Monday, April 2, 2012

29er Redux: Spring comes to Crownpoint, and Wow, those Big Wheels Really Soak Up Bumps

I went on a ride last week to the top of the bluff just south of Crownpoint. This begins just behind the Crownpoint Christian Church, diagonally across from the post office, and at first looks pretty dull: a jeep road that's very rutted, with a lot of exposed rock: not boulders or baby heads or gravel, mind you, but jutting sheets, sandstone forms resemble miniature icebergs in a sea of tannish red dirt.

But as you move on, the riding gets more interesting: there's double track and single track, and enough rock that picking a line becomes a technical puzzle, especially when headed back down and trying to go fast. The 29er wheels really allow you to aim carefully and just keep pedaling on ruts and ridges that would toss a non-suspended 26er. I know, no-one but me and a few other ignorable freaks still rides 26 non boing; but that's my frame of reference here.

To give you a sense of what Crownpoint, NM is like, here are a couple of photographs:

To the southeast of Crownpoint

To the west, and further south on the bluff

As these photos indicate, this is very much a high desert landscape of small to medium junipers competing for water; and remember, this is after at least some snowfall ( about a week before I took these, we had heavy snowfall and icy, unpassable-to-non-4wd roads from Interstate 40). But in the crevices and nooks, there are subtle forms of beauty too.

On some sections of the bluff, these small cacti seem to have won out over the junipers.  

And even more beautiful (because, I suppose, most human sensibilities are not formed by continued encounters with high altitude aridity and the need for life there to protect itself, these yellow flowers.

A friend from Los Angeles told me, "I don't think I could live there; it's too forbidding. But it grows on me, and has been for quite a long time.

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