Friday, February 22, 2013

Shepard Fairey's Newest Artwork

Shepard Fairey - Artistic interlude and stencil scrap
Guerrilla artist and noted badass Shepard Fairey passed through Santa Fe this week. He was the guest artist for the Santa Fe University of Art and Design's (formerly the College of SF) Artists for Positive Change series. Last year's guest artist was Public Enemy (not a joke). Admirably, they nearly topped that get by landing the most important current artist in American underground and pop-art. Fairey made it clear at the beginning of Sunday's Q&A at the Greer Garson Theatre that he accepted the guest invite on the spot after hearing he'd be following Public Enemy - the major influences in his work being skate culture, rebellion, punk and hip-hop themes, the contradictions of materialism, and being awesome.

Fairey's Public Enemy

The guy built his fame through an ambitiously prolific street-art campaign of 'OBEY' images, often accompanied by a minimalist print of wrestler Andre the Giant. The image had no broader meaning other than its own ubiquity. It carried the street ethos of expression free from commercial reward. OBEY stickers and stencils were scattered everywhere in the mid 90's, first in every major U.S. city, then Europe, then Japan and Korea - all canvassed by Fairey himself in night-long bombing sessions. I can recall seeing dozens near the CU campus in Boulder in the late 90's and wondering wtf. The wife remembers them from our days in Pittsburgh.

The underground enigma thing he had going rocketed into the mainstream when his later work included the iconic red-blue Obama 'Hope' image during the 2008 election cycle. He now hangs out with comedian Dmitri Martin and Metallica's road manager. Led Zeppelin used his work for the cover art and liner notes of their anniversary best-of album. He collaborates with the Black Keys on their concert tour posters and with street-art king Banksy out of the UK. He submits pieces for Time Magazine covers. He designed graphics for a Discovery Team bike that Lance Armstrong rode in a stage of the Giro d' Italia. And he came to Santa Fe for three days, talked with the art students here on how to make it professionally, then put up a mural in the center of campus for me to visit during my weekend outings.

Best question from Sunday's Q&A session:  'Is Sheena, or isn't she, a punk rocker'? Fairey was wearing a Ramones shirt and rockin' the addidas.

Much more on Fairey and his work at

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Santa Fe's Arroyo Systems

Snow and sunrise on the Arroyo en Medio
As a kid growing up in Santa Fe during the 80s and early 90s we didn't have many trails to run or bike on, we had dirt roads and arroyos. Arroyos were not a real draw for biking of course, but for running and hiking and a myriad of childhood adventuring activities they were first rate. I still run and now bike in them on a weekly basis, generally as link-ups within a longer route but sometimes as a long traffic-free out and back.

Only over the last year have I been introduced to the names and some of the history of the arroyos around town. There's a least a couple dozen of them, many are familiar, some obscure. Some are runnable (hikable, explorable), some run through private land, some have had their courses shortened or re-routed by development or roadwork. Looking up information on these guys is nearly impossible (umm, on the internet at least. I did not search the stacks at the state archives), so I went into compilation mode with the idea of drawing a picture of the arroyo systems around Santa Fe. So here they are, arranged from longest to shortest:
My bro Sean puttin' in the work along the Arroyo Chamisos
  1. Arroyo de los Chamisos - The 2nd largest drainage in town next to the Santa Fe River. The Chamisos begins at the foot of Atalaya Mountain behind St. John's College and runs west for 20 miles, through the south end of town, joining up with the Arroyo Hondo near NM 599 and I-25, and eventually emptying into the SF River near La Cienega.     

    Great running from Old Pecos Trail, Museum Hill, St. John's, all the way to the summit of Atalaya. The Arroyo Chamiso Urban/Bike Trail stretches along the north rim of the arroyo from St. Francis Dr. and Zia Rd down to Cerrillos Rd, and will eventually connect to NM 599 and the Santa Fe River (Trail) west of town.

  2. View Arroyo de los Chamisos - Santa Fe in a larger map

  3. Arroyo Hondo - (South Santa Fe County) - Hondo meaning "deep" due to the small canyon it cuts into the land west of the highway. The 3rd longest drainage near town at 16 miles, begins in the Barbaria area of the east foothills then runs west past El Gancho Health Club and (under) I-25 north, through the Arroyo Hondo Community and crossing the Santa Fe Rail Trail at the railroad tracks, eventually merging with the Santa Fe River in La Cienega.    

    Fantastic running (and biking) to be had if you have the time to poke around, particularly up by the trails at the county's Arroyo Hondo Open Space. Lots of private property along this drainage, be considerate.

  4. View Arroyo Hondo - Santa Fe in a larger map

  5. Arroyo de la Piedra - Piedra meaning "rock or stone" most likely from the rocky outcroppings near its source in the foothills (see La Piedra Trail). The Piedra runs east to southwest for approx. 3.5 miles, beginning northeast of town behind Ten Thousand Waves Spa, flowing down through the Barranca neighborhood, under Valley Dr to Fort Marcy Park. At Fort Marcy the La Piedra, along with several other arroyos, come together as the Arroyo Mascaras.    

    There's some great running to be had up high on the Piedra as it crosses the Dale Ball Trails in the fotthills, where the trail is scattered with  brilliantly colored moss-rocks (piedras) high up in the arroyo drainage. The arroyo itself crosses through several parcels of private property in the upscale Barranca neighborhood and is impassable in sections. The lower Piedra is used for the starting section of the Striders' Annual Fowl Day 5K, run each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

  6. View Arroyo de la Piedra - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

  7. Arroyo de los Pinos - Begins near Old Santa Fe Trail just north of Museum Hill paralleling Arroyo Chamisos to the south. The new Santa Fe Botanical Gardens are setup on the south rim of the arroyo along with the newly relocated Kearny Gap Bridge spanning the gap. The Pinos runs west for 2.5 miles past EJ Martinez Elementary, under St. Francis Dr. and under the Rail Trail near (the old) Frankie's Flats bike shop and the cluster of businesses at Llena St. The arroyo no longer empties into a larger drainage, instead tailing off to nothing via city storm drains before reaching the Santa Fe Indian School.     

    Fantastic running can be had through sand and footpaths from Museum Hill to Don Gaspar. Loops can be run-out around Museum Hill by connecting the Pinos with the Arroyo Chamisos. Highly recommended although the first go may include some route-finding.

  8. View Arroyo de los Pinos - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

  9. Canada Ancha - Runs for approx. 3 miles beginning in the north foothills, running along the south side of Hyde Park Rd near Ten Thousand Waves Spa, crossing Sierra del Norte at the Dale Ball trailhead then bending south and wandering just to the east of Gonzales Rd. The Ancha fades at Lejano Lane now, two blocks north of its historical outflow into the Santa Fe River near Patrick Smith Park. The Ancha is not a great place to run, although the Dale Ball Trails cross over at three separate points. The city has plans to add a soft-surface trail linking Gonzales Rd to Sierra del Norte (the proposed Sarah Williams Trail) that will parallel the Ancha on the north side of the road. Significant cfs can flow through here during a July shower, use caution.

  10. View (Arroyo) Canada Ancha - Santa Fe in a larger map

  11. Arroyo Barranca - Runs north to south for approx. 2 miles beginning at Tano Rd. Hill down to Fort Marcy Park where the drainage merges with Arroyo de la Piedra and becomes Arroyo Mascaras.      

    Great running up the Barranca including several intermittent footpaths on the east arroyo edge between Fort Marcy, Governor's Mansion Dr., all the way up to Camino Encantado. One of the few 'trail-runs' accessible from downtown Santa Fe. The Barranca comprises a majority of the course for the Striders' Annual Fowl Day 5K, run each year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

  12. View Arroyo Barranca - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

  13. Arroyo Rosario - Runs north to south from Rosario Hill north of downtown, alongside Rosario Cemetary before joining the Arroyo Mascaras at Paseo de Peralta. If you grew up in the area you would know that the infamously tough St. Kate's cross country course wove in and out of the Arroyo Rosario over its torturous length. Many a prep runner suffered mightily in the sand of Arroyo Rosario (just thinking of it brings back the copper taste in the back of my throat). Nowadays, angry dogs impede my attempts to run and explore this drainage. Arroyo Barranca is the perferred alternative.

  14. View Arroyo Rosario - Santa Fe in a larger map

  15. Arroyo Mascaras - Traverses a short distance from Fort Marcy Park, under Paseo de Peralta where it absorbs Arroyo Rosario, past Gonzales Elementary, before emptying into the SF River. No real running to be had in the Mascaras unless you're a high school kid being forced to walk Heaven-and-Hell (the culvert under the Paseo), but its certainly cool to pronounce, and to know the name of a once very centrally located Santa Fe arroyo with what I'm certain is a significant amount of history.

  16. View Arroyo Mascaras - Santa Fe in a larger map

  17. Arroyo en Medio - Runs east-to-west beginning in the Sol y Lomas neigborhood west of Old Pecos Trail, passes through culverts under St. Francis Dr, paralleling Zia Rd to the south for about a mile, then running alongside Chaparral Elementary before emptying into the Arroyo Chamisos at Yucca Rd.    

    When I'm really getting after it I probably run the En Medio a couple times a week. There are a few footpaths through here as well as tunnels to duck traffic crossings. You can just as easily sneak down to the Arroyo Chamisos footpaths without seeing anyone as you can sneak up onto the dirt roads of Sol y Lomas. A planned section of the Santa Fe Urban Trail System will be built through here in the not-too-distant future, connecting Ragle Park to the Rail Runner Station at Zia Rd and St. Francis Dr. I'm not sure how I feel about this actually. I've become possessive of my beautiful wash of sand.

  18. View Arroyo en Medio - Santa Fe in a larger map

  19. Arroyo del Cerro - Runs north-to-south beginning south of Hyde Park Rd near Sierra del Norte, down toward Santa Fe Canyon before joining the SF River near Cerro Gordo Rd. The Arroyo del Cerro doubles as part of the west section of Dale Ball Trail for about a mile and serves as an informal trailhead where Dale Ball meets the tight bend in Cerro Gordo Rd. It goes without saying that the running and biking along the Cerro is awesome. As an interesting side note: small fossils can be found in the shale at the Cerro Gordo parking area. Elementary school classes used to visit from time to time to observe and study them. A happy memory.

  20. View Arroyo Cerro - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

  21. Arroyo Saiz - Runs north-to-south, beginning east of Cross of the Martyrs at Artist Rd, running down to Palace and Alameda St before joining the Santa Fe River. The Saiz is pretty navigable, has some marvelous cottonwood groves, and is one of the few runnable downtown 'trails', best run in circuits on what I call the Green Man Loops although the first couple visits may require some route-finding. Maybe more than just some actually.   *Update*   It has been noted in the comments below that a section of the Arroyo Saiz crosses private land through the Estancia Primera neighborhood. Roads are the suggested byway though I'd imagine these are also private roads. The Gonzales Rd pedestrian trail has since been put in place which makes for a fine unobstructed loop safe from vehicle traffic. 

  22. View Arroyo Saiz - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

    Other minor systems and county systems include:
  • Arroyo Cabra - runs south to north east of Camino Cabra; joins the SF River on Upper Canyon Rd
  • Arroyo Mora
  • Arroyo Palau
  • Cuchara and Calabasas arroyos north of town, criss-crossing the La Tierra Trails 
  • Arroyos south of town in the Sunlit Hills, Eldorado and Galisteo areas. I know none of them by name
Related Links
 - Santa Fe Area Trails Listing
 - Arroyo (Chamiso) Washout
 - Come Hell or High Water - Monsoon Season

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Off-Piste Pope

Super Pope - John Paul II (1920-2005)
So if you haven't heard, the Pope is stepping down. This news is quite the departure from papal historical norms, but all-in-all a welcome move for the better. The current Pope scores low marks for charisma, he is often socially awkward during appearances and can be tone deaf in Vatican media releases. His style projects the sterile coldness of doctrine and orthodoxy rather than the wonder of faith. Not much of a well of inspiration to his Catholic flock around the world, practicing or not-practicing. These shortcomings are magnified several fold by the unique brilliance of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

The magnetism of John Paul - previously Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland - was manifest in the way he humanized the seat of St. Peter with natural charm and ease of grace. That, and the man had balls. He waded into the tension of the Solidarity movement in the early 80's in open defiance of the Soviets and the Iron Curtain that veiled off eastern Europe. He publicly lent his (and Rome's) support to the cause, even holding an open Mass during his first visit as Pope to several hundred thousand of his countrymen. The ruskies unsurprisingly tried to knock him off for this stunt, but like a badass the Pope shook off four gun-shots wounds, later recovered, and eventually pardoned his would-be assassin. And a big papal middle-finger to the KGB when the Soviet state toppled and fell nine years later.

The Pope on vacation in 1984
What made the guy seem real to me were the stories of his youth, wandering and adventure-seeking in the Tatra mountains of Poland. Hiking, kayaking, exploring. He was John Muir with a funny hat. It was oft publicized that his first love was skiing.
When asked, "Is it befitting a cardinal to ski?" his reply was, "What is unbefitting a cardinal is to ski badly."
Undoubtedly the best ski quote of all-time. Upon his passing, several of his closest confidants revealed that in his early days in Rome the Pope engineered several clandestine trips to the slopes, having his bros help him sneak through the guarded gates of the Vatican then back again. They'd head off in a borrowed car, no security detail, no cellphones, no one on the planet knowing their whereabouts, trunk loaded with parkas and wool sweaters I assume, and the Pope - with all the many burdens of heaven and earth on his conscience - would then spend his morning, hidden there in broad daylight, waiting his turn in the lift line and bombing down runs with a smile on his face.

Happy Ash Wednesday. Find time to get some turns in this week if you haven't already.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Early Morning on the Atalaya Trails

Adam and Hadji at the crest

Distance:  5mi.roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,600ft
Summit:  9,121ft
Time:  37min up, 19min down

A quick summit of Atalaya yesterday morning before the storms came through. Plenty of snow along the north ridge leading down to Picacho. I was with friends Adam and Hadji who towed me up when I cracked after the first steep section. I made the second mistake of wearing an ultralight shoe, not so good on the ice and steeper descents. Didn't see a single hiker, so we had all the blue vistas to ourselves.

Summit views of the city to the west - Atalaya Mtn 830am

Views off the north ridge, north foothills and the Dale Ball Trail layout below

View of town on the upper descent. The Jemez beyond are washed out from the light contrasts.

Our route ascended the main trail from the Atalaya trailhead, orange at first then blue below. We descended along green then an unmarked section between Picacho and Atalaya on the return.

View Atalaya Mountain Trail - Santa Fe, NM in a larger map

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Corrida de los Locos - Race Report

Off the line - with horse and Smith & Wesson escort
copyright M. Mujynya, photo album at
Distance: 5 miles
Location: Santa Fe, south hills

It's hard for me to turn down the opportunity to lace up for a cross-country race, so there I found myself this weekend competing at the annual Corrida de los Locos. I had decided to get out and race not because my training had been going well, but rather because there was no training and there hadn't been any for a few months now and so I reasoned to myself, 'this could be like training'. What better reason to get started? Get out there, mix it up, get the ball rolling for 2013.

Right, well true to any reasonable expectation my race was a classic crash and burn. I fidgeted around most of the way trying to find a comfortable pace knowing full well that I wouldn't find one. There was some fun bursts of racing though. Half mile in I realized I was in no-man's land, running in between the lead pack of five and a group several meters back. Not a great place to be, so I snapped out of it and got myself back onto the tail of the lead pack. From here I could see (or rather hear) that I was working harder than the other five combined. I lost contact over a series of rolling hills and was off the back. At least I was now free and clear of the chase group.

Myself and Herman in the opening stretch. All smiles when the legs are fresh.
copyright M. Mujynya, photo album at
That first mile was passed in near six minutes, after which I clung dearly to the giant gap of nothing that opened before me over the next four miles. The result was a close approximation of the old high school sprint-and-fade. I was nearly caught from behind by a hard-charging Chad Thompson over the last third of the course which kept me driving on with an honest effort. There's little honor in suffering for several miles only to give it all away in site of the finish line.

All in all a fine day out on the llano, the sizeable Caja del Rio plateau looming to the west. Mike Rahmer took the overall in a time of 29:52, followed closely by Donovan Lucero. Noel Prandoni claimed the womens overall in 34:50, followed by Maureen Nowels in second. Full results can be found at the event webpage.

1Mike Rahmer29min 52sec
2Donovan Lucero30:12
3Antonio Lopez31:03
4Mike Ehrmantraut31:29
5Chester Topple32:02
6Kevin Brennan34:07
7Chad Thompson34:11
8Ken Gordon34:22
9Noel Prandoni34:50
10Herman Agoyo35:14
11Russel Nowels36:04
12Zachary Montoya36:20
13Maureen Nowels36:35
14Richard Iverson36:40
15Steve Rogers36:53
16Elizabeth Lopez37:19
17David Garrett37:28
18Jeremy Yang37:34
19Tony Gallegos37:59
20Amy Gordon38:19
21Sheila Van Cuyk38:31
22Alden Hoskie38:53
23John Holton39:14
24Erin Sindewald39:51
25Tori Quintana40:11
26Ben Allison40:28
27John Caskey40:43
28Mark Dalten40:49
29Stephen Stout40:50
30Jan Bear41:47

A bit more about this fine race and its twenty-eight years:  The first Corrida I ran was way back in 1991. I remember this because I had the shirt for years and years before the Desert Babe established a house rule that running shirts that date back to high school are to be retired. I remember that it was out north of town rather than it's current location and also that I ran in my track spikes that year because I reasoned that it would help in the snow (..and look cool). This was a very poorly thought out and painful decision. Yay for awkward running memories!! Share your own in the comments if you'd like.

Max has posted some terrific images of the race at here. There's a few hundred action shots to browse, download, or order prints. It cost me $1.49 to download the images above. Revenue from the photos is directed to the Santa Fe Striders Running Club.

Related Links: 
 -  2011 Corrida Race Report
 -  2013 New Mexico Trail Racing Calendar

View Corrida de los Locos in a larger map


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