Snow on the Mountains….

….and snow in the desert.  In all the years we’ve been coming down to Tucson to ride with PAC Tour, this is the most snow we’ve seen.  We’ve had years when it has been cold; we’ve had years where we woke to a light dusting of snow on the palm trees; we’ve had years where we all shuttled due to cold; and last year we had snow in Tombstone, waited until it melted and then took the direct route over Mule Pass to Bisbee.

But in all those years, never have the mountains been so white and snow covered.  Unlike yesterday, most of the snow had melted and there the pavement was dry, but when we reached higher elevations there was some snow in amongst the mequite.

Ah, but the mountains….they were dressed in their finest. Sure, it was a bit nippy riding this morning, but to be out riding again (woot!), to say hi to all the catci, and to just take in the gorgeous views?!?!?!?  What was a little chill in the air?

Did you miss me?

OK…maybe that’s just a bit presumptuous, but what would you expect from a bike as beeeeeuuutttiful as me after such a long break?  Hmmmmm?   Surely you missed my wit, my unique perspective on the world?  What?  You didn’t?  Sigh….well…fine.  But, here I am and it is time to get this show back on the road.

So, when last I left you, dear reader, my human was just recovering from having its plumbing fixed.  But, we were getting some rides in Tucson….having fun with Moots and its human….and even managing at the end of the week to ride the whole day.  Yeeeehaw!

Once we got home and settled into a rhythm we even managed a weekend away (yay!) and I got me a nice new, titanium rear rack (not only light, but looked awesome).  Things were looking up….well…until June when they looked down.  Yep.  Crash.  The human was out riding with Galanas, they stopped to see a bike race and as they were leaving, the human crashed.  Yeah…you read that right…the human and Galanas were *not* racing, they were spectating and the human crashed.  What a klutz.  Dislocated elbow and a broken wrist.  Sigh……

So, yup.  That killed my summer.  Instead of riding down the road, I sat on a hook in the basement.  Blah….by the time the human could take me out, it was fall and…well….not much travelling for me.

But…today I am back in Tucson!  Woot!  I came down in the van with Susan and Beth (no horrible baggage handlers for me), but it was *cold*.  Yesterday it snowed.  4″ of snow.  But, it is Tucson so today it is mostly gone.  Lots of dripping water as the snow melts on the roof tops.  But the human brought me inside, put me back together and we went out for a stroll down the bike path.  Ahhhhh….to be riding again!

Should be a good week except…..alas, Moots will not be here.   Moots’ human is headed to the human mechanic to get a new pair of knees.  First one goes in next week.  We’re wishing all good things to Moots’ human…..just won’t be the same without them on the road, but it is good to know that after rehab and some hard work, they can be back with us next year.

We’re Baaaaccccckkkk!

After yesterday’s success up Mule Pass from the long side, the human decided it was time to just say the heck with it, let’s try to just ride.  After all, the human says that the core hasn’t rebelled in a couple of days — and we’ve been doing only the hilly segments to test things out.

So, today, we did 68 miles!  The full ride!  Woohoo!  OK, so maybe there was a teensy bit of a tailwind…ok…maybe just more than a teensy bit near the end…ok…so if you have to pedal *down* an 8% gradient, perhaps that is just a teensy bit more than a teensy tailwind, eh?  But we didn’t have that tailwind *all* day.  And it was really cold at the start (29F).

Sometimes we come to Desert Camp to play; sometimes we come to train.  But this year?  This year we definitely came to heal.  The human is now 8 weeks post surgery and it looks like we’re going to be having a busy summer, the human, Edwin (and his human) and I.  Yay!


My human made it up Mule Pass!   The long way up Mule Pass!  We’re back!  We’re riding!  Heck, we even passed someone on the climb!  Edwin and Moots weren’t quite as excited, but for me and my human this year?  Yay!

But, oh, what a pretty day.  Cold.  But pretty.  Even sleeping in and not starting until 10, we left at 35-ish F.  When we got near the top of Mule Pass, it was snowing and the trees had a dusting on them.  The view from the top overlooking Bisbee showed a lovely Christmas card view.  But, best was coming down into town where the trees with their snow dusting bent over the road.  Perhaps not the views we come down here to see, but pretty as can be, none the less.

So, tonight it gets down into the 20’s, but tomorrow during the day?  Back up to the 60’s.  Weird place this is, but now we’ve seen real snow in the desert.  And rode through it to talk about it.  Cool.


A Clyde Day

Why, oh, why did the human bring me down here?  Oh, sure, I’ve been getting to ride a little bit. And the weather, up until today has been lovely….blue skies, just a hint of green in the grasses.  But…today?  Today?

Today the human shouldn’t be riding me, a fine, pampered Waterford.  No, today, the human should be riding Clyde, the Commuter.  Now, Clyde is also a Waterford, but built tough — named an “An Urban Assault Vehicle” by the bike shop that built her.  She’s tough.  Hefty tubes to handle the bumps.  Powder coat paint to handle the stones thrown up from messy urban pavement.  Wider tires and this time of year studded tires.  And, today, we need those studded tires!

We’re currently in Tombstone. Kitchy town, but an amazing brewery where the humans stop first thing while us bikes chill in the courtyard.  The humans said this year’s selection was particularly tasty….what do I know, tho, about beer?  Neither cleans nor lubes my  chain!

So, the original game plan was an indirect route down one of the pretty roads here in southern Arizona.  But due to the lovely temperature of 37F and the white fluffy flakes of snow falling from the sky, we’re chilling indoors and will be heading directly to Bisbee up the long side of Mule Pass later this morning with the hopes that the snow has melted from the pass.

But, really, it is a Clyde day.  Clyde would laugh at this weather.  Not even think twice.  Just consider it another commute to the office.  Sigh…guess today will be a day where I learn a little empathy for my commuting bike sibling, eh?

Hello? Hello?

Can someone please come let me out?  I’m still in the back of the lunch trailer?  Hello?  Not much to do here after lunch has finished?  And it is going to get pretty cold tonight!  Hello!?!?!?

Well, I guess i can work on the post.  So, today, the human took me for a beeeeeauuuuutiiiifullll ride down Mission Road.  Pretty ride.  And I got to ride with Edwin and Moots — another Southern reunion.  We were also joined by Ti….no, don’t think another titanium.  Nope.  Another pretty steel bike.  We think the bike is a Waterford, but the bike’s human says no.  But…even has the same pretty steel fork.

Today turned out to be a very nice ride.  The human isn’t up to riding too far, but we did 20 miles and then helped up the lunch crew.  Wait…let me rephrase that…it would be “helped” as a 2 year old “helps”, but it is the thought that counts, I guess.  What it really amounted to was in I got locked into the trailer and the human tried to not add chopped fingers to the chopped salad.  Really not sure the human is much help, but Susan let’s her play.

But, while the human and I played crew, Edwin got to see a herd of javelinas.  All the years we’ve been coming down here and this was the first spotting of javalinas in the wild. Cool, eh?

…….whew….finally got out of that trailer (thank you, Lara!).  Even a bike wants to bask in a little post-ride sunshine.   Washed and in the room where it will be a bit warmer than the trailer.  Whew!

So, tomorrow, if all goes well, we’re going to sag to the first rest stop and ride into Patagonia.  Should be a pretty ride.  Keeping my spokes crossed that we get another lovely tailwind.

Boxed in!

Whew!  I made it into the box and I’m going to get to go to Tucson!  You just don’t know, dear reader, how excited that makes me this year.  What?  We do this every year this time, you say?  Yes, but….humans are so fragile.   Some humans think bikes are fragile, but, you know, there are some really old bikes out there still working just fine — look at any L’Eroica style event!  Steel bikes can last a really long time, but humans?  They last a while, but repairs can take so long.   Sigh….

So, you know all about that little episode with my human just before we were set to leave for the Southern crossing.  Galanas is still feeling bad, but nary a scratch on that bike despite the human cracking the helmet and sustaining a pelvic fracture.  In the end, I had to make the trip of shame back in a cardboard box while the human recovered.

Then, by the time human recovered, winter was approaching up here in the north.  The humans got some hiking in, but no riding for me.  So, life should have returned to normal for us, eh?  Blah….no.

Turns out, humans are fragile (I said that already, didn’t I?).  Well, and here I get a little fuzzy because humans are weirdly put together (not like a beautiful steel bicycle), so bear with me as I try to describe things in terms I can comprehend.  It turns out my human has bad genes.  Best as I can understand it, that would be to a bike like using defective steel for my frame tubes.  If my frame were made from bad steel, I could rust out; the human’s bad genes mean defective patches (I think they call them tumors) can show up in the human’s tubes even if they take care of themselves.

OK, now here’s where I get confused.  My frame is a simple, closed diamond frame — top tube, down tube, seat tube, stays and a fork.  Simple.  The human also has tube-ish things.  You know how the humans are always eating, right?  Well, that’s the start of their tubing.  They push food in one end, it travels through their plumbing, generating the fuel that gets us down the road and then finally it uh…errr…well, we won’t go there.  Fragile.  But, that’s the problem with my human…those bad genes caused a blemish spot on the plumbing and the human had to go to a specialized human mechanic to have it removed.

Here, again, this all doesn’t make a lot of sense to me…so to me a blemish is rust and it is just a little steel wool, some anti rust, maybe paint and I’m back on the road, no?  Well…fragile…fragile.  The human had to have a whole section of the plumbing removed and reconnected.  Really?  The human explained it to me as if we cut out 1/2 my down tube and 1/2 my top tube out and bent the pieces to reconnect.  Say, what?  That sounds terribly painful, not to mention disastrous for a bike, but that can work for humans?  Really?

But, here, apparently, is where humans have an advantage — they’re more malleable than bikes.  Painful and fatal as that sounds to a bike, the human is doing fine.  Sure, it was painful and the human had to stay at the shop for several days, but after several weeks now, the human is looking good again.  The human’s mechanic wrote a clean bill of health — no more of those rusty patches exist and they didn’t spread.  The mechanic said , “Get back to life.  Go ride those horses.”  Wait?  Horses?  Sigh..human mechanics… sigh…but I am a trusty steed, am I not?!?!?!?  Hmmm…maybe the mechanic was right.

So, the human and I are headed to Tucson.  The human is out of shape having only done light activity for quite a while.  In Tucson, we’ll ride one leg a day and play with Susan and the lunch crews for the rest of the time, all while Edwin and his human get to ride.  Weird, eh?  Edwin will ride and my human and I will do support?  Well, guess it is his turn.  Well deserved for him and his human, if you ask me.  They need the vacation more than us.











Yep, that is where I am.  Chicago with Frank Sinatra crooning, “Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin’ town…”   Uh….I know it is wrong to speak ill of the dead, but I think he got it wrong….pretty sure he wants to use “toodlin'”, not “toddlin'”.  ‘Cause every bike knows toddlin’ leads to fallin’, but toodlin’ gets you where you’re going.  And, you know, I’ve had enough falling lately, eh?

But, speaking of toddlin’, I hear the human is toddlin’ around pretty good these days.  The bad leg is taking about 1/2 body weight which means the human can stand upright without crutches.  Walking?  Blah….still needing both crutches to maneuver in order to distribute the rest of the weight.  So, still toddlin’.  But doing stairs and getting better at it.

Rumor has it, the human may try a coffee-shop “ride” this weekend.  No, no….not toodlin’ down to our favorite Black Canyon in Wales with me or Galanas…no, no, going to be a while before that happens again…sigh….  I mean, toddlin’ over to the local Collectivo with crutches.  Edwin’s human has been helping the human to do laps in the condo’s parking lot.  Gotta get in a few more laps before they hit the street, but Collectivo is the goal.  If not this weekend, next weekend, for sure.

Besides, a goal and some activity are necessary.  Not just for the human…but….you see, I’m a little concerned about…uh….the human’s….uh….errr….lack of activity and constant fuel intake.  You see, I’ve learned a thing or two about humans over the years….they need fuel (unlike me, where a little chain lube and grease and I’m good to go!).  Too little fuel and together we end up stalled on the side of the road; too much fuel….sigh….not a pretty site….I am *not* going to be hauling extra weight on my saddle next spring!  No sirree!

That human had darn well better learn to regulate fuel intake and figure out a way to get some activity over the next couple of weeks!  Or *I* will have to suffer the indignity in spring of dealing with an overweight *and* slow rider…grrrr.   As soon as I get back (Monday, I hear from the UPS people) and out of this box (yeah, NC Bob, I may have to get Edwin’s human to do it, ’cause I gotta get out of this box), I’m going to be kicking that human of mine…laps in the parking lot, chair yoga (yeah, that’s a thing, who’d’ve thunk?), anything to keep some level of fitness.  We have a date with Spring riding (and maybe PAC Tour Historic Towns in February) and the human is keeping it!

For my Southern pe’eps, today is their ride to Dog Beach to see the Pacific.  NOAA says cloudy and a chance of rain.  Oooo…hope that isn’t an omen and just Mother Nature getting it out of her system.  But, with Harvey and now Irma wreaking havoc….wishing the best for my pe’eps as I following them along their way.  Have fun, fellow bikes!  Carry your riders, well!



Well, That was Short

So, here I am sitting in the van on my way to San Diego, happily chit-chatting with several of the other bikes.  We’re having a great time and we’re all looking forward to our humans arriving on Friday to take us out for a ride (after all, comfy as the van is, the happy place for a bike is on the road, not in a van).

Anyway,  as happy as I was, I suddenly learned that as soon as we reach San Diego, I’m going into a cardboard box and getting shipped back to Milwaukee.  WTF?!?!?!  My human is out of service.

Turns out Galanas and Blue took the humans out for an easy spin on Sunday.  Emphasis on “easy.”  That meant flat bike trails, not the hilly road route the human and I normally take.  Should have been a no brainer, but…as Galanas and the human crossed a bridge on the bike trail, Blue threw Edwin’s human and then Galanas lost his footing and threw my human.  Both of the humans went down.

Now, Galanas is a bit more of a prima dona than me (would that be primo don?), but he’s still a steady bike.  So, what gives?  Apparently, shortly after the humans went down, a runner came by, stepped onto the bridge and slipped a little.  The surface of the bridge was covered with a very slippery moss.

Anyway, Edwin’s human was fine.  Just a little banged up so they went home to get the car.   My human couldn’t walk, let alone ride, maybe a broken hip.  So while they waited for Edwin’s human to get back, my human hobbled to the nearest street using Galanas as a crutch (oh, the indignity of a bicycle becoming a crutch — what we do in the service of our humans).

So, off to the emergency room they went.  Turns out it wasn’t the hip that was broken, but the pelvis that broke during the fall.  The human will be limited to “driving” crutches for the next couple of weeks while the fracture heals.  So, no Southern Transcontinental for me!  Bummer.

We were ready, too.  We’d addressed all the issues we’d had last time with better training — focusing on longer, back-to-back weekend rides interspersed with faster, shorter weekends, making sure we didn’t over train, and we even addressed and worked on desert hydration (gotta keep up the salt).  Heck, the human was even riding into work overdressed to try to convince the body that getting over-temped was “normal.”

But, now that I’m approaching San Diego, it is time to get back in a box (sigh), head home and put the human back together again.  Because if the human thinks this is the last attempt, the human has another thing coming.

Nothing Left to Do

And now the waiting begins.  We think we’re ready, but only time will tell.  Last long ride is done; last set of intervals accomplished.   Now, we wait and find out if it was sufficient.  Is the human ready?  Over trained?  Under trained?  Wrongly trained?  Ask us again in Ruidoso.

But, *I*’m ready.  I have new cables, a new chain and a new cassette.  My frame has been polished and everything lubed and oiled to perfection.  On Thursday, Edwin and I will go down to Sharon to get packed into the trailers and driven to San Diego.  Whole!  Not in a box!!!  We’re going to get to hang out with Route 66, and the bikes of some of our most favorite-est PAC Tour crew bikes for the drive.

And, we hear that there are also some bikes from Wisconsin and Illinois coming along.  It will be good to get to know them because…well…you know my human…slowest thing on 2 wheels….so we don’t get a lot of time to talk to other bikes as they whiz by us every morning (“Hey, good mooorrnnninngg… (woosh)”).  And, sigh…Moots isn’t coming this year….we’re really going to miss Moots and rider.  Sigh…just won’t be the same….

…but of course it won’t be the same.  It will be different.  New people, old people; new bikes, old bikes; new routes, old routes…..and, of course, Mother Nature will happily throw in new twists….rain when you don’t need it; headwinds when you’re tired…yeah, always different.

But, is the human engine ready?  Beats me.  This year, we trained differently.  More long weekends with longer rides (always 120-150 miles/day), but also more easy weekends to recuperate (hey, the human engine is getting old).  This pattern seemed to let us build up some good miles for the long weekends, but….when the human got hurt, we also found ourselves moving slower…(yep, apparently, slow can become slower…who’d’ve thunk?).

So for the last 6 weeks the human has been doing intervals.  We pulled back sooner on the long rides and focused on short intervals and shorter faster rides.  It seems to have worked and we’re toodling a little faster, but…you know, the thing about riding is that speed is relative.  One day it is hot, so your speed is down; another day you could be sluggish, but it is cool and the winds favorable and you ride faster.  So, are you really stronger on that second day?  How do you really know?

But the riding is over.  Last time we over trained; this time, I think we’re risking taking too much down time, but we’ll see.  Now it is just organizing and inventory.  GPS routes are generated and loaded. We have enough salty drink mix for several desert days….the human is not going to get chastised this year by Susan, “We don’t drink water in the desert!”  Ice sock packed and read.  Riding just enough to keep the legs fresh, but not tired.

And focusing on the first goal as put succinctly by the rider of that pretty Waterford from Indiana, “You just gotta get through the mountains of New Mexico.”  Yep…Ruidoso….ask me in Ruidoso and I’ll tell you if our training worked.