Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Packing & A Ride

Yesterday, I spent the day sorting a packing for my return trip. Was thinking of riding in the foothills. Looked like some snow might falling up there. I had enough work to do, anyway.

Today, I continued preparations to drive home. Cousin Don and I planned a bike ride this afternoon. We met at the Bosque parking lot on Montano. When we started out from the parking lot, my heart monitor was indicating I was in A-Fib. Stopped to relax, and things stabilized and I was back in normal rhythm.

We headed over the Rio Grande and turned North riding up to Alameda. From there, turned back South, riding to I-40. There, another rider agreed to take our photo on my camera. That photo is here in this posting.

Trunk is packed. Will load the bikes and the rest of the car early in the morning. Planning to be home Thursday afternoon.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jemez Mountains

Sunday was a great day to play "tourist". Was up and out of the motel before 7am. Gassed the car and headed North. I had planned out a route up to the Jemez Mountains to Bandelier National Monument and the Bradbury Museum (Los Alamos National Laboratory).

From Albuquerque up to San Ysidro. As I approached San Ysidro, I noticed a sign pointing Bike Trails. I did not take the time to check them out - believing these are the "White Mesa" mountain bike trails.

Was going to stop at the Jemez State Monument but it was closed (likely too early). Took a couple photos along Route 4. When you drive the canyon, stop by "Soda Dam" and "Battleship Rock".

I think the road to Jemez Falls was closed. In the summer or fall I would like to make that little hike.

Highway 4 brings you right along the Valles Caldera National Preserve. I stopped to take some photos. Then saw the road to the open Visitor's Center and Gift Shop. Visited there and made a couple purchases. (Even got a semi-offer to be a volunteer there in the summer.) Visitor's Center is open Fri-Sun through March and opens again near the end of May.

Valles Caldera was formed by a super volcano. The caldera is HUGH! The first photo on today's posting is a panoramic shot of the caldera from Rt 4.

Next stop was Bandelier National Monument. After the 13 degree temperature up in the mountains, it was comfortable down in the Frijoles Canyon. During the hike to view the ruins, I even had to remove my jacket!

Walked the Main Loop Trail. The first loop up to the cliff dwellings can be a bit strenuous. There are also some ladders where you can climb up into those dwellings. The lower section of the Main Loop was icy - the park recommends returning back to the Visitor's Center the way we came.

From Bandelier, I was going to find a place to eat in White Rock. In no time, i was through that town on and the way to Los Alamos. In town I quickly found the Bradbury Science Museum - my destination.

The free museum is a part of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It chronicles the birth of the Atomic Age and the town of Los Alamos. The Laboratory is doing considerable work making sure the US strategic nuclear weapons are still functional.

All-in-all, the Bradbury was a bit disappointing. The town of Los Alamos lay-out is unusual (for me). It is built on a mesa, with canyons cutting through. Bridges span the canyons to connect the sections of the mesa.

Saturday on the Bosque

Yes, I have been a little lax about blogging. Catching up today.

Saturday I just needed to ride miles. Didn't want to have to climb back to the motel, so put the hybrid on the car and drove to the Alameda parking lot. Lots of folks along the Bosque - bikers, walkers, bladers, and horses on Paseo del Bosque Recreational Trail.

Headed South from Alameda. The weather was a little cool as it was a little cloudy. I was mostly comfortable in shorts, under-layer, jersey, and jacket. When I got to I-40, the trail was closed. A longer closed section that earlier in the week. Today's photo is the trail detour and re-surfacing un I-40.
Headed back to Alameda. Took a couple HDR shots on the trail.

Dinner at Applebees with Cousin Don.

A-Fib and Dirt

Thursday evening I attended the FooMtB.org winter meeting. This is the local mountain bike trail group. Met several of the members and was welcomed to the area.

With dirt trails on my mind, Friday I planned to check out the dirt trails along the Rio Grande River. Got the bike off the car and headed out from Alameda Open Spaces parking lot. Turned on my heart monitor - it was going crazy.

Back to the car to take my 1pm pill (a little early). Started again. Rode over the the West side of the river. Dropped down along the river North, could not find the trail - just a lot of branches and bark. Back on the east side, I found the trail South. Heart not behaving right so called it quite.

Now the fun began. Called my doctor's office (back in Omaha). The nurse said I should get to to a facility that can check me out. Found an urgent care facility one exit down the highway.

Called the facility to make sure they take my insurance. The thought so, but I should verify with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Called BC/BS could not figure out it i would be covered. Decided to go to the facility. Drove down there only to find out they are not in my "network".

But, they told me just beck up the highway there is a facility that does. I ended up at ABQ Health Partners. They took me quickly. By the time I was there, interviewed, and EKG taken, everything was "normal". Well - the A-fab was gone, but my heart rate was high.

The doc told me to take a extra dose of my heart rhythm med. When i got up Saturday morning, the heart rate was back to MY normal.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Petroglyph National Monument - Take 2

I was going to Los Alamos today. But, last I got a phone call from my fraternity brother in the area. The only time we could get together would be lunch today.

I rode a little up the local trail to see if I should ride my bike to lunch. While it was only 1/2 a mile, I decided to bring the car. Still got in a short ride - just over 2 miles.

Met Craig and had nice conversation over lunch.

So, what to do the rest of the day? Figured might as well go to Petroglyph National Monument. Toured the Boca Negra Canyon area. This day use area carries a fee ($1 week days, $2 weekends). But, I have a National Parks Senior Pass - from what I can read on the sign, I did not have to pay.

The first trail was the Mesa Point Trail. This trail climbs the lava flow. Many petroglyphs to view. The decent is a bit unnerving. The photo above is take from up on the flow and looking down at the trail and parking lot.

On over to the Macaw Trail - a short trail out from the restroom area. The last trail was the Cliff Base Trail which also starts at the restroom area. Shot another lot of HDR photos of the petroglyphs.

Was clouding over, so a little chilly. Headed back to the motel to relax before the FooMTB trail group meeting this evening.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nuclear Museum

Last night, I wend out for a light dinner. Maybe some of my problems yesterday was the only food I had earlier was an apple. Relaxed and stay in bed this morning until about 8am (except for a short chat).

More of the recovery was to walk the couple blocks to Jimmy's Cafe for a late breakfast. Good food and service. Reasonable prices (actually inexpensive for Albuquerque).

Made plans for an errand trip - in the car. Barnes & Noble for my magazines, Camera shop for a lens cap, and while in that part of town - a museum.

Went to The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History. The museum tells the story of the Atomic Age. There are exhibits about the early days of the Manhattan Project, nuclear power, nuclear medicine, weaponry, ans flight line exhibits.

Today's photo: How many are old enough to remember use of these machines? When I was a kid, all shoe stores had one of these machines. Do you know what it is?

Monday, January 17, 2011


Today was the perfect day to ride some SINGLETRACK! Got the trail bike prepped, loaded the hydration pack, bike on the rack, and headed to the trails. Stopped a Fat Tire Cycles to verify where I should ride - the easiest trails in the area. My destination was the Elena Gallegos Open Space and the Sandia Foothills.

I mention it was a perfect day -- When I left the room down in the valley, it was in the 50s and bright sunshine. A bit cooler up at the trails area. And a bit windy. Not complaining of the wind, some areas of New Mexico were to get 30-50 mph winds.

I parked at the Michial Emery Trailhead. Luckily there was a couple parking spots open. From the trailhead I headed for Trail 365. Was having a little problem getting back into the swing of singletrack on the trail bike.

Rode Trail 365 north to the road into the picnic area. Some spots were a little above my abilities - these I walked. Things went down the tubes after the road - steeper climbs, more rocks, and rougher descents.

The altitude was starting to get me. I had been stopping lots to catch my breath. Sucked on a shot blok and drank some G2 (in addition to the normal water). With all that, I still got a little sick.

Got to the pavement. From there I was feeling better. Found the trailhead and rode Trail 366 to head back to the car. That trail ended at Trail 365. Decided to take a shorter, narrow trail off of Trail 365 back to the car.

While I only rode 4.8 miles and 1 hour of riding time, I was out for over 2 hours. Exhausted, but it felt good.

It might be a good idea that I take a day off tomorrow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Paseo del Bosque Recreational Trail

For today's ride, I wanted to ride the Bosque. Plans were to ride South past Central. I did not ride that section in 2009 when I was here. And, I did not want to have to climb back up from the river to my motel. So, loaded the bike on the car and drove to the parking lot near Montano and Coors.

Rode East to and over the river and headed South. I was able to ride as far as Mountain. At that point the trail was closed. Another rider cam back up the closed section and reported that is it dirt surface. htat would not have problems except that I was riding my hybrid with skinny tires.

Followed the detours though neighborhood streets, which took me to Central at the river. i figured, "Great" from here I can ride on south on the river trail. No deal. The trail was closed (pavement removed) south from Central.

So, Rode back north on the Bosque. At I-40, i noticed a bridge along the Interstate crossing the Rio Grande. Its a nice bridge. Took several photos. Maybe it will end up on a future calendar.

Back over the river to the Bosque, and rode that trail up to Alameda (where the trail ends). I forgot how far it was from Paseo del Norte to Montano. I had consumed by bottle of G2, and had some water left. Sucked on a shot blok from Alameda to the car.

A good ride - just over 21 miles. Today's photo is on the Paseo del Bosque north of Montano.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Petroglyph National Monument

After the ride i had yesterday, I needed a day off the bike. After breakfast (Denny's on San Antonio and I-25 - food was cool, particularly the sausage), and a couple tasks in the room, I headed for Petroglyph National Monument. Sounded like a good day to walk some trails.

Stopped at the Visitor's Center for info. From the Visitor's Center it was a mile drive down to Rinconada Canyon. The hike up the canyon is 1 1/4 miles one way. Take your time and look around, The pamphlet about the canyon highlights some of the petroglyphs. There are many more. If you just look for the highlighted one, you will miss a lot.

There is a easier way back - down almost the center of the canyon. Not as much climbing on that trail.

Still have some time and hiking legs left - so decided to drive up to Piedras Marcadas Canyon. This is the northern most section of the Park. The hiking trail is a little over 1/2 mile.

This canyon has many more petroglyphs. But, they are a bit further away from the trail. Many of the photos I took on this trail were taken using the telephoto zoom. That introduced in some movement while shooting the 3 HDR exposures. It looks that came out pretty good, but I would like to hike that trail again with my tripod.

Anticipating that I may come back to that trail, I turned around, heading back to the car, before I reached the last numbered (highlighted) petroglyph.

Back at the motel - soon to plan this evening's activities. Today's photo is a petroglyph in Rinconada Canyon.

Friday, January 14, 2011

RIP David Anderson

About noon, I headed out for my first bicycle tour of Albuquerque. I had mapped out the route using google maps - bicycle option. Brought one side pannier and the center bag for the rack. With the D-SLR camera, I needed to bring the additional carrying capacity.

As soon as I started out, I had problems with the pannier staying solid on the bike. One clip kept "unclipping". A couple times the bag completely dropped off the bike. Glad there was nothing breakable that I was carrying. I noticed that my right foot would hit the pannier. Eventually, moved the clip location on the rack - seems to have done the trick.

First stop was the Paseo del Norte Rail Runner station. From the I rode toward the Paseo del Bosque trail. Before I got to the Bosque, I came across the ghost bike for David Anderson. I tried to find information about David - no luck. Today's photo is of the ghost bike and memorial along the Paseo del Norte trail.

I exited the Bosque at Mountain Bike Blvd. Destination - Old Town Albuquerque. Found the visitors information office. Picked up more info there.

Last stop was Fat Tire Cycles. Visited there and picked up a couple small lights and shot bloks. At this time I needed a break from the ride. Most of the way back toward the motel, I was riding into a North wind. Grabbed the shot bloks and mopped one in my mouth for some energy.

On the last leg of my tour I saw an Office Depot. Rode other there and bought some printer paper. On up to the motel.

By the time I got to the motel, I was exhausted. A little over 24 miles and 2:40 riding time. Good ride, except for riding into the wind on the way "home".

I almost forgot to comment about the temperature. Sunny and upper 40s or lower 50s during the ride. (Official high was 51). When I got ready to ride I dressed in my cycling shorts, walking shorts, long-sleeve base layer, t-shirt, and wind-breaker. Before I left, I removed the base layer shirt. Most local riders were in tights. Some in heavy coats. Even saw on rider covering his face with a baklava! When almost back to the motel I saw my first rider in shorts.

Trip to Albuquerque

It was a tiring 2 day drive to Albuquerque. But I made it! Wednesday morning it was +1 in Omaha. The temperatures sloooowly climbed: 5 in KC at 10:30, 10 in Emporia at noon, 20 about OKC. Spent the night in Elk City. Highest temp On that day's drive was 24 deg.

For safety reasons, I drove through KC instead of Topeka. Did not want to take a chance of having problems out on 2-lane road. Added almost 100 miles on my drive.

Thursday morning it was 19 when I headed out. It was in the 30s in Amarillo. In New Mexico the thermometer in the car hit 54!!! It was 51 when I arrived in Albuquerque. I can handle this.

Checked into my room and headed to Fat Tire Cycles. Picked up a copy of the Albuquerque bicycle map (2009 addition - word is that the new 2011 edition is out). Once again, the staff there were very friendly. This was the same shop I used 1 1/2 years ago when I had flats from goatheads. Visited with Tony (Manager) there, finding out what's going on in town and trail conditions.

Preparations are under way to head out for exploring the bicycle trails. Hope to have some more interesting photos today. The photo on this photo was taken at a I-40 Rest Area in Texas.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Xtreme Winterfest Ride

It was a sunny, cool (OK cold) day, Over 40 riders assembled at the Western Historic Trails Center for the annual ride. Most riders arrived by motor vehicle, a few hardy souls rode from their residences in town.

We rode the 2 1/2 miles up the Iowa Riverfront trail to Riverside Grill. The Grill had a special for riders - Chili, foot-long dog, and soda for $6. (Think I got that right - I substituted a Winter Lager for the soda).

After food and refreshments, some rode on to and over the Bob Bridge. I headed back to the Trails Center and drove home.

Today's photo is a group shot of the riders.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Trails Clear

Yesterday was the day to take the hybrid up for a spin. Sunny, light breeze from the WSW, temp in the 30s. There were some clouds when I headed out from the Wabash Trace trail head, they started dissipating.

Had reasons to ride the hybrid. Wanted to checkout the fenders and how it would handle on slippery conditions. Well, did not really accomplish these goals as the trail was clear and mostly dry.

Council Bluffs Parks & Rec did a great job clearing ice/snow off the trails. I did not encounter a slick spot on my ride from the trail head to the Trail Center. The photo above shows the "worst" section of the ride. Thanks Larry Foster and Crew!

Though it was in the 30s, near 40 when riding, it felt cooled than yesterday. Even had a layer more on the core. Since the hybrid is equipped with SPD pedals, I had to wear my cycling shoes. With the neoprene booties, they were comfortable.

Logged 17 miles. Longest ride of the year. Unfortunately, it looks like the weather is heading south, soon.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Valley View Trail

Yesterday I rode the Lake Manawa Trail end-2-end (a little over 4 miles one way). Today, I once again parked at the Wabash Trace Trailhead. But I rode North on Valley View Trail to Iowa Western Community College (end-2-end).

My goal was to check out the new connector past K-Mart in Council Bluffs.

From IWCC, I turned West on the trail along College Road. That trail had stopped at Mosquito Creek and the railroad track. Today, I pleased to see that the trail now continues past the tracks to Indian Hills Rd.

This is the new connector from College Rd to US 6 along side K-Mart. It was obvious there were plans to add a trail along the street - wide shoulder on one side and survey stakes. (See today's photo)

Rode the street up to the K-Mark parking lot and took a spin around the lot. Then on back to the trailhead. Another good ride. Low/mid 30s, breeze from the WSW, a lots of sunshine. Logged just over 11 miles.

The trail surface is mostly dry with patches of water/snow/ice. If (when) I ride tomorrow, I expect to ride the hybrid as I won't need the studded tires (except for short sections - where I will just have to ride carefully).

When I got home, I checked the CB Trails Master Plan, the trail along Indian Hills Rd is scheduled for completion later this year.

Monday, January 3, 2011

First Ride of 2011

This morning I had to take the car into the shop for a new battery. Back home, I just could not get moving. Sunny morning, in the 30s, no wind. Perfect - for January in Iowa, at least.

I was able to motivate myself to get ready for a bike ride. Too warm to ride singletrack. Figured the paved trails would be in a mixture of conditions - icy, snow covered, wet, and dry. Aired up the tires of my "Ice Bike" - Trek 4300 with studded tires and combo pedals.

Parked at the Wabash Trace Trailhead. From the condition of the parking lot, I could see that the trail will be in the condition I expected.

Rode the Lake Manawa Trail to the Indian Creek Bridge. Today's photo shows the Lake Manawa Trail early this afternoon. I did not to push it too much today, so headed back.

Detoured to the river (mountain bike trail area). The river level has dropped considerably since I last rode there. Another detour to the lake. There were a couple folks out on the lake. Was thinking of taking a spin on the lake, but backed out.

By the time I was at the Nature Trail, the snow/ice was nearly melted from the trail surface. Ended up with 11.6 miles for my first ride of 2011. Forecast is for more rideable days this week. Xtreme Winterfest Bike Ride should be cool (low/middle 20s) and clean Saturday.