I am now hanging out with Todd's family in Santa Fe, NM. Todd is working somewhere in the Northeast, Connecticut then Maryland.
He made some new friends who gave him lessons in downhill/free-ride, his Vassago wasn't cutting it so he has been borrowing a big travel bike. Something about a 4' drop, forgot to pull up and crashed the first time but made it on the second attempt... I need pictures, or better yet a video.
edit: here is one of Javier
I have been watching races, riding new areas and doing clinics. The following includes a ride review of sorts for the Santa Fe area.
The first thing I did when I hit town was hang out with Tina and watch Henry and Little Henry race the La Tierra Torture. After the race I rode the trails and had a blast, no big climbs, just fast trails. If you head out there bring a gps file, the trails are not signed.
Little Henry racing what I believe is his first MTB race, finished 3rd in Cat 2 Jr!
Henry is the one responsible for getting Todd into mountain biking and has been kicking our butts for years. Although he doesn't seem to ride much any more, he still has it. At 65 he finished 3rd of 17 Cat2 50+ (18 seconds out of 2nd, 2 minutes off 1st; both of which are 15 years younger).
Little Henry, me, Henry post race
I also watched an Active Knowledge race in the mountains east of Albuquerque. Active Knowledge has a race program aimed at school-age racers, but membership is open to adults as well. It was great to see the kids out racing in a very relaxed, positive setting. Having the adults involved is something different from the NorCal/SoCal high school program and is especially great for adult beginner riders and families with kids. The racers really looked out for each other. One racer stopped to tell us that another racer wasn't feeling very well, a volunteer rode out to help and found that she was still wearing her jacket (it was warm out); it is all about teaching and encouragement.
After the Active Knowledge race I rode the Otero Canyon trails east of Albuquerque. I had skipped these before because I didn't realize how much trail was out there, there are more trails than appear on the maps. I got in a 3 hour ride without much trail overlap and there were still some off-shoots I didn't take. As long as you pay attention to which canyon you are in you can't get lost. It has just enough technical to make things interesting, but wasn't too techy to ride alone on a hardtail.
Dale Ball trails in Santa Fe are still my favorite, they are split into three sections (North, Central and South). The signage is the best I have ever seen, a full map at each intersection (see link) with a number on the post to show you where you are on the trail, there is no need to carry a map. I ride from the "house" and typically ride the North and Central sections. The ski hill (paved) road runs between the two sections and trails like Windsor are accessible from further up the ski hill road.
Since we are in a great location most of my rides leave from the "house". The Santa Fe 2009 Bikeways & Trail Map is great for getting around town, I rode a 50 mile circle around Santa Fe without any issues by following the map. There are also some good routes heading out of town with only a few lights, the Santa Fe Century covers most of these routes. My usual road ride is out-and-back from Santa Fe to Galisteo via Hwy 285. I also hit Tramway in Albuquerque (parked at the Sandia Casino at 1-25 and Tramway and lost $30, don't tell Todd). I saw more cyclists than I have ever seen on one stretch of road for a typical weekday afternoon. I was doing all the passing and feeling pretty good about myself, then was passed rather quickly by a friendly Geoff Kabush; he flew up the hill passing everyone like they were sitting still. Oh well.
Santa Fe Century
Today Henry and I rode two blocks from the "house" to the start of the Santa Fe Century, we did the 50 mile version that included some dirt road. The start and finish were the same as the full century but a dirt road cut the loop in half. There were also 25, 50 and 75 mile out-and-back routes that started backwards on the course. This was very smart as it split the field in two and sent riders in different directions, there were so many riders that had we all gone in the same direction, even with separate start times, it would have been crazy. It was so cool to be out with cyclists everywhere. I heard there were over 2000 riders expected.