Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorable Day

The joy of three-day national holidaze; I can have a great weekend and still have a day to write about it and have more fun.
Yesterday I rolled off my porch (literally) and headed into downtown. First thing was a quick visit to an outdoor shop, and a new reservoir for my pack. From there I rolled down to the Santa Fe River (which was churning along nicely for a change)and what I lovingly refer to as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This is a cut in the vegetation on the flood-plain of the river, mostly used by old, homeless vets (hence the name). It parallels one of the more expensive shopping streets and is basically in the heart of downtown, making it doubly fun.
When the river trail ended I was back up on the Alameda and on around to Upper Canyon Road. This is a warm climb surrounded by centuries-old adobe's, many being refurbished. At the end of this road are a couple of trailheads; some for hikers only, some fair game for all. I went left on Cerro Gordo and picked up the Dale Ball Trails on it's eastern edge. This is the biggest little trail network around, weaving in and out of the city limits, rushing beside and around private homes. And it's about as much fun as is legal here.
One of the highlights of the system is the fact that every junction is marked with a number and a mini-map. Most of the junctions are merely two ways to get to the same place, but those two routes vary greatly. You can form odd loops, figure-8's, or "try to get them all in" rides. Sometimes you'll go down one fork only to turn around and do it again just to see what the other fork was like. The terrain is a typical "high sierra" mix of sandy soil and rock, slipping into near-alpine forest at times. It can be brutally hot on the open cuts, and chillingly cool in the shade.
The vegetation is almost entirely coniferous, so you don't get much color change through the year, but the shade stays the same. It also turns into a quagmire in the rain, so be warned.
I ended up doing a big sweeping loop, meeting back up with Cerro Gordo at a different trailhead. It was a mostly downhill ride into town, giving me a few moments to cool down before turning onto Delgado and dropping back into the river to finish the ride on the same track as I started. Locals and tourists alike were enjoying the river, and they all smiled as I flew past, my own smile glued to my face.
I finished the afternoon at NMAHA getting a deep-tissue massage. $25 dollars for an hour of muscular ecstasy can't be beat.

Oh, and I dare not forget to mention... five months without a cigarette today!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wheel Goes 'Round

There are a number of reasons why I am enjoying my "wee dip" back into the shop scene, the boys at Mellow Velo being several, the addition of Art - an exponent. But the customers are a kick in several directions. Many are new to me, just folks and tourists, but occasionally I'll hear something to the tune of, "JC? You came back to the bike industry?" That usually gets a shy shrug from me. Something to the tune of 'busted.' (For the record, I'm only a hanger-on that gets paid to stop drinking. Any skill-sets I still have are a bonus.)
Today was one of those flashbacks, as well as a reunion with a family from Skate School, and some of the random "past life experiences" that inevitably happen when I spend too much time in any bike shop here.

And then there was an attempt at "arté"...

Late edition edit:

Wester Ross Update

As I have Monday off, and 'the boys' have so kindly (and foolishly) decided to open, I will be resurrecting Wester Ross 035 JSC on Monday. My own stand, my tools, off the clock, but in the view of the populace and tourons...
What a classic commuter; a touring bike from another age, another generation. A machine already filled with history.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Spring Rain

The constant and continuous flow of intelligent prose is difficult for newspapers with one-hundred years experience, and far more overwhelming for a human with half that life, and a tenth of the journalistic experience. So yeah, it's been a while since I've updated.
When I rode every day, for every trip, I had tales. When I combined that with a full-time job in the 'industry' I had more tales. Now I'm a guy that's been off my bike for too long, with a real job, working one day a week at a shop. There will be tales, they'll just be further apart. Like last weekend when I had the keys to the shop...
But that's a different tale.

Lately, my life has been focused on the fact that I don't smoke cigarettes anymore. That has led to several epiphanies dealing with personal health. While these moments of auspicious glory are intense in their own right, they all help me come full-circle to the fact that my bike is the best thing that ever happened to me. A large part of my smoking history was 'on my bike'. I actually had a smoke at the top of climbs, during rest stops. It took me years to realize why my legs turned to stone after.
Now I have to relive some of those rides, do them (albeit weaker) without that chemical, shred the crap in my lungs. And enjoy some simple things; like a barbecue with fam this Saturday, a massage this Sunday, and a free Cowboy Junkies show next Sunday. At the Lensic, no less.
Now, if a certain little pvnp frame-builder would get her butt back home, life would improve exponentially.

As for future alley-cats; there is a map at Mellow Velo to stick pins into. The theory is "only in Santa Fe" and local weirdness is requested. Like an escalator that only goes up...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

In General...

For those of you under a rock somewhere, Issue #7 of Urban Velo is available. I mention it specifically because there is a Spokepunchers ad in it featuring a couple of prairie dogs.
"Yeah, so?"
Santa Fe is big on it's prairie dogs, or meeper's, as some of us call 'em. We relocate them before construction, we build them village's, we ship 'em off if no one has a spare acre (or 20). For many of us, they are the true sign that Winter has passed. They hibernate, so if you haven't heard "meep, meep, meep" as you're rolling past the park, you will see another snowfall, you will have a number of freezing mornings. That's important to two-wheeled folks, because we need to know when to change wardrobes. Okay, fine, we all need to know when to plant the 'shrooms and spinach.
I dig hearing them as I ride past, and meeping back at 'em.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

La Gazza Ladra

A few images of the latest project, the continued obsession...

So very fun to ride, a great way to get around Santa Fé.
One of these days I'll do a parts list here.