Sunday, March 30, 2008

steepest in town

I had to get the bad taste out of my mouth after watching the last minute of the Davidson-Kansas basketball game. Here's what happened. Kansas by 2 has the ball-- no movement or smart passes, terrible 3 point shot that barely hit the rim. Davidson has the ball 15 seconds left. Jog up the court (??? why not hurry here?), double team, pass away from basket, fall away 30 foot shot that missed the rim. Game over.

So I decided to do a back-to-back comparison of the 2 steepest paved roads I know in ABQ. First up was Paseo del Puma. I rode the bottom third in a 36-24 gear, sitting down, the middle third in 36-27 sitting down, then stood for the last part (after the curve below) standing up in 36-27. The top part of the road is very steep, though it doesn't look bad in the photo.

After catching my breath, I headed to Deer Trail. I stood up for the entire hill in the 36-24 gear. What's great about this road is that one must be very careful when pulling up on the handlebars. The front wheel wants to jump off the road, giving that eerie feeling that I could fall backwards on my head. By leaning forward as far as possible, I was able to keep the wheel down up my way to the top. My unofficial opinion is that Deer Trail is steeper than the Puma. In the photo, the retainer wall bricks are about 9" tall, and they are level.

The time was about 6pm, and I was riding in shorts and short sleeves. I love spring!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Birth Days and Resurrection Day

Easter blessings to all, a little late. Thanks to Mrs. J for her timely post about Death and Resurrection .

I'm just back from a trip to Indiana and Michigan, where we celebrated Mom's birthday with family and friends.

I mostly socialized rather than taking pictures, but here's the next generation of cousins intent on getting the game right.

Just before Easter, our new nephew Enoch was born. His big brother doesn't know quite what to make of him yet. We're looking forward to seeing these boys and their mom and dad next week.

Chad's mom and dad were here for Resurrection Day weekend. We walked to the grocery store to buy our leg of lamb feast, and even did some arroyo-hiking.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A ride with some virtual friends

A group of us New Mexicans that participate in the i-BOB discussion group decided to meet in real life and go for a bike ride. We chose one of the windiest days you'll ever see to do so, which made it quite memorable. For example, follow the bounding tumbleweed. Also note the dust cloud that was heading our way.

Here's our band of merry men at the start of the ride. It's clear that we're at the start because Don is still with us. He was smart enough to foresee big trouble with the wind and turned around within 5 minutes. The rest of us plugged along 14 miles into the wind and sand and tumbleweeds before enjoying a very nice tailwind back.

Jaime and Ryan enjoying a reprieve from riding into the wind. I owe Ryan a huge favor. After the official ride, we rode up Tramway to my neighborhood together. My legs were cooked, so he was my windbreak for the southward part of tramway. Also, he didn't leave me behind on the climb. Thanks, Ryan.

Patrick demonstrates why it's best to not mention how long it has been since your last flat tire.

Dr. Moscaline won the award for largest distance traveled to do the ride, coming all the way from Los Alamos.

We saw camels and llamas, not at the zoo. I'll have to learn the story behind these animals on a future adventure.

Maybe the next NM i-BOB ride will be in Santa Fe. And maybe some womens like Jill will be there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Oswego Prefers . . .

"H. M. B. Oswego" is the christened name of an orange bicycle that was once baby blue. It's named after a town in northern Indiana where there's a great church called Calvary Baptist. The Oswego has definite opinions. It prefers to be equipped with fenders and a generator hub. It likes to climb hills in a really, really low gear. And it loves the Annapolis Tea Company at the corner of Candelaria and Menaul. This is not just a place for girls and their bikes. Boys and their bikes like it too. A boy I know pretty well says this place makes him loquacious.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Aint no reason

I have no musical talent and don't listen to music terribly often. I have had some friends that feel moved by various songs or musicians, but I have a hard time relating. The emotional, sensory brain just hasn't developed with the analytic part.

However, recently I was struck while listening to a song by Brett Dennen called 'Aint no reason'. I assumed that the singer was a woman because the singing is reminiscent of Tracy Chapman. Surprise, Brett is a red headed man!

The music sounds disjointed, and the lyrics are sung/wispered in a choppy manner, but they mesh well. It's feel is very sombre, but the lyrics are hopeful, longing for a better world.

Finally, Mr. Dennen is a true hippy. Free love and dope can stay in the past, but I can stand up for the notion that freedom comes not from our bombs and bullets but from love. You might not like him if you're a rightwingneoconfascistrepuliconeoliberalcorporatelovingdemocrat. But you're still alright with me.

Peace and love to all the sisters and brothers.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

On trails

After finding out that Jill and I ride bikes a whole lot, many locals ask us if we ride on the bike trails in town. To keep the response short, we just say, 'No because they very often intersect 6 lane roads far from any intersections.' This is true for the bike paths that travel in the east-west direction in Abq. Thankfully, the city puts signs at the bike path crossings so that car drivers expect cyclists and don't run them over, except when they do.

Well, on Saturday we met up with a group of friends to ride on the Bosque Trail which runs adjacent to the Rio Grande in the north-south direction. The start of the trail is at Alameda Rd, a very difficult place to get to using city roads on a bike. So we took the N Diversion Trail from Comanche and followed Ryan, who we unexpectedly met on the trail, along a very confusing route to the Bosque Trail.

At the rendezvous point, the three of us chatted with another lady and her son until the other two friends with a daughter showed up. Neither the son or daughter ride much, so the plan was to ride along the Bosque for a while and turn around. Well, those troopers made it approx 10 miles to the downtown Flying Star. After eating lunch and a chocolate croissant, Jill and I decided to ride home via city roads rather than ride with the gang back to their cars. Hopefully the kids made it all the way back. Moreso, I hope that they want to ride bikes again despite feeling tired and having sore tushkees. Before parting ways, we all rode to the El Rey Theatre to see the damage from a recent fire.

While riding home on a typical Jill and Chad road (either has a bike lane or very little traffic -- these roads are marked very nicely on the Abq bicycle map available at any bike shop for free), we discussed the difference between trails and city roads. Our friend A likes the trails because they're away from cars and the busy urban life. We dislike the trails for that very reason. When riding on roads, we can see interesting restaurants and stores and people just doing their normal business. We like to ride through neighborhoods to see the houses and discuss what we like about the neighborhoods. We have to be wary of cars, but the bike paths, especially on Saturdays scare us in a different way. People ride or walk at a wide range of speeds, from the Tour de MUT cycling heroes to women walking 3 abreast. I felt especially tense with the young people due to their lack of attentiveness and bike handling skills as we passed walkers or heroes raced at us in the opposite direction. Finally, the trails tend to follow crooked arroyos or rivers and don't provide many landmarks to denote location.

And that's the long answer to why we don't ride on trails. You are free to disagree, as long as you ride a bike too!

P.S. I meant to bring the camera, but didn't [UPDATE: photo above taken by Ryan on the Bosque. Good looking group, I say]. Here's the arroyo just west of our apartment with atypical unpaved path alongside it.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

35 degree swings

Sometimes it's just too fun to live in the high desert. Today, the temperature when I left this morning was about 25 degrees. On the ride home, it was 60. It's hard to dress for that!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Fed's money

Yea! I just finished doing our taxes all by myself. Jill provided the moral support. They were made more difficult because our townhouse in Los Alamos went from 'home' to real estate investment last year. Fun fact: our townhouse will be worth nothing in 29.5 years, but the land won't depreciate at all.

Speaking of money and the Feds, Jill and I have been trying to figure out what to do with our 'rebate' coming soon from them. My feelings about the rebate are pretty much inline with Tarik's (see latest Moscaline post, but only if you don't mind reading potty words). That is, the government shouldn't give away money that it does not have. We've come to the conclusion that we don't want the rebate and are looking for a good cause. Jill nixed my idea of burning the check Yippie-style outside the capital building in Santa Fe. Anyone have any good ideas?

This was a strange weekend. Yesterday's high was 66 degrees, and I wore shorts for the first time this year. Today, the ride to church was balmy, and then we almost froze solid on the ride home. An inch of snow is forecast for tonight.

We watched our buddy C's soccer team win 1-0 on the very lovely Sat afternoon. No one is wearing shorts today.

Bike news: I rode to Oak Flats and back yesterday at a moderately fast pace. I'm feeling pretty good about my fitness. After many more long rides and Reaper Rides, I'll be ready to finish mid-pack at some upcoming races. I also changed my saddle on the commuter/ sport tourer / fun bike back to my old Brooks Professional. It was originally a present to myself for passing the preliminary exam in grad school. Since then, I've had a love/hate relationship with it. The main problem is pushing it far enough back to be comfortable. My Bianchi seatpost allows a whopping 1/4" more setback than my other post, so it might stay awhile. That means, for now, I'll be riding in style.

Finally, I felt like quitting my job on Thursday. For now, I'm glad that I didn't.