Sunday, September 25, 2016

Santa Fe Trail-Building Projects Lurch Forward

Santa Fe Conservation Trust volunteers at work on the new footbridge
at Camino de las Animas
Work on the Acequia Trail Underpass began in earnest this weekend. Equipment has been hauled to the site and orange barrels are in place for the start of weekday traffic. This is a major piece of our new urban trail/pedestrian/cycling infrastructure which will surely incite cries of commuter agony for the next six months followed by decades of value, appreciation, and laudatory expressions of foresight and vision from future generations of Santa Feans.

This project and other have been held up all year due to City budget deliberations despite segregated allocation of funds between park and trail bond receipts and the city's general fund. Don't get me going on this topic, point being the new work is rolling now since a lot of the scheduled projects have completed the required planning and public input stages, committee approval, bidding, etc.

Smaller less visible projects that have been completed in the meantime include a new extension of the Acequia Trail at Harrison Rd and La Cieneguita St;  A new footbridge over the ditch at Camino de las Animas (useful connector east onto Agua Fria and Canyon Rds; old bridge was all peligroso); Engineering and trail work on the unofficial north/south footpath in the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve; and the new work on the far east end of the River Trail - replacing and installing sidewalk along Alameda up to Patrick Smith Park.

The new footpath extension at Santa Fe Canyon Preserve.
Not yet officially completed or opened to public use.
There has also been several additions of bike lanes on city and county roads including Old Santa Fe Trail south of St. John's College through to El Gancho Way; New lanes on Siringo Dr. from St Francis. Dr. to Llano St.

Major projects and additions anticipated for 2017 include the Pen Rd section of the Rail Trail (thru to Alta Vista), and the 15mi El Camino Real Trail along Buckman Rd from the Rio Grande to Caja del Rio Rd west of town. This second project is being managed by BLM and the National Park Service thankfully, removed from dependence on the City and it's various governing committees.

New bike lane off Old Las
Vegas Highway

Related Posts:
 - Acequia Trail Underpass Groundbreaking/Announcement (Aug '16)
 - Acequia Trail Underpass GreenLit (Aug '15)
 - Arroyo Chamisos Underpass (2012)

Monday, September 5, 2016

New Fall Trail Races - Ultra Santa Fe and Bull of the Woods

There are a couple of new trail races on the schedule this Fall with a lot of potential:
  - The inaugural Ultra Santa Fe at the ski basin (Sep 10th), and
  - The inaugural Bull of the Woods Trail Run up in Taos Ski Valley (Sep 17th).

Ultra Santa Fe - 13mi/50km/50mi, Sep 10, 2016
Santa Fe's first organized ultra at both 50k and 50mi distances. Race directors Peter Olson and Taylor Pardue have done a ton of work and promotion to launch this new race. The courses are terrific (including the first rate maps setup on the race website), starting/finishing at the ski area lodge and descending the network of forest service trails on to Dale Ball in town (great race viewing, cheering, and cow-belling) before circling back up the mountain.

As of this writing there are 66 entries to the ultra distances and another 75 at the half marathon distance. This is going to be the new area test-piece, and the scheduling ties in beautifully to the fall trail racing calendar: it's one week before the Bull of the Woods Trail Run and Buffalo Thunder Half (Sep17), three weeks before Big Tesuque (Oct 2), and five weeks before Pajarito and Duke City (Oct 17).

More details and registration info at the event website here.

SF Reporter write-up - 6/29/16
SF New Mexican write-up - 9/1/16

Bull of the Woods Trail Run - 8mi, Sep 17, 2016
A couple of local trail runners in Taos have managed to get approval at the Northside@Taos Ski Valley trail system to stage an 8 mile high altitude race. The mostly singletrack course runs between 10,000-11,000 feet elevation with magnificent views of Gold Hill, Kachina Peak, and Lobo Peak. The expectation is that in years to come the race will be expanded into offering longer distances, and perhaps a combination run with the Taos Ski Valley Up-&-Over, and potentially part of a Northern New Mexico trail race series!

More details and registration info at the event website here.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Acequia Trail Underpass GroundBreaking

After many months of delays the groundbreaking for the new bike and pedestrian tunnel linking the Railyard to the west Acequia Trail is set for this Wednesday, Aug 17th (Turns out it was a groundbreaking in name only - instead it was a formal announcement of groundbreaking planned for mid-September!). Construction is expected to take 6 months from beginning to end though some of this will be prep and landscape work rather than road closures.

Approximately 85% of the funding for this project source from a Federal Non-Motorized Transportation grant, the remainder from 2012 City Parks and Trails bonds. This won't keep un-informed and uninterested folks all over town from complaining about prioritizing spending. The project also spent many many years in planning, committees, and public meetings but this won't keep the same people from belly-aching about design or the need for an overpass or unrelated hang-ups, etcetera, etc., ad infinitum. Bottom line is that all of this new and sorely needed infrastructure is going to change the town for the better, tying together adjacent neighborhoods, increasing land values and incentivizing private investment, and increasing foot traffic for local businesses.

Acequia Trail Tunnel - Schematic drawings
A related project that will likely arrive on the heels of the new underpass is the re-work of the Rail Trail segment along Pen Rd and the Rail Runner Station between Cordova and Alta Vista. Trees will be added as will improved road crossings and safety medians. Planning is complete and funding has been allocated from previous bond sales. This whole area will be spruced up and looking fine.

Groundbreaking Celebration: Wednesday Aug 17th, 4pm

Related Posts:
 - Delays in Pending Trail Projects (2016)
 - Acequia Trail Underpass Scheduled for this Fall (2015)
 - Arroyo Chamisos Underpass Nears Completion (2012)

Friday, August 5, 2016

What It's Like to be a Parent - With Helpful Comparison to New Orleans Party

Important Dad skill: Crossing creeks with both coffee and kid
I traveled down to New Orleans recently for some wedding festivities. The friends and I brought the ruckus, rolling the celebrations out late over two nights, even high-stepping our own cocktail fueled street parade through the French Quarter complete with marching band and police escort. We went big even by our own historical standards, by accountants' standards we would have been off the charts. Straight up partied our asses off, committed fully to the task at hand. Flawless execution. The 7,000+ ft drop in altitude for myself only provided an even larger tank of fuel then normal to burn through.
Now, on my return home, not even one full week later I’m out on an evening mtb ride with a friend (also an accountant I should add). It is hot as holy hell. No wind or breeze to speak of, I’m literally thanking my good judgment for filling two water bottles before heading out of the house (usually take just one). I’m sweating sheets during the ride and this requires me to stop on several occasions to clear my eyes because I’m blinded. We are not even in the hills - no climbing, just zipping around Galisteo and pedaling madly up/down the southern stretches of the Rail Trail in Eldorado. We grab a beer after the ride and I’m definitely more filthy than average because I'm annoyingly conscious that my entire upper body is coated in a film of sweat and dust and I feel it when I move, minor actions like talking and smiling and swiveling my head. Thirty minutes later I pull into the house just in time for the 3yr old's bedtime so I walk in the door and directly into his room where I sit with him until he’s asleep. We both fall asleep of course - me in the rocking chair, layered in sweat and dust baked in by sun, he in his nearly outgrown toddler's bed. I was at the office all day and was spent. I wake up super early a.m. and on autopilot drag my broken old-man body out of that freaking chair and sleepwalk straight into the shower because I literally feel several degrees worse at this moment than I did on either of the late unsteady mornings in New Orleans the week before.
I feel that this story very elegantly illustrates what it’s like to be a parent and I wanted to share my pain with other people. Being a parent is super-fun though there's lots of discomfort and confusion and small humiliations of unusually high frequency and the occasional absence of beds or any type of necessary self-planning.
P.S. New Orleans is a riot and you should go there.
Related Posts:
- Adventure on the Winsor Trail (Sep 2014)
- Greatest Dad Wins (Apr 2015)
 - Fat  Man (Apr 2015)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Prep Miler With New Mexico Roots Qualifies for Olympic Trials

Aragon - Olympic Trials qualifier
Several high school athletes will be competing at this weekend's Olympic Trials in Eugene, including two high school seniors in the women's 1500m. Kate Murphy (Lake Braddock HS, Virginia) and Christina Aragon (Billings HS, Montana) both qualified by time with the #3 and #4 prep marks of all-time (4:07.21 and 4:09.27).

Aragon happens to be the youngest daughter of legendary New Mexico miler Chuck Aragon, a former Los Lunas HS state champion, an MD and graduate of UNM medical school, as well as the alternate on the 1984 Olympic Team in the 1500m. Her mother Kathy (Pfiefer) was a standout runner at UNM who qualified to run in the Trials more than once (3x to be specific).

Quality genetics led to multiple national championships on the track as a junior last year for Christina, and at a recent qualifying race in Portland she ran away from a field of professional and collegiate runners, just dipping under the Trials mark of 4:09.50, running solo and chasing the time by herself over the final lap.

Aragon is not expected to compete at the front for one of the spots on the Olympic team, her effort will be measured a success if she can make the finals. She has committed to run for Stanford in the Fall unlike her sisters and father who all ran for the University of Notre Dame.

See the bios and achievements of all sixteen prep Trials qualifiers (12 girls, 4 boys). They include one current world champion, a couple junior world champions, and several national record holders.

Christina ran through to the semi-finals, missing out on a finals qualifier by two places finishing in 4:12:71. Kate Murphy also missed qualifying out of the semis.

Related Posts:
 - New Mexico's Four Minute Milers
 - New Mexico's Newest Olympic Hopeful (2016)
 - The Tough Guy List (Chuck Aragon)


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