halved by start time last night — his wife was recovering from a cold, and mine thought her headlight gravely underpowered — Phil and I soldiered on.

Alas, the moon likewise declined to participate, and my lighting system also proved less than illuminating (an elderly, AAA-powered trinity of Cateye Opticube HL-EL450, Princeton Tec EOS, and Princeton Tec Remix). Happily, Phil was content to lead the way with his new Cygolite, so we got around and about without issue.

My "lighting system." Not pictured: The Princeton Tec Remix I wore as a headlamp.

My “lighting system.” Not pictured: The Princeton Tec Remix I wore as a headlamp.

I was reminded how much fun it is to do something different, and how good this can be for the bike industry, because you discover how woefully clapped out your equipment is.

There was the lighting issue, for starters. Also, my old Pearl Izumi winter gloves seem to have gone walkabout in the move, I have no clear lenses for my prescription Rudy Project Rb-3 cycling glasses, and my decrepit Kucharik toe covers no longer cover all 10 toes.

And which bike to ride? I ride these trails on a cyclo-cross bike in the daylight, but that seemed unwise in the dark, with old snow and ice likely to be lurking in any north-facing bits. The old DBR Axis TT mountain bike seemed an ideal choice, until I found a big hop in the rear tire that no amount of inflation, deflation, removal, replacement, and yanking this way and that could resolve.

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff? That would have been fun, but I didn’t fancy fixing a rear-wheel flat in the freezing dark (the Rohloff hub and Gates belt drive complicate that chore a bit, and I was out of practice).

Thus, the Jones. It’s the perfect bike for this sort of outing. Big-ass Maxxis Ardent 29×2.4 tires, a Shimano XT drivetrain with a low end of 19.3 gear inches for creeping through icy rockpiles in the inky blackness, and Avid BB7 discs with 200/180mm rotors for knocking down the MPH as necessary. Plus you could hang 12 headlights on that H-bar, if you had ’em, which I did not.

Speaking of which, I’m taking recommendations for a reasonably priced headlight. Sound off in comments if you feel so inclined. And a happy Boxing Day to one and all.

 

Wrapping up times two

December 23, 2015
Today's weather was Traitorous.

Today’s weather was Traitorous.

I’m wrapping up my review of the Traitor Wander, and had to wrap myself up to do it.

By the time I waddled out the door wearing winter bib tights, two jerseys, and a jacket in addition to the usual, we had already seen a light rain, a soupçon of snow, and finally a brief splash of sunshine (that was what sent me out the door).

When I stopped to snap the pic a bit of popcorn snow was flitting about like the media at a Trump rally, awaiting the outrage du jour. Must be December or something. Next thing you know, Christmas. Sheesh.

Next up for a test ride is the Salsa Marrakesh, which shares a nine-speed drivetrain and a Brooks saddle with the Traitor, but pulls the bulk of its components from a slightly higher shelf.

Most welcome right off the bat is a proper bailout gear for a loaded tourer: 26×34 (around 21 gear inches). Baldheaded old farts everywhere rejoice.

 

 

 

There goes the sun

December 22, 2015
Sunrise ... sunset. ...

Sunrise … sunset. …

It may have come too soon, but yesterday’s sunset was definitely worth a squint. We were walking The Boo through the neighborhood, I had a camera with me, and that was that.

The sun set on Lindsey Graham’s pestilential campaign yesterday, too, boo hoo, boo hoo. Now the silly little hooter has to spend his time like the rest of us, shouting at the TV instead of from it. He bailed out just in time to have his name pulled from the ballot in Petticoat Junction and thus avoid a public flogging in his own back yard.

Oh, yeah. Lindsey also has his day job, which last I looked paid around $174,000 per annum. His estimated net worth after 20 years on Uncle Sammy’s payroll is a piddling $1.02 million. No wonder he’s so bitchy all the time.

Here comes the sun

December 21, 2015
Woo hoo, break out the sunscreen!

Woo hoo, break out the sunscreen!

Happy winter solstice to thee and thine. Once again I will not be attending the annual illumination of the inner chamber at Newgrange — the 5,000-year-old monument is not among the locations served by Air Subaru — but I will be there in spirit.

The weather wizards say we can expect a high in the upper 40s today here in the Duke City, but it won’t be long now before this space is devoted to bitching about the intolerable heat. To everything there is a season.