Shaking down the UZZI

So I got my brand spanking new UZZI out for a shakedown ride recently.   The orginal plan was hit up Iron Mountain and Ellie Lane but with early moring rain, the plan shifted to Anderson Truck Trail in Alpine.

 The boys at BikeBling did a mighty fine job with the mechanicals as it was shifting flawless right of of the gate and even under tension.   (A feat which I often miss the mark on a bit requiring lots of trailside tinkering on the first ride) I was bit leary about going to the 10 speed drivetrain as I like the idea of having only one drive train type to worry about (9 speed).  Between mine and the kid’s bike it good to have some commonality on the logistics side of the house.  Well it did not take long into the climb to notice the marvels of the 36-tooth cog in the back.  I’m sold on it already and I did not even have to try out the 22-36 granny ring setup yet.  


My last two longer legged bikes had Fox 36 TALAS (160) airsrung forks up front and I really liked being able to adjust the travel down to make long or steep climbs easier to deal with.    This bike has the Fox 36 Vanilla (180) coil sprung fork without the travel adjustment.  It will take a bit of getting used on some of the climbing bits with this longer slacker frontend as a bit more body positioning is going to be required a steeper bits.    It was so freaking nice to have a VPP suspended bike back under the saddle.  This bike climbed exceptionally well for it weight without any of the dreaded energy sapping “bob”. 

When it was time to turn the bike down the hill that was when this bike really came alive.  The bike is so stinking plush and it only took a few rock rolls and drops to get sold on the coil fork.


 I stuck to only the small air bits while getting acquintted with how this bike handles.  This bike is pretty confidence inspiring so I got a feeling I’m going to get myself into trouble with this rig at some point.   It’s gonna be great!

The trail overall was in about as good as shape as it ever gets so it was an absolutely great day to be out testing a new bike.

My the time it was time to head back down the main run, I had a pretty good opening day feel for the bike and I had one heck of fun descent back down the hill.  There was some hooping and hollering on the way down.   A mighty fine shakedown run with the new rig.

Yet More Alpine Wendesday Fun

Another Wednesday and another day to go play in Alpine.

Climb Climb Climb

The winter storm over the weekend through a nice dusting of snow on the mountains.  There was snow all the way down to ATT on Sunday, but I had retreated up the hill by Wednesday.

A little airtime

There was much discussion about how I look way too serious and tense when getting air or in the technical bits.  

So some funny faced air-time was in order!   I did actually feel more relaxed on those moves while trying to make a funny face.  Wither it actually helped or not who knows, but it was cheap comedy either way.

I started thinking about the 911 roll today.  I could not pull the trigger but gave it a few run-ins.  Stay Tuned.

Oh Yeah, there was some Squirrel Hucking added into the mix today as well.   (No dead squirrels were further harmed in the making of this blog post)

Wednesday Stoke in Alpine

Time for another round of Wednesday fun in Alpine.  The weather was starting to roll in but most of the time sky was full of white puffy clouds with a pretty blue backdrop. 

I had not been here since the big batch of rain we had a while back and it was pretty astonished to see all the little changes momma-nature had done to the place.  Of course the the trail elves has been out making “shoes” so to say. 

Historically I have had a bad habit of riding this place in the middle of the summer and stewing my brain in the process.   I  have ridden this place quite a bit over these cooler months and it was quite nice to do the climb in reasonable conditions.  Maybe I am not as retarded as I thought (ask me again in August!)  Once at the top it was time to play in some chunk.   Steve up near the top.

Me getting started.

This bump-a-bump line gave me some troubles today.  It took me three tries and a little skin exfoliation to get it done today.

More playing on the rocks.

The Big Black Fatty coming in for a landing.

The trails elves had tweaked this kicker since my last time here and the thing really pops up now.  I carrried nearly all the way over the rock tranny to a rather harsh landing.  Yeah for forgiving suspension.

The descent down the main trail was pretty awesome as the dirt has just right moisture in it be both velcro-ish and stupidly fast.   The dirt was way too good to stop and take pics.   Another great day on a bike.

Alpine Action Again

Man did I have good bit of mid-week stoke in Alpine on Wednesday.   With temps in the mid-70s and sunny skys in December, a MTBer’s life in San Diego does not have to suck at all.  The pleasant temp made for a really low sufferage climb that was one of the best I have had in quite some time.

I forgot to take pictures, but views were fantastic from the top.  Point Loma and Coronado Islands were all easily seen.   After chilling at the top it was time to play.  I have not been riding rocky technical bits of this size and style for a while so I was keeping the bike on the ground for the most part.  I was feeling pretty good on the whole “Mojo” front as well as having some “Monkey Motion” going with the various rock moves.

Steve on “The Fatty”

Steve playing on a spine in an area we call “Little Moab”. 


Brian did not have the luxury of an early start like Steve and I had so he caught up to us later in the ride.  After some more sessioning in the rocks it was time to start thinking about the how much time was left in the day.   After catching a couple pictures with the evening light, we released the hounds and had a good run to the bottom.   Afterwards it was time for some tasty refreshments at the Alpine Beer Company.   Good times.

The Return of Alpine Action

So after a summer hiatus from the Wednesday stoke rides in Alpine, it time to play in the rocks again.    It still is amazing how after spending sometime away from this place,  the rocks and moves look much bigger and intimidating than the I last time I rode them.    It was good and hot but I have certainly ridden in must nastier heat so overall it was not bad.

On the climb up we took a break and help Steve figure out some of the features on his new camera, a pretty trick little Canon S95 (I think).

 Steve, was out on his latest Clown Bike.    Steve thought it would be cool to climb a good portion of the trail we normally only come down on.  While it was interesting it was large Cup of Pain.

 This Jones rig has a massive 3.8 tire up front mounted to a  mega-wide 26″ rim.   Paired in the rear is a 29er wheel with what looks like a “punnie” 2.6 tire.   The normal tired 29er with the clown tire 26er makes for pretty much equal ground to axle heights front and rear.

We swapped bikes a couple time during the ride and you can’t help but laugh out loud within 10 seconds pedaling this thing.   Surprisingly this is a good riding bike, and  you feel like you are steering a monster truck around when you look down at the massive front end.    Steve was airing the thing which he made look easy and giving me a good chance to find some new perspective to some of the features with my still pretty new ultra wide angle lens.

Jeff Jones has recommended to land nose first with this bike and Steve proved that to be sound.    I never got a landing shot but that tire has something like 10psi in the front and you can see and hear the tire squishing on the landing. 

More Steve Air Time.   After the ride it was time for some Mananas grub and a Cervaza


Rare shot of of Aqua sans helmet.  On the way back from Alpine an old high school buddy that I had not seen in over 20 years was in town for the night so we hooked up for a couple brews and some long overdue catching up.  It was good day both on and off the bike.

One Flying Dog and a Finicky Bitch

The thermometer in my truck read 89 degrees when I pulled into the Anderson Truck Trail parking area yesterday afternoon.  It was my first return to Anderson Truck Trail in a long time  (October of last year).  I should have known better.   I forget how many times I have been out here in the heat and just gotten pummeled by it.   As least I would not be alone.  Almost everytime I have done something idiotic out here it has been with Steve.  Steve has a way of bringing out people’s inner idiot.  (For some, it’s not so inner)   Steve is an Idiotic Whisperer if you will.

 We both knew it was going to be a brain boil on the climb as we had both done the climb in even hotter weather.   What we both needed was “I’m with Stupid”  jerseys.  Steve further added some beatdown potential to his ride by bringing out his custom Wolfhound singlespeed.  This bike is a thing of beauty build to Steve’s exacting specs.    The climb was indeed a brain boil as expected.  There are a couple segments of the climb that are known to have “Dead Air”  where the afternoon sun hits you from the left while heat is radiated from the rocks on your right and there is no breeze to move the air around.   It is like you are in a brick oven and your head is the pizza.   That was not a surprise as we knew it was coming.  What was surprising was how the lines had changed over winter.    In the past I knew all the turns and bumps like the back of my hand and basically had the descent wired.   That was not the case now as the lines changed enough that I would have to recourt this mistress on the descent.  I tried to make as many mental notes as possible of the new conditions.

I came into the day thinking about hitting a jump I had not pulled the trigger on before, the Halloween Drop.  Throughout the climb I was visualizing my takeoff and landing.   Short of any last minute mental flatters, it was going to happen today.  Despite the heat, we climbed fairly well.  It was not my fastest climb by a longshot but I have lagged much more in the past.    I was mentally prepared for the Halloween Drop by the time we took a break at the top.  Before long it was time to turn the bike’s downhill.  Some new lines had sprung up since my last visit that I was up for trying. 

A little bit of rock wall ride.


Steve navigating the Wolfhound onto the rocks

Part II of the new section was a gnarly bit of rocks.  Steeper than it looks and a bit tricky even on the full suspension rig.

Steve did some good rock surgery on the Wolfhound

Steve on “The Diving Board” letting the dog fly

I had not even thought about doing the Diving Board.  I have done this a bunch of times in the past.   My thoughts had been on the Halloween Drop.   I passed on the jump but later while grabbing the shot of Steve doing the jump, he went into went Idiot Whisperer mode and the next thing I know I’m doing the jump.   I did not stick the landing.  I was way too overconfident and as far as I can tell I had my weight too far back on the landing which allowed the front wheel to slip out on the off-camber landing and I did a nice little thump and slide on the hardpacked decomposed granite.  Ouch!   I had managed to exfolilate a nice patch of skin my left thigh and whack the meaty part of my right palm.   I always find it interesting how you can take the top layer of skin off of your body and the clothes between you and the ground remains intact.    These were pretty minor in the scheme of things but it was still somewhat painful.  (Glad I had protection on my other bits.)    Anderson can be a finicky bitch who does not take kindly to you staying away too long and courting too many other ladies.   She gave me a nice little bitch slapping.

So my little spill messed with my mental game enough that I decided to keep the tires on the ground.  Anderson has plenty of on-the-ground technical goodness so I was still not getting off easy and I hit all the rest of my usual stuff.      

The Flying Dog – aka Wolfhound

I was not the only one who had been visualizing a Halloween Drop launch, Steve had been mentally stewing over this with the Wolfhound.   Steve said this was not going to be a multiple run in thing.   One run in only, the trigger was going to be pulled or the anchor was going to be thrown out.    Steve pulled the trigger, landed like a cat and yelled and giggled for the next five minutes.   We are pretty sure this is the first time someone has hit this on a hardtail. 

A different angle of the 911 roll.  I was digging the moon rising.

On our way over to the final descent, to add insult to injury, some kind of flying insect went into my mouth and as I was spitting it out the thing bit/stung me on my lip.   It was not as full on painful as a regular bee sting but my lip immediately was tingling and I felt some puffing up starting.     Yes Anderson can be a finicky bitch that does not take kindly to being ignored for months and then thinking  you can just show  back up and make lots of heat in the sheets.

For the final descent I had learned my lesson, court the lady, stoke her through curves and let her tell me how fast you can go.  It was a blissful descent with lots of newness from all the changed lines.   The tradional post-ride burritos followed.   I’m sure I will have some interesting technicolor body artwork develop off the next few days but it was not a bad Wednesday at all.

“Rocking In SoCal” Video

Okay I have been letting this footage pile for over a year so it was time to do something with it.  It is a locals rock hangout here in San Diego.   You can call it either the KTS #1  (Kinda Top Secret) Trail or the Ain’t Telling Trail.    It is really not much of a secret at all but I was asked not to drop the name so there you go. 

Right Click to download the 9 minute and 46 second video that will set your hard drive back 139MB.

Anderson Truck Trail Sunday Action

Sunday, I went out to Anderson Truck Trail to do some playing on the rocks. Normally I only ride here during the week, but since I had not been here in a few weeks I was up for it. In addition to the usual suspects, I ran into some new peeps and well as some friends I had not expected to see today.

I ran into Allison at the bottom getting ready for a couple of shuttle runs.   Normally there would have some smack talk a fligging at this point, but since she had done some big run the day before she was cut some slack.  Take note that Allison has the St. Pattys day color scheme covered.

DustyBottoms on the climb.

MacRider and Jeff working the climb.

The view on the climb started getting pretty nice.

We are all the way up, time to put the saddle all the down. 😉 

This kicker is known as the Satan Jump.

Me hitting the “Diving Board”.   I was shooting some video so I did not take many photos.  Some of the photos here were shot by other folks in the group.

MacRider playing in the rocks.

Mark and Jeff cruising through the rocks.

Fun Granite Ahead!

We had a great run down the mountain after playing up top.  There was no carnage on the day, but my brake lever took a beating. Believe or not, this lever was able to be straightened out.

Riding “Naked” in Alpine

So yesterday I was all primed to head to Alpine to hit up one of my favorite technical/stunt trails.   I had a brand spanking new full face helmet and was ready to go.  I had not ridden with my buddy Steve in months so it was going to be cool to catch up on things with him while out on the trail.   I show up to the trailhead early and get all my stuff together.  Steve shows up a little early as well and as I’m making final preps I realized that I left my pads at home!   Freaking Bummer!   Now it did not make much sense to be to wear a full-face helmet and no pads so I threw on the my regular helmet for the ride and went “naked” protection-wise.   I always throw on pads at the top of Anderson because, well, this place has a tendency to have you leaking at the end of the ride if you don’t.  But for this day, I decided to skip a few of the trechreous spots and generally take it easier.

What a great ride I ended up having today.  It was one of those days when things just all seem to click and you have to tell people about.  Not because you want to brag, but because days like this don’t always happen.  They are kind of special and today was one of those days. My gear snaffu aside, I rode well and it was just a great day to be out on a bike.  The stuff I did hit, just seemed to flow and feel much more effortless than in the past.  I was jazzed.    Steve and I always play around on stuff up there and today was no different.  I was also having a great day with the camera.  Angles just seem to be coming into view better and I was getting my envisioned shots on the first take.  It was cool to be in a camera zone as well.

A different angle on the “Stair Step”

 The Halloween Drop
This is called the Halloween Drop.   I’m not sure why, maybe it is because it will be a trick or treat.  Not much room in between.

Rock drop
This little rock drop had been messing with my head since forever out here.  I had launched bigger stuff than this but I would always roll it, even with pads on.   I think it was the rock onto a rock that was tweaking my melon.  After riding a few days in Moab, where this stuff is everywhere, I hit this without hesitation.  I had to stop afterwards, look around and go “What the hell was I fretting about?”

911 Roll
Further down the trail, the camera zone continued as I got a different angle on the 911 roll.  I was jazzed with getting some scenery in the background on this shot.

Wall Ride
On our way back down I had an “interesting moment” on the wall ride.   I came into the wall mighty hot and went up a lot higher than I had planned.  I also had enough speed that I basically blew through the wall forcing me to come down off the wall in a much steeper section while turning the wheel sharper than normal.   About halfway down the wall I was still leaned over and my fork was way out to my left. Because of the steepness of the wall past the “normal” area the fork came off the wall and somehow I managed to pull the frontend back underneath me and straighten it out just before the wheel touched down at the bottom.  It all happened really fast, but there was still that bit of the mental slow motion thing happening.  I stopped afterwards and had to let out a big yell.  I had the post-adrenaline rush shakes and my stoke meter was officially pegged!

The rest of the run was a cruiser and we finished off the day off with some yummy burritos.  Another great day to be a mountain biker.


Alpine Roll Action

Boy the last week has been quite hectic between work, a new season of my boy’s hockey getting ramped up and of course getting some riding in.  For those who are regular viewers you will notice I am backdating this post to the day of the ride.  

 I recently got my “play bike” back from having the chain stay portion of the rear triangle replaced after cracking it.   (It must have been a manufacturing thing since I don’t think I have been anywhere near pushing the designed limits of that bike)   This was also my first time back on some aggressive technical terrain since my kid-induced injury on the hockey rink a month earlier so my plan was to take it a little easy and mostly keep the wheels on the ground.  

Big Rock

The day was absolutely great with green grass, blue sky and puffy clouds.   The recent rains made for excellent traction that was punishing on the climb.  On the climb up we noticed a new slide had occurred above the trail that had rained about four large rocks down on the trail.  All but one of them bounced on the trail and kept going down the hillside.  The one that came to rest on the trail was the largest and it is going to have to become a trail feature as it will take some SERIOUS effort to move. 

911 Rool

On the return trip down I got a chance to check out the latest edition to the place.   Dubbed the “911 Roll”  This thing is significant and requires some serious mental fortitude to pull off.   The crux move of this roll is the turn onto the roll that is five feet of near vertical (Pictures do no justice here).   You can not hit the roll straight on as you are still turning after coming up onto the rock.  You have to commit to continue turning for about the first two vertical feet of the roll.  Screw up and most likely are you going to be pitched off the downhill side of the rock where you you will get the most vertical fallage. (Your left if you are trying to do the roll)   

Turn -Drop - Keep Turning 

Basically screw this up and 911 may just be what you will be calling.   The rest of the descent was freaking awesome as the moisture in the dirt that consprised to thrash my legs and lungs on the climb rewarded our efforts with Velcro like traction on the descent.    It was nothing short of Rip-O-Rama Goodness!