Posts Tagged ‘Voodoo Nakisi’

Trails, please, and hold the tears

January 19, 2022

The Duck! City as seen from just above the Embudo dam.

I’ve been in something of a metaphorical rut lately, bikewise, so today I thought I’d get in an actual rut as a change of pace.

The Voodoo Nakisi and I took the foothills trails south to the Hilldale Loop and back, and real, physical ruts there were aplenty. I hadn’t been down that way since November 2021, and it seems weather and traffic have done some remodeling in my absence.

Is that gravel or dirt? The UCI Gravel Committee is never around
when you really need it.

The weather was brisk, and there weren’t a lot of people out and about, which was fine. The trails and I were getting reacquainted, and we’re both old enough to do without chaperones. Nobody needs to see me busting a move, especially if it ends with a busted bone.

My attention has been known to wander, and occasionally I find myself riding the trail in my mind, not the one under my wheels. This caused me to perform a trick dismount once in Bibleburg’s Palmer Park, when the mental and physical trails differed by a couple crucial meters after some unheralded renovations by the trail fairies. The bike went down, but I did not.

Today I kept the pace moderate and the autopilot off, and my miscues left neither paint nor DNA behind. I have an appointment with the dermatologist coming up and I don’t need any quips about leaving skin removal to the professionals.

Speaking of getting skinned, here’s hoping that the Jan. 6 committee gets to hang a big, greasy, orange hide on its wall now that the Supremes have declined to pull The Very Stable Genius’s fat out of the fire he started.

Ordinarily I don’t approve of trophy hunting, but some heads just beg to be mounted. The National Archives taxidermist better have all of his shots and a hazmat suit.

Sea Notter

October 9, 2021

We have a sea, but it’s grass. No otters in sight.

I’m not at Sea Otter. Can you tell from the pic?

Being parked at home and mildly bored, I’ve been awarding various neglected bikes some outside time. The DBR Prevail TT, Soma Double Cross, Voodoo Nakisi, and Jones all have been granted furloughs from their hooks this month, while the New Albion Privateer takes a well-deserved break.

Today’s clouds: Not that ominous.

On Thursday I was riding the Nakisi, and not well. The trails are deep sand in some spots and gullied in others, the 700×43 Bruce Gordons were probably pumped up a tad too hard, and my mad skillz — well, the less said about them the better. I was dabbing everywhere.

So yesterday I took the Jones out for a spin on the same trails, and it was mucho bettero, as we say south of the border. Still rolling a wee bit overinflated, but since the tires were big ol’ 29×2.4 muthas at least I wasn’t embarrassing myself. Not much, anyway.

And there’s still quite an audience out there enjoying this fine fall weather instead of putting nose to grindstone for The Man. Hikers, joggers, dog-walkers, and cyclists, most of the latter astride your consarned dadblasted newfangled whizbangs with the 1x drivetrains, boingy bits front and rear, hydraulic discs, dropper posts, and what have you.

Cain’t even fit a proper water bottle in there anywheres. Gotta wear a backpack with a sack in it, suck on a hose like a deadbeat siphoning gas from a workin’ feller’s car.

Speaking of the ol’ suckee-suckee, the WaPo warns that fall might be turning a tad winterish for some of yis. Get the chimbley swept and keep your snow shovel and long johns where you can find ’em in the dark. Don’t want to be caught with your drawers down and your arse in the wind when Thor starts swinging his hammer.

Voodoo x 2

December 1, 2020

The Nakisi gets its closeup at Trail 366.

With the holiday in the rear view it seemed a fine time to do the Voodoo that I do … mmm, not so well sometimes.

On Monday I took the Voodoo Nakisi out for an airing on the Elena Gallegos trails and promptly stuffed it in a rocky section that a drunk monkey could ride on a unicycle.

The Wazoo takes five against a wall back at the Chuckle Hut.

No harm, no foul — there was a nice big round rock within reach of my left hand and so I never actually went down.

But still, damn.

Today it was the Voodoo Wazoo’s turn. We covered much of the same territory but without incident.

Well, almost without incident.

In the last 20 minutes of the ride I somehow managed to pick up a tiny cactus spine in the left bird finger, and it stung like a bee whenever I squeezed the brake lever. Probably a souvenir of yesterday’s miscue that hitched a ride on my glove. I didn’t have any tweezers on me, but I couldn’t see the tiny sonafabitch to grab it anyway.

At times like this a smart fella might question the viability of the rigid steel bike and the 42mm “fatties.”  But what the hell? They’ve gotten me this far. And anyway, you know what I say about the chances of me ever being smart.

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.

Trails and tribulations

August 14, 2019

The Paseo del Norte path, from just east of Rio Grande Boulevard.

Fine cycling weather around here lately, if you don’t mind hot and humid.

Yes, I said “humid.” For New Mexico, anyway. We’ve had a couple real frog-stranglers lately, the sort where you throw the doors and windows open to let the cool fresh air in, and then close them again a few minutes later because it’s coming down sideways and the furniture is getting power-washed.

Anyway, the idea in August is ride early to avoid heat stroke and/or hypothermia and (possibly) electrocution. That’s quite a list of things you don’t need. Throw in random gunfire and drunken drivers or some combination thereof and you can have yourself an honest-to-Dog life-changing experience on the ol’ two-wheeler.

The path alongside Jerry Cline Park, which leads to the Paseo de las Montañas trail.

The pix are from Sunday’s ride to the bosque and back via an oddly efficient hodgepodge of high-speed highway, rural roads, bike paths and multilane avenues. It being a weekend, I saw nearly as much dumbassery on the bike paths as on the mean streets, but that’s on me. I knew better, but I rode the bike paths anyway.

Yesterday was much nicer. All the dipshits were in their cars or cubes and I had a marvelous time herding a Soma Saga with a bike overnight’s worth of weight around and about. And up, too, because there’s a lot of that around here. I was a full three minutes slower than usual climbing Tramway with that weight. Three minutes! I could’ve been late for something! Happily, my schedule is a blank slate.

Today I finished renovating the Voodoo Nakisi. New Velocity Cliffhanger/LX wheelset from Rivendell, nine-speed cassette, chain, and chainrings (two of three); a brake swap (off with the old Cane Creek SCX-5’s, on with the even older Paul’s Neo-Retro and Touring cantis, outfitted with new Kool-Stop pads); and finally, a new front derailleur cable. Soon, the new front derailleur, but not right this moment.

From time to time I like to remind myself what a rotten mechanic I am by performing some simple chore slowly and badly, which helps me justify hauling another, more difficult project to the shop so the pros can handle it.

But I survived the test ride, which weakens my argument. The Comptroller of the Household is small but fierce.

The long-neglected Voodoo Nakisi, my go-to trails bike,
finally gets a little love.

Wind and water

March 29, 2019

Wisterical.

You know it’s spring in New Mexico when (a) you have to water the wisteria and (2) the wind is blowing about a jillion miles per hour.

Nonetheless, Ride Your Own Damn Bike™ continues with a vengeance. Since I ran out of review machinery I’ve been on the Voodoo Nakisi, Co-Motion Divide Rohloff, Nobilette, Bianchi Zurigo and Soma Double Cross (this last for a grocery run).

Today it was Sam Hillborne’s turn. Didn’t quite beat the wind home, but in New Mexico if you don’t ride in the wind, you’ll never leave home.

I suppose I should be following the adventures of Douche Baggins in “Lard of the Rings,” but I just can’t seem to warm up to Frodo’s ne’er-do-well cousin and his trouser stains from New Hobbiton. They make the Sackville-Bagginses look like the Kennedys.

Inspecting The Fleet

March 26, 2019

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff takes a break so a herd of young dudes can shred the gnar without rear-ending some poky senior citizen.

Being at liberty, more or less, with all my paying chores completed, I’m riding my way through The Fleet as something of a palate-cleanser. Sure beats riding a desk.

First up was the Voodoo Nakisi, which is overdue for an little love. Brake pads at the minimum; chainrings, chain, cassette, wheels and brake calipers at the maximum. The last two items I have on hand. Decisions, decisions. …

Unzip over to Voler to join the team! Use the Secret Code (OLDGUYS15) to get 15% off your purchase. And no, goddamnit, for the last time, it does not come with fries!

The Co-Motion Divide Rohloff has gotten out three times in the past week, and it needs tires. The old Geax AKA 29×2.0 rubber is not getting ’er done on the Duke City trails. They’re heavy and not particularly solid in the loose stuff, which in the absence of precipitation is pretty much everywhere, especially in the scary bits.

I saw a dude on a plus rig nearly slide right off the oh-shit side of a sketchy descent yesterday because he couldn’t find any traction. I like traction.

Today it’s the Bianchi Zurigo. This 55cm aluminum-and-carbon rig is a little small for me but I like it anyway. Or I did like it. It’s been a while since we’ve been out together.

Today’s high is supposed to hit the low 70s. I find that hard to believe. Still, I had to peel off the arm warmers yesterday and was wishing I’d worn shorts instead of knickers, so spring must finally be here.

Until it isn’t, of course. Never trust a sunny day.

Prime time is on trails, not TV

February 6, 2019

The February wind was making the clouds skate around all over the sky yesterday.

The State of the Union (El Rancho Pendejo Edition) is as follows:

Herself is now working 10 hours a day, four days a week, so as to have a three-day weekend each and every week.

I am working not quite so much, my career having developed a slow leak at the potholed intersection of Bicycle and Journalism.

Trail time: When the bike is leaning up against the rock I’m probably not going to fall off of it.

I have a cartoon to draw for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, and a review to finish for Adventure Cyclist, and beyond that it’s anybody’s guess. Terra incognita. Here be dragons. All hope abandon, ye who scribble here.

Speaking of hope abandoned, I can’t wait to see the ratings for last night’s comedy special from Capitol Hill. Knowing that Charlie Pierce would be on the case, we gave it a miss, reasoning that if we want to watch a loon pretending to be president we can always dredge up some old “SNL” footage of Chevy Chase playing Gerald Ford.

Instead we caught up on “Crashing,” the Pete Holmes thing on HBO. It’s only so-so — Marc Maron and Bill Burr are more my style, when ol’ Freckles isn’t raving about ball sports — but you get to see some funny cameos by twisted comics like Dave Attell and Jeff Ross.

Beforehand I engaged in wheel sport, taking a quick out-and-back spin on the Voodoo Nakisi, which has been neglected while I review the Jamis Aurora Elite. My mad trail skillz have atrophied, and I was dabbing on sections a fat 4-year-old could handle on a balance bike, but it sure beat working. It beat not working too.

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.

That Voodoo that I do

March 14, 2018

Remember the “Suburban Singletrack” video I posted a while back? This is a sequel of sorts that takes in some of the foothills trails south of Indian School Road. I threw in some northbound bits, too, including a rocky stretch that I usually reserve for running.

The Voodoo Nakisi taking a break before a fast downhill near the Elena Gallegos picnic area.

Different trails, different bike: Last time I rode the flat-bar, single-ring Voodoo Wazoo; this time it was the drop-bar, triple-ring Voodoo Nakisi.

What can I tell you? Sometimes it’s useful to have that 22×26 low end.

I’m particularly pleased to have been able to clean one sharp, rocky, left-hand hairpin that’s been confounding me regardless of the bike I’m riding. I’d been going wide, but turns out tight was right.

Who knew? Not me, brother. I’ve been dabbing on the sonofabitch for three years.

Next I’ll have to shoot some video of the Elena Gallegos trails, which I rode today. Those draw a bigger crowd. The trails, not the videos.