Monthly Archives: October 2014

Volcanoes

Purple Aster amongst desert brush aside Paseo de la Mesa Trail

Purple Aster amongst desert brush aside Paseo de la Mesa Trail

This afternoon we drove to Albuquerque’s west side and walked along the basalt escarpment and through Volcano Park in Petroglyph National Monument.  The Monument and West Mesa Open Space place limits on development not too far up from the river.  Out here on the high West Mesa in the wide open desert, the space and stark contrast to the forested mountains high above Albuquerque and lush riparian ecosystem within it are startling.  The earth opens to sky.

Sansai Photography at work in the field

Sansai Photography at work in the field

The Sandia ranging above Albuquerque and orange green band of the river running through it

The Sandia ranging above Albuquerque and orange green band of Bosque forest along the river running through it

the north shoulder of the Sandia opens to the big country rolling around the river

the north shoulder of the Sandia opens to the rift valley lands rolling off to the Jemez and Sangre de Cristos

big spaces seems to cover this country

big space seems to cover this country

Taos, New Mexico’s plateau lends a sense of enormous space, but here in Albuquerque the views are outstanding as well and surprisingly expansive.  There is nothing diminishing about this fine country.  It is an interesting endeavor to think of a comparable city life that fits into this landscape without constraining it.

Desert Views.  Nothing escapes from the sun out here.

Desert Views. Nothing escapes from the sun out here.

when you get out of the city here you really get out

When you get out of the city here you really get out.  This is an important element in the flavor of Albuquerque.

 

We walked on sand and cinder trails meandering between the volcanoes.  There are five volcanoes, tips of the subterranean fire

We walked on sand and cinder strewn trails meandering amongst volcanoes. There are five volcanoes, ancient tips telling of the subterranean fire

Volcano Park

Volcano Park

We took interstate 40 across town and exited on Atrisco Vista Boulevard to reach Volcano Park.  They have repaved Atrisco Vista Boulevard and included sweet bike lanes.  It would be a great place to come train on a time trial bike.  Maybe ride out here on Central Ave. or Rio Bravo Blvd.

 

patterns on the land

patterns on the land

trail

trail

rolling rock

rolling rock

rock gaurdians

rock guardians

mosaic

mosaic

Everything at Petroglyph closes at 5pm, so we had to hurry back to our car.  The National Park ranger was there locking the bathrooms and waiting for us to go.  We went a little further down the road to the paved Paseo de la Mesa Trail, which is City Open Space.  This would be a good place to observe a moon or sunrise, the stars, or the balloon fiesta.

2014.10.31 volcanoes 097

 

the desert vegetation likes the way cracks in pavement pool water

the desert vegetation likes the way cracks in pavement pool water and shade

opening up to big sky

opening up to big sky

Reno, Flagstaff, now here.  Wow!  As a kid in Maryland, then Ohio, then Upstate New York, I never would have imagined

Reno, Flagstaff, now here. Wow! As a kid in Maryland, then Ohio, then Upstate New York, I never would have imagined

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New Mexico Touring Society: Bike Club of the Month

Do every ride with the NM Touring Society and you’ll have bicycling chops like Michael Hedges has guitar playing chops on Aerial Boundaries .  The New Mexico Touring Society is my all time favorite cycling club.   I’ve been pouring over their “rides” page for years.   They have over one hundred routes and are fast updating it.   “No one can complain of lack of routes”.  Teachers need students, companies need customers, bicyclists need routes.  Places to ride!

The Freewheel, the NMTS monthly publication, is like the touring bicyclist’s localized New York Times.  This club does amazing things!  For one, they put on rides everyday.  They go to cool places like Tent Rocks, and have different strokes for different folks including this “get fitter faster” route through the fabulous foothills on Thursdays.  If you don’t want fitness being the main focus of your riding, they host three other rides every Thursday as well, some of which have the Flying Star eatery on the route itinerary, made famous for desserts.  Mostly they are just finding great pleasure in New Mexico’s wonderful network of roads and scenic attractions and exploring the intriguing New Mexican character wedded in the coming together of land and people through a long flowing history.  In NMTS I see very careful and generous hearted practitioners engaged in the art and science of bicycling.

In a recent newsletter I read they were cleaning up broken glass on Tramway Road just because they love that road.  The President’s Corner was a story about how a decent and kind motorist on the lookout helped save his buns when he misread a traffic signal.  Refreshing perspectives abound.  These are enthusiasts fast at work discovering and documenting how New Mexico is the bicycle touring capital of America the Beautiful.  These riders also nail the point that everyone can enjoy the ride and they’ll help you get started.  Start small, think big, build towards goals.  Thank you New Mexico Touring Society members for loving what you do, relishing where you’re at, and sharing it with the world.  This classy outfit is a rolling demonstration of what a powerful culture generator bicycling can be, rooted in patriotism, love of place shared.  What a joy exploring the world together on bicycles is.  Soak up the value intrinsic in this land and be a part of the good.  http://www.nmts.org/index.php

Tranquillo Pine

This song reminds me of the ride to a little neighborhood called Tranquillo Pine south of Tijeras, New Mexico.  Here’s a map with some options.  There are so many roads to explore best to get an exquisite muffin and coffee at the Pedaler’s Cafe, regroup, ride more!

Cedro Peak in the background.  The roads here make me smile.

Cedro Peak in the background

sunrise this morning (Tues. Oct 28), the day of this ride

sunrise the day of this ride from our neighborhood near Grant Park

2014.10.29 colors and South 14 Cedro 029

You don't want to miss these

You don’t want to miss these

I ran into a bunch of kids using the bike and pedestrian bridge at Tomasita Street over I-40.  Fun to see the next generation building the leg power.  I remember my bmx days.

Funny how we grow into those backpacks

Funny how we grow into those backpacks.  I-40 is just over the wall to the left.  The kids have just crossed over it.

The multi use path has access to adjacent neighborhoods and is very useful for many purposes.  Kids rock.

The multi use path has access to adjacent neighborhoods and is very useful for many purposes. Kids rock.

so this route begins on the I-40 trail, through Tijeras Canyon, then in Tijeras we'll make a right

so this route begins from Los Altos Park down the I-40 trail, through Tijeras Canyon, and here in Tijeras we’ll go right

Right in Tijeras takes you down South 14, otherwise known as Highway 337.  It climbs from Tijeras at 6,300′ to about 7,500′ in Tranquillo Pine, winding through a canyon along the way.  Nothing very steep.  There are many places for mountain biking along this route.  I’m looking for a nice trail over from Albuquerque, but it seems most people drive.  Kirtland Air Force Base has withdrawn most of the land on the west side of the Manzanos from public use.

If you're riding in this area stop by the Pedaler's Café just south of Tijeras.  Yes those are coffee cups inside bicycle cranks on the front windows.  They have more bike paraphernalia all over the tables in there, magazines, bikes for sale, etc.  You'll get a buzz just by walking into the place.  Go!

If you’re riding in this area stop by the Pedaler’s Café just south of Tijeras. Yes, those are coffee cups inside bicycle cranks on the front windows. They have more bike paraphernalia all over the tables in there, magazines, bikes for sale, etc. You’ll get a buzz just by walking into the place.  If you’re biking your metabolism needs a hit of sweet cake.  Yes.

here we go.  It takes less than two seconds to get out of town in Tijeras, New Mexico.  I like it.

It takes a few pedal strokes to get out of Tijeras, New Mexico although it is so small you don’t feel any need to get out.   

You climb out of the pinyon juniper woodlands into tall ponderosa forest

You climb out of the pinyon juniper woodlands into tall ponderosa forest

There was smoke from a burn when I reached Oak Creek so I turned around.  You can see the first hints of smoke in the distance in this photo

There was smoke from a burn when I reached Oak Flats Road so I turned around. You can see the first hints of smoke in the distance in this photo

Cedro Peak straight ahead and the Sandias further in the background

On the way back heading northbound on 337.  Cedro Peak straight ahead and the Sandias further in the background

The descent has spectacular views of Cedro Peak (nearest w/ antennas on top) and the distant Sandia range

The descent is engaging, you pedal, fly, corner, pedal, fly.  Playing with gravity.

2014.10.29 colors and South 14 Cedro 072

I love wide open roads where I can motor and soar

In many places along this road the hills were cut through to level the gradient.  It is undulating topography

In many places along this road the hills were cut through to level the gradient across undulating topography

Although you can’t tell from my pictures South 14 is a medium traffic road because it carries all the commuters who live in the eastern Manzano communities.  I wanted to search out a quieter road since I didn’t get to do the Oak Flat-Anaya loop because of smoke.  So I turned right on Juan Tomas Road.

no shoulder but no traffic.  none.  just me.

an intimate road with almost no traffic, just me today

laid back cruising

laid back cruising

I took the left on Cedro Peak road.  Although it is dirt Chris told me you can climb it on a road bike.  Well which was am I going to go but up

I took the left on Cedro Peak road.  Although it is dirt you can climb it on a road bike. I had to go explore it

I'd like to come out here with a cross/touring bike and ride more dirt roads

I’d like to come out here with a cross/touring bike and ride more dirt roads

I can’t say enough about what a joy it is to travel by bicycle to all these wonderful places.  I know folks feel intimidated by the exposure to weather, or are not sure you can do this.  Yes you can!  Check your preparations with cyclists friends and give it a whirl.  The rewards of exploring on a bicycle are immense and stay with you forever.  Worth the small cost of pushing your legs over the pedals.  Dinners taste better.  Rest is more settled.  And the fitness you gain.  Wow!

views I've never had before, here is Mosca Peak, I think.  Manzano range

views I’ve never had before, here is Mosca Peak and Guadalupe Peak, Manzano range.  Cibola Forest is huge.

there's Cedro Peak up and to the left.  The road is gated so I could not go all the way up.

there’s Cedro Peak up and to the left. The road is gated so I could not go all the way up.

descending back down to Tijeras and on home to Albuquerque

descending back down to Tijeras and on home to Albuquerque

I use my red flashing rear light when riding between light and shadow in the canyons.  Be safe.  Have fun.  Enjoy!

I use my red flashing rear light when riding between light and shadow in the canyons. Be safe. Have fun. Enjoy!

 

Sandia Crest

looking east from atop the Sandia Mtns at about 10,160 feet above sea level.  We'll go a little bit higher

looking east from atop the Sandia Mtns at about 10,160 feet above sea level. We’ll go a little bit higher

The Sandia Mountains rise abruptly on the eastern edge of town.  When you look up at the them it is hard to imagine you can ride your bike up there on a paved road that goes all the way to the top.  We live at about 5,300′ in Albuquerque and the Crest tops out at 10,600+ feet.  That’s a mile of climbing!  Here’s a map of the ride.  Here’s a song to go with the pictures and narrative.

The climb in earnest begins at the "Triangle" where the Crest Road begins from Hwy 14

The climb begins in earnest at the “Triangle” where the Crest Road begins from Hwy 14

 

The elevation at the bottom of the Crest road is 6,900'.

The elevation at the bottom of the Crest road is 6,900′.

Santa Claus delivered early presents for me this year including a repaving of the first six miles of this road this summer

Santa Claus delivered early presents for me this year including a repaving of the first six miles of this road this summer

This Crest road begins on the opposite side of the mountain from Albuquerque.  So to get here ride through Tijeras Canyon and either turn north on HWY 14, aka the Turquoise Trail, or there are some quieter routes weaving through the laid back tapestry of the east mountain communities.

The road is very quiet

The road is mostly silent today

after a few turnoffs for residential side roads the climb enters National Forest

there are a few residential side roads in the first mile then the climb enters National Forest

 

the line of the road begins fairly straight but soon becomes squiggly with hairpin turns and switchbacks, but nothing extreme

the line of the road begins straight but soon becomes squiggly with hairpin turns and switchbacks, but nothing extreme

I love feeling the resistance through the pedals as I climb a mountain road on a bicycle.  The world slows down but your body rhythms accelerate, your breathing, cooling systems, energy consumption.  The slow motion intensity brings a steady concentration.

2014.10.27 Sandia Crest climb 047

2014.10.27 Sandia Crest climb 052

2014.10.27 Sandia Crest climb 060

There’s a flat stretch after mile six where you can get some relief as you ride past the Sandia Ski Area.  That’s at 8,600′.  So you can kind of think of it as a two part climb.  Anything to help approach this gigantic beast!

this road is a work of art

this road is a work of art

2014.10.27 Sandia Crest climb 095

2014.10.27 Sandia Crest climb 101

There are trailheads for walks with great vistas.  Many bear, turkey, deer and animals all around in this forested highlands.  There used to be bighorn sheep, the Rocky Mountain kind.  Now I think the closest sheep live in the Manzanos to the south.

looking north you can see the Jemez Mtns., & the Sangre de Cristo Mtns. above Santa Fe

looking north you can see the Jemez Mtns., & the Sangre de Cristo Mtns. above Santa Fe

more climbing

more climbing

2014.10.27 Sandia Crest climb 112

It’s a new world up here.  You break out through the edges of the forest with great vistas to the desert and distance mesas and ranges.  The color of earth and sky and scent of the trees is amazing.  Invigorating.  Cleansing.  I feel incredibly alive when I’m climbing!

2014.10.27 Sandia Crest climb 115

there's an overlook at the top where you can survey the 360 degree panorama

there’s an overlook at the top where you can survey the 360 degree panorama

 

Albuquerque sits right next to the mountains.  Where we set our limits truly determines how we grow

Albuquerque sits right next to the mountains.  The transition areas and connectivity between are special.

When you get to the top you have done something today!  I keep meeting great people there and having fruitful exchanges.  Yesterday a gentlemen told me about the Seattle to Portland two day ride.  I’ve got to do it.  I told him about Albuquerque’s own Day of the Tread ride.  He’s going to do it.  The Crest road reminds me of Going to the Sun road in Glacier National Park.  Everyone is happy to be there because it is so obviously awesome.  We are all overcome in a way by this shared experience of being in such a marvelous place at this moment in time.  This road is special to me because it is right next to home and is a classic Southwestern US sky island type ecosystem with bands of colorful rock showing and that famous New Mexico blue sky glowing a deep penetrating blue.  The workout is fantastic.  Riding above 10,000′ is not easy.

looking south at the Manzano Mountains

looking south at the Manzano Mountains

2014.10.27 Sandia Crest climb 131

Peace

Walking Embudito Hills Park and beyond

Biking, walking, music.  These things make me recognize the heart of the day.  Meditate on matters.  Bring my thoughts to repose and stir new awakenings.  There are many beautiful turns in life.  Sometimes a tour down a trail can be a corollary for the larger journeys we are making.

Sunday evening we walked up into the foothills from Embudito Hills Park.  The texture of the land here is remarkable.

Sunday evening we walked up into the foothills from Embudito Hills Park. The texture of the land here is remarkable.

The San Francisco Peaks of Flagstaff are well beyond the visual horizon, but the San Mateo Mountains are beautiful and prominent here with an echo of space.

The San Francisco Peaks of Flagstaff are well beyond the visual horizon, but the San Mateo Mountains are beautiful and prominent here with an echo of space between us.

These mountains make me quiet with awe, peace, and solace, though they are distant from my sensory world like my ancestors.

These mountains make me quiet with awe and solace, like ancestors bearing ancient unwritten wisdom.

The stunning wildgrowth makes me pause, stop and wonder.  Listen.  I look once, I look again and I see more.  Sometimes this time of day gives us pause for concern but why else would we express it if not for an abiding warmth and appreciation of life.  Consider this passage by Cormac McCarthy:

“He rode on, the two horses following, riding doves up out of pools of standing water and the sun descending out of the dark discolored overcast to the west where its redness ran down the narrow band of sky above the mountains like blood falling through water and the desert fresh from the rain turning gold in the evening light and then deepening to dark, a slow inkening over of the bajada and the rising hills and the stark stone length of the cordilleras darkening far to the south in Mexico”.   P 286 All the Pretty Horses

We process what we know so we can move on.  We reconcile what we know with the mystery and do our best to make sense.  Most importantly we draw the inspiration to go onward carrying purpose.  The meaning we ourselves create, and it may be worth something.  Try it.

The mesa the Acoma people call home

The mesa the Acoma people call home is on the horizon and to the right tilting.  The light is good here.

Trees have an enduring presence and parent along many communities of smaller plants.

Trees have an enduring presence and parent along many communities of smaller plants.

Purple is the color of dignity and many people look wonderful wearing it.

Purple is the color of dignity and many people look wonderful wearing it.

We live a few miles from the foothills so we drove to get here.  I’m not an idealogue at all when it comes to transportation modes.  I use it all and think this is one of the great boons of our times.  The main thing I try to concentrate on is to not overdue any one thing and only spend my resources on what is truly important.  A walk on Sunday evening in the Sandia Foothills with Mai was the right thing to do.  I enjoy every moment.

Santa Fe Farmer’s Market: Food Traditions Reign

in the Galisteo River watershed between Albuquerque and Santa Fe

in the Galisteo River watershed between Albuquerque and Santa Fe

Mai and I ventured up the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market this Saturday morning on Interstate 25.  We came home the long way through the rolling terrain along the Galisteo River watershed.  It is one of the most spacious, imaginatively configured landscapes I’ve encountered.  Reality transfigured.

Mom, come visit!  Spend some time here.  It's wonderful.

there’s a humble majesty alive and well in New Mexico

A few people live out here but you'd want to keep a local life grounded in place.  I definitely will do some riding here.

A few people live out here but you’d want to keep a local life grounded in place. I definitely will do some riding here.

The food traditions in New Mexico run deep and there are so many cross cultural currents.  The vivid displays of food at the market reminded me of my first trip to Japan when Mai took me to the Kanazawa morning seafood market.  New Mexicans place supreme value on fresh food and try to eat directly from the local land.  It tastes amazingly good, and ties your spirit in with place.

2014.10.25 SF Farmer's Market, Galisteo 006

the market takes place at the train depot in Santa Fe, “the railyard”

the fragrance of roasting chili draws you in

the fragrance of roasting chili draws you in

everybody's food is unpacked from a pick up truck.  Wonder if anyone could bring their haul to market in a cargo trailer pulled by bike.  I'm for hire, the tractor guy

everybody’s food is unpacked from a pick up truck. Wonder if anyone could bring their haul to market in a cargo trailer pulled by bike. I’m for hire, the tractor guy

the Star G honey man from Mosquero has sweet stuff.  Mai sampled four flavors and bought the autumn mountain wildflower.  honey flavor depends in part on the flowers they are pollinating

the Star G honey man from Mosquero has sweet stuff. Mai sampled four flavors and bought the autumn mountain wildflower. honey flavor depends in part on the flowers they are pollinating

walking is the way at the Farmer's Market

walking is the way at the Farmer’s Market

What is land good for?  For one it provides the elemental fuel for all human activities.  It also provides a measure of our inheritance which seems not an entitlement we have the liberty to waste wantonly.  Different locales hold unique ecological stories.  Wild places can be visited and admired but if you try to own it or sell it that sometimes intangible integrity erodes or vanishes all together.  You can nurture life on the land and taste the land’s story through food!  I’m grateful there are many places that have good integrity to enhance strength in our bodies and exude tranquility to fortify our spirit and find our compass directions in life.

2014.10.25 SF Farmer's Market, Galisteo 061

 

Galisteo Basin trees

Galisteo Basin trees

let there be some heritage we may pass in with continuity to our children

this place is good

Around the Mountain

Sunday morning I met the Scalo Veloce bicycle team at Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters for a classic ride called around the mountain.  Here’s a map.  Here’s the soundtrack.  The ride circumnavigates the Sandia Mountains.  I first heard about this ride from Michael Hernandez while I lived in Reno, NV.  This ride is helping me put new roots down.

The North Diversion Trail is a multi use path that follows a water channel. Famous for great views during Balloon Fiesta

The North Diversion Trail is a multi use path that follows a water channel. Famous for great views during Balloon Fiesta

Chis and JP with Sandia Mountains above town

Chis and JP with Sandia Mountains above town

crossing the Rio Grande approaching the Sandia Pueblo lands where we'll turn north to Bernalillo

crossing the Rio Grande approaching the Sandia Pueblo lands where we’ll turn north to Bernalillo

The pace was relaxing as most folks oriented towards racing this time of year are doing the cyclocross series.

We are going around those mountains you see. Part of the traverse involves a dirt road

We are going around those mountains you see. Part of the traverse involves a dirt road

2014.10.26 around the mountain 025

2014.10.26 around the mountain 028

2014.10.26 around the mountain 029

The railroad tracks that carry the Railrunner, the commuter train between Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and the valley communities south, are adjacent to this roadway.  The Fall has been splendidly mild here.  What a great day today.

The Sandia Pueblo and Mountains highlighted by Sunday morning sun

The Sandia Pueblo and Mountains highlighted by Sunday morning sun

313 north to Bernalillo is a great bike road edged by farm and ranch land, views of the Sandia Mountains, and trees along the Rio Grande

313 north is enveloped by farm and ranch land, views of the Sandia Mountains, and trees along the Rio Grande

from Bernalillo we climbed up to Placitas

from Bernalillo we climbed up to Placitas

The Day of the Tread festivities–charitable bike rides, walks and runs–were happening today and we passed some of the riders along the route.  It is inspiring to see the community come together around activities that share in the spirit of celebrating life by creating new adventures, and helping others along the way.  The difference in the Scalo ride was once through Placitas and the paved road came to an end, we kept going on the dirt to traverse the mountain.  All the charity riders turned around, being perhaps more reasonable adventurers.  They were following their course, we were following ours.  It was fun to overlap a bit.

an old church on the scenic route through Placitas

an old church on the scenic route through Placitas

some steepness here

some steepness here

with climbing comes the views

with climbing comes the views

twisting around the north side of the Sandias

twisting around the north side of the Sandias

last stretch before the dirt. All the pavement here is buttery smooth

last stretch before the dirt. All the pavement here is buttery smooth

Las Huertas canyon is the secret way up the Sandia Mountains.  There is a cave with ancient history.  A stream.  Piñon and Juniper trees changing to Ponderosa then Spruce and Fir then back again in areas with high sun exposure.

2014.10.26 around the mountain 090

2014.10.26 around the mountain 098

Las Huertas connects to the main road up the Crest, which has just been repaved to the aki area

Las Huertas connects to the main road up the Crest, which has just been repaved to the ski area

We regrouped at the top of dirt climb.  It is funny how the suffering you endure on the climbing melts away on the summit.  The giddy feelings of accomplishment and a roaring descent turn the corners of the mouth up.  Going down the Crest road on new pavement towards Sandia Park is a blast.

2014.10.26 around the mountain 122

2014.10.26 around the mountain 126

2014.10.26 around the mountain 129

The Crest byway is a good road.  My favorite ride is up this and then down this.  Honestly if they allowed me to take the aerial tramway home at the top I wouldn’t necessarily bother all the time with the descent, especially in winter.  I like climbing!  After descending the Crest we meandered through the east mountains heading back south again before making a coffee stop at the Pedaler’s Café.  Home through Tijeras Canyon completed the loop around the mountain.

the east mountain landscape is a relaxed and approachable place, character also embodied by the people

the east mountain landscape is a relaxed and approachable place, a character embodied by the people

2014.10.26 around the mountain 182

Cedro Peak in the background

Cedro Peak in the background

2014.10.26 around the mountain 191

good ride today

good ride today