Archive for January, 2009

Klunkerz Showing

January 31st, 2009 by MTBBill

Yesterday afternoon, Jake and I went to Encintas to checkout the showing of “Klunkers”.  It is a film that explores the early days of Mountain Biking.   Waiting to get in was just as much of an event for me as the film itself.

I saw quite a few people I had not seen in quite sometime.  I also did not recognize a couple of my friends that I have never seen without thier bike gear own.   

Of course there were sightings of the Usual Suspects.

It was a really cool film and it was crazy to see some of these guys screaming down Mount Tam without helmets on.  Freaking Crazy!.    Jake really thought it was cool as well and I liked the fact he learned a little about the history of mountain biking in the process.   It was also pretty cool that and Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly were there and did some Q&A after the showing.

Here is the website on Klunkers.

“Hangover” Video from Sedona

January 27th, 2009 by MTBBill

I finally got the video for the Hangover Trail in Sedona completed.   It was pretty interesting to look at the video footage of my spill over the edge.  Man, things I remembered happening so slowly “in the moment” went by in the blink of an eye.   As with all videos, things are steeper than look, but I did not realize just how exposed some of the sections were until reviewing the footage.

Ahh, enough yapping. 

 Right Click Here to download the 128MB WMV format file that runs 9 minutes and 10 seconds.   

While you are waiting for the file to download you can check out some of my other pages and posts on Sedona

Blog Posts   Arizona Summer 2006   Arizona Winter 2007    Arizona Spring 2008

Getting a little Iron in my diet.

January 26th, 2009 by MTBBill

Yesterday,  Steve (Aquaholic), Mark (HecklerMark) and I decided to get our chunk on at Iron Mountain located between Poway and Ramona.  The weather was a bit brisk and the threat of getting a little wet was moderate.  All of the other times I have done Iron Mountain I have been solo and the temps were high.  Today was a treat by having folks to ride with and not having to stew in my own juices.

There were a metric ton of hikers out today, so trail etiquitte was certainly something we had to be very mindful of today.  As in all of my previous visits here, the hikers are generally freaking amazed that anyone would ride a bike out here.  There were lots of words of encouragements thrown our way both on the climb and then descent.

The weather did not offer the best of views, but I always find it cool to look down from the peak and pick our there vehicle down at the trailhead.   The descent down went well as all three of us seemed to be in a good groove for riding the chunk.

Once back down the mountain, we split off onto the Ellie Lane trail.   I am not fan of the ill-placed peeled-log waterbars, then again they are quite a challenge.  Once we worked our way past the Ramona overlook we into some good downhill chunk.

Steve being Steve on his circus bike.

Mark in some chunk

Getting some chunk on myself.  This was my first time cleaning this sequence.

More Mark Chunkage

Steve and the trail ahead.

The top of “Final Exam” (Trickier than it looks)

Can you tell Steve hates to have his picture taken?

This was by far my best ride out here yet.  A damn fine day on the bike, if you like playing on technical bits and down have a problem with some hike-a-bike.

Comments still a problem

January 24th, 2009 by MTBBill

I am once again having problems with users registering to leave comments on the blog.  I had it fixed for a while, but issues have arised again with my ISP and blocking emails.   Hopefully I have it fixed soon.   In the interim, you can email or PM me on the various forum siteswith the username you requested and your desired password and I can set it up.

UPDATE Monday Jan 26th, 8PM:  Okay it looks like it is working again.  My ISP explained that over the last several monthse they have been doing a bunch of ANTI-SPAM stuff measures that caused some conflict with my “non-standard” setup.  Thier current configuration is working and the tech support guys tell me I should not have to change my setup anytime soon.   I have my fingers crossed.

For those of you who have attempted to register in the past and never got an email with an activiation link, you can go onto the blog and when you go to log in, select the “I forgot my password” option and you will be given directions on how get it resent to you using username you orginally tried with.  For new users all should work fine.

Good Luck :)

-Bill

SDMBA Day at Calavera – FEB 28th

January 23rd, 2009 by MTBBill

Put this on your calender folks.  If you not being riding/following Calvera lately, there is lots of activity going on, both good and not-so-good,  with this area.  The CA Dept of Fish and Game has not exactly be a “welcoming with open arms” kind of group towards mountain bikers so our community showing up in good numbers will go a long way towards establishing a good relationship with them here.  Come on out, do a little trailwork and then do a little riding.

The below information is from Erik Trogden, the North County Coastal Liaison with the San Diego Mountain Biking Association

February 28th at Calavera 

This is an important opportunity for mountain bikers, hikers, and others to come together for the common cause of taking care of our precious open spaces.  Let’s demonstrate that we are responsible stewards of Calavera by pitching in to make it a better place for everyone who enjoys it.

SDMBA is collaborating with the CA Dept. of Fish and Game to do habitat restoration and erosion control on a heavily used trail falling southwest away from the quarry; sometimes referred to as The Spine or Mordor.  The 200 yard long stretch of trail has widened significantly over time and needs some work to repair damage from rain and overuse.
9:00 to Noon.  Staging area TBD.  Same format as La Costa with food, schwag and lot’ s of education about how YOU can make a difference.

Erik Trogden
North County Coastal Liaison
SDMBA

Intense Demo Day and UZZI Test Ride

January 18th, 2009 by MTBBill

Yesterday, the Intense Demo Tour along with BikeBling were at Daley Ranch in Escondido so I swung by to check out the scene.  There were lots of folks buzzing around right from the start and it did not take for the 20 plus sweet demo rigs to be set free with test riders out onto the trails. I’m pretty sure that I saw the entire lineup of bikes go out at least twice while I was there.

There was more than just the production bikes there.  There were some prototypes and preproduction bikes to kick around as well.  Here is a Jeff Steber science project bike.  This is a Tracer with a set of ISCG tabs welded onto the bottom bracket to allow for a Hammerschmit crankset to be used.  (Production Tracers don’t have these tabs) This is an internal geared crankset that allows you to shift under full load, while coasting or even pedaling backwards.  It is effectively a 22/36 crankset.  The additional clearance this thing could give is pretty freaking crazy.  This could also be pretty awesome if you had a bike that does not accommodate a front derailuer.

There were also couple of rigs they were setback for gawk and droll.  One of those rigs was a preproduction UZZI in Works Blue. What an incredible looking bike.  This one had the adjustable G3 dropouts set to the shorter wheelbase, a Rockshox Totem fork and the new (I think still prototype?) 2010 Fox DHX-A shock. I’m not sure how much the bike weighs but I guess around 34 pounds or so.

Later on in the morning the guys let me put some dirt on this thing and I have to say I was pretty freaking impressed. Daley Ranch is quite hilly but really does not have all the features to put this bike through all of it’s paces.  There is enough there to establish an impression.  If I had to sum up my thoughts of this rig into a single sentence it would have to be this. 

A killer rig that will have you thinking you have much less than seven inches of travel when you are climbing and you will swear you have much more than seven inches of travel when you are descending.

I do very little shuttling or lift-assisted riding so a rig of this size would have to be able to climb for my usage.  Daley Ranch is an excellent place to get your climb on, and I purposely picked a route that would meet my “threshold” for climbing.  Basically if the rig could  climb this route without undo pain, it would meet my criteria for a “climbable rig”.   The sag on the DHX-A shock was not too far off for me so I only added air to the main pressure chamber to get the sag somewhere around 30-35%.  So you know what I comparing against, my normal rig is a 6.6 and I have ridden it with an older style (15-click propedal) Fox DHX-A, a RP23, and most recently a Cane Creek Double Barrel shock.    Right out of the gate I was impressed with the small bump compliance.  I was taking the rockiest lines I could find and it felt really good.   The propedal worked as it should, but I found that the climbing efficiency of the VPP design makes propedal not a major concern for me.   The bike was setup in trail bike mode with the adjustable G3 dropouts setup for the shorter wheelbase, higher BB and steeper head angle.  The slacker angles compared to my 6.6 with a TALAS 36 fork where noticeable on the climbs. I routinely drop my fork down on steeper climbs but you can’t do that with the Totem fork so adjusting your body position was required on the steeper stuff to keep the fork on the ground.  This is something I find easily adaptable.  

I worked my way to one of my favorite spots that has some rocks to play on that include some drops.  I was pretty quite surprised when I hit the first drop.   The rear shock felt freaking awesome.  In the past I was never really able to get either the RP23 or the DHX-A balanced where I could have small bump compliance and not blow through all of my travel on drops.   The feeling in the rearend of the bike on the landing was very similar to the progressive ramp up that you get with a coil shock.  I was by myself, but still had to verbally say “WOW”.  I spent a good chunk of time sessioning the drops and rocks just to keep checking out the feeling.  This shock was not blowing through the midstroke travel like I had seen before in the older DHX-A on my 6.6.  I have no idea what is going with the internal changes for the 2010 model but it is certainly a vast improvement.   Now experience wise I’m still pretty new to the coil-shock scene, but I would have to say from a layman’s perspective this new DHX-A felt very coil like.

For the downhill stuff, Daley Ranch offers only small bits for letting this rig loose.  When those spots came, the bike as expected shined.   Holding lines, sucking up rocks and bumps, it was cool.  I’m pretty sure this rig would be quite the Chunk Gnar-Meister.  I’m betting that those G3 dropouts would be really awesome for some lift-assist action or someplace like Downieville where you could lengthen out the wheelbase, lower the BB and slacken up the headangle. 

I sure hope the guys at Intense will be able to get off all the drool marks both I and everyone else left on thier bikes. :)

Sedona Day 3

January 11th, 2009 by MTBBill

Today started off a little earlier than the day before but not by much.  We had a couple of locals to show us around today and they showed us the goods that started right from our Condo.  We started off the on-the-map trails, but later in the ride we transitioned onto some “Locals Only” stuff that I was asked to keep off the air.   Since talking about the on-the-map stuff we did would give some hints about the “other” stuff I am going to refrain from talking about them as well.    

So you won’t see any explainations of the  pretty selective pictures posted here.   I ended up having to bailing out on the last little bit of trails on the return trip to get packed up and rolling towards home.   I managed to make good time and was back at home at around 10pm. Trail names or not, I have yet to find a trail in Sedona that I did not like.

 

 

 

Hangover in Sedona

January 10th, 2009 by MTBBill

Day two of the Sedona trip started off real leisurely with a respectable wake up time and a casual breakfast as we were not meeting the Over The Edge crowd until around 11AM.  

The group ended up running a little behind schedule and Bryce from St. George got into town early, so we entertained ourselves at the trailhead with a bit of “Coon Hucking”.

I wanted to shoot some video today, but I have not completed my new helmet cam setup for my XC helmet, the only thing I had setup was my full-face rig.  I was also not interested in carrying two helmets with me, one for videoing and one for climbing/non videoing. Since it was quite cool to brisk out, I decided to just do the ride with the full-face ride. 

Once everyone arrived, we soon started off on the Munds Wagon Trail which was a pretty nice climb mostly following along a creek drainage.  It did not take long to realize that the full-face helmet was not a good choice.   The slow speed of the climb was not venting the helmet well and I was often rebreathing a portion of my own “dirty” CO2 rich exhales. This sorta sucked and I soon myself hanging near the tailend of this large and extremely talented group of riders.  

We eventually worked our way up to the Damifino trail for a bit of slickrock climbing and some occasionally exposure. At the top of the saddle on Damifino (Mitten Ridge Saddle) we had a nice regroup and bit of lunch and some hangout time before hitting up the Hangover Trail.   Hangover is a pretty new trail, and while neither on the maps nor fully “in the fold” of the official trail system, the cat is certainly out of the bag and the officials know about it.  

This a pretty freaking amazing trail that is etched into a small ribbon of dirt high up on one of the monuments in the Sedona Valley.   It gets its name from the signature rocks that hangover the trail in numerous spots. Some of them force you to crotch way down and use a little body English to clear them. 

One of these such hangovers gave me a real life “Over The Edge” moment.  The left end of my handlebar was going to clip an inside rock.  Now this did not look like a particularly exposed section as there were bushes to my right. I went into a trackstand to see if I could figure out a way to get around it and decided to put a foot down.  I even looked where my foot was going to go. I put my foot down and all of the sudden the outer six inches of the trail crumbles underneath me. I tip over into the bushes and go right through them!   At this point, everything went into that freaky “I’m so screwed” slow motion.   As I go through the bushes an expansive view suddenly opens up in front and below me.  The narrow strip of vegetation that this trail was built on was ending within a few feet.  Below that were hundreds of vertical feet of the gorgeous red and white banded slickrock which is part of what makes Sedona such an incredible place. However, at this particularly moment in time, I can assure you that this is not the preferred viewing angle of these formations.  In those brief microseconds I could see that the slope was moderate for the first 30 feet but after that, things get quite steep. 

If I started tumbling this was going to end somewhere between bad and lethal.  It was at this point that I believe my brain went into full survival mode and what happened next I contribute to instinctual DNA programming and not really any high-level cognitive process on “my” part.  I remembered a moment when my butt was on the ground, my back to the down slope, and my legs going up in the air.  I grabbed at the brush, then dirt, then clumps of then the most incredible desert scrub grass that I have ever had the pleasure of touching that arrested the start of a tumble and somehow allowed me to get fully prone.  My final position had everything above my armpits on the grass and dirt, while everything else was on the rock below.   I was quite thankful for the extra belly chub that I can’t seem to loose as it was a good source of friction on the rock.  I could also feel my bike laying on my left leg. I certainly did not want to move that leg as I’m sure that once that bike got going it was not going to stop.   The full-face helmet also came in handy here as I had wedged the chin portion into it into the dirt to provide a little more resistance to the pull of gravity that I could so intensely feel now.  I was stopped now and I was quite content to hold my own and not move as I knew folks were behind me.  Within seconds I could hear Jason, Quentin and others screaming and heading my way.   I was afraid that if they rushed to yank me up, they would dislodge my bike laying on my leg and send it sliding away, so in true MTB Addict fashion, I told them to get my bike before me.  (The pictures would later show they the bike was in much less danger of sliding away than I thought at the time)    Soon there were hands and arms pushing and pulling on me to get me back up onto the trail.   When the first person went to pull me up, it took a couple of “manual override” mental commands to convince my hands to physically let go of the grass that I was clinging to. Once back up on the trail and looking down at where I had been I realized I could have climbed back up on my own, but in that moment while face down into the dirt, I was happy to wait for help.   One thing is for certain, I cashed in a truckload of Karma Points with this one.

After a couple of hoots and hollers at the sheer joy of being alive, we were back to riding.   Before long I realized that my front tire had gotten whacked by a cactus during the fall and the sealant could not take care of everything. So I stopped at top of a large steep slickrock section to pick out the thorns and put in a tube.   Kevin hung back with me, while I spent a good 20 minutes getting the dozen plus cactus needles out.  The rest of the group waited at the last saddle a good chunk of time before running on ahead.  I think most people talk about loosing of some “Mojo” after an incident on the bike, but for some reason the opposite occurred today.  Maybe it was joy that comes from cheating death relatively unscathed or just plain stupidity, but I had a great ride down the rest of hangover and straight up flew down the Munds trails back to the trailhead.  We arrived back just a couple of minutes after the rest of the group got there.  

The rest of the evening would be spent enjoying pizza, yummy beers, and hanging out in a stupidly huge hot tub built for about 50. While chilling in the hot tube I discovered that I too had gotten whacked by a cactus during the fall.  I ended up picking out about 15 needles from my leg.  A small price to pay indeed.   It is good to be alive!

Sedona Weekend – Day 1

January 9th, 2009 by MTBBill

O-DAMN Early came at O-DARK:30 this morning.    Things seem to come together fairly quickly for this weekend getaway.   It was not until earlier in the week did was I able to give the green light to meet some friends from Arizona, Utah, and Colorado in Sedona for some dirt time.

Today’s rides was just going to be a few of us as the rest of the hoodlums would not arrive until the following morning.  I thought I was making really good time and when I pulled up to the trailhead about 10 minutes before the meet time.  Kevin and Greg then informed me that I had forgotten about that pesky little time zone thingy, so I was an hour late.  DOOOH!   Oh Well, we ride!

We spent the remainder of the day playing on some fun and often technical trails that were for the most part between Soldier Pass Road and Dry Creek Road.

I am always amazed at just how pretty this place can be.   It is one of those places were the scenery can be its own hazard.

I should have known by now, but whenever you ride with Kevin,  there is a pretty good chance you are going to get in some technical climbing. 

So while some may do a trail this-a-way Keving is gonna take you that-a-way. 

I love the way the Arizona flora helps keep the singletrack single. Come off line, or dab in the wrong spot and there is a fair chance the trail is going to complain to you.  

Once we reached our turn-around spot which was based more on daylight than mileage we enjoyed the fruits of some of our technical climbing efforts. We flowed, we bobbed, we weaved, and we had a really good time back to the trucks.  We did not use up quite all of the daylight, but we did not leave much.   Besides there was a hot tub and cold beers just down the road with our names on them. Why further delay things? While I did not have major party plans for the night, I felt a hangover was in my near future.

Desert Exploring

January 4th, 2009 by MTBBill

The title for this could also be “Another Chicken Soup for the MTB Soul Ride”.   I went out to Anza Borrego Desert State Park today and and did some solo exploring.  About 22 miles worth, and it was goooood! With the exception of a few miles I had done in my truck a few years back, this was all new dirt for me.  

The conditions were pretty darn perfect.  The normally pain-in-the-butt sand was well packed and with just enough moisture to make traction just right. 

Please excuse me for being skimpy on details.  Some of my wandering were “off the reservation” so to say and until I get a couple of things figured out it would not be smart of me to give out the goods, yet.   One thing is for certain, I enjoyed myself.  There was one moment in particular when the wind was perfectly still and there was absolutely no sounds whatsoever.  Absolute quiteness.  I mean you don’t even this level of quiteness in your house in the middle of the night.  The incredible thing was that I could see for 30-40 miles in some directions.  It was surreal.  Moments like these are just one of the many reasons I love being a Mountainbiker.