Near and Fargo: New Mexico 20140831

“I haven’t ridden since May,” my friend said.

“Good.” “I want you fat and slow,” I replied.

The goal was just twenty-five miles of hilly, New Mexican gold. My house, north of town, east of town and then back into the guts of the city. But this was my first ride with someone else in roughly a year. I knew we would ride fast, too fast, because neither of us knew the correct pace. I on the Fargo and he on his road bike. The route begins straight up. Within ten minutes neither of us can speak as we gasp for anything we can. “I can’t talk anymore,” I said. “Give me ten minutes.”

Cold to hot and the sun begins to show it’s face. Strong enough to tan my arms through sun sleeves. Lips chapped. Legs on fire, but the conversation, when possible, is fantastic. That’s one of the great things about this pursuit. Time in the field. Time to think. Time to talk. Time to wonder if coincidence is really that or something far more.
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Heading west from a small bridge. “Now we have a nice, long downhill,” I say lowering into the drops and crouching just over the top bar. The road is rough, vintage New Mexico, with dirt, glass, broken road shards and other debris. The bike is so stable and rolls supremely over everything in my path. Rounding at corner at high speed I nail a medium sized rock lying in deep shadow. It fires off the tire like a gunshot into the brush but the bars never tremble or move.

By mile ten my legs are good. Solid. Ready. A short stop for a bite and then back to finish the ride. Done.
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“Will you ride with me now?” my wife asks as I roll to a stop in front of the casita. “Sure.” “Why not.”

Bikes on the back of The Duck and off south of town where the road ends and the dirt begins. She is tentative, still learning, but the trail is perfect. I air down the Conti’s but she doesn’t want me to TOUCH her bike. A short, steep drop and the trail begins. Twenty-five miles of rolling singletrack. It’s beautiful. Truly beautiful as the wind from the east assures us a tail wind on the return trip. A few steep, sandy dips but otherwise packed to perfection with the wet summer.

This is my first real trail work on the Fargo, and I’m amazed at how solid it is, how smooth. Even with the new tires, and the sand, the ride is fantastic. My seat post and saddle making strange popping noises, but I pretend they are bird sounds and enjoy the ride.

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Another update on the Ultimate Badass. All seventy-five pounds of him.

Now I have to say. He has rock star looks. He has great hair. Tiny chicks dig him. He has massive guns(okay maybe not.) And, the little bugger is out riding on the big boy track.

To give a little perspective for those of you not in tune with the modern motocross bike. I’ve ridden motorcycles my entire life. I’m not saying I’m a great rider, but my first bike dates back to Indiana in and around 1975. A Honda Z50, complete with small, fat tires and white, moon-shaped fenders(I was afraid to shift gears until my sister belittled me into doing it.) My last bike was a Honda 600 V Twin Transalp dualsport, which I thought I was fast.

My nephew, the Ultimate Badass, is riding an 80cc or 85cc bike. I can’t remember which. It is, BY FAR, the scariest thing I have ever ridden. My brother, because he is twisted, couldn’t wait to get me on this bike. “You are gonna need to change your shorts when you are done,” he said before I climbed on.

I never got out of third gear. The bike has six gears total. I hit the power-band and saw my life pass before me. Suddenly, every minute of my forty-two-years came forward. My voice of reason bellowed in my ear, “Get off this bike before you mangle yourself.”

So when you see the “Lad of Fury” in these pictures, just know what kind of machine he is on. Not to mention the track. Yes, the track. I had difficulties WALKING the track. Riding it was not in my mental or physical picture.

This little dude also races bicycles, and I couldn’t ride that track either. It’s amazing how lame I am compared to him. Really. He is a superior beast.

Another great aspect of this particular track day was the entire Milnor clan was in attendance to witness the mastery of boy + bike. Me, as usual, armed with Leica and Hasselblad, not the best tools for this particular event, but like a good photographer, I forced it.


I figured if I busted out some shallow focus, tilted stuff I could dazzle the most jaded of photo-hack. When in doubt, shoot wide open and tilt the dame thing. I have to say, for me, this was one of the most rewarding photo-ops in recent memory. I live in awe of this little dude. I envision a time in the very near future, when he will poke his head from the factory motorhome, peering over the crowd of girls yelling his name and see Uncle Dan in the background wearing his Ultimate Badass jersey.