Taos Cyclery Tales

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This section reserved for Doug to rant about whatever he feels like, or just report on his most recent adventures.

 
     
 

12-17-14

We moved, again, this January to save some over head and got slammed with service. They say location is everything, I wish we had known this one from the beginning. Anyway, we went small and tight and it seems to be a hit. The bad part is that I had the worst riding season since living in Taos. Super busy doesn't leave much energy for riding on a single day off. It's a juggling act that I should be used to by now. I only had one trip to Frazer Mountain this year, disappointed! The Taos GranFondo was the worst century in memory, but was two days before my mother passed away, so I'm sure that was on my mind as she was ailing. Commuting within the beauty of Taos keeps me going and gives me hope that everything will work out okay. Local efforts to save mountain biking in the Columbine/Hondo Wilderness Study Area failed and now the area is a designated Wilderness. It's good as it will protect a very important watershed for generations to come. The consolation prize is the redrawing of the Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary to make the East Fork-Lost Lake-Middle Fork Trail loop open to mountain biking. And the promise to build a trail from Taos Ski Valley up Bull of The Woods Trail to Middle Fork Trail. That's the gain of .8 of a mile and a trail that does not exist yet. Although that doesn't sound great, we put mountain bikers in the mix for future forest policy. With the new IMBA Chapter, Del Norte Mtb Alliance, there's a venue for concerned mountain bikers to have a voice. Finally, by redrawing the Wheeler Peak Wilderness boundary, it sets a precedent that IMBA and other mountain bike groups can use as a reference. That's not too shabby for a group of mountain bikers from Taos.

5-10-14

Relocation, relocation, relocation is the new mantra. It seems that being in the heart of Taos doesn't really mean success. After spending four years telling people where to eat, sleep, visit, and making change for the parking meters, we bugged out. Also, while wrenching away one day I wondered why we had such a big store when nothing was selling, but we were fixing bikes all day long. The solution was to go small and tight. We found a place in El Prado, about a mile and a half north of the former location. My buddy John built a loft and we moved the store, again. The result is a sweet little spot with great views of the mountains out back and easy in easy out for the customers. We've got pilates in the back, Crossfit next door, shoot we even have an ATM. The result is that everyone loves it. We got off to a hot spring, which means we actually sold some bikes for the first time in a while. And of course, service is as busy as ever.

9-23-13

What a crazy year! It started off with drought and fire in New Mexico which sadly has become the pattern. The temperatures were so hot that exposure to the sun at 7,000 feet was down right uncomfortable. Then July came and it has rained pretty much since. This is the most constant rain I think I've ever seen. Flash floods have changed the complexion of many local rides, as well as when and where riders can go. The steep and technical sections of South Boundary are completely different, causing a certain amount of whining from riders who had it dialed. Even though this has been the history of this section of trail for many years. Myself having been caught in storms four times, I'm now sky shy and find myself refraining from going out when storms are threatening. Thus, I've missed some good riding opportunities. But nothing is more sad than the group of eight that planned for many months to come to Taos in the fall, only to be rained out. I have a theory, after some years of record fires in the southwest, nature has brought rain to wash away the burned so that new growth can prosper. Anyway, nature rules and we either conform or quit, but there is no crying foul.

 

5-1-13

We had a cold winter this year. Not really much snow but just really cold. The snow that fell in January didn't melt until February. The roads were trashed most of the season with shoulders filled with dirty snow, ice, and chunks of snow melt piled up. This meant that road riders were forced into traffic in order to get down the streets, not to mention high temps in the upper twenties. Then just like a superhero it came to my rescue. It was something put together with left over parts and a cheap steel frame, but boy what a beauty. An Origin 8 cross frame with disc brakes and cool Stan's Tubeless wheels saved me from a winter of torment. Weighing in at a portly 27 pounds, this was the go anywhere do anything bike. I left the paved roads to the gas guzzlers and hit the dirt back roads of Taos. These roads where unplowed but who cares? With barely 40 pounds of pressure in the wide tubeless tires I could cruise along snow, ice, and any other condition the season threw at me. At speeds approaching 15mph I had time to see the neighborhoods I traveled through and learn more about my town. These are the roads with little to no traffic, the best views, and the occasional dog chase to keep things interesting. Washboarded roads became a joy as the heavy steel and soft rubber soaked it up, making it almost comfortable to ride. Most importantly, this wonderful machine kept me on my bike outside, instead of slogging along inside on a trainer looking out a window. After all this time, the bicycle still has things to teach me and new places to take me, right under my cold, snotty nose.

 

12-30-12

Wow, what a year! I was having a great time hitting all my favorite road and mountain bike rides on my way to completing a super bicycling year. Then while riding one of my favorite mountain bike trails, The Woodpile, I awoke from what must have been a crash. I was coming down a
simple, not technical at all, short but steep drop into a meadow. Clearly things were not well. I sat up, removed my helmet and hydration pack and waited for help. My riding partners showed up and helped me out of the woods and into an ambulance.

Once at the hospital I was diagnosed with no less than six broken ribs, a broken scapula, and a collar bone broken in four places. I spent two nights in ICU and one in a regular room. Once at home I had to monitor my pain with regular meds, thanks to my wife Amy who kept me on
schedule. I slept in a recliner since my ribs wouldn't let me sleep otherwise. A week later I had surgery to mend the collar bone. Then began the rehabilitation process that is still an on going process four months later, and some say will take a year. I must say that I didn't have much hope for the shoulder that ached and barely got anything down from above my head. But physical therapy has returned my range of motion and brought the pain way down. The dull pain in my collar bone on cold days is weird though. It's all seemed so surreal, like I've been an observer from afar of someone else's injury. But it is my injury and how this will effect my physically and emotionally next season is yet to be seen.

I'm not deterred but rather excited to get things started. There is some damage to the bicycle frame which will need some attention. We'll upgrade the rear end to make the ride stiffer. My finish to the season, after the fall, was a success with road rides up to 80 miles. This was
simply payment for a life full of bicycling adventure and chances taken unscathed. I think a stint in the gym this winter will do me good as well as some time on the chromoly cross bike. Trail riding on this gentle beast will help me get my attention level back where it needs to be. I'll
be turning 50 next year, I didn't know people lived that long, and no one wants to be dropped by and old guy whose only titanium parts are in his collar bone.

 

9-20-12

So what's to say? The writing was on the wall anyway. Retail in Taos is on it's last leg. It's not anyone's fault, just the way of things. All over town shops evolve to stay alive, or they just close. The bike shop is no different. Starting the season with a full staff and visions of good profit and some extra time off soon fizzled by the end of May, when layoffs and dwindling sales became a reality. So it's onward we go with a new business model in the works. We'll focus on service and a more affordable product for the Taos buyer. Heck, I'm broke too so we're all in the same boat. The big surprise was a crash at the end of summer that left me with seven broken ribs, a broken scapula, and collar bone. After a stint in the hospital and a surgery I've been initiated. The hardest part about recovery is the resting which everyone says is very important. Man, how much sitting around and sleeping can one person take? The other thing is riding the trainer in the garage while looking out on the best days of the year, oh the torture! Since my Salsa Las Cruces is out of warranty and it has a hole in it, I'll move the parts over to a cromoly cross bike with disc brakes. Shoot, the ten year old Force parts are worth more than the frame. The important thing is that I'm excited to ride again and a cool little fun bike will make the return all that much better. Rather moving on or riding, just keep moving forward as a touring partner of mine once said. So I shall.

 

5-11-12

Wow! Ten years old, who would of thought we would make it that long? In that time we have seen the Taos Cycle Club come and go; share the road and bike lane signs as well as actual bike lanes in the town of Taos; the Colovita cycling team evolve into Team FIT; mountain bikers getting recognized as legitimate trail users; and our shop move from an original 900 square foot "room" to the historic district. Bikes have evolved from pretty good off road machines to solid dual suspension wonder bikes with more do-dads and gadgets than Batman could ever conceive. Road bikes have gotten so light that I know a few "recreational" riders that have bikes under the UCI legal limit. No one said it would be easy, but no one said it would be this hard either. I think that's a song or something like that. As riding time dwindles due to work schedule and age, one has to wonder if it is all worth it. But when a customer thanks you for being here and making their experience happen; a kid gets their first "real" bike from a parent that used to be the kid; and from just a few simple questions I know what someone wants or where they want to go, the answer is yes. Rather we last another ten years doesn't really matter. It's good enough to know that our hard work has made Taos Cyclery the "go to" shop. Any success we've had isn't due to marketing tricks or savvy business skills, as that ground has always been shaky or by the seat of your pants style. It's simply a love of bicycling, all types of bicycling. That's not something that can be learned or taught it simply is. Ultimately, we must thank all of our wonderful customers. We know you have a choice and we thank you for choosing us. We always strive to make the customer's experience the best and listen to suggestions to do it better.

Thanks again everybody and come by this summer and help us celebrate, Doug

 

1-18-12

Well after years of begging and pleading, my cries have gone unanswered. The retail game is changing. An economy on the lapse and the ability to buy on the internet below wholesale has forced retailers to evolve or disappear. More stores close every year than open here in Taos and mine is no exception. This year was a close call. So after a little self loathing, I've decided to jump into action; shake things up a little bit; create my own model. I'll spend the winter revamping the shop and making the service area more marquee. Instead of despising the internet age, I'll join it with a new fancy email campaign and some thing called "Facebook". I'll also throw in a few surprises as things progress. A bike shop is not just a retail establishment but also a place where riders gather to create dreams and relive past glory. A place to park while you and your buddies go for a ride. Take a look through the catalogs and see all the treasures available out there. Bring in a coffee or a beer and talk about what we can do to protect bicyclists rights. Bikes shops are places where you can come in, hang out, have a good time, and not spend a dime. Hopefully, people will remember that and come back the next time they need a cable, a tire, or maybe even a bicycle. "Try or Die" is our new motto. Besides, I've got to hang in there long enough to get a new carbon fiber road bike as my ten year old Salsa is cracked and held together with a splint.

Thanks, Doug

 

10-1-11

Well this summer was somewhat of a "dud" to be honest. We started with smoke inhalation from a wild fire in Arizona. Some days you couldn't see the mountains because of floating smoke moving through the area. Then several of our own wild fires in Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and near Taos itself closed our forests for about a month. Needless to say this put a serious damper on things "fun". Businesses are still closing regularly in town and sometimes just staying open requires drastic measures, but onward we go. The talk around town is that we are all in the same boat. Working more for less, one can't wonder if things will get better or maybe there has been a recalibration and this is how it will be from now on. The fact remains that retail is different now and those that can change with it will survive, those that won't or can't will not make it. Getting what you want as cheaply as possible is now the goal of every buyer and this makes things difficult with anyone with any kind of overhead. That's why you'll see your favorite local "mom and pop" store trying new and sometimes kooky things. As the money pie shrinks and we all fight for the scraps, a little guts and daring go a long way.

Thanks, Doug

 

3-15-11

It's finally spring again after another cold winter, although this season wasn't so brutal. That has a lot of people concerned. A low snow pack can lead to a quick run off and a dry forest. In years past the Forest Service has actually closed the forest. That's right, "no entre" to the entire woods for even those on foot. Access to the forest is why many of us live here. It sure isn't the union wages. This goes way beyond frustrating. The reality is that even if the trails are closed, there
isn't any way to enforce the closure as the forest service doesn't have the numbers to watch it. Most users know how to enter and leave their favorite trail without being detected. Thus the quandary, does one break the rules and enter the forest or stay out and miss out. I'll leave that
one up to you. I, however, don't want to be the bike shop owner busted for poaching forest. Hopefully, if this comes to fruition, there will be off road options available. Last time the Forest Service left the Eliot Barker and South Boundary Trails open. Not bad, combined these two rides
make up a big day of mountain biking. Private terrain, like the Northside at TSV and the Angel Fire Resort provide excellent opportunities to get into that woods. Unless they also are too dry and forced to close. Also, BLM land as far as I know has stayed open and accessible during forest closures which means the gorge rides are okay. Although these are not the most coveted rides during the hotter summer months. Finally, last time we experienced closures I worked a lot on my road skills and, like I always say, "the road riding here is very underrated". But until all this happens, pray for rain.

Thanks, Doug

2010 The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The Good-
Rider of the Year: Jonathon and his Incredible Single Speed Conquest. Jonathon started the season as a relatively unknown, an also ran, mid pack fodder. While everyone else was carpooling to the La Tierra Torture in Santa Fe, he was still racking up base miles. After slowing banging out races on the single speed the results starting pouring in. Not only did he win the Mountain States Cup, he pulled what we around here call a "Mackey"; he won the Colorado State Single Speed Championship.

Rides of the Year:
Road- The Mora Loop
Unknown outside of local circles here in Taos, this one promises to be harder and more scenic than its more popular "little" brother The Enchanted Circle. In August seven riders started out, six finished, and two said it was the best road ride they had ever done.
Mountain- Cerro Vista
A perpetual winner in this category. Sixty miles, 6,000 feet of climbing, views from 11,900 feet, and speeds near 40mph on the descent which lasts up to forty five minutes. Enough said!

Group Most Supportive of Cycling in Taos:
Team FITaos- Since the demise of the Taos Cycle Club, this group headed by Susie has done more to put kids and their parents on bikes than anyone else. This is your local race team, group ride source, TSV Hill Climb Time Trial organizer, ride for kids as well as adults to most local races, and they throw a great party to boot. If you want to see cycling flourish in Taos you should join this organization, even if you don't plan on racing.

Bike Type of the Year:
The 29'r Hardtail. This one replaces the 5" travel 26 inch wheeled bike as the most popular. It's no wonder, the way it turns big obstacles into small ones. Enhanced rolling on the big wheels makes riding in the middle and large chainrings like a ride at Disneyland.

We Couldn't Have Done It Without You Award:
To all of our customers who help keep our doors open. These are changing times, see below, and as money gets tighter we know there are choices out there. We will continue to do our best to make Taos Cyclery a place not only to get your cycling goodies but also a place to meet for that next ride, talk about the big race, hang a flyer, or anything else a good bike shop should do.

The Bad-
I'm not going to pretend that anything comes close to the passing of my, and many others out there, dear friend Emile. HIs evolution from beginner to national placing racer at seventy plus years, is nothing short of phenomenal. Charming just begins to describe this interesting and varied character. He'd drop by to get the latest update on what's going on with area cyclists, to comment on the daily Tour results, or show me his newly acquired medals from a local or regional event, and there were many. Earl Henry a renowned track racer with multiple world and national championships to his credit was so impressed with Emile at an event in Pennsylvania that he signed his own national championship jersey and gave it to him along with the gold medal. Those items are still on a display, built by the man himself, at Taos Cyclery. When the BLM dedicated the newly finished Rift Valley Trail, Emile and his wife Eliane were there to help represent the local cycling community. They were the only two there from the cycling community and they were on foot, as Emile felt "mountain biking was an acquired taste".
I miss Emile daily and feel cheated by his being taken so suddenly. We are lucky to have known such a remarkable individual. I know there are many out there with their own Emile stories and I hope we continue to tell them over and over again. We'll never see another one like him.

The Ugly-
The state of retail in Taos is changing. This is evident by the increasing number of empty store fronts all over town. "We're in a down turn, a recession, hard times economically", are all common references to basically nobody having any money. In Taos if someone has ten dollars they spend it and it goes around and around. We're all spending the same ten dollars. The question today is who has the ten dollars and where are they going to spend it?
The key is to stretch whatever dough anyone has further. Where can I get what I need a little cheaper? Sadly, the answer is, "not in Taos". The costs to get things to this secluded piece of heaven are higher than bigger cities. Sometimes its actually cheaper to drive out of town to get what you want. More often these days purchases are made on the internet. Everything all the way down to nuts and bolts can be purchased on the internet cheaper by the guy that can spend the time to find it. This leaves retailers in a tough spot with overhead like rent, utilities and payroll. Hey, it's survival of the fittest in an open market and that's true. We all can choose where to spend our money and places selling junk should go out of business.
But doesn't a healthy community have value also? Shops provide employment, a place to meet and great, and that unique item that can't be found anywhere else. It looks good to go into town and see a Taos bustling with open stores. What we need is some cooperation. If you have a store you like, give them a chance to fill your buying needs. Let them know what you would like to see in stock. Before you leave town or go online, tell them what you want and how much you can get it for. They may be able to meet that price or at least meet you half way.
Retailers need to always work on perfecting customer service and provide a place that's fun to go into. If a customer needs something not in stock try to find it and how long it will take to get it right away or as soon as possible which means a phone call. We can't stock everything in this small town but we can get it. Give us a chance and if one of us can't provide, then feel free to go elsewhere. It's our game to lose but it's up to the buyers to a least put us in the game. Together we can put Taos back on its feet, then this will be the place people will drive to.

I hope you've enjoyed this short recap of 2010 and will look forward to a great year in 2011. As always, thanks- Doug

 

10-5-10

Well it hasn't been the best of years for Taos cycling seniors or even the town itself. The summer started off with the sad news that my friend and riding partner Emile had been injured while riding the track in Colorado Springs. Basically paralyzed from the nose down with no improvement in sight his future did not look good. I found myself thinking of him often, while feeling helpless and beaten down by the whole situation. Eventually, Emile decided to end his life and he passed away on August twenty six. I still think of Emile everyday with a mix of sadness and extreme pleasure with what he brought to my life. I will be working on a more proper tribute to this wonderful man in the coming months. Soon after getting word of Emile's accident I was informed that Taos mountain biker and map maker Scott had been air lifted to Albuquerque with a brain injury, possibly the result of a hit and run while riding his road bike. While the initial news was frightening Scott made a slow progress back. After some therapy, he's back on his feet and moving around but cycling appears down the road for him. Both Emile and Scott are long time riders who have contributed greatly to many others' cycling experiences here in Taos. Both are in their seventies.

The economic downturn has been rough on Taos, as I'm sure it has been on many others. This is a fragile place because of it's small size and seclusion from the rest of the world. It seems what makes this place special has contributed to our demise. Everybody's broke and looking for the best bang for what few bucks we have left. Sadly, that means mail order shopping or going south to the bigger towns to make purchases. The result is more and more vacant buildings for rent. A huge blow was leveled on Taos in September when Taos Mountain Outfitters was forced to close. Not only was this a forty year old business but it employed a number of out door loving and active people who must find work elsewhere. We all have the right to do what we want with our money and if that means buying from some guy running a business out of a garage or a larger corporate monster somewhere else, that's fine. But isn't having a local business that employs our friends and families valuable too? As we move to evolve in a changing retail environment hopefully the desire for a strong vibrant community will prevail. It's funny and I never would have imagined it would come to this but when someone asks me, "How are you doing?", my answer is, "I'm alive and we're open, so I guess I'm doing okay.".

Thanks, Doug

 

3-20-10

Well I guess the new location is paying off as I'm working more than ever. Floods of people coming in to get ready to do their favorite ride or coming back from one with the glorious details, as the forest is exploding right now and all I can do is listen. It's times like these that all
those corny cliches keep coming to mind. "Keep a stiff upper lip", "Stay focused", all that jazz actually has meaning. Repeated long days have a tendency to wear me down into nothing but a blubbering mess. So I think of those without work but would love to have some; people whose way of life will forever be changed or ruined by an oil spill; and mostly, those who have just given up under the strain of survival and quite riding all together. My current riding routine is the ten minute ride into work and ten or eleven hours later the ride back. If that's all I've got then I'll
take it. "Don't give up" and "Keep the faith" I say to myself in the hope of a riding window will open up. Years ago I made a trinket that is a piece of bicycle chain wrapped around a derailleur pulley. I put a shoe string through it that a bike tourist had left behind and wear it around
my neck. I call it my "reminder" of good cycling times past and those still to come. The string is thread bare and chain is rusted and black over the years of sweat. I've never needed it more than now. Thanks, Doug

 

3-20-10

Wow! What a winter in Taos this year. Lots of snow means great skiing. The only problem is, I don't ski, I'm a bike commuter. So while everyone else is rejoicing, I'm taking it on the chin. I know, I know, heavy snow pack means great mountain biking this season. Hey it can snow all it
wants above 7500 feet, just leave town alone. No such luck this year. Short little windows of warm weather and the road gang knocks out a good ride. Next day, muck and yuck all over the roads and I'm walking to work. It's just hard to get a rhythm going. If it's going to continue to snow every three days I'll keep to the push ups, sit ups and swimming routine, boooring. All I'm asking is a little spin once in a while. I spent my fall and winter moving the shop into the historic district. Something I never thought we could pull off. So instead of riding in the leaves my wife and I were painting and pulling up carpet. I think it came out pretty good. We moved to where the people are in an attempt to upgrade from just barely getting by to getting by. That's about as good as it gets in Taos. I get a daily bonus by living here. Moving through the fall and suffering through this mean winter both add fuel to the fire for the spring. As usual I'll come out of the gate full speed ahead, then burn out sometime around July. It's the same thing every year so I'm use to it. Hopefully, the new Ellsworth carbon hard tail 29'r with SRAM XX, we're calling is dos equis, will make things better. It's a work of art almost too good to ride. But ride it I will, and hopefully see you out along the gorge this spring. Thanks, Doug

 

10-07-09

As years go, this wasn’t the best. But the one thing off years let you know is that things can always get worse and there’s opportunity for things to get better. So here’s the annual round up.

THE BAD
As sales go this was a real downer. I guess like everyone else, we can blame it on the economy. That sucks, because that’s not something we can control. It seems many Taos businesses are suffering and one can only hope we all pull together to get us through because no one else will. In other words, like most out there, no bail out’s coming. I hired John to work a forty hour week and give me some time off this season. I even extended hours to make a little more scratch. End result? I had to cut back his hours and work more to make up for the longer days. I’m bummed because my riding suffered. I’m selfish because I’m bummed.

THE UGLY
I have been offering shuttles to South Boundary for what us locals refer to as the tourist route. We call it this because it is more driving and less riding than starting from Valle Escondido or Palo Flechado Pass. Anyway, one sleepy morning while thinking more about what I had to do that day than what I was doing right now, I loaded Steve’s single speed into the roof rack in what is referred to in the business as a B fit. The shuttle is an hour’s drive and five minutes before the end, Steve’s beloved bike fell off the rack with broken dropouts on his Fox 29’r fork. Lovely!! We returned to the shop, another hour, mostly in dismayed silence. I offered to fix his fork and replace it for the day with a Rock Shox Tora off of a bike I had for sale on the floor, so that he and his buddy could at least ride that day. We switched forks reloaded and shuttled back, another hour out and back. Later that afternoon both riders returned, via the highway, as the replacement shock failed once on the trail. Needless to say, Steve had some choice words for me and Taos Cyclery. After ruining this guy’s weekend and being referred to “a real shop” in Colorado I have decided not to run shuttles anymore.

THE GOOD
After a year like this it’s simple. Rides like Frazer Mountain to Long Canyon, Picuris Peak, Horse Thief North, multiple varieties of South Boundary and Woodpiles, the king of them all Cerro Vista, and the secret stash near Valdez are why I live here. The woods baptize me and remind me how small and insignificant me and my problems are in the real world. For this I am extremely thankful, for it keeps me sane. Finally, Taos Cyclery is moving into town in the hopes of generating more sales and providing me with some sort of salary. Basically, we’re going where the people are and hopefully they will come, It’s make it or break it time. I’m optimistic as is my nature, so as always, the future is bright. Stay tuned!

 

5-30-09

So just what is Taos mountain biking style? When I first came here in '94 I was overwhelmed by the abundance of mountain biking possibility. I got a map and began exploring the bigger forest roads. I found these scenic with streams filled with beaver ponds and trout. As my comfort level
increased I found ways to connect these roads with each other for longer loops. I also discovered ways to connect roads to trails for longer or shorter options. Then it happened for the first time, I got lost. Suddenly the woods were much bigger and I much smaller than before. If something happened to me out here no one would ever find me. Fear overcame me as I realized I was in over my head. Bush wacking down a dry wash I eventually came out on a familiar road. I swore to never let that happen again, until the next time. I was atop what I thought to be Cerro Vista peak and according to my map there was only one way down. As I stood on the peak there was a trail down, although something didn't feel right. That was my first clue. I descended down an extremely steep trail, so steep I had to stop every twenty seconds or so to cool my
brakes. Once on a well established forest road I continued going downhill. This doesn't look like forest road 438 which should come out just miles from my home. That's because it wasn't. It was forest road 76, La Junta Canyon, which came out at Tres Ritos about 25 miles from my
home via highway 518. Oh my poor knobbies.

This was the pattern for the next several years. Further exploration followed by the occasional lost ride. Soon I began to know where to go because I had been lost so many times, I knew where not to go. Which brings us back to the original question, what is Taos style? Taos style
is a type of mountain biking where you are only limited by your fitness level and imagination. Loops are almost infinite in length and difficulty. But rider beware! Orientation skills and being prepared are essential. Our trails are poorly marked because of vandalism, which no one can really explain. So know your north from south and get comfortable with Wheeler Peak and Picuris Peak. Just last year on a 65 mile loop which included the real Cerro Vista Peak, Michael and I were on virgin territory coming back. The downhill sloping route looked better as fatigue began to over come us. But wait, I've been here before and that doesn't look right. Off in the distance I could see what appeared to be Picuris and that's the direction we need to go. I grew tired and irritated at more climbing on a section I was unfamiliar with. Up and down and on and on we went with night fall approaching. Do we have warm enough clothing or matches to spend the night if need be? Eventually we came out on the all too familiar Woodpile trail and home sweet home. All because Picuris shown like a beacon. Come to Taos ready to ride, with
your head on straight, this ain't no Disneyland mountain biking. I won't even get into the time I huddled shivering under a pine tree in a hail storm at 10,000 feet with nothing but my shorts and a cotton t-shirt.

Thanks, Doug

 

5-7-09

It's been a long and gruesome winter, but most winters here are that way. I like the welcoming of spring, although it's mixed in its coming. The days are increasingly warm but windy. I want to road ride but feel compelled to get back into the embrace of the mountains. Road riding gives me the feeling of getting out there and working out the legs and lungs. Mountain biking gives me the feeling of isolation and the struggle that only raw nature can give. The problem is that the effects of winter, snow and deadfall, are slow to give way. Getting into the groove or the zone as some call it can be difficult when blocked or slowed by the lingering effects of a winter. The road is a good alternative, but to be honest, I road ride everyday. This includes the winter when most are
waxing skis, counting treadmill miles, or sharpening skates. I'll admit it, I did swim this winter and got up to a few hardy laps in the pool. But at my core I'm a cyclist and were I a rich man would spend all my hours riding a bike.

The last few years I've spent primarily on the mountain bike and I think it's time to get back to the road bike a little bit. I like the long ride and told a friend recently that I'm getting the Enchanted Circle itch, to which he agreed.

Life is a long race and we move from here to there as we travel along. Mountain, road, touring, commuting or whatever just keep riding. I feel as though I've done a lot but just want more. I'm surely not the best at anything but my desire and lust is as strong as anyone's. If you're like
me than the least we can do is dust off our stead, oil the chain, and go somewhere, anywhere that means anything. At the most we can fulfill lifelong dreams, conquer big goals, and push ourselves beyond our limits. Where we are in our life long travel determines where we are going. I've cycled from Alaska to Florida and I've cycled the ten minutes to work. Both of these trips have been fulfilling and full of splendor. The bottom line is to just keep riding.

Thanks, Doug

 
 

 

 
 


 
     
 
 
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