Archive for the ‘Winter’ Category

Your snow of snows

February 13, 2014
The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque's Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail.

The Kona Sutra at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park, which sits right on the North Diversion Channel trail.

After a few too many days of my own personal Winter Olympics (ride, try not to fall on the ice; walk, try not to fall on the ice; stay indoors, try not to fall on the ice)  I had the Subaru serviced, packed it with cycling and journalism gear, and got the hell out of a house that was starting to feel a tad too small for optimal mental health.

It was strictly a professional decision, of course. I’m reviewing another bike, the Kona Sutra, and it’s hard to evaluate a road bike if you can’t see the road for all the lumpy ice piled on the sonofabitch.

I considered Arizona, but time is short, and so is money. So I roared down to Albuquerque, set up shop in a Hilton property using Herself’s accrued points, and got to riding sans neoprene.

I shouldn’t be crowing about the lack of snow in a state so short of water, but it feels downright heavenly to ride the Paseo del Bosque Trail in shorts and short sleeves. Plus I had a small combo plate at Mary & Tito’s Cafe last night, and you just can’t find that kind of grub in Bibleburg, not even if I’m in the kitchen.

Sid Caesar got out of town, too. But he’s never coming back, more’s the pity.

For whom the bell tolls

February 7, 2014
It was warmer today — but not that much warmer.

It was warmer today — but not that much warmer.

Finally, the temperature crept above zero, and then above freezing, and after I shipped my “Shop Talk” cartoon for the March 1 edition of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News I was able to sneak out for my first ride in the better part of quite some time that didn’t require pulling on enough neoprene to make wetsuits for every frogman in the Chinese navy.

First I took the Bootleg Hobo out and about with a GoPro on board, so I could get some winter footage for its video review, which Adventure Cyclist wants early next month.

Then I pulled the old mountain bike out of the garage again and rode over to Bear Creek Regional Park, where the Mad Dogs used to promote cyclo-cross races back when we were men instead of whatever it is that we are now.

There was still plenty of snow and ice on the ground, plus some slush to keep it company, and the trails were thick with feckin’ eejits who were either unable or unwilling to hear the crunch of fat tires on old snow, a bell rung thrice, and a cheery voice warning, “On your left!”

I startled the mortal shit out of at least two of ‘em when I passed. They jumped smack out of their shivering skins and left ‘em splayed on the ground like sex dolls awaiting inflation, their internal workings exposed to the elements. Stupidity should be painful.

Speaking of which, our local fish-wrapper, which is dead set on helping politicians, developers and other shameless hoors further enrich themselves at the taxpayers’ expense by elevating The Olympic Movement to cult status hereabouts, couldn’t even be bothered to localize an Associated Press story about a new national mountain-bike series that will finish right here in Bibleburg, home to (wait for it) The U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Cycling, in the U-nited States of America.

Nope, they’re too busy pimping the Winter Games, which is all the way around the damn’ world in Red Roosha, is what.

Shit, the lazy sonsabitches didn’t even fix the typos. Looks like we lost the Cold War after all.

Hello, trainer, my old friend. …

February 5, 2014
Calm down, all you ring-kissers. We don't have a new pope. That's just the furnace working overtime at Chez Dog.

Calm down, all you ring-kissers. We don’t have a new pope. That’s just the furnace working overtime at Chez Dog.

Whoo. Don’t think I’ll be riding the old bikey bike today. Not outdoors, anyway.

It’s 10:30 a.m. and the temperature has yet to creep above zero. In fact, it’s actually dropping. A short bout of snow-shoveling quickly sent me scuttling back indoors to climb into the oven with the broiler turned on. Now there’s a fine smell of sizzling fat in Chez Dog, as though someone were preparing a repast of pork roast wrapped in bacon.

Speaking of food, it seems a fine day to make a giant cauldron of beans in chipotle, whip up some Mexican rice, maybe toast a couple of chicken quesadillas, especially since none of this will require me to leave the house for any reason.

Even the Boo, who ordinarily is a great fan of cold weather, has taken to peeing on the deck rather than wading out into the frozen tundra to do his little bit of business. I’m surprised he hasn’t asked the cats for a loan of the litter box.

Champs and chumps

February 3, 2014

Yesterday’s world-championship duel between Zdenek Stybar and Sven Nys was one of the best I’ve ever seen. Much better than the heavily pimped, darkly comical, one-sided feetsball contest that took place later that day in East Rutherford, Noo Joisey (based on media reports; I didn’t watch the thing).

It’s a shame that Lars van der Haar had such bad luck on the big day. He and Stybar have enlivened the business-as-usual ‘cross circuit this season, and the World Cup champion deserved better than a sixth-place finish at worlds. So it goes.

My ‘cross bikes stayed in the garage yesterday as winter maintains its clutch on Dog Country and I have no excess income to redirect toward emergency rooms and physical therapists. Instead, I broke out the old mountain bike again and spent an enjoyable if difficult hour crunching through old snow.

The north-south creekside bike path is in pretty fair shape. But it must be the only one getting plowed lately, because the eastbound trail from Mark Dabling to Union was a rutted, boot-print-pocked mess. Middle-ring, big-cog, 7-mph stuff, is what. I carved untracked snow wherever I could find it, because riding that is smooth like butta.  But crunching through the used stuff involves something of an ass-kicking, even with a suspension fork and seat post.

No worries. I’m sure that once City for Champions becomes a reality instead of an old white land developer’s wet dream we’ll have gold-plated hybrid snowplows working the trails the way a crack whore does South Nevada Avenue. Until then, I plan to keep a shovel handy. And not just for snow, either.

Special delivery

January 23, 2014
There better be a check in the sonofabitch if I'm gonna go out to the mailbox.

There better be a check in the sonofabitch if I’m gonna go out to the mailbox.

Yow. Straight from Lycra to neoprene in one fell swoop.

It’s a bracing 12 degrees outside, and the few inches of snow were of the annoying variety — light enough to broom, but glazing slowly upward from sidewalk level, so I actually had to shovel for a change.

Well, we’ll take water in whichever form it chooses in these parts, as long as it arrives in reasonable quantities.

That means no more floods, please. Let’s stick to manmade disasters for a change, shall we?

Fenderhead

January 7, 2014
That old cyclo-crossin' gang of mine, following a 1990s race in Fort Collins.

That old cyclo-crossin’ gang of mine, following a 1990s race in Fort Collins.

A long time ago, in a peloton far, far away, when it got to be too cold or sloppy to train on the road bike one of the Dogs would invariably propose, “How’bout riding mountain bikes on the road?”

It makes sense, if you think about it. Big ol’ tires for traction. Closer to the ground for purposes of falling onto same. Lower average speed and thus less wind chill. Add fenders and you don’t even get the deadly Brown Stripe of Shame.

So that’s what I did today. Dug up a pair of strap-on, zip-tie Planet Bike fenders for the DBR ti’ and went out for my second mountain-bike ride of 2014. That’s about two more than I did in 2013*, and it’s only Jan. 7.

This also means that five — five! — of my bikes now sport fenders. A sixth has a set, but isn’t presently wearing them. And I have an extra pair in case I feel like going for Lucky No. 7. You can’t stop me!

And to think I once lived for cyclo-cross, the entire purpose of which is to get cold, wet and filthy dirty, all at the same time. How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!

*Purists will note that I rode a buttload of 29ers during 2013, but that doesn’t count. I’m talking 26-inch hardtail here. Who rides one of those in 2014? Besides me, that is?

Flower child

January 5, 2014
Meow, bitches.

Meow, bitches.

His August Majesty, the Emperor Turkus Jerkus I, Attacker of Feet, Drinker From Sinks, and Filler of Litterboxes, is currently posing for your edification and enlightenment via The TurkenCam®. That is all.

• Editor’s note: ‘Is Lordship has left the building.

The weather outside is frightful

January 4, 2014
"I'm ready for my closeup, Mister DeDogge. ..."

“I’m ready for my closeup, Mister DeDogge. …”

Well, it’s snowing, anyway. Nothing of back-East proportions, but still, it will affect a fella’s ability and/or desire to ride the ol’ bikey bike.

I just saw Dr. Schenkenstein go running past Chez Dog, and if that cyclo-crossin’ sonofabitch is afoot, it means I’m likely to be riding the trainer today.

In the meantime, while Mister Boo gets into character for another exciting edition of The BooCam®, you can get a glimpse of the first snow of the new year via the Mad Dog Media WeatherCam™.

• Editor’s note: The cam will be offline for a while as I try to hurt myself on a mountain bike in the snow.

Breaking news: It snows in winter

February 20, 2013
Boo and Herself

Banzai Buddy Boo and the Islamic terrorist holding him hostage.

Check this strange beverage that falls out from the sky, as Tom Waits once growled. Snow, and in winter, too. Who knew?

Mister Boo loves the stuff. Herself took him out for a quick trip around the block and “quick” is the operative word here. The Boo took four corners a sight faster than Davis Phinney ever did, and maybe Danica Patrick, too. His Nipponese ancestors must have hailed from the top of Mount Fuji. He looked like a bug-eyed little snowplow bounding up the sidewalk.

Not so Miss Mia Sopaipilla. The little minx slipped through the open door as I was taking a picture and instantly thought better of it, hanging a 180 and jetting back inside to criticize my weather-management skills.

Being a Russian blue, Mia’s family tree may be rooted in Stalingrad, or perhaps Siberia. But just ’cause you’re from there doesn’t mean you have to like it. You don’t see me hanging around Annapolis, after all.

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.


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