It’s coming up

July 29, 2019

The celestial is often preferable to the terrestrial.

Checking out morning as it breaks over the Sandias beats inspecting cat barf before coffee.

And yes, I have some experience in these matters.

I’ve spared you the ground-level snaps.

You’re welcome.

Water under the bridge

July 27, 2019

This bridge over the Albuquerque Riverside Drain is just off the Paseo del Bosque bike trail south of Interstate 40.

There was a little water running on Thursday’s 66km ride down to the bosque and back, so I could feel the Tour’s pain when Friday’s stage got its icy wings clipped and today’s was likewise heavily edited, basically dialed down to a 33km, mass-start uphill time trial.

“See, Frenchy, if you keep your water in ditches it won’t make a mess of your bike races.”

Here in ’Merica, happily, we restrict our water to ditches so that it does not interfere with our bikey rideys. Because freedom.

Also, moreover, furthermore, and too, we have air conditioning to take the edge off those 110° days.

The “monsoons” are in session here at the moment, and so far the precip’ has been arriving around dinnertime, which is nearly as good as keeping it in ditches. Open the doors and windows and let the fresh air in.

Meanwhile, somebody else threw the doors open and then bolted right on through. Congress just beat feet for a six-week recess. And “recess” seems just the word for this cluster of kindergartners, though the exodus leaves the biggest toddler of them without any supervision, however childish.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “For Sale” sign pop up outside the White House.

Whoops. Too late.

This just in from Le Tour

July 26, 2019

I bet Katie Compton would’ve finished this stage.

Gravel is no longer a Thing®. Pass it on.

It’s Mueller Time

July 25, 2019

“Is your president, uh, a goer, eh? Know what I mean, know what I mean, nudge nudge, nudge nudge, know what I mean, say no more, know what I mean?”

OK, so Live Update Guy is no more, but it is Tour time, and goddamnit, I had to work a Monty Python clip into this mess sometime.

What a crock

July 24, 2019

I’d like a pot with a little less crock to it, please.

I made that slow-cooker taco recipe last night and it was a hit.

Alas, I think the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees will be less satisfied as they lift the lids on their Crock-Pots today. Neither side is going to find anything in there that Chef Mueller hasn’t served them before.

And it’s not going to taste any better after Ginger Hitler pisses in it.

R.I.P., Paul Krassner

July 21, 2019

The Yippies were first to run a pig for president back in 1968, but it took the Republicans to actually win with one.

Paul Krassner was instrumental in that first attempt, but we can’t blame him for the second. The founder and editor of The Realist was into absurdity — he had roots in Mad magazine, after all — but he must have left this world shaking his head at how the unreal had become all too regrettably real.

Krassner hit the door running at 87.

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. …

Meanwhile, in the Course of human events. …

July 20, 2019

“Don’t tread on me … especially with those knobby tires.”

Herself and I were out for our morning constitutional when we rolled up on this lollygagger here.

Gopher snake? Bullsnake? Beats me. I check for rattles, and if I don’t see any, I go all like, “Ooo, cool-lookin’ snake.”

This vagrant wasn’t loitering in a median, soliciting contributions, though the practice retains the usual protections, no matter what (or if) Trudy Jones thinks. And in fairly short order he (or she) had drawn quite a throng of admirers — two cyclists, a roofer, and a gent with two kids in his truck.

After a while, the roofer persuaded the snake — without resort to cops, courts, fines, or confinement — to abandon the right of way for safety’s sake. And we all — cyclists, family, roofer and reptile — went back to enjoying Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

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.

 

‘What boots it,’ indeed

July 17, 2019

These boots are made for earning.

In the August 2019 issue of The Atlantic, Michael LaPointe muses at some length on “The Unbearable Smugness of Walking,” as performed by the literati.

Following his examination of two recent books arguing for “walking’s invigorating literary power” and capacity for resistance to “the desire of those in power that we should participate in growing the GDP … as well as the corporate desire that we should consume as much as possible and rest whenever we aren’t doing so,” LaPointe wonders whether, for the writer, walking to work is really nothing more than another day at the office, albeit a larger, airier one.

And he poses the question: “What would it mean, for once, simply to walk and say nothing about it?”

What it would mean, Michael old sock, is that you would not get paid.

“Ah, fill the Cup:—what boots it to repeat
How Time is slipping underneath our Feet. …