May 18, 2008

Taos Dirt - Mondragon

This one hurt a bit

May 14, 2008

Taos Dirt - Capulin (North Boundary)

So everybody who rides in New Mexico has heard of the South Boundary Trail - and rightly so - it's one of those great epic rides that will make your nipples hard - possibly even requiring medical attention.
So then - what the hell is the North Boundary? Is this some wanna-be trail that's trying to ride the coat-tails of the famed SBT? Well, ya kinda. The NBT is basically a ride that follows the ridge between Taos Canyon and Taos Pueblo and is directly across the canyon from the SBT. Both rides essentially connect at El Nogal. The NBT starts on the back side of the Divisidaro Loop - and there is actually a sign (sign says "Capulin Trail" - the real name). From the sign you'll need to look south east-ish and you will see a faint trail following the contour of the hill. The trail is usually pretty obvious but there are long stretches where it's pretty much not there. Not many people ride (or even hike this trail). The NBT tops out on Capulin Peak and continuing east you'll end up at Palo Flechado and the Elliot Barker Trail. When linking this with Divisidaro, be prepared for a very long climb. The twistiness and prickly pear make this a slow climb. The is also tons of gnarly dead fall and continually reaching branches try to pull you off the bike. There are a few places that will leave you standing about head scratchin' wondering where the hell the trail goes. Just stay off the north facing slope of the ridge line and you'll do fine (Taos Pueblo Indian land - possible scalping). Get a good topo and check it out.

Dawn til Dusk 2008

Who the hell goes to Gallup, New Mexico - on purpose? Ya - I think Mickey and Mallory killed a couple of cops there in Natural Born Killers and apparently some old movie stars stayed at the beat-down El Rancho Hotel back in the 50's while they were making a series of westerns that nobody has ever heard of.......but to actually GO to Gallup and and actually STAY there for two nights? Hmmm.

Well, lucky for Gallup there are some folks out there that like to ride bikes and build trails and put on races - because NOW there is a reason to go. Aviad, Todd, Jen and I checked out the 12-hour Dawn til Dusk race and it was well worth the long drive. Really cool race course (tight-twisty-smooth-rolly) - low-key grass rootsy and still pretty small and cheap. A bonus on this course are the various metal sculptures perched on ledges along the trail: cats, lizards, coyotes, mountain lions, etc. very cool.

Aviad and I rode as a Duo team and Todd did it solo. Jen focused on crewing for Todd since Aviad and I would be alternating and could fend for ourselves. Being so early in the season, we all treated this as sort of a training ride - which was a good strategy for me since I hadn't been riding a whole lot.
Race day morning: 7:00 am - clear and 17 degrees - Aviad lost the coin toss and had the first 2 lap stint on our duo team. 0:58 and 1:16 lap times - Bad ass. I'm on for the next two and am, at first, surprised that I'm passing so many people and only got passed once. Then I realize this is because the leaders have not made it back around to catch up yet - oh well, it was still nice to not have people on my ass for once. My first lap was a 1:13, which I'm happy with - especially riding the course sight-unseen. My second felt way faster but was actually slower (1:19). Aviad is back up for the next two and now the temps are in the low 50s probably - he peels off a 1:20 and a 1:28 and might be feeling the effects of not being able to drink a whole lot (the course is so twisty that it is REALLY hard to drink from a water bottle - a camelback is the way to go). Time is ticking but I have enough for two more and manage to pull a 1:17 out of my ass. The start of my fourth lap, Aviad is sounding like another lap is not in the cards for him - so I REALLY take my time on this last one and even help some dude fix his broken chain - thinking we'd rather have a slow time than a DNF. By this point I'm getting really dehydrated from choosing to use only sports drink instead of water. I was gagging on that sweet crap after drinking it all day was dying for some plain water. I could not have done another lap without drinking some water and resting for a minute. So, after 1:38 I come strolling in thinking Aviad and I would sitting out the last hour drinking PBRs. As I pull up to the transition area he's out with his bike a ready to roll! "What's up man?" - "I'm going out for one more" "uh dude, you have 1:25 left and if you don't finish in under that, the lap don't count".....and he's off. The whole time I'm thinking: "hmmm, his previous lap was 1:28 and now he has to bust out a 1:25 or better and he's a lot more tired now - he's got some serious matzo balls to even give it a go". Then I think: "well shit, I might as well start boozin' - because there ain't no way I'm goin' out again" (crack, fizz, gulp-gulp). Meanwhile: tick-tick-tick the race is ending soon and 5 minutes before the 12-hour cut off here he comes bustin' out a 1:19 lap time. Sweet - that last effort moved us up a couple of spots (not that we were really concerned about our placing) - but was good for 9 total laps and 15th out of 50-something.

What happened to Todd? Well, he caught us on the third lap and he was on the same pace as our "team" for pretty much the entire race. He ended up 6th out of about 30 and finished his 9 laps slightly faster than our 9 combined laps. Amazing