— Links

Monday, September 12, 2016

BBRSP- Belated reflections from a multi day ride down along the US/Mexico border. Circa Oct. '15

Pit stop in Valentine, TX on a particularly slow drive to Terlingua to meet up with a friend.

The rear wall of the famed 'Prada' store installation outside Marfa, TX.  The front is overrated in its scope and accessibility, bordering on cliche.  The back? A beautiful blank canvas. 

Some cheap American branded/Asia manufactured steel 29+ rigs stacked with a healthy stock of water and food for 5 days of riding.  No real ambitions for this ride, other than to cross the park, hang out at the Sauceda station in the interior, eat some ice-cream and pound some cokes, then loop back east to Lajitas.  I'm a Chihuahuan desert rat, residing in southern NM, but I instantly felt both familiar and at odds with the scenery as we rolled out.

Remnant water flow from some recent rains, despite the warnings from Desert Sports in Terlingua, of near zero availability within the park

Foreboding succulents...

Crystal Trail

Intersect signage along the very shreddable Contrabando Loop. 

Abandoned candelilla wax bunkhouse.  

Filtered autumn light. 

So much Stans sealant was shed on this ride. I was bordering on the brink of an anxiety attack wondering if my tires were going to stay inflated and seated for the duration of the trip.  Every hiss and pop from an acacia thorn breaking off into the sidewall, or barrel cactus barb disappearing into the tread was stress inducing.  Even with a robust repair kit, I was low on sealant with my tubeless setup, which left me nursing a slow leak all the way to Sauceda on the second day.    

Rincon camp with the Flatirons as a backdrop. 

Scouting Fresno Canyon water availability, which was abundant. 

Sawyer squeeze did the trick for two.  Chemical treatment as a back up. 

There was of course, some hike a bike, and route finding. 

I managed to pack spare DEAD batteries for this trip, so the remainder of the ride was captured infrequently on an iPhone, and of much poorer quality.  

I fully intend to return to the park on the bike and explore the vast stretch of Chihuahuan desert that is Big Bend Ranch State Park.  

Much credit to Logan of Bikepacking.com for inspiring us to make the drive down south for this ride.  We rode a variation of the route in the link below, with some added side trips, but generally stuck to this itinerary: 

Friday, January 24, 2014

HWY 180 NM

"The last word in ignorance is the man who says of an animal or plant: 'What good is it?'"

-Aldo Leopold 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Golden Hour.

More often than not it pays to drag feet out the door at the ass crack of dawn.  With June heat only weeks away, the hours between 5-8 are going to become my dear friend.  I can't complain.

Friday, March 29, 2013

My People.

My People bring me Joy.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

2013 Sierra Vista Trail Runs- Saturday, April 20th.

I'm excited to be putting on the Sierra Vista Trail runs for a second year.  Last year my good friend Dan Carter and I were able, thanks to the support and volunteered efforts of many great individuals, put on a grassroots local trail running event.  We're hoping to build up on last year's race and improve some areas thanks to the feedback of runners last February.  

Put this event on your calendar for Saturday, April 20th.  


Access to public desert land for recreational use is always a double edged sword, in that it positively provides a backdrop for dynamic and exuberant self adventure and discovery, but also draws in every manner of neglectful behavior imaginable. For some the desert is to spoil, for others to cherish. I'm preaching to the choir here and guilty of neglect of the highest degree. 

I recall a few evenings in my youth spent around a gasoline doused couch off in the desert doing my best to make a straight face as I threw back cheap domestic beer in my formative years. Foolish! Or that time when we stacked shipping pallets high enough to require a commercial building permit, only to burn it all down to smoldering ash in a drunken angst filled stupor. For some the desert is a wasteland, no more than a rock and sand strewn rubbish heap devoid of life. For others it is a rich and diverse living organism crying out to it's stewards. "Help!" 

I regret the wasteful and apathetic decisions of my youth. Where was my respect for wilderness? My respect for natural life and precious resources? It's never too late to make a change. For years now I have called the Chihuahuan desert that surrounds my community home. This place was once a burden and inconvenience. A means to an end. Harsh. Unforgiving. Biting. Relentless. I loathed the heat and the lack of comfort. Your well will run dry quickly if you hope for such things here. It is a place that you must embrace on it's own terms. It will not bend or waver in our presence. Once you accept those terms- that the sun will not stop pouring down buckets, or that the heat will not waiver, or that the ground will not serve up grace- you will find that it is a truly liberating place of beauty unlike that of any other. I am fortunate to be an inhabitant of the desert. I wish I understood this when I was young. 

A few weeks ago I was wrapping up a short solo ride before work. This was a memorable ride not due to anything on my part, but on account of the low lying cloud layer that engulfed the Mesilla Valley in a veil of condensed moisture. Fog in the desert you ask? Yes. It is an ephemeral miracle, that exits as swiftly as it arrives. The conditions have to be just right in the valley. I've become familiar with these conditions and know the atmospheric ingredients necessary for fog to form in the valley. The previous evening I laid out my items, grabbed my camera, and had my bike ready to go for what I knew would be an exceptional morning ride. It was beautiful. I clenched my cold hands as the cold morning air sliced through my gloves. Tears formed quickly at the sides of my eyes as I gained speed along the faster sections of singletrack. I was thankful.

I love riding solo, particularly on mornings such as this one. Where I don't have to wait up for anyone, or have anyone wait on me. There is no air of competition, no room for arrogance, bravado, or self performance. Just me moving along the trail absorbed in that moment. My eyes catch things that I don't typically see when in a group of riders. For whatever reason on this morning I couldn't help but notice the considerable amount of trash at the trailhead.






Cigarettes. Glass. Spent prophylactics. Rotten produce. Cellophane. Metal. Rubber. Polyethylene.

 These are items found within a radius of 50ft. of my vehicle. This is but a small example of the detritus that we encounter before we even access our land. Who shits on the steps of their backdoor? Apparently we do. I'm making a point this year to be a better steward of the wonderful public land that I have access to. What this will look like is beyond me. It might mean forfeiting a ride or run to clean up a trailhead, or pack out used shotgun shells mid ride if I stumble upon any. I don't know yet. With the 2nd Annual Sierra Vista Trail Race coming up next month and directing duties in full swing, the subject of land stewardship is at the forefront of my mind. Spring brings with it new life and change. As the weather warms and we get out more, let's all strive to travel lightly on our land this year.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Achenbach/ Soledad Canyon Loop- 01/28/12

I understand running fast, extending yourself beyond the 'shuffle', setting PR's, building speed, maintaining exercise and sustaining health and vitality, but what I don't understand is why you would want to achieve all of this by pounding the only body you're going to get in this lifetime running endless miles on pavement? Surely we weren't purposed for this as humans, not for any extended duration. I perceive the road as a last resort in regard to my running, it is hardly an option these days. If I'm in the throws of a running binge then maybe I'll hesitantly lace up the kicks, build a playlist to distract myself, and run a few miles on asphalt. Am I a fool to neglect the benefits of running road, particularly speed development as a runner? Yes, perhaps, but I sure as hell don't give a damn these days when my ability to run uphill is all that concerns me as of late. Vegetation on the couch often sounds more appealing to me than lacing up my shoes and running road. My brain and muscular system are in constant communication, they both concur that running is desirable; naturally this makes sense as a runner. So why does running road somehow shut off that communicative synapse between my brain and body? The only thing that I can think of is the absence of beauty and infinite possibility that is inherent with running in a manmade environment. When constrained to the infrastructure of modern city roads we engage in an activity under a certain set of parameters and rules, many of which we have utterly no control over. The concrete landscape dictates much of the act of running. Stop sign? Stop. Car? Watch out. Cyclist? Step aside. Red light? Look both ways. Dog? Run faster. Exhaust? Hold your breath. Of course there is the track workout. But who really wants to go run a 400m session after work? Not me, sounds too much like work. Today was one of those evenings where I was reminded why running trails is such a wholly satisfying activity. Before heading out to Achenbach Canyon I threw a few gels into my waist pack, checked the batteries in my headlamp, filled up a bottle, laced my shoes, and grabbed my dinky point and shoot in the event I wedged my leg in between a rock and felt like recording my suffering in the vein of Aaron Ralston. Double checking my headlamp I dropped down onto the trail with only the slightest apprehension as I looked back at a sun sulking below a darkening horizon. Sandstone and granite glowed a fiery red and orange as I ascended up the jagged single track trail winding its' way up towards the saddle. I stopped momentarily to absorb the view at the bottom of trail that ascends up to an unknown peak that I've been frequenting the last few weeks. A few hearty birds darted across the sky; a cricket chirped as if it were spring; a stirring wind calmed as the warmth of a late January day vanished with the Sun. There wasn't a road on the face of this planet that could rival the joy I felt just being out for an evening run along one of my favorite sections of trail. See, these are not sentiments that I carry for the countless roads that surround my neighborhood. If I'm going to sweat it out and put miles under my feet then I'm going to do it in a setting that inspires, challenges, shapes, and engages me fully. For whatever reason I was reminded of this today on my run and felt like sharing this here. This is no revelation for me, and perhaps for you either, 'we' all know it's better when you get out and get dirty.