Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Earn Your Turns 2: 2 Flats 1 Tube

I enjoyed Squaw Peak so much last Thursday. So much, that I decided to do it again today. So I did. The climb was a little less enjoyable. As was the descent.

100 yards into the ride, I heard a rock hit my bash guard, which meant my front tire had kicked it up. It wasn't a light hit either, it was a definite thud. By the time I got through a somewhat technical ledge, my rear tire was flat. A definite pinch flat. So I fixed it and got going again.

By the time I got to the jump section, about 2/3 of the way down and after all the fun parts, I was washing out on every turn. My front tire had about 10 psi of air in it. I had seen the thorn at the top, but didn't do anything about it. (Apparently I think I've already converted this bike to tubeless and figured it would just go away if I left it. It didn't. I rode about one mile on dirt, and three on pavement, home on a flat front tire. Thank heavens for strong rims, even though It took it very easy. I definitely babied it. Hopefully, the tire is okay.

Ash called the ranger's station and they said they don't usually open the road until after Memorial Day, which means no more downhill till Sundance opens on May 17th. Dang it.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I want to hike this... and then bike it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Squaw

Squaw Peak is a special road. For local high school students, it's where they go to make out before there 10 o'clock curfews. For road cyclists, especially Dan, Christian and I, it is the hillclimb. For me, it's the only place I've ever been able to beat Dan on a bike. My 23:20 ascent of two summers ago still stands as the record, but will likely fall this summer. It is a wonderful road to watch Christian rail corners like a madman, my seemingly blazing time of 6:45 (that's an average of 37mph) is peanut butter slow compared to his mad skills. Squaw Peak Road also leads to some of the best downhill mountain biking in the valley.

Which is why I decided to ride my 35 lb. dually up Squaw Peak Road today. With fat tires, full suspension, a short seatpost, and a single 36t chainring, it is definitely not built for going up. However, I've been all antsy pantsy about getting out on this bike. I converted it to a single ring and put SRAM stuff on it this winter and hadn't been off road on it since. Usually we shuttle to ride down, but the road is closed still from the winter. So I set out early this morning for a long uphill.

Cold Cold Cold
Yesterday was very warm. I assumed it would be warm this morning. It's almost May after all. 43 is the warmest it got during the ride. My toes were very cold the entire ride. 3 miles up the road, my head was so sweaty that I took my helmet off. When I put it back on to go down, it was like putting an ice box on my head.

2 Miles up, 2 to go

I had to take a break about every mile. I took some phone pics halfway up.
This is the view of the valley halfway up the road.

This is the switchback that means you're halfway up.

Suspension issues
One of the pivot bolts on the swingarm came undone on the climb up. It was only on by about one thread when I caught it. Luckily, I caught it on the way up, The bolt on the other side would probably have sheared and ruined the frame. Phew!

Finally to the top
The last hundred yards of the road go straight up. Literally. The road turns completely vertical. When I ride this on the roady, I practically crawl my bike up this part. You can't set a record time on this part, but you can definitely lose it on this part. So I walked my bike up this part. I made it to the top and started suiting up for the downhill. I only got one knee pad on...

Back Spasm
As I was pulling my second pad up, something went snap in my back. My back locked up and I couldn't bend over, it hurt to move it in any direction. So I laid on the road and hoped the pain would subside. The only position that didn't hurt my back was on my hands and knees. Finally it got good enough that I could kind of sit on my bike, although I couldn't stand straight. So I decided to ride down the trail since it would land me closer to home. As soon as I started riding the pain seemed to leave...

Finally...The Descent!
I cruised down, and for the first time ever never stopped on the way down. The trail seemed a lot more flowy this way. I hit some nice jumps - even a double - and just cruised down. I was worried about my back so I didn't ride to aggresively. Just cruised down. My legs were really tired from the climb. But I really like going downhill. Can't wait for the road to open so I can shuttle it. Then I'll be fresh for the descent.

The humorous part of the ride was me laying on the road in pain. It hurt so bad but I couldn't stop laughing because of the situation. All alone on the top of the closed road. Hilarious. The climb was really fun, but really long. 50 minutes is more than twice as long as I'm used to. However, I couldn't stop smiling. Maybe it's just cause I knew the descent was coming. The descent was awesome. Much better than I remember from last year. I think I'm a much smoother rider than last year, probably because of cyclocross. All in all, I can't wait to do more. To shuttle squaw, for the resorts to open, to just ride! But I'll save the hills for a different bike.

One more test...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

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Thursday, April 17, 2008


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sweet Revenge

Two years ago I travelled to Hurricane for a bike race of which I only did two miles. It was my first DNF. My chain snapped in half. This year I went back and raced, finished and took 3rd in my division. My wife also completed her first mountain bike race. However, knowing what I know now, that first DNF wasn't so bad. The course out there is one of the suckiest I've ever ridden. Not to mention, the race organizers forgot portapotties. It was good times seeing bikes on the side of the road every 50 yards and all the people squatting in the bushes 15 minutes before the start.

Brakes worth writing home about

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Did I tell you about my wreck?"

My buddy Dan and I went riding yesterday evening. It was a cool evening with rain imminent. We cruised up the canyon and started the gravelly climb toward the old race course. My new downhill gear:I got the solid black one.
had just come in, and, even though we weren't doing any hard riding, I wanted to wear it. So I did. (It fits and looks great!, Troy Lee makes great stuff). Riding up we saw some other local riders, Kenny and his friend. However, my past the knee, baggy shorts weren't the best choice for our riding conditions. We were chatting as we climbed up the hill, and I almost told Dan about my last wreck. "Did I tell you about my wreck?", I asked. Exactly .382 seconds after I said that, the hem of my shorts caught one of the knobs on my fork. Since I was standing to climb, It stopped my rotation and threw me off balance, and on to the gravel road. What Irony! Of course Dan just bust up laughing, as did I. After the wreck I was about do describe, scraped knees were nothing. Plus my downhill shorts, although being the root of this problem, did do a good job of protecting everything but my knees. So we laughed it off, kept climbing and ended up having a great ride.

Afterwards, we took apart Dan's fork to switch the travel to 100mm. The damping side would spew white powder whenever we compressed it while draining the oil. Scary. A fork on coke.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A good ride

Yesterday afternoon I had a great ride. I started out at the old race course and did a couple of laps. I wasn't going to go long and felt really spent. But I decided to take the water pipe service road (Great Western Trail) and cruise back on the parkway trail from Bridal Veil. But then I saw that the Shoreline trail on the south side of the canyon was dry. So I rode that too. Up top there was some snow and mud, but I made it all the way down to the Indian Road trailhead. It didn't seem that there were any bike tracks at the top flat part of the trail. But there were horse and/or hiking tracks that had dried, making the trail incredibly not-smooth and miserable to ride. All in all it was a lot of climbing, and some quick descents. It was great earning my turns, and th 29er is really amazing. It climbs a lot better than my 35 lb. dualie, and descends almost as good. I changed the fork's travel to 100mm, and really love it. It makes the descents so smooth!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hannah Montana

I just spent $400 on Hannah Montana tickets. I feel like a moron. I guess it sold out already, which is good, cause I sure as heck don't have any interest in going to the show. So if you want some tickets I have 8 for sale.