Posts Tagged ‘Elena Gallegos Open Space’

Clutch effort

June 23, 2020

The descent from the intersection of Pino Trail and Wilderness.

More adventures, still more!

Today I decided to challenge the ankle a bit with some off-road foolishness in the Elena Gallegos area. I thought I was being smart by waiting until 10 a.m. to head out, reasoning that the weak would get theirs earlier, in the cool of the morning.

Well, you know about me and smart. Never happen, is what. Everybody and his grandma was out there with me.

I had to dab a couple times while climbing one section I call Cholla Clutch Cañon because I screwed the pooch riding it as a descent back in 2017, grabbing a fistful of cane cholla to keep from skidding over the edge. (See “me and smart” in the previous paragraph.)

Anyway, the trail wizards have been waving their wands at this stretch since I last rode it and muscle memory was of no help whatsoever. Also, everybody else was riding it as a descent, on full-suspension mountain bikes, which proved something of an impediment to Wrong Way O’Grady, with his rigid, drop-bar Voodoo Nakisi weirdomobile and mad climbing skillz.

Speaking of mad skillz, the Adventure Cyclist boyos have posted my latest review online. Surly has updated its Disc Trucker with an eye toward the gravel-gobbling, bikepacking market.

And wonder of wonders: You can still buy the rim-brake Long Haul Trucker if that’s how you roll. I don’t know that you’d necessarily want to ride it up Cholla Clutch Cañon … but hell, I’d probably try it.

Happy trails, or the slime’s best inside the tires

January 28, 2020

Blue skies above, brown trails below.

It’s not all politics, podcasts, and posole around here. Some days I actually get outdoors to ride the bike.

But lately a bitter north wind has been whistling down our cul-de-sac, making the weather surrounding El Rancho Pendejo seem worse than it actually is.

The sun spends its mornings skulking around behind the Sandias, burning its daylight where I can’t see it. The trails seem a little muddier than usual for this time of year. And the streets are curb to curb with the usual multitasking mutts who think “hands-free” refers to their use of the steering wheel, not the cellphone.

Back when I was a man instead of whatever it is I am now, I’d ride wherever, whenever, in all manner of weather, fair and foul.

But that was then. And this . …

This is another thrilling episode of Radio Free Dogpatch!

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

On the road again. …

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Shure SM58 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. The pigpen belongs to zecraum at Freesound.org. Shovel and pickax courtesy CameronMusic at the same joint. The Dubliners gave out with “Poor Paddy Works On the Railway.” Tom Cotton and Alan Dershowitz address us through the holes in their lying arses. All other sonic enhancements are courtesy of Your Humble Narrator and his handy, dandy little Tascam DR-05 portable audio recorder.

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.

Drip grind

April 17, 2019

Welcome to the jungle.

Yesterday I rolled the dice and came up winners.

Come spring I dial the running back to once a week, usually Monday. But Monday was just too damn’ nice to pound ground, so I took Steelman Eurocross No. 1 out for a spin around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

Don’t be gruel to a heart that’s true. (h/t the Checkered Demon
via S. Clay Wilson.)

Tuesday was a tossup. LIke Monday, it served up some prime cycling weather, but Wednesday’s forecast called for rain, and I hate a squishy trail. So I ran.

And a good thing too, because today is reminding me of my days slaving for an afternoon daily in Oregon, only without the mold, slugs, and bottomless drams of Jameson with Guinness backs.

I still get that 4 a.m. wakeup call, since Herself is an early riser. But at least I’m not the one who has to leave a warm, dry house to work. Give my umbrella to the Rain Dogs.

Doppelgrinder

November 15, 2018

Me and my shadow.

The little cold snap we’ve been enjoying finally broke, so yesterday I toddled out for a trail run wearing a not-inconsiderable amount of winter wear, and actually felt slightly overdressed — until I turned around into the wind.

Today the wind was still very much with us, but so was the sun, and when the temps finally slouched into the low 50s I went out to greet it.

Holy hell, was that wind brisk. Once again I questioned my garment selection. Long-sleeve polypro henley, long-sleeve jersey, knickers, and full-finger gloves, sure, but no tuque? No tights? No brains? Eeeeeyyugghhh!

Anyway, long story short, I warmed up pretty quickly because I was riding one of Mr. Steelman’s 20-year-old Eurocrosses on the trails around the Elena Gallegos Open Space and definitely not breaking any speed records, even though I never actually jumped off and ran.

There were a few breaks for conversation. My fellow trail users were a chatty lot, and not a grump in the bunch. Hikers, bikers, joggers, doggers, all and sundry were grinning like jackasses eating yellowjackets under the blue, blue skies. Even one mountain biker who’d blown his rear derailleur took it in stride, coasting back to his starting point.

Albuquerque has its problems, to be sure. But November weather mostly ain’t one of ’em.

Song of the wind

October 16, 2018

An east wind scours the Sandias (wind not pictured).

I decided against ’crossing it up today, and hoo-boy, was that ever a rare smart move.

The wind had its own idea of a good time, and I found myself grinding into the teeth of it aboard the Voodoo Nakisi, underdressed and overgeared.

If I’d been on a Steelman with its 36×28 low end I’d have turned around, I shit thee not. But the Voodoo has that 22T granny ring, and you bet your ass I was using it, early and often, as the cold wind raged from the northeast.

Working my way around the Elena Gallegos trails I encountered the occasional hiker bundled up like a sherpa summiting Everest. It wasn’t that cold by the numbers, maybe the mid-40s, but the wind was making a liar of the thermometer.

It reminded me of a ’cross I did back in Colorado, with the wind completely off the charts. Occasionally some poor sod would shoulder his bike for a run-up and get spun around like a weathervane.

I was surprised nobody got screwed right into the ground at that race. But it was probably frozen solid, and I remember how hard it was to pound in the rebar while setting up the barriers.

Meanwhile, back in ’Burque, the tailwind was so fierce on the homebound leg that I had to ride the brakes. True fact. I actually got home before I even started the ride and nearly ran into myself coming out the front door.

Marching on

March 2, 2018

Going up. …

February is gone, and good riddance.

It’s 66 in the ’hood right now, and we have begun the annual Running of the Noses, which lets us know that the junipers are acting up and spring is right around the corner.

… and going down.

I’m fresh out of review bikes and am working my way through the fleet to refresh my palate. The Voodoo Wazoo, Bianchi Zurigo and Soma Saga have all gotten some love, and so has the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff.

Today we went a-rolling along a clockwise lollipop loop near the Elena Gallegos Open Space and I was surprised there weren’t more cyclists out and about on such a pleasant day. Plenty hoofers, but few huckers. Maybe they were all on the road.

That had been my original plan, but I got distracted with some household chores and didn’t roll out until noon, when a short trail ride seemed to make more sense. Come the afternoon a stout wind tends to spring up and you can be certain that it will be all up in your grille when you’re homeward bound and all tuckered out.

Speaking of which, I got tired just reading about what Johnny Isaak does with his Divide Rohloff. You will too.

Sign of the times

February 5, 2018

The Soma Saga Disc in the Elena Gallegos picnic grounds.

It’s OK. I’m morally handicapped.

The stone mind

January 6, 2018

Way down there somewhere is the Duke City.

My Bicycle Retailer and Industry News column may be a thing of the past, but I still have deadlines, and Lord, how them sumbitches can fill a feller’s dance card.

I’ve been burning daylight over the Giant ToughRoad SLR 1, exchanging emails with former VeloNews comrade Andrew Juskaitis, now senior global product marketing manager for the Big G, and after an extended stretch of demonstrating my profound ignorance I decided yesterday that it was time to ride one of my own damn’ bikes for a change.

It had to be steel, of course, with drop bars, rim brakes, and tires with inner tubes. And with the weekend promising congestion on the trails I thought it might be nice to get a quick off-road ride while the gettin’ was good.

When is a rock not a rock? When it’s a Buddha.

So the Voodoo Nakisi and I set off for the usual casual loops around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

Well, almost the usual.

Our local trail network is well marked with signs for people who like to follow maps (Trail 365, 305, etc.) and for those who don’t (Trail Closed for Rehabilitation). But there’s the occasional unmarked stretch that makes you go “Hmmmm.. …”

On a whim, I followed a couple of those yesterday, just to see where they went, and one of them meandered upward until it became frankly unrideable (by me, anyway). So I got off and wandered around for a bit, assuming I was more or less up against the wilderness boundary, taking snaps with the iPhone and just enjoying being away from the office.

I looked down at the Duke City, and snap, and then looked up at the ridgeline, and … holy shit! Check out that rock formation. It looks like a Buddha sitting zazen with his back to all of this.

Well, it does to anyone with an overactive imagination, anyway. It seemed too heavy a stone to carry around in my head, though, so I bowed to it, left it where it was, and got back about the business of avoiding business.

• Editor’s note: Further bows to “Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings,” compiled by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki.

Oh deer

November 28, 2017

Trail 366, if memory serves. You can ride this sucker on a road bike, and I have.

After another morning spent cranking away on the Fuji Touring for review purposes I devoted the afternoon to tooling around the Elena Gallegos trails on my trusty, dusty old Voodoo Nakisi MonsterCrosser®.

There were a half-dozen deer to the left of me and about the same to the right. Don’t want to hit one of these dudes at speed on the old MonsterCrosser®. It will end badly.

As I was motoring along, enjoying the ridiculously warm weather (68, a degree shy of the record), I caught a glimpse of a big gray booty ambling through the scrub and hit the binders.

Sure enough, a sizable herd of mule deer was cruising the ’hood. So I stopped and snapped a couple pix with the battered Canon 300 HS, which has decided to start working again, kinda, sorta.

Mule deer are not nature’s geniuses. Back in Weirdcliffe we used to joke that you could hunt them with a Twinkie and a ball-peen hammer.

But they look serene, majestic and brilliant when compared to the ruminants grazing the nation down to the bedrock in DeeCee. There is nary a problem in the world that a Republican legislature cannot make worse.