Posts Tagged ‘Palmer Park’

Cloud 9 (in a series)

May 24, 2014
We seem to be in something very much like a monsoon season all of a sudden, which unless you're being washed down Fountain Creek certainly beats being on fire.

We seem to be in something very much like a monsoon season all of a sudden, which unless you’re being washed down Fountain Creek certainly beats being on fire.

Why, yes, I think it might sprinkle a bit. Why do you ask?

And later, it did.

Free at last

April 22, 2014
My No. 2 Steelman Eurocross, a.k.a. Big Red.

My No. 2 Steelman Eurocross, a.k.a. Big Red.

It was Ride the Neglected Bike Day again yesterday. The office was feeling a bit cramped, what with all the computers, books, cartooning tools, audio-video equipment, and voices in my head, and having a bike clamped to a trainer in there — even if that bike was a Steelman Eurocross — didn’t exactly help matters.

So I liberated the Eurocross and myself from bondage. The tire pile in the garage included a serviceable pair of 700×35 Maxxis Razes, so I slapped ’em on and rolled over to Palmer Park to make a fool of myself on the single-track for a spell.

This is one of my old eight-speed racing bikes from back in the day, and like all the others it’s been through some changes, so I forget what I’ve got on it drivetrain-wise — seems likely it’s either 46/34 chainrings with a 12-26 cassette or 48/36 with a 12-28 — but you’d be surprised how well an old feller can go uphill on a bike that’s five or six pounds lighter than what he usually rides.

Today I was back on the Kona Sutra, which is next in line for an Adventure Cyclist video shoot — the old Quentin Ferrentino treatment, ho ho ho. The Sutra weighs 27.2 pounds without pedals, wears a pair of 700×32 Continental Contacts, and no, I did not ride it up any sketchy bits of single-track, thank you very much. Not even in the granny gear.

But I have some burly off-road rubber in that tire pile, and with the Sutra’s racks and fenders off I bet I can squeeze some fatties on, and then look out, Palmer Park. Bologna on a Kona, comin’ through!

An ill wind

March 30, 2014
The northwest side of the Cheyenne Trail in Palmer Park.

The northwest side of the Cheyenne Trail in Palmer Park.

Ah, jaysis. One of those forecasts. The devil must be eating beans again, because the wind is up, and it stinks.

After spending the morning working on various velo-projects and watching the trees prostrate themselves like monks before the altar I decided to leave all the bikes in the garage, no matter what class of tires they were wearing, and go for a 90-minute hike in Palmer Park.

Some dipshit lit the place up the other day, briefly, and with Beelzebub’s butt-trumpet blasting hell-farts hither and yon suddenly the Asplundh folks are in there turning foliage into sawdust. It’s either a fire-mitigation effort or a thinly disguised attempt to deny cover to those horny Bibleburgers who are either too free-spirited for a hotel or too cheap to rent a room, the park’s shadier nooks long having served as havens for spirited and unsanctioned rounds of Hide the Bishop.

There was none of that going on today — not that I saw, anyway — though I did spot what could have been a few post-coital cigarette butts along the way. There was, however, a veritable parade of mountain bikers disinclined to yield trail, unleashed dogs dropping deuces, and oblivious pedestrians.

One day these three factions will come together in some blind corner as yet uncleared by Asplundh and there will be a fine old donnybrook. I will sell tickets and use the proceeds to buy a house in some place where neither the wind nor the populace blows.

 

The last leaf on the tree

October 21, 2013
If we had a pumpkin, there'd be frost on it.

If we had a pumpkin, there’d be frost on it.

Those first few cold days sure get a fella’s attention, and not just due to shrinkage, either.

A spate of subfreezing temps pretty much wrote finis to our fall foliage display, carpeting the sidewalk with defunct leaves, reminding me of a Tom Waits song, and inspiring Field Marshal Turkish von Turkenstein (commander, 1st Feline Home Defense Regiment) to take up winter quarters in a subordinate’s lap. Miss Mia Sopaipilla likewise reopened her seasonal penthouse atop the fridge.

Unlike the cats, Mister Boo adores chilly weather. It makes a peppy puppy of the little one-eyed stinkbug, who in the heat of summertime is about as frisky as a union ditch-digger being paid by the hour.

Me, I stand firmly with the cats. I got my fill of cold-weather cycling during 10 years of racing cyclo-cross, and once I abandoned that foolishness I usually did without the pedaling on damp, cold days but kept the running bits. Turns out they’re easier without a bike. Who knew?

Alas, since my knees began grousing, the running is out, so it’s either ride the trainer (barf), go back to swimming (puke) or ride the damn’ bike regardless of the temperature. It’s what you call your basic “First World problem,” for sure.

The leaves dropped like flies, and walking the Boo made a fine rustling sound.

The leaves dropped like flies, and walking the Boo made a fine rustling sound.

And y’know what? It’s not so bad, riding on a cold day, a lesson I relearn every fall.

Yesterday I chose medium-heavy kit — wool socks, leg warmers, long-sleeved jersey and henley, long-fingered gloves and tuque — and spent a pleasant 90 minutes riding the Voodoo Nakisi in Palmer Park, inspecting a few trails I haven’t visited since monsoon season began. Some are in pretty poor repair, though the city and volunteers have been doing what they can to put them back in order.

Last night’s light rain probably helped make them a bit more rideable — it left a crust of ice on our deck but likely tamped down the loose sand that blankets the trails after every heavy storm.

I might just have to get back in there today. The best thing about a brisk fall Monday is that most of the other sluggardly fat bastards are either at work or sleeping off a 24-hour case of Bronco fever.

Hi-def’, where is thy sting?

October 8, 2013
I had a little fun shooting the video of the Jones bike. There's plenty of room for gadgetry on that 66cm H-bar; I was going to add a flower vase, but ran out of hose clamps.

I had a little fun shooting the video of the Jones bike. There’s plenty of room for gadgetry on that 66cm H-bar; I was going to add a flower vase, but ran out of hose clamps.

In comments, Patrick O’B. asks whether I’m having trouble deciding which bike to ride since adding a nifty Jones rigid-specific 29er to the Mad Dog fleet.

Nope.

I haven’t been on a bike of any type for a week — a terrorist wasp nailed me in my left ankle during a hike last Wednesday, the sonofabitch swelled up to the size and shade of a ruby-red Texas grapefruit (the ankle, not the terrorist wasp), and I have whiled away the hours since full of Benadryl and bad ideas, trying to get a metric shit-ton of work done with my shoeless left leg propped up on a box.

And the weather has been picture-postcard, Chamber of Commerce, fall-in-Colorado perfect, too.

Gah.

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff got its closeup today.

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff got its closeup today.

I did get out for a short while today. The ankle looks more or less like an ankle again, rather than a botulistic bratwurst, and I needed to shoot a bit of HD video for an online review of the Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, having just wrapped production on a Jones video. So I spazzed around in Palmer Park for an hour, playing Quentin Ferrentino with a couple of dusty old Hero 3 Black Editions.

The Adventure Cyclist gang and I met with the GoPro people at Interbike, but only editor Mike Deme walked away with one of the new Hero 3+ dinguses, though I thought I batted my eyelashes most fetchingly at the product guy. Bitch.

So I had to make do with obsolete technology in my latest projects, and as usual it is the little people — you, the viewing public — who must suffer.

Still, that makes two videos in two days. Stick that in your hobbit-pipe and smoke it, Peter Jackson.

Fryday

September 6, 2013
A section of the Edna Mae Bennet Trail, which leads to the Templeton Trail.

A section of the Edna Mae Bennet Trail, which leads to the Templeton Trail.

Man, it got hot again all of a sudden.

We went from a pleasantly damp monsoon season straight back into summer, no matter what the calendar says.

This is good news for Manitou Springs, whose residents get a chance to chisel all the dried mud out of their basements, autos, and nostrils, but it makes for some steamy afternoons here in the office, which sits on the hot end of the house.

A little rain might help keep me in that office, which is where I need to be, having a few deadlines to beat before toddling off to Interbike. But the rule is that when the sun shines, vigorous exercise shall be taken, and outdoors, too.

By the time that’s over and done with, I feel a tad fatigued for some reason and crave a frosty beverage, a nosh and perhaps a nap. Thus work suffers. No wonder the economy is in such a parlous state.

Looking upward from the Templeton Trail, just east of Union and Austin Bluffs.

Looking upward from the Templeton Trail, just east of Union and Austin Bluffs.

Lately I’ve been alternating rides with hikes, generally in Palmer Park. I used to run the trails there quite a bit, but the knees don’t seem interested in that sort of thing anymore. So I hike instead, which is an acceptable substitute. I seem to trip and fall down a good deal less, anyway.

And if you pick the right trail, you can get plenty of vertical gain, as you can see from the pix. I can’t believe we used to ride these things back in the day.

And when I say “we,” I mean, “somebody else.” I was walking them even then.

• Late update: Herself and I did our part to rein in the idiots this afternoon by voting not to recall state Sen. John Morse, who fell afoul of the gun nuts. Lord, single-issue fuckwits give me a brain cramp with their political temper tantrums. You don’t like the way the man works, vote him out in the next regularly scheduled election — that’s why we have ’em. These pissants remind me of a toddler screwing up his chubby little mug right before spitting out the creamed spinach.

Glory road

March 29, 2013
Voodoo child.

Voodoo child.

I didn’t get to ride my age this year. Not in miles, kilometers or even minutes.

In fact, the whole first quarter of 2013 has been a little sketchy, ride-wise, thanks to bugs, chores, the natural Irish predilection toward sloth blended with storytelling — say, did I ever tell you the one about the Mighty Dugan?

No, let’s not get started down that particular path. There be dragons.

But today, after wrapping up a bit of video for the folks at Adventure Cyclist, I straddled the Voodoo Nakisi and hit the trails in Palmer Park. It was a casual ride that lasted nearly two hours, which for me these days is something of an expedition.

The afternoon was 60-something and sunny, if a bit breezy, and I must have been just tired enough to not give a shit if I fell over, because I was easily cleaning obstacles that ordinarily confound me.

I stopped at one intersection to pull off the knee-warmers and up rolled a couple of young gents on double-boingers who likewise were having a fine day on two wheels. They professed to be astounded that a gentleman of my years would be riding a cyclo-cross bike on Palmer Park single-track, and I confessed that while it appeared to be your standard unsuspended steel drop-bar bike, it was in fact a stealth 29er with a triple ring and 700×43 tires and thus not so much of a much.

Did the wheels stand the strain? they asked. To be sure, I replied. Built by Brian Gravestock himself they were, using Mavic Open Pros from this millennium and Hügi mountain bike hubs from another. Brian says steel bikes are making a comeback, they confided. I agreed, and with that we went our separate ways.

Back at Chez Dog a neighbor’s landscaper said he’d seen me on the bike and that I looked “like a young man.” He was trying to sell me some yardwork — successfully, as luck would have it — and I forgave him the Good Friday falsehood.

Off the rails

March 18, 2013
Choo-choo.

Choo-choo.

Roads are for the weak.

What a fella wants after too many days spent indoors with runny snoot pressed to grindstone is not the sissified hiss of skinny tires on asphalt but the crunch of gravel under roughly shod wheels.

So Thursday and Friday I broke out one of my own bikes for a change — Old Reliable, the Voodoo Nakisi, with 700×43 Bruce Gordon Rock n’ Road tires — and rode around in Palmer Park, Bear Creek East and pretty much wherever else the cars weren’t.

On my way back to the ranch on Friday I took a side trip along a stretch of lightly used railroad tracks that not long ago bisected a small city of homeless camps. The “No Trespassing” signs are up now, in part to keep the street folks away and in part to save the unwary from getting carpet-bombed by road workers rebuilding a bridge overhead.

Naturally, being the sort who views “No” as encouragement, I pressed on regardless. I survived.

There’s snow in them thar hills

January 29, 2013
Snow? In January? who'da thunk it?

Snow? In January? who’da thunk it?

The weekend was a tad busy, and come Monday I had a minor case of the ass.

I wanted, needed, to go for a ride — especially since I have a couple of bikes that need reviewing in fairly short order — but my usual routes had become yawn-inducing, an affliction that surfaces from time to time, like malaria or herpes.

The weather had mostly been sunny and dry, so I decided to spend a couple hours dicking around on the trails in Palmer Park, and riding a fendered MonsterCrosser® on the bone-dry single-track proved a pleasant change of pace.

Good thing I got ’er done when I did, too. Because we awakened this morning to a heavy wet blanket of snow on the deck. Thus today’s exercise consisted mainly of upper-body work, to wit, shoveling.

I’m not complaining, though. This ongoing drought is no joke — come Thursday, we’re back to another stretch of sunny, windy and 50-something — and I fear for our silver maple, which shades my office window. It takes a lot of water to keep a big tree happy, and an inch or two of snow every couple of years won’t do the trick.

20 minutes of 24 hours

September 29, 2012
Rock out, man

Stoned again.

The 24 Hours of COS, a.k.a. USA Cycling’s 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championship, is going on as we speak in Palmer Park, so between paying chores I popped round for a peek, as I did last year.

And just like last year, the whole thing seemed rather underwhelming, spectacle-wise. Here’s one rider; there’s another. And another. And another.

No disrespect intended. It’s a race intended for participants, not spectators, and I’m sure things get much more interesting when the sun goes down and the wildlife comes out and that rocky stretch that seemed so eminently rideable just a dozen hours ago turns into a black-hole Stonehenge express elevator leading directly to Hell.

But in the daylight it had all the excitement of a strip-mall carnival’s merry-go-round.

It’s a shame nobody was passing out prizes for abusing yourself over a 24-hour period back in the Eighties. I’d have a walk-in closet full of stars-and-stripes jerseys.