Posts Tagged ‘February’

Put on your sailin’ shoes

February 22, 2019

Everyone will start to cheer when you put on your sailin’ shoes.

Man, it seems I’m not the only person with a bad case of the Februaries.

Bicycle Retailer’s Steve Frothingham is at Frostbike in Minnesota, but it’s not a social call, and seems unlikely to break a streak of two weeks without exercise.

“S’what’s on the menu this evening?” I asked yesterday. “Partying with industry leaders?”

“Typing,” he replied.

Adventure Cyclist‘s Nick Legan, meanwhile, was riding that fabled Road to Nowhere in Colorado and looking forward to the Roll Massif, which will be conducted outdoors, with any luck at all in warmer weather.

Ooo, datsa baaaaaaad ol’ puddy tat.
| Photo by Hal Walter

“I was on the trainer myself,” he said. “Tried distracting myself from the misery with intervals and a movie. Worked in some respects, didn’t in others.”

Up Weirdcliffe way, Hal Walter was dealing with single-digit temps, wind, and writer’s block in what he called “the worst winter in recent memory.”

He was also keeping a weather eye out for unwelcome company. When I asked what made those tracks, he replied, “Something that could eat you.”

Me, I was making my own tracks. I put on my sailin’ shoes — along with fleece-lined tights, two Patagucci long-sleeved shirts, an old ShaverSport wind jacket, tuque, and gloves — and lumbered off into a strong southerly wind that bore nary a whiff of sun-splashed desert.

I hit some sort of weirdo thermocline just past the turnaround and set about unzipping this and unbuttoning that. But by the time I’d left the trail and hit the short paved stretch leading home I was freezing my huevos off again.

It wasn’t what I’d call fun, but it was exercise, and some days that’s enough. Still, if you must run, don’t forget to take your Little Feat with you.

Doctor, doctor, well, I feel so bad
This is the worst day I ever had
He said, Have you this misery a very long time?
Well, if you ill, I’ll lay it on the line
You’ve got to put on your sailin’ shoes
Put on your sailing shoes
Everyone will start to cheer
When you put on your sailin’ shoes

White-line fever

February 20, 2019

Base camp at the overflow area in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, circa 2004.

It’s been a chilly, damp winter in Albuquerque, which isn’t saying much.

Still, it grates after a while, and never more so than during February, a month that is simultaneously too short and too long.

Herself has been to Costa Rica, the neighbors just fled to Mexico, and some other friends beat feet all the way to France.

And yet here I sit (no, this is not a poem, and it is specifically not that poem), rattling the bars on my window of opportunity and losing arguments with the voices in my head.

I’ve written often and at length about my irrational hatred for February, and I was getting set to do it again when I realized, “Hey, I’ve written often and at length about my irrational hatred for February. Why don’t I turn it into a podcast?”

Which I did. This is it. You’re welcome. Now hand me the snow shovel on your way out, would you? I want to smack myself in the head with it.

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

• Editorial notes: The “Mad Dog Unleashed” column headlined “On the Road Again: Frown Lines Search for a Few Tan Lines,” which is my onion at the bottom of this bitter pot of bitch stew, first appeared in the February 2004 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. My line about February having roots in the French “febrile” is, as you may already know, complete and utter bullshit. The Cactus Cup has returned to McDowell Mountain Regional Park since that 2004 column — this year’s edition is slated for March 8-10. And finally, did you know that Peter “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow, pedal steel player for The Flying Burrito Brothers, was also a visual-effects artist and stop-motion animator who worked on “Gumby?” Neither did I.

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I edited in Apple’s GarageBand on a 2014 MacBook Pro, adding audio acquired through fair means and foul via Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack (no profit was taken in an admittedly casual approach to various copyrights). Speaking of which, the pedal steel riff that closes the episode is from Merle Haggard’s “White Line Fever,” as performed by The Flying Burrito Brothers on their eponymous 1971 album. The background music is “Trapped” from Zapsplat.com. And the rewind sound is courtesy of TasmanianPower at Freesound.org.

Route 66

February 9, 2018

Up in the air, Junior Birdman.

When it’s 66 degrees in February — 66! — you get the hell out of the house, chores be damned.

There was all manner of human-power transportation going on out there this afternoon. People cycling. People running. People walking. People walking dogs. Big people carrying little people.

You are cleared for landing on runway … well, actually, it’s a trail, but go ahead, put ‘er down.

And people flying. Not in airplanes, or like Superman, but still.

I noticed the hang gliders drifting around the Sandia foothills as I rolled away from El Rancho Pendejo, but soon got engrossed in my own little outing and forgot all about them until I was cresting a hill on the way home.

Zoom, there one was, right overhead, and if I’d had an actual camera with me instead of a phone, why, you’d be looking at a closeup of him right now.

Instead, you have to settle for this miserable phone shot of him preparing to land while his buddy continued to bank lazily overhead. I will never be smart.

But you knew that.

Stormy mental weather

February 28, 2017
Looks like I guessed wrong, weather-wise: I ran yesterday, which turned out to be an OK day for cycling. Today, however. ...

Looks like I guessed wrong, weather-wise: I ran yesterday, which turned out to be an OK day for cycling. Today, however. …

I’m not very interested in what I have to say lately.

There’s just something about February. It’s a short month, but marks the start of every-other-week columns and cartoons for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.

Too, the weather is often inhospitable, which can be a problem when shooting video for Adventure Cyclist.

And every so often we find ourselves adjusting to a New World Ordure, which can be irksome.

So, yeah. Apologies, but I’ve been taking a few continuing-education courses at good ol’ STFU.

While in residence I read a 1955 interview with James Thurber in The Paris Review. Thurber — an FBI target dubbed “prematurely anti-fascist” by Red-hunters — was discussing what he called “this fear and hysteria” of that period in American history and how it was affecting his writing:

“It’s hard to write humor in the mental weather we’ve had, and that’s likely to take you into reminiscence. Your heart isn’t in it to write anything funny.”

Speaking of stormy mental February weather, I see King Donald the Short-fingered is to address the multitudes this evening. P’raps instead of watching that excremental extravaganza we shall borrow a teenager from one of the neighbors, immerse ourselves in some novel off-the-cuff and inconsequential lies as a change of pace.

Or maybe we’ll re-read “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Is it March yet?

March 1, 2012
The Shadow knows

Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows. ...

February always gives me a case of the ass. The weather is generally unpleasant, my usual running and riding routes seem unsatisfactory, and it seems as though there’s always some indoor cycling involved. Blaugh.

But yesterday’s bonus day took some of the sting out of what had been a chilly, windy month.

 I got out for a two-hour ride that took in some streets, bike paths and trails I hadn’t ridden lately, and for a change I was actually overdressed — I could’ve done with knickers rather than leg warmers and quickly swapped full-finger gloves for the sawed-off variety.
Today I’m off to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, leaving Herself to hold down the fort. It’s just a short hop, more business than pleasure, so I’m not taking any cycling kit, just running stuff. There’s a park near the hotel, so maybe I can run on grass or dirt instead of concrete. My old knees complain bitterly when forced to run on manmade surfaces.
If I have a moment between chores I’ll pop up some pix and notes about the bikes I see. Keep in mind that I’ll be focusing on transportation, not toys. Any requests?
• Why I Loathe Air Travel (No. 1,296,593 In a Series): Being a professional paranoid who travels by air almost, um, never, I get to the Bibleburg Interfaith Interdimensional Airport way too early to catch the Vomit Comet to Denver. Naturally, the announcement that boarding will commence is followed almost immediately by the announcement that our plane is undergoing “a test flight” and that we will not be scurrying inboard for 40 minutes. Will I make my connecting flight to Sacramento? Someone ask Rick Santorum. He seems to have a pipeline to the Almighty.
• Why I Loathe Air Travel (No. 1,296,594 In a Series): Nope. In the words of Maxwell Smart, “Missed it by that much!” Now I get to enjoy three hours in Denver Faux Tipi Intertribal Airport while I wait for an alternative. Should I be concerned that it has begun snowing? Rick? Anyone? Looks like I picked the wrong day to quit sniffing glue. …
• Why I Loathe Air Travel (No. 1,296,595 In a Series): Oh, good, a bomb threat. No, seriously, a bomb threat, levied against an earlier flight to San Diego. The traffic controllers must be enjoying their work today, along with the gate agents who get to speak with all the happy people..