Posts Tagged ‘Elena Gallegos Open Space’

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.

A good example of a bad example

July 30, 2017

A break in the traffic.

Ride Your Own Damn’ Bike Week has been extended, by popular demand.

After the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff came the Bianchi Zurigo, the Soma Double Cross, and today, one of my two Steelman Eurocrosses.

This bike is isn’t totally old-school: It has eight-speed Shimano STI, not bar-end shifters; Michelin Jet clinchers, not tubies; and a RockShox seatpost.

There’s life in the old gal yet.

But it has most of the other hallmarks: steel frame and fork; 46/36 chainrings and 11-28 cassette; Ultegra derailleurs; Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantilever brakes with SwissStop VikingPro pads (and levers reversed so the left brakes the rear wheel); Dura-Ace hubs and Mavic Open 4 CD hoops; Selle Italia Flite saddle; and Time ATAC pedals.

The whole shebang goes like 22.5 pounds, which is what makes that 36×28 low end suitable on the steep bits for Your Humble Narrator, who given our national spasticity vis-à-vis health care would rather not be popping a gasket anytime soon.

Anyway, I hadn’t ridden it in the better part of quite some time, and I ordinarily shun the trails on weekends, but today I took a chance and had a wonderful time. There were lots of folks out, but I encountered zero attitude problems. Nothing but smiles and friendly greetings, with lots of the old Alphonse-and-Gaston action. (“After you, Alphonse.” “No, you first, my dear Gaston.”)

There was one down side. I was descending a narrow bit and saw a father and son on mountain bikes climbing toward me, so I pulled over to give them room to maneuver. As they approached Pop explained to Junior that a descending rider should always yield trail to one ascending, adding that I “was setting a good example.”

Thus, with a single phrase, my career was ruined. I wonder if it’s too late to get my old rim-rat job back on The New Mexican copy desk.

At ‘cross purposes

May 5, 2017

When it comes to taking a tonic for what ails you, there’s nothing like a little sand in your craw.

After yesterday’s health-care debacle I prescribed myself an antidepressant: 90 minutes on a Steelman Eurocross cyclocross bike, doing laps around the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

The old beastie still performs (I’m talking about the bike here). Reynolds 853 tubes; Shimano Ultegra eight-speed STI; 175mm RaceFace 48/36 cranks and a 12-28 cassette; Mavic Open Pro SUP rims with Dura-Ace hubs, DT spokes and Michelin Jet tires; Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, augmented by Froggleg top-mounted levers; Cinelli Eubios bar with Off the Front tape; Ritchey stem; Time ATAC pedals; and a RockShox boingy post wearing the usual Selle Italia Flite saddle.

Riding a racing bike after a steady diet of touring machines felt seriously weird at first, but it started getting good to me after a half hour or so. Nearly slid out in one sandy hairpin — that rear Jet is starting to look like a slick — but happily, I did not require medical attention, as cyclocross and crashing are both pre-existing conditions.

My (Euro)cross to bear

October 15, 2016
Blazing saddles: Not Mongo, but mango.

Blazing saddles: Not Mongo, but mango.

More cycling yesterday. I think I’ve finally broken my annual post-Interbike slump.

For some reason, probably that we’re suddenly in the middle of October, I decided to pull my favorite Steelman Eurocross off its hook, give it a bit of a wash and brush-up (plus two new Michelin Jets), and go chase myself around the Elena Gallegos Open Space for an hour or so.

I like to enjoy this sort of foolishness on a weekday, during business hours, the trails come weekends being thick with body-armored double-boingers, texting dog-walkers, the iPlod People and other impediments to forward motion. No need to have an audience while one struggles up a rocky pitch in the 36×26, with 700×30 tires.

One of these days I need to give the old beast more than some fresh rubber. Nine-speed Ultegra, maybe? That eight-speed STI is the velo-equivalent of stone knives and bearskins these days, though it seemed just the ticket back when I still had a song on my lips and a spring in my steps.

TGIF

March 11, 2016
The Bianchi Zurigo Disc is just the thing for the Elena Gallegos trails.

The Bianchi Zurigo Disc is just the thing for the Elena Gallegos trails.

I only had one chore today — get the groceries — so I spent the better part of the late morning/early afternoon horsing the Bianchi Zurigo Disc around and about in the Elena Gallegos Open Space.

You don’t want to be doing that on a weekend, no sir; it’s like a Lycra anthill in there. But during bidness hours on a weekday, oh my yes, especially if the temps are sneaking up on 70.

The Zurigo handles these rocky, sandy trails just fine, especially considering that it’s an alloy bike, the only one in the fleet. The carbon fork helps, as do the 38mm tires.

But I’m thinking I may follow Pat O’B’s lead and slap some TRP Spyres on the sumbitch. Those Avid BB5s make more bad noise than a GOP debate scored for air hammer and busted chainsaw.