Ruta del Rancho Pendejo

April 9, 2018

Southbound on the Paseo del Bosque, en route to the Rio Bravo loop.

Friends of the Blog Pat O. and Khal S. have expressed a desire to pedal around the Duke City for a couple of days, and thus we shall.

The inaugural Ruta del Rancho Pendejo shall be June 2-3, with two stages, one on road and the other off. Which comes first? Chicken or egg? Weather, the gods and other actors beyond our control shall dictate the schedule.

Sam on the jam to the Tram, just past the intersection of Tramway Boulevard and Tramway Road.

Likewise the routes. The road stage will probably cover the Paseo del Bosque (from the Alameda Open Space trailhead south and back again), but additional trails will be on tap (Paseo del Norte, North Diversion Channel Trail) should the spirit be willing.

The bosque trail is as flat as flat can be, so any old road/cyclocross bike will do, but we may find ourselves climbing The Invisible Hill (the New Mexican wind is renowned for its ability to adjust so that it is always in your grille). Also, and too, traffic is heavy on weekends, so gird your loins for other cyclists, joggers, skaters, dog-walkers, stroller-pushers and other impediments to forward progress.

There’s also the option of climbing Tramway east of Interstate 25, a pleasant half-hour grind with soothing views of the Sandias. You gain about a thousand feet from the Rio Grande to the intersection of Tramway Boulevard and Tramway Road (which in itself is a nice little climb to the Sandia Tram proper). Masochists who find us feeble taskmasters may sample the climb to the Sandia Crest.

The view from an overlook atop Trail 365A, south of the Embudo Canyon trailhead.

The off-road stage is likely to take in the trails surrounding the Elena Gallegos picnic area, and perhaps those to the south of Menaul Boulevard as well. The clinically insane ride these on cyclocross bikes, touring bikes, and even single-ring, flat-bar, canti-braked townies with a low end of 38×28, but we will not laugh at anyone who prefers an actual, y’know, like, mountain bike, an’ shit. Well, not much, anyway, and certainly not where you can catch us doing it.

The Ruta is an extremely casual, social weekend of gentle riding open to all Friends of the Blog. I recommend seeking lodging somewhere in the ABQ Uptown area (Interstate 40 and Louisiana). Over the years Herself and I have camped at the Hilton Garden Inn, the Homewood Suites, and the Hampton Inn (Carlisle and I-40) and come away with our throats uncut, our guts unshot, and all our possessions in hand.

Trail 366, which leads to the Elena Gallegos picnic area.

Sustenance is a work in progress at the moment. You’ll be on your own for breakfast, but depending upon turnout evening meals will probably be at one of the justly heralded green-chile beaneries in the North Valley, a 20-minute drive from El Rancho Pendejo and ABQ Uptown.

Post-ride refreshments may be available on the patio at El Rancho Pendejo, where your hosts will include Your Humble Narrator, Herself, Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) and his adjutant, Miss Mia Sopaipilla.

Sound like your idea of a good time? Holler at me by May 1 — ogrady (at) maddogmedia (dot) com — so I can gauge the size of the peloton.

The lizard kings

April 9, 2018

Scott Pruitt and Mick Mulvaney enjoying a good laugh at our expense.

“Drain the swamp,” my large, pale, Irish-American arse.

Why, it’s gotten so swampy up there in DeeCee that even the alligators are wearing alligator shoes.

Bikes and books

April 7, 2018

The Soma Saga, canti’ model, en route to the Embudo Dam trailhead after a leisurely couple hours in the saddle.

Anybody who thinks pseudoephedrine sulfate isn’t a performance-enhancer should gobble a little Claritin-D 12 Hour before the daily bike ride sometime.

I resorted to doping yesterday as mulberry, ash and juniper transformed my mighty two-lane freeway of a snout into a narrow garbage-choked alley, and hijo, madre, what fun it was. I’d still be out there if I hadn’t run out of water and food.

It didn’t hurt that I was riding the Soma Saga. What a La-Z-Boy of a bike that beast is, especially the day after riding trail on the Voodoo Wazoo, with its low end of 38×28; that’s fun, too, but of an entirely different sort.

Si, mijo, ese es un libro real.

If the going gets steep on the Wazoo you just have to suck it up, snowflake. Stand up or get off. On the Saga, with its 24×32 granny, you can sit back and relax. It feels like there’s always another, lower gear.

When the provisions ran out I rolled home and ate a plate of leftover pasta with arugula pesto, some nuts and fruit.

Then I finished reading “The House of Broken Angels,” by Luis Alberto Urrea. He name-dropped Thomas McGuane, Mark Twain and Ray Bradbury in a New York Times Q&A, and acknowledged Jim Harrison and Richard Russo in the book itself, so yeah, goddamn right I was gonna read him, and in actual analog-book form too.

The story reminds me somewhat of “The Milagro Beanfield War,” by John Nichols, in that every Spanish-speaking reader in every border town in Estados Unidos and Mexico alike is going to say of it, as an Alamosa bookseller did to me of “Milagro,” “This book is really about us, you know?”

I got my copy used at Page 1 Books. Go thou forth and do likewise.

Lights, camera, inaction

April 3, 2018

Must be a gravel bike.*
* Gravel not included.

Timing is everything.

Yesterday morning I went out for a short run (keep muscle memory alive!) and then hopped on the Giant ToughRoad SLR 1 with the idea of wrapping up its video review for Adventure Cyclist in advance of the next member newsletter.

It might have been smarter to do the shoot first and the stumble second.

I figured that by midmorning on the Monday following Easter weekend most of my fellow trail users would be on the job, in school, or buried deep in household chores. Nope. My cinematography was interrupted over and over again by moms pushing strollers, dog walkers, hikers, rock climbers and other truants.

You’d think we had the nation’s second-worst unemployment rate or something.

What? We do? Never mind.

And with Il Douche busy crashing the economy I might have to start shooting these things on a trainer in the living room. The open space around here is liable to start looking like a hobo jungle out of “The Grapes of Wrath.”

 

April fool

April 1, 2018

Now that’s what I call an April fool.

In my Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,

I’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.

 

Checking the oldometer

March 31, 2018

The bosque is greening up, no thanks to the weather. New Mexico is nearly 100 percent drought-afflicted, with the Duke City environs classified as in “severe drought conditions.”

Boom! Another birthday ride in the books, just as the month skids to a stop.

Going up: The Saga tackles Tramway.

A few days late, it’s true, but remember, we’re running on O’Grady Standard Time here.

Anyway, today’s entry in the old logbook officially lists 40.2 miles, which is 64.7 kilometers. Naturally, I shall carry the 0.7km forward to next year’s ride, assuming I’m still above ground and not studying The Little Orange Book in re-education camp.

The weather being slightly insane — 63 degrees at the start, 73 at the finish — I rode down to pick up the bosque trail just west of downtown, took that to the Alameda parking lot, and then noodled over via 4th and Roy to the Tramway climb, which always seems to take about a half hour, no matter what bike I’m riding.

In this instance it was the Soma Saga Disc. Which reminds me: I get extra credit for logging my birthday mileage on a 33-pound bike, right? Right?

‘I’m not dead yet. …’

March 27, 2018

Sixty-four, Bog help us all. The lyric “When I get older, losing my hair / Many years from now” no longer applies.

I’m not that handy mending a fuse, and Herself doesn’t knit sweaters by the fireside. Still, just last Saturday we were doing the garden, digging the weeds. Who could ask for more?

The 64km birthday ride is going to have to wait, though. The weather appears to be taking a turn for the worse. If I’m lucky I may be able to manage 64 minutes of running before the rain comes.

See ‘Things, nice, why we can’t have’

March 23, 2018

OK, you tell him to get down and see what happens.

Cthulhu 2020

March 23, 2018

Look for Cthulhu to run for president in 2020 on the No Lives Matter ticket.

Asked why he turned down an appointment as national-security adviser, NecronomiCom CEO Cthulhu replied, “What,  I should work for a lesser evil? See you in New Hampshire.”

 

Trail of tiers

March 22, 2018

The Paseo del Bosque hasn’t leafed out yet, but it’s still a nice change, snotlocker-wise, from the juniper-heavy foothills.

Spring? Meh. Don’t talk to me about spring. We got summer down here, dude.

Yesterday I did a nice little two-and-a-half-hour ride that took in a number of the local bike trails — Paseo de las Montañas, Paseo del Bosque, Paseo del Norte, North Diversion Channel — and finished with the Tramway climb.

This is a really good ride for letting the mind wander alongside the body. The first hour is mostly downhill with a few tense moments — a couple dicey multilane-thoroughfare crossings, too much time on Indian School Road, and a narrow, stop-and-go, pain-in-the-ass stretch of Mountain skirting the north edge of downtown — but after that it’s smoove like butta, yo.

The bosque trail is flat as flat can be. The Paseo del Norte rises a bit to North Diversion. And Tramway is a pleasant steady-state, half-hour climb. There’s a little suffering at the bottom, near Interstate 25, and a little more at about the six-mile mark, but mostly it’s a matter of picking a gear you like and turning it over.

Mid-50s at the start, mid-60s at the finish, what’s not to like? When I got home I ate everything worth eating and then set about making some more — tacos, pico de gallo, spuds and turnips roasted in olive oil, salt and pepper. There were leftovers so I can eat it all over again today.

Then this morning I arise to learn that Il Douche and Uncle Joe are barking from a safe distance about throwing hands. Jesus H., etc. Can someone give these noisy old farts a couple of bikes, turn ’em loose in the desert sun for a couple of hours?

The only thing they’ll want to pound on afterward is a taco platter. But I ain’t cookin’ for ’em.