Thursday, December 30, 2010

another year, misspent

Yep it's resolution time again.

a look back at 2010
The season to take a look back over our shoulders, take stock of the past 12 months, figure out how I misspent yet another year (read: workin for The Man, paying the bills, improving la hacienda de Roughrider,  etc) in lieu of biking and fishing all over hill and dale.

Too close an analysis proves fairly depressing, best not go there- what say you all?  Amen brothers and sisters!

So let's look at those things I managed to get Right instead- now we're talkin!

I pulled 2010's resolutions list to gauge how I did, click the links for entries:
  • Fish Spring cuttbows on the Rio~  PASS
  • Resume the annual Arkansas Caddis trip with my Dad.  Ark (+) big fish (-) Dad = INCOMPLETE
  • Run my first 10K @ Bolder Boulder~ PASS; Booya! sample some Front Range mtb trails while we’re at it. PASS + PASS 
  • Fish the Gunny's giant stone hatch~   FAIL. sigh
  • Ride Moab~  FAIL.  in my defense- reference Mickey below
  • Explore the Continental Divide via mtb~ PASS + PASS
  • Pull my big bro down for some cutthroat fishing~  FAIL darn it!
  • Ride the South Boundary Trail, Taos~  FAIL
  • Explore that certain blue squiggle below the Divide~ FAIL double dog darnit!
  • Fish Fall browns on the Rio~ FAIL- reference Cortez, Mancos below
  • Ride SedonaPASS

Some good efforts there, but whoa! way too many fails too, bummer.  To offset, I tender the following as Extra Credit ;-]

2010- the Year of the Yeti

Honorable men and women of the Jury, I throw myself upon the mercy of the court.

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010

    auld lang syne

    My last ride in the North Foothills for 2010- storm rolling in.

    muchas gracias!

    A quick note of thanks to the Outdoor Blogger Network for their random act of kindness* in selecting this preening humble blog as a featured Blog of the Week.  If you have not already, click on over and browse around some of the best blogging content on these here interweb tubes.  OBN: your one-stop shopping for outdoor enthusiasts of all stripes! 

    *Gotta be random, right?  I mean, have they seen the material-of-questionable-worth I put up on a semi-regular basis?  You guys know from where I speak.

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    boxing day

    Always wondered what the big guy's up to on Boxing Day? Mystery solved- winter steelies on the PM.

    Like duh!

    The Fly Fishing Santa from Third Coast Fly on Vimeo.
    ht: Midcurrent

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    huge in the americas

    The internet fly fishing magazine This Is Fly is showing the love this week for this humble blog. 'Cept they're not giving credit where credit's due, hey c'mon now guys!

    They've copy/pasted my image from backpack trip with the boy back in May as the piece de resistance to their December 22 photo montage. Cool beans, no?

    Still, would've been nice to receive some credit there fellas-here's a tip to how it's done, you're welcome!


    for the rest of us!

    as for this blogger, I am not looking forward to Mrs Wulff's Airing of Grievances around the table tonight. Not gonna be pretty. ;-]

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010


    Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse from William Castleman on Vimeo.
    HT: Midcurrent

    well that was kinda freaky- easy to see how that'd cause mass hysteria in olden times.  Fast forward to 2010, where we now rely on 5am Black Friday specials.  Or SuperBowl Sunday.  Or Apple iPad. Or Justin Bieber. 

    That's Progress for ya!

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    big on the animas

    golden hour on the Juan
    So yeah, work stuff called me up to Cortez, CO.  No matter how you slice that drive, the route takes you within a 30min drive out to the Quality Waters on the Juan.  So I've been swapping biking and fishing each time I head up that way since the project began back in the Fall.

    Fishing felt right this goround, so I packed the fly rod, hit the water noon on Sunday.

    Waded right into a schweet midge hatch, slurping pods all over the place, many in just 12" of water.

    johnny flash, #24, in black or brown, don't matter which
    Worked this one pod over from stem to stern, pricking a few, landing a coupla less.  Managed to wrestle this good ole boy to the net.
    grizzled veteran
    So Monday after my project meetings I'm chatting with a client who's an avid angler, swapping lies stories and patterns from my day on the Juan.   He relays how the warm weather has the Animas turned on, guys having banner days while the gettin's good, you should get on out there. Man, I'm traveling back that way on the way home, hmmmm, what were they bitin' on again?
    in the shadows of highway 160 bridge
    Monday afternoon has me pulling into a dirt pullout just down from the Humane Society in Durango proper.  I look over and spot a coupla gents breaking their gear down, having just quit the river.  I mosey over, ask them what's the skinny.  Ryan and ?John? are both locals, friendly (as is everyone in that town!), give me a few pointers.  Turns out Ryan is a guide for Heads Up Fly Fishing (booya!) so he knows the schizzle allright. They both dig into their boxes and offer up a coupla of their favorite patterns- clown's egg and red annelid, nice!  

    I offer to trade in kind from my San Juan box, both kindly refuse- what gentlemen! Eying my midge patterns with a wry grin, Ryan leaves me one final piece of advice to not fish too small- we fish them big on the Animas. 

    Wow, thanks again guys, youdaman! 

    So I step into the same runs that Ryan and his bud just quit, right in the shadow of the highway 160 bridge above.  It's not 10 minutes before I meet this guy-
    17" brownie
    Another 20 minutes and I'm tight to a big boy, bulldogging it down deep in the current.  For 3-4 minutes, he's towing me around a coupla pools, never once giving thought to nearing the surface.  Just throbbing head shakes, zigs, zags, ohmygawdthisguyishuge!  I can wait him out: drag's set just right, new 5x tippet on the end, now he's getting tired, I'm getting line onto the reel.  I'm already mentally writing the blog post Headline: Victory! when I feel that sickening tick, ping, and minute slippage of the line that says something's not right, just might have this dude now fouled.

    Sure enough after 5 minutes, I'm finally getting him up for a looksee.  Freaking huge allright, well past 20", prolly 22-24", big BIG wild brownie.  Holy smokes!  

    But yeah, I have him fouled, my #20 clown's egg snagged right in a pectoral fin, %@#$%^$!

    Yep, 'twas not to be.  One more roll, my rig's flying back in my face.  

    I just stand there, rooted in the river, defeated, heart pounding in my chest, hands still shaking from the adrenaline rush and my lord the disappointment of the moment.

    Reeling up while gazing back downriver at what might have been, Ryan's words float back to me- we fish em big on the Animas.  

    Truer words never spoken, my friend.
    Rio de las Animas Perdidas

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010


    La Plata Range, CO

    Sunday, December 12, 2010


    Stopped by the Juan on my way up to Cortez, CO.  Bluebird day, temps into the 50's, fish gorging on midges mid afternoon. More when I get back home~
    someone's been into the christmas pudding!


    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    welcome to the new pit


    booya? I've printed it out, business-card size, laminated it. Plan on flashing it around Sportsman's next time I'm up to the Juan.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Area 51: Shimano's MT52 shoe + M647 pedals

    Just in time for the holidays! This installment of Area 51 features Shimano's MT52 mtb shoes and M647 pedals.
    My secret santa took advantage of those Cyber Monday deals to deliver some much needed upgrades for the two wheel drive- I luv myself. ;-]

    I destroyed another set of M545 pedals in Sedona, those things just suck eggs, to put it plainly.  By my count, that makes !five! failed M545's in the past 2 years.  Same failure each time: the spindle just kinda explodes under duress and pukes the internal fittings, springs right out of the center housing onto the trail.  Each failure was covered under Shimano's warranty policy, but 3 sets are more than enough for this guy- it's not me, it's you sweetheart, I think we both know it's time to move on.

    After casting about a bit, I settled on the M545's big brother: M647. Resilient resin platform (replaceable), beefed up spindle, proven shimano clip-in and release.  And still at a moderate price!  Time will tell vs durability, but Shimano's warranty program remains beyond question, take it from a guy who knows.

    I paired the pedal purchase with Shimano's MT52 mid-high shoe.  My 3-yr old Lakes were literal ankle-twisters when walking, Sedona's hikeabikes proved the final straw.  The MT52 offers proven ankle support & cushion against knocks: +1.  Excellent traction and grip on rocks: +1.  Finally, the MT52's were purpose-built to offer equal comfort on and off the bike.  Walking around, they feel much like my light hikers, the treads protecting the cleats from that oh-so-annoying tap-shoe affect: +1  Responsive enough to wear while driving even, no more changing shoes at the trailhead: +1.  Picked my pair up from Nashbar at nearly 70% off retail- booya!  

    Secret santa = generous yet shrewd too!
    Moab Slickrock

    EDIT: January 2011 have ~10 rides on these puppies, maybe 70-80 miles. 

    Additional thoughts on the MT52's: great ankle support, breathe well, nice roomy toebox helps keep the tootsies warm.  And yes, comfortable to wear around pre and post rides.

    Additional thoughts on M647 pedals: they have beefier profile that means more pedal strikes than my old M545's.  The resin platform has been absorbing them well as of yet, no problems reported.  Liking them!

    ride recovery operations
    EDIT: March 2011- I've been lacing up the MT52's, cleating them into the M647's for 4 months, approx 400 miles.  Just got back from Moab, having ridden Slickrock and Amasa Back trails over 3 days. 

    M647 pedals remain rock solid in their dependability, stability, they seem a real workhorse.

    The MT52's shoes earned their stripes on the various hikeabikes that abound on both trails, some extremely steep.  No ankle twisting, excellent grip when you are on the balls of your feet hiking the steeps.  Clipped in, happy to report no ankle strikes either, great padding coverage there.

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    avant garde christmas

    'genius is rarely recognized it its time'- some other genius
    Mrs Wulff asked me to set up the tree, while she went grocery shopping, picked up the dry cleaning, ran the car in for an oil change, supervised the kids' practice at school.  

    10.04:  Done and done! 

    Makes the post-holiday cleanup a snap- see always thinkin!

    Now back to footbaw! 

    Well, that dint go as planned- Mrs Wulff returned, got all huffy about it.  Someone's not in the Christmas Spirit just yet it would appear, yikes.

    kids!  Get the vacuum, stat!

    <<--Lemme ask ya, does this look right to you?  

    The guy on the street corner said he just cut it last week.  Thought it curious at the time that he dint have, like, an actual tree lot.  Just selling them outta his car, huh.

    Still it was too good a deal to pass up.  Are you with me? Well, that's what the Mrs said too.  Huh.

    Honey, where's that green spray paint?  No reason!  Gotta go to WallyWorld real quick, be right back!

    OK, got the tree spruced right up (see what I did there?) with new coat of paint pine forest freshness.  Finally finished stringing up the eleven* strings of lights, took like forever, but it's gonna be great!

    *yes eleven, 'cause that's how we roll in la casa de Roughrider.

    rut roh raggy

    Can't figure this out tho---->>> 

    Anyone know how to get this to work?

    Must need an adaptor of some sort, huh?

    Honey, gotta go to Radio Shed real quick, be right back!

    Well that guy was just plain rude, might have to call Corporate to let them know what kinda 'tude Bernard's been laying on the customers.  Snickering the whole time I'm trying to explain I need some kinda male-to-male adaptor, did he have any of those available?  Sheesh, some people.

    Showed him by not buying the adaptor he dint have, hmmph.

    Happy Holidays from Mrs Wulff & kids!

    While I was haggling with Bernard, Mrs Wulff pulled the lights back off**, redraped the lot of 'em, adding ornaments + 12th string to boot.  Luv ya hon!

    **according to both Mr Benard Smarty-Pants and my darlin wife, apparently I could just reconnect the strings 'in order', who knew?!  Still, you think Benard could be appreciative of my intentions, instead of hollering out around the store to his laughing co-workers I needed a male-to-male 'connection'***, they did not have those in stock, Radio Shed is not that kinda store.

    ***not that there's anything wrong with that

    Friday, December 3, 2010

    a sumptuous feast

    been meaning to get up a more substantive post about our Sedona riding.

    Red Agave's central courtyard fronting NF land
    First off, we stayed at Red Agave Resort in the Village of Oak Creek, on the south edge of Sedona proper.  

    Many of the popular trails head up in national forest land between Oak Creek and Sedona, Red Agave's property lies right on the NF boundary.  

    view out from the loft of our Aframe

    You quite literally ride right out the door to hit the trail, you can't beat that with a stick!

    B&B: mtb haven
    Have to stop by the bike/coffee shop first tho: Bike and Bean is da bomb, and like one block away from Red Agave.  Step inside and you get a waft of mountain-biking goodness: a heady blend of coffee, rubber, grease, shop dog, in equal parts.  Shop dogs Rico Suave (luv that dude!) and his mom Pepper rule the roost over there, lead all the group rides.  Rico's owners/shop proprietors Jim and Jan are the two most hospitable people on the planet, hands down- we weren't in the shop 10min before Jim invited us out for the shop's thanksgiving social ride and dinner after. 

    Thursday T-day was our first real opportunity to ride.  Early am, Mrs Wulff and the kids opted to explore their first trails running, while I explored up valley a bit on the Yeti. Right across the road from Bike and Bean you'll find a parking lot servicing the Bell Rock Pathway trail and access to the Big Park Loop.  I saved Big Park for our intro family ride later in the day, and headed up Bell Rock Pathway to circle round first Bell Rock then Courthouse Rock and onto the Llama Trail.  Llama is billed an Intermediate trail, hugging the red rock cliffs that ring the valley on its eastern side.  Lama offers a bit of everything you'll encounter in Sedona riding: flowy packed adobe runs, swoopy drops in/out of arroyos, red slickrock playgrounds, techy rock gardens alike.  And don't forget the eye-popping scenery!  

    llama goodness awaits
    Late morning I somewhat reluctantly turned onto Little Horse Trail towards basecamp, to make our social ride heading up at B&B.  Little Horse proved a hoot, lots of sandstone ledges to drop over, some doable for the weekend warrior, some not so much.  Fun!  

    ABQ wrecking crew

    T-Day's social ride was pretty cool, if a bit of a mismatch for a family of four.  Despite Jim's reassurance it was all good, we were apprehensive we'd be the only family to participate,  which proved true enuf.  Once assembled, the others in the group proved very welcoming and supportive, esp of the youngsters.  

    With no other families in the mix, we couldn't help but drag the ride down, and split off before we were a coupla miles in, circling around Big Park Loop and back up around Bell Rock at a pace we could sustain for the duration.  
    intersection of Bell Rock Pathway and Lama Trail.  LT heads out to hug those cliffs in background.
    Morning rides in the bag, time for some turkey!  We checked back in with Jim on the ride back to basecamp, showered up, made it back to the shop replete with side dishes + bottle of vino as contributions to the feast.  Jim &  Co had cleared the shop floor, set up some tables, chairs for the guests.  Most hovered around the coffee bar, now wine and beer bar, Jim and shopmates acting bartenders for their gathering.  Handed a cold microbrew tapped straight out sidewall of the shop fridge (booya!  Happy Thanksgiving!) we spent some time meeting the assembling crew.  
    And what an eclectic group it proved to be!  Local rider Denny introduced us to professional racer Christina, she to custom bike builder Darryl.  Jan proved congenial hostess extraordinaire- later Denny sidebarred us to showcase Jan's artwork adorning the shop walls.  Christina nursed a sore neck from an OTB on the social ride just completed, Denny commiserated and showed off battle scars from a lifetime of riding trails.   Racer Zach stepped in to entertain with stories of the misery that can be endurance racing. While the shop mechanics talked shop and 'managed' the tap, I asked Darryl to fill me in on his transition from Titus bikes to Form Cycles and the benefits of 29" wheels.  Between pets, Rico Suave and Pepper herded a coupla toddlers around, hoping for a careless drop of turkey snacks. Shopkeep Jim weighed-in on the fallacy of carbon fiber frames vs Sedona's rock gardens, and later sketched out our best trail options for the remainder of the trip. 

    Awesome group, one and all, bound together by the riding scene that is greater Sedona's red rock country.  Heading out after fun and feast, I for one offered a silent thanks that places like Bike and Bean exist on this good earth- a mountain biker's haven away from home.

    My Wulffpack not normally ones to eschew the comforts of extended family on Thanksgiving, we later agreed Thanksgiving 2010 proved one for the record books. 

    So yeah, Thanksgiving in Sedona proved a sumptuous feast, in more ways than one.