Sunday, September 28, 2008

tour de acoma

It's not often that we (1) skip church on a Sunday, (2) do an official, organized ride, or (3) drive to the start of a ride. We did all 3 on Sunday by riding the 50 mile route of the tour de acoma with a couple buddies from Abq and an out-of-town visitor new friend. The ride is special because it's the only time of the year that the roads through the Pueblo areas are open for bike riding Americanos.

We really liked how the ride was organized. There were lots of rest stop locations with water, bananas, oranges, and granola bars. At the end of the ride, a lovely lunch of bbq sandwiches (or a mystery wrap), baked beans, and potato salad was waiting for us. The food options are a great idea -- while riding, pretty much anything tastes good, so nothing special is needed. Then, why not celebrate the end with much yumminess.

There's one fairly steep 1/2 mile climb near the middle of the ride. At the top, some of the locals cheered everyone as they struggled up to the top. Classy!

Elton the Bostonian enjoying the mild, wild southwest.

Greg's loving the cushy ride of 650b tires.

Ryan don't need no lycra!

Jill likes the rock formations on the other side of the road more than these.

Your narrator's unintentional self-portrait that manages to also capture Elton on a borrowed, classy French bike.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Silva Sees Santa Fe

My friend Silva comes from Albania, lives in Illinois, and travels all over the world for her job. But I got to introduce her to New Mexico. She thinks she'll be coming back again. I hope so!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

the happy birthday headset

Sunday was my birthday. In fact, it was a special birthday because I was actually born on a Sunday. Fun quiz: how many times has my birthday been on Sunday (I'm now 33)?

Despite our somewhat nomadic lifestyle, we have managed to make some really great friends here in Abq. All these folks came to our apartment for my party. We ate chicken enchiladas made by Jill, Silva (more about her later), and me. Yummy! My cake was German chocolate, a personal tradition.
Numerous (at least 4) people have asked what I got for my birthday. 'A headset for my bike', I said. All asked, 'what's that?'. Well, if you count yourself with that lot, this nugget of knowledge is for you. A headset connects the fork to the frame and allows the fork to turn (that way you don't have to ride in a straight line forever). Here's what it looks like right out of the box. The blue rings are sealed bearings.

This is what the old headset looked like. It's the original that came with the bike in 1982.

1 1/2 hours later, here's what the HBH looked like on the bike. Shiny!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

more red meat!

We had physical exams recently, the first in a good while. The main result: the iron levels in our blood are low for both of us. Dr's advice: eat more red meat. How many 'muricans hear that from their doc?

Hmmmm. we like red meat, but we've been cutting back on it in the last few years. I guess we'll eat a little more now, but we'll poke around for some other sources too.

Other than that, we're pretty healthy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Introducing..... the Ute

I hope that our faithful readers have managed to survive the wait for this post. Here's the story.

Last Saturday after visiting Canyon Road, the fiesta, and Guadalajara Grill, we were rattling our brains for our next activity. A good default idea is to visit a bike shop. So off we went to Santa Fe Mountain Sports. They had a bunch of junk in the parking lot on sale, but amidst this stuff was a Kona Ute in the 18" size. I looked at it, Jill looked at it. I thought it would be fun to ride it so as to compare it to Moscaline's Surly Big Dummy.

Nice young shop worker says test ride is no problem and raises the saddle for me. The tires were almost flat and the saddle was still a little low, but I enjoyed very much. Shop guy pumped up the tires and lowered the saddle for Jill to ride. She enjoyed. After her ride, the shop guy says he can take 25% off the price. SOLD!

You may recall that we rode our bikes to SF, so getting it home is a challenge. Now if I were superdude, I could have loaded my bike on the Ute or vice versa. Instead, after riding home on Sunday, we drove back to the shop picked up the bike, and ate chile rellenos at Maria's. That was a better plan.

I've only ridden it a couple times in the neighborhood, a couple times with Jill sitting on the back. She's done some real errands with it. vSo far, we love it. It's surprisingly light, I guess because the frame is made of aluminum. The stock tires are FAT, 700C x 45mm. Nice and cushy! It's sized so that both of us can ride it despite our 9" height difference.

I would change a couple things about it. First, the max height of the saddle is about an inch or two shy of my preferred height because the frame is small. Also the seat tube angle is a fairly steep 74 degrees. And I don't like the disc brake in front.

There's still a few things to work out. We're looking around for a seat to strap to the rack, probably a stadium seat thing. Also we need to fabricate some footpegs for the rear passenger. But for now it's doing great carrying groceries and dropping stuff off at Goodwill.

The plan is that this bike will enable us to avoid using the car for grocery shopping and big errand running. We also hope to use it for transporting a young person, but much depends on what happens with our foster parenting plan.

Apologies for no action photos -- the days are getting shorter so fast.

Jill made a super yummy cake this week. It's tough for the two of us to eat the whole thing, so we invited our next door neighbor to eat a piece with us. Previously, we had only very brief conversations, so it was really nice to have a long talk. The next night, we took it over to the Polkadots and nearly finished it off.

Monday, September 8, 2008

anniversary ride to SF and back

Jill's mom and dad gave us, as they do each year, a weekend hotel stay for our anniversary. Also, as per usual, we delayed a good bit in booking it. This year, the plan was to ride from ABQ to Santa Fe on Friday and ride home on Sunday.

We've done this ride a couple of times, so we didn't stop to take pictures at the most beautiful places along the route. We wished our camera was at the ready when a bear passed us riding in the back of a truck -- it was stuffed!

The following picture did seem worth taking for some reason, showing that it's not all majestic mountains and evergreens between the two cities. But the plains don't last long before the mountains in the background must be ridden over.

The Lone Butte General Store (and gas station) is the last major milestone before reaching Santa Fe along route 14. It's also ingrained in my memory because I left my gloves on the planter behind our bikes on Friday. Not until about 3 miles north of the store did I realize it. There was no decision, we were 40ish miles into the ride and the gloves cost $9 and they were getting slightly worn. They were left for dead!

On our return trip, I looked everywhere in and around the planter for the gloves to no avail. But guess what. About 1/4 mile south of the store one lonely glove was lying on the shoulder. I stopped to pick it up, but its mate was no where to be found. For the rest of the ride I hopefully scanned the roads for the left glove so as to end my Michael Jackson glove wearing method. It was never found.

Back in the wild west days, this is where the bad people were kept. We the people built a new modernly institutional prison across the street. I think it would be more of an honor to be locked up at the old place, but maybe the cattle rustlers' ghosts keep the prisoners awake all night.
When you're in Santa Fe, what you do is that you eat good food. We ate at:
Tortilla Flats
IHOP (twice)
Guadalajara Grill
The Whole Hog Cafe
Maria's (best-in-the-world chile rellenos).
We had one more eventful activity in Santa Fe, but it will be reported in an upcoming post. How's that for a cliff hanger?

Monday, September 1, 2008

around the mountain

On Friday, we emailed our seemingly long-lost friend Ryan to see if he was up for a Saturday ride. He sure was, and he suggested that we ride around the mountain. This involves a flat 20 mile northward route before riding the 16 uphill miles to the Crest road just uphill of the base of the ski resort. The 16 miles is divided into an 8 mile paved section followed by 8 miles of unimproved mountain roadway. After all that climbing, it's almost all downhill. Yea!

This ride is rated 'difficult', meaning, you might be able to do it without any training but you won't be happy the whole time.
Unbeknownst to Ryan and Jill at the time, they were looking up at the entrance to Sandia Cave, hence the thoughtful pose.

From the city, the Crest looks like a wall without any other topological features. As the pic above shows, this is not the case. The crest is off to the left of the photo.

Road bikes on dirt still rock! The dirt road is generally smooth and hard packed, but there are a few sections with some deep washboard.
We planned to eat lunch here at the Lizard restaurant, but it was closed for the holiday weekend. So we had Sandia Crust pizza.
We experienced a rare treat returning to ABQ through Tijeras Canyon as the wind was actually at our backs. This is the case maybe 5% of the time. We rejoiced.

It's green chile season here. Jill and Chrissy went in together on a bag. Here's what we get after the roaster gets done with the burlap bag of fresh chiles.