Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Winter in review.... to date....

What it's winter? Are you sure? what date is it? Holy shit it's almost January? are you serious? Yeah I know it feels like an ofly long October or maybe November but definitely not late December almost the new year! We have no snow and highs in the forties almost 50s! What the F is going on here! I had all these plans for the winter months, ice climbing, XC skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, hockey, DH skiing.... ect! Nope I've gone XC skiing twice and they were both on the same day, the day we got 3 inches in a few hours. To date I think we have about 7 inches total, this time last year we had multiple feet sitting on the ground and a total over 30 inches! I know I like mild winters and the temps are nice. Easier to start the car, less warm up time so less wasted gas and lower heating bills but seriously no snow! This sucks its not winter its an extended fall! On the bright side I have rode my bike this winter when I was pretty sure when I put it away that morning we got the 3 inches of snow I was done for the year. I actually rode it the day before Christmas, a little urban assault ride down at Harriet Island, there are some cool things to do some easy trials riding on. I'm sure you could do more advanced stuff but I'm not that good. That was a great time and then yesterday I got out for an hour at Lebanon. It was starting to get pretty wet and slimy when we were finishing up.
I can't believe how out of breath I was right away. I settled in but I thought with all my training I would be ready to rip but maybe it was all the beer I drank the night before. I don't know.
I hope you all had a great Christmas. Mine went really well. No travel this year so just relaxing. I got some cool presents too. My mom lets me order my own presents so IXS had a sweet sale 30% off all gear so I got a full face helmet, knee pads and shins from my parents, some clothes, money, treats and 3 minute gaps from Kelly's parents! I'll do a review on the video in the days to come but it was sweet!
I hope you all got everything you wanted! and lets hope we get at least a couple months of winter, cold enough to get some good ice and a couple feet of snow!

Keep it real!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone I hope every one is having a great and blessed holiday. I also hope everyone got everything they wanted from Santa!

This Christmas has been a bit trying for Kelly's cousin's  little 4 year old daughter Madelyn. Her birthday was today, Christmas but 2 weeks ago she was diagnosed with ALL leukemia. It is very unfortunate as she turned 4 today and I would have to say that is an awful Christmas and Birthday gift but she is staying possitive and is a very strong little girl. The doctors say her out look is very good. 90% chance she will be free from cancer after the 2 year treatment but that is a long time and she will need all the support she can get. So check out her caring bridge blog here. You do have to enter a valid email address but it doesn't send you anything so help by supporting her here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/madelynklinkhammer

There will also be a silent auction coming up sometime in the near future so I will keep you all up to date on those details as they come my way but if anyone has anything they would like to offer up for the auction or knows someone I should contact, please let me know!

Keep it real!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Trail builder and local legend

Today’s blog is about a local legend of sorts, that many of you might not even know! Tim Wegner, is a big inspiration to me. I first met him at the grand opening of Cuyuna but this was only briefly as an introduction and a thank you.
As many of you know I am working with the City of Eagan to rebuild and revitalize the Lexington Street Dirt Jumps, which are in sad shape. The plan is to turn that area into an actual bike park and Tim is kind of the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain or as he calls it the "grey hair" behind the project.
I started going to Lebanon Hills Trail days this summer and started talking about rebuilding the jump area and people had mix feelings but most people thought it was a cool idea. I started asking if MORC would help or anyone would help, at least with writing the proposal and approaching the city and a couple people pointed me in Tim's direction and when I told him what I was thinking, his eyes light up and he was super interested in the project and it just blossomed from there.
We had a few face to face meeting and a lot of emails before approaching the city. When he contacted them we set up a meeting and I made a presentation and its all history from there but I thought I would bring him out from behind the curtain and let people know how much this man has really done for the mountain biking community so I sent him and email with a list of questions and this is what I got back, enjoy!

How long have you been into mountain biking?
I started riding mountain bike in Bismarck ND in 1981 and was instantly hooked.
What got you started?
I got started when I visited the guys at Dakota Cyclery in Bismarck and saw the funky looking bike.  They told me to take a test ride which I did and have been riding ever since.  Wow, I remember index shifting was a big Innovation!!!
What is your favorite part about mountain biking?
My favorite part of mountain biking is the social part.  I love to talk to people about their riding experience, i ask what else they want to see on the trails as I continue to build I want to be meeting unfulfilled needs.
When did you begin building trails?
I became active in trail advocacy when I sat on a citizens committee that was working on re-writing the master plan for Lebanon Hills Regional Park.  That would have been about in 2000.  I wanted to ensure that mountain biking was not removed as one of the user groups at Lebanon Hills.  Once we knew mountain biking was going to be retained we worked with Dakota county parks dept to teach them and us about sustainable trail construction. It was about this time I became the volunteer state representative for IMBA.  I served in that position for about 10 years until IMBA hired representatives which brought Hansi Johnson onto the scene in Minnesota.  Dakota County approved the "Joey Trail" as part of the first phase of implementing the master plan and during the construction of this segment we found out how long it takes to build a trail by hand.  (About 500 man hours per mile)

What got you interested in building trails?
Dale Gundberg and I found about these machines that could cut the time down to about 50 hours per mile.  MORC did not have the funds to buy a machine so Dale and I formed Trail Source and went into the trail building business.  Since that time I have bought Dale out of Trail Source and have worked on my building knowledge by attending about a dozen different trail schools over the past 10 years.  Each of the trail schools was 4-5 days in length so i have added nearly 500 hours of training to my skill set for trail building.
What is your favorite part about trail building?
My favorite part of trail building is the design.  I enjoy looking at a bare piece of land and seeing the trail appear in my mind.  Next it is the flagging of the trail that is the most fun.  I imagine the user riding, hiking or running on the trail and work to make the experience one of the best they have ever had.  I design my trails so the user will come off of the trail and say "man that was so much fun, I want to do it again and tell my friends about this trail."
What is the hardest or most challenging part about trail building?
The most challenging thing about trail building is getting approval from the land manager and then securing the funding.  Sometimes all the red tape can cause a lot of frustration.
Have you always been involved with MORC?
I believe that I joined MORC in 1996 when Gary Sjoquist cornered me on a ride and told me I needed to join and Don Youngdahl was there too and he said the same thing.
You have your own trail building company, is that correct?
Yes
What is the name of that?
I currently own a company called Trail Source.  We own several trucks, numerous trailers, 3 trail building dozers, motorcycles, ATV's and of course the Silver Bullet (airstream camper)
Do you only build trails in MN?
I have built trails mostly in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
Where have you all built trails?
I have built trails for WI DNR, MN DNR National Forest Service, CAMBA, MORC, Dakota County, Three Rivers Parks District, Inver Grove Heights, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Troy WI. and Chaska. I enjoy building mountain bike trails the most followed by Hiking/running trails and have built a few equestrian trails.  The very first trail we built was at Lebanon Hills.  Mike Reiter, who was one of my mentors, laid out this trail and Dale Gundberg and I built it with MORC's finishing work.  This trail starts where the joey trail ends and navigates around the three climbs Larry, Curly and MOE.
What is your favorite trail you have built?
I have several favorite trails.  Lebanon Hills will always be dear to my heart.  We learned so much building this trail plus our success with this trail and this land manager was the springboard for our success throughout the rest of the metro.
Now the entire state of Minnesota looks to MORC for guidance on how to work with land managers and how to design sustainable trails.  Cuyuna ranks right up there with Lebanon as far as favorite trail.  We were able to apply all the new techniques that we had been learning at schools on this system plus having a clean slate to lay out trails and have them purpose built mountain bike trails was such a rich reward for spending 8 years on the Cuyuna Project.
Do you have any new trails or trail additions in the works that you can tell us about?
There are other projects on the horizon:
Pillsbury State Forest
Cut Lake Forest
Woodbury
Lebanon (center section)
Tim had this to say about the future, "I will continue to build trails as long as there are users.  I am a few years away from retirement on my regular job so once I quit that job I will expand Trail Source to other parts of the country and build in warmer places in the winter."

I can't wait to see what awesome trails he has up his sleeves for some of these new areas!

Keep it real!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dakota 50

In my home state of South Dakota there isn’t much for mountain biking on the east side of the state where I am from. I can only think of maybe 5 trails but on the west side, especially when you get the Black Hills area around Spearfish and Rapid City there is a plethora of trails to ride. Some of these trails are actual mountain biking specific single track trails like the Cowboy Trail and the Hanson-Larson Memorial Park Trail but others is multi-use trail like Crows Peak, it is a 3.5 mile out and back. 3.5 miles up to the top, took me about 1hr and 40 mins and about 18mins coming down, haha if that doesn’t tell you something… There is also the Centennial Trail one guy told me “ oh you can ride the Centennial Trail if you want but it’s a hiking trail and more XC type riding” I rode the French Creek spur and if that was XC riding to that guy I hate to see what he considers good DH, haha that trail was bike breaking gnarly in some sections and very scenic all around. If you haven’t rode out in the Black Hills I would totally recommend that you get out there and get some miles in. There is a great Fat Tire Festival in the spring, Click Here for more info.
If racing is more you thing, one race stand above the rest in my eyes and it is probably the only well known MTB race in SD and that race is the Dakota 50, this race takes place every Labor day weekend in Spearfish SD, this year’s official date is September 2nd.

This race comes with a warning so you know it is serious: “*WARNING: THIS IS A MOUNTAIN BIKE RACE, if you are not fit, have health issues, or have never ridden singletrack, I would suggest you try another race…”

Here is what the race is all about, well the Dakota Five-O, lollie-pop loop, begins in Spearfish City Park with a mass, neutral roll out, and leaves town to the west up Tinton Road. The three miles of gravel road climbing will give the fast guys a chance to vie for position, before funneling onto the twisty, smooth, Tinton Trail single-track. The race is 50 miles long, hence the name Dakota 50, first water station, at about mile ten, at Big Hill Trailhead. The racing after that will be a nice mix of single track, mine roads and double track, which if it’s anything like the mine roads and double track I’ve road out there might be gnarlier then the singletrack! There will be water stations again at mile 20, 30 and 38. “The last water station at Ball Park where fine, young felines await you with drinks and treats!” The website recommends you take a break here if you are tired and warns of the trail to come, “Beware of the bear of a climb ahead!” They also remind you to not forget to stop at the Bacon Station for your official on course PBR stop. Who would forget this… you are almost home and even though it is fall in the Hills the sun can still be warm and what tastes better then a cold beer, unless you don’t drink that is. After that you will finish out on the new hand built single track with a couple short climbs and a nice decent back into the Spearfish City park where there will be provided by local brewery Crow Peak brewing, live music and lots of story swapping. 

For more information and details check out http://www.dakotafiveo.com/dakota2009.html and don’t forget to stop into Rushmore Mountain Sports, my favorite shop out there! And check them out online at http://rushmorebikes.com/

I thought I’d give any of you that were thinking about doing this race a fighting chance I contacted the promoters of this race to see what they have to say, recommendations and pointers:

Here is what Perry Jewett of the Ridge Riders Club a spur of the Black Hills Mountain Bike Club had to say!

When did this race start?
The Dakota Five-0 was first raced in 2001 w/ 89 riders lining up.  It has continued to grow each and every year and now we have a self imposed cap of 600 riders.  It sells out several months in advance.

What was the inspiration behind starting this race?
I had raced for decades, built trails and worked for the USFS and was inspired to make our trail a world class event.  I am very proud to be from the Black Hills and consider it to be one of the best places for mountain biking in the nation.
The 50 mile trail was linked together by our club Ridge Riders of the Black Hills Mountain Bike Club.  We built trails leading from town into the national forest and connecting several US Forest Service Trail to make a 50 mile loop. 

Have you competed in the race yourself?
I have never competed in the race because I put it on and am racing several days before and after to get it all done.  My wife and daughter have raced in it in the early years but are now way too big of help to get out and race it now.  It has turned into a pretty big production.

Do you find more people actually racing and bidding for the podium or more people just riding and looking for a good time?
We have called it the Dakota Five-0 Race/Ride/Tour for a reason we cater to all the groups of riders.  Top racers are awarded graciously in each class we go deep w cash equal Men's and Women's classes.  We also have a great fun trail for anyone just wanting to challenge themselves.  We have lots of good fun for everyone and the camaraderie out on the trail is very high.  All riders have a good time.  Most are out there to challenge themselves and improve their times from the previous year.

What is the most difficult part about the race?
The race is very challenging throughout the whole thing and mostly good flowy singletrack.  Cardiac Climb and getting into Aid Station #2 at Old Baldy (half way point) is probably some of the hardest parts.  The biggest and hardest climb it out of Aid Station #4 at the Ball Park in Higgins Gulch.  The hardest most technical descent is the DakoTA Ridge trail after the Bacon Station about Mile 38. 

What is your favorite part about the race?
My Favorite part of the Five-0 would be what I mentioned the camaraderie and the amount of hard core dedicated riders we get from far off places.  Besides that I am pretty stoked on the 50 mile lollipop trail we have.  The start/finish are in Spearfish Park is perfect.  Small Creek and camping all right there a few blocks from everything a rider would need for a great weekend.  We even had a bike named after our town and race!  The Salsa Spearfish is a great bike and we are fortunate to have them as a sponsor.  We even raffled one off at this year's Five-0 to a lucky rider from Colorado.

What bike or type of bike do you recommend for this race?
The Salsa Spearfish make an excellent Five-0 bike but I have seen all varieties.  Light and efficient is usually best. 


What do you recommend the riders bring with them, tools, water, ect….
We have excellent aid stations so riders only need carry a few tools and tube/patch kit. 
Most ride w/ a hydration pack and a bottle on the bike w/ electrolytes.  If this doesn't work for you try the Bacon Station for what ales you.
The Bacon Station is the notorious "unofficial aid station" where riders can indulge in country bacon and PBR.  It is just before the hardest downhill so beware.

What type of rider would you recommend this race too?
This race is best suited for the riders who like to ride good singletrack in a pretty setting w/ hundreds of friends.  Chill in a beautiful town, drink good beer, eat good food, listen to music and possibly win some sweet prizes.  $25,0000 was given in cash and prizes last year.  As well as a killer raffle for all riders that included a complete Salsa Spearfish, local art, Sram and Rock Shox goodies, Twin Six, etc....  The tables ran over!
Check the website and blog for additional info and be sure to mark your calendars for the 12th Annual Dakota Five-0 on Sept. 2, 2012.
Registration opens April 1st, No Fooling, It might fill quick!

Perry wishes all the riders the best and encourages you to ride your bike everywhere!

A huge thanks to Perry for giving me a little insider information so that I can share that with you guys! I’m not sure if I will be competing this year. I’m out there pretty much every year over the Labor Day weekend for family vacation so I'm definitely thinking about it but either way I will definitely be on my bike enjoying the best of what SD has to offer!

As Perry said check them out on line at http://www.dakotafiveo.com/dakota2009.html or also on Facebook!

Keep it real!


Monday, December 19, 2011

Snow biking and racing

There is a relatively new craze sweeping through the cycling community and that is snow biking or fat bikes. As you all know MN is in winter about 9 months out of the year, haha jk but we do have long winters so you can see the appeal of snowbiking and fat bikes. The concept of riding your bike in the snow isn't new but the bikes have definitely been improved over the last few years with the invention of fat bikes. Bikes like the Surly Pugsley, Salsa Mukluk, 9 Zero 7, Fat Back and many others are allowing more options and pushing the technology behind this sport further.

Bens new Ti Fat Bike
The general concept behind a fat bike is a rigid mountain bike frame with over sized hub spacing front and rear that allows one to use an over sized tire that allow you to float more on the snow and travel in much deeper snow then a normal MTB tire would allow.
With this style of riding becoming more prevalent obviously comes racing due to the humans competitive nature and there are more races popping up every year but the grand daddy of them all, at least around here, is the Arrow Head 135. This race takes place in International Falls, MN and as the name implies it is 135 miles long. (disclaimer, this race is for bad asses only) For more information on the race check out arrowheadultra.com

Since I was talking about this race I thought about doing a quick interview with a good friend of mine and a bad ass rider if I might say. He is also part owner of the only bike shop I'll visit in St. Cloud - Revolution Cycle and Ski, also on the side bar. With out further adieu he is what Ben Doom had to say:
Ben, Need I say more?

Thanks Ben for taking the time to answer some questions!

So you did the arrowhead last year for the first time, correct?  Yes.

When is the arrowhead? This year it starts on January 30th, which is a Monday.  It's run on snowmobile trails so the race is held during the week to avoid too much traffic.


How did you do? Last year I got 5th and Bike Rookie of the Year.  I had hoped to do better this time around but the level of talent this year is pretty deep.  Getting 5th again would be awesome!


What motivated you to want to compete in such an event? Over the past several years I've started doing more endurance type events, starting with the gravel scene.  I'm not a particularly fast guy but can ride pretty solid for a long time.  Endurance suits me I guess.  The people are great as well.  All laid back and looking to have a good time.
The Arrowhead has been on my list for sometime.  Glad I've been able to do it.


How did you prepare? Ride and ride some more.  Last year I rode a lot and tried to get out on local snowmobile trails a couple of times a week.  For whatever reason Fridays were my "big" day.  I usually would get 6 hours in before work at noon.


Is there anything you would change in your preparation/training? Last year my goal was to finish and not freeze any digits.  I rode a lot but all at the same pace.  This year I am tossing in some shorter, more intense rides hoping to up my overall speed.  But it really comes down to saddle time.  Having a family and a business makes this tricky at times.  Both have been very understanding and supportive.


What bike did you use? Last year I rode a 2009 or 2010 Surly Pugsley frame with pretty sweet parts.  It came in shy of 35 lbs.  Loved the bike, worked very well.  Me being me, I could not leave well enough alone and have a Salsa Mukluk Ti to ride this year.  I rode it at the Tuscobia Winter Ultra Endurance race this weekend and loved the bike!


What was your general bike/gear set up? 3x?, 2x?, 1x? panniers, other bags? Both last year and this year I will run a 2x9...(32/22x11x34).  Last year I used panniers and a frame bag.  I brought too much stuff...a common rookie move.  I will use Revelate bags exclusively this year.

What was the hardest part about this race? The hills after MelGeorge's were pretty brutal but I think the last 25 miles were the hardest for me.  It's only 25 miles but it takes 3-4 hours on flat terrain.  Mentally I struggled here.


What's one thing you brought that you wont bring if you did it again?
I brought extra clothing that was just not needed.  The experience of having one Arrowhead under my belt will help but I believe this to be an on going learning experiment.
I also brought too much extra water.  My bike weighed a lot.

What is one thing that will bring that you didn't bring the first time? Last year I made the decision to run platform pedals at the last minute.  I plan on using clips this year.  I know you prefer platform but I am used to clips and think this will help me in the long run...or so I hope!

Is there anything else that you did during the race that you would change? rest no rest food ect? My water froze before the first checkpoint so I had to run in and get some gatorade.  Most do not stop at this checkpoint.  I hope to have my water situation better figured out this year.  I truly did stop too long at any one stop.  I hope to limit myself to 15 minutes at the last two checkpoints.  But honestly, with a race like this one never knows and has to be ready to adjust plans and goals.


Would you recommend this race to other? YES

Thanks again to Ben for taking the time to talk with me on this topic! If you want to know more about Ben and his current activities you can check him out at: http://www.justbike.blogspot.com/ or better yet stop in next time you are in St. Cloud and check out Revolution Cycle and Ski, all the guys down there are great and super friendly!

Keep it real!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Magic Bullet part deuce!

This is huge and is a great write up from James Wilson from bikejames.com  and it totally reiterates the point that I have been trying to make. The rider makes the bike not the bike makes the rider and I feel that unless you're bike breaks or is at least 5 years old or you have money to burn you really don't need to buy a new bike or upgrade your bike unless you reach the point when the bike is holding you back from progressing.  This could also happen if you change from XC racing to DH but most trail bikes that we have will suffice for both unless you are racing at a high level but if you are simply doing your local races you will be fine. Can a new bike or part make you a better rider, nope, but can it make you feel like a better rider.. Possibly but it might also then be covering up a weakness. James talks more about this.
I also think sometimes it's nice just to get something new as it's a bit of confident booster. More like a placebo effect then actually covering up anything, but I tread lightly on this subject because new isn't always a bad thing, just something new! right? Hell ya!
Check these two articles out, they are must reads in my opinions
http://www.bikejames.com/strength/the-magic-bullet-syndrome/comment-page-1/#comment-4946
and
http://www.bikejames.com/strength/dan-johns-4-quadrants-of-training/

Reader Question

Well heck this is a first! A reader question....

Hey dude, I've been riding clips since I was a kid, but I experimented with flats this summer some and rode some DH in flats too and definitely enjoy it. So, after getting Lee's book and reading his site (ps, thanks for turning me onto that, it's excellent), I think I'm going to invest in some better flats equipment. So far I've been riding plastic BMX flats w/ Vans. It's been fine for getting an idea and DJing, but I think a better grip would be nice for when it gets bumpy on the trail. I don't want to jump all in right away since that would be pretty expensive, so my question is if I'm only going to invest in nice flats or 510s/Tevas, which do you think makes a bigger impact?

So the basic question is good shoes or good pedals if you can only choose one?
Well I would say both if you can and both if you can't... wait what? Yeah that's right get both if you can afford it but if you can't both would do well.
Allen for you, keeping the plastics and getting 5.10's probably wouldn't be the best but if you have some lower end metal pedals like this Wellgo and a few others make some good pedals for a low price. I would recommend replicable pins and sealed bearings but if you are trying to go super cheep just get some magnesium one piece pedals, they will work for a few months to maybe a whole season depending on how much you ride and how many pedal hits you have.

I figured I better go into what else I would look at if you do decide to go for high end pedals. The first thing high end pedals will all have replace able pins and sealed bearings but look fro pins that screw in from the top, they are easier to remove with damaged. Next look for a large, wide plat form for you foot to sit on. This will negate the need for a stiff shoe like the roadies want for power transfer. They need them since they are focusing a lot of power onto a little area and the foot would wrap around the pedal but with a large platform your foot wont wrap and all the power can be transferred through your ankle like it should be. The next nice feature and one you will see emphasized a lot is pedal thickness, pedals like straightline, twenty6 and spank will be thinner this will help with pedal roll. It does happen but a larger thinner pedal will help a lot with that and a concave pedal will also help a lot. Most pedals these days are concave but some cheaper ones are not. Finally the last thing comes down to if you are a weight weeny or not. Cromoly or Titanium spindle? That's up to you but the price will jump $50-100 depending on the pedal if you go Ti. Pin set up will also help a lot with grip. I recommend 4-6 long pins per side put on the out side corners appose to the stander 10 medium pins that you see on the majority of pedals. This was suggest to me by some guy on a forum and I didn't try it till I bashed some pins up and didn't have the right amount to fill them all back in but it really works and you get less of a bit when you do slip a pedal!

Ok that said, if you have a decent metal pedal and are thinking of either up grading your pedal or getting a new shoe and that $100-120 is your magic number (the price of 5.10's) I would go with 5.10's those muthas stick to damn near anything. You could have the worlds best pedal but if you have some old worn out skate shoe, you will slip a pedal more often then if you have a decent pedal with 5.10's. This is a killer deal on price point and this is what I'm riding right now!
I would say go support your LBS but I've never been to a LBS anywhere but in CO that carries 5.10's and heck most of the LBS around here don't even carry flats but you can go talk to yours. They might be able to hook you up with a special order but I doubt you'll get that price and if money is tight, we all understand!
Hope this helps!

Keep it real!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Magic Bullet?

As I always do I peruse the Internet quite often and I stopped by one of my favorite sites bikejames.com I find James to be one of the more open, straight forward guys out there and value his opinion and information pretty highly and his work out plans kick ass.
He did an interview with an Irish Bike Club Donegal MTB Club. It was short and sweet but he hit on a couple points that I think about a lot and end up in discussions a lot of the time about these topics, especially at the local trails and I think he made some good points.
Here is the excerpt first:
(6) Clip-Ins or Flats? How do you find people react to clips ins physically when switching from flats – does it take time for their hamstrings to adjust?
Flats force you to learn how to develop a more natural pedal stroke and technique. The best riders in the world can ride flats almost as efficiently as clipless pedals. This means two things – 1) clipless pedals are faster and 2) if you can’t ride flats almost as good as clipless pedals then you are relying on the attachment point for a less efficient movement pattern.
Our legs are made to push, not pull, and flats force you to develop a pushing pedaling style. Once you have that down do what you like, just don’t tell me that clipless are “better” or that you can’t bunny hop without being attached to your pedals. Leave your ego at the door and learn to ride flats – you’ll be a much better rider for it in the long run and your knees and low back will thank you.
(7) We have a Canadian member of our club who raves about 29ers…No-one in our club is listening :-)  Whats your views?
Overrated for the most part. They are a lot like clipless pedals – they can be better but they can also be used to make up for a lack of fitness and skill. Wear out your regular bike and then worry about it. Too many riders are looking for that “magic bullet” and the bike industry is more than willing to cash in on this by selling big wheel bikes to riders who simply need to do some kettlebell swings and take a skills clinic.

____________________________________________________________________
That all being said, I've felt that flats are on a level playing field with clips for years. Ever since I was a teenager racing BMX and beating the kids with clips. I did give them a try for a bit while racing but never felt comfortable in them and after I crashed hard I swore I'd never go back and I didn't until I rode across the country. At that time I figured I would give them another go. I wore them, they worked great, did they give me an advantage? I don't know I wouldn't have anything to compare it to and I didn't have any measurable results documented if I did try to go and test that theory and I doubt I will have the time or money again to ride across the country anytime soon.
I continued to ride them the next summer in my gravel grinder races and cyclocross races. Why? because everyone else was doing it basically and I didn't know any better. I started to read James' blog and it made a lot of sense what he was saying so I said forget them all together and I rode all summer with out them and had a great time. I raced a Xterra Tri and a gravel grinder 86miles on flats and I felt just fine. I really don't think that one or the other gives you a distinct advantage. It sounds like James is agreeing with the masses and saying they are faster but which might be true but in the studies I've read they only give you a 3-5% efficiency gain and do not create a more powerful pedal stroke.
I do not believe either one is particularly better then the other, it is personal choice but as James states I don't think that new riders should start out on clipless right away. I feel that the only way you will be able to truly harness that small efficiency gain is by mastering your riding skills on flats and then if you choose get yourself a set of quality clips and shoes.

I love the point he makes about 29ers. I have mentioned this before on forums and was basically attacked. I think that they are very similar to clips in multiple facets. First they should not be the first choice for new riders. They are much more difficult to handle due to the higher center of gravity and the larger centrifugal force created by the wheels. It takes good technique to corner properly on them. Is there a small advantage for racing these bikes, especially in XC? Maybe but all the reports I've read have only shown a few seconds advantage but a few seconds might make a difference in a race but it's hard to compare when it's pros doing the riding because they can rip anything because they are that good. Second do they work as crutch like clips do and cover up bad technique and form? Yeah I think to a point they do, especially if some one new to the sport jumped right onto a full suspension 29er. It will allow them to ride things that they probably wouldn't have been able to on a 26er or a HT straight out of the gate. You might think well that is great, well it is and it isn't. It's like a new born that starts walking before they crawl. You think hell they are a rock star but actually they skipped an important part of their development and it will catch up to them and end up hurting them in the long run as they have to work harder to relearn those skills when they get to the bigger and more technical obstacles where messing up can get you seriously hurt. Third, I think just like clips the 29er is being pushed too hard and too fast onto too many riders. There are advantages to these pieces of equipment in MTB, look at Carl Decker, he pulled out a huge win at the Downieville Classic where no one thought a 29er would be a good bike to race but again, he's a pro and probably would have killed it on his 26er too.
Before you buy either just think about it, are you buying it because it's the hot new item that you think you need and hope it will make you better with out any extra work or because you have reached the limit of your flat pedals or your old 26inch bike and need that next step in performance?
Are either of these the magic bullet that will make you a WC super star racer? No, does that exist? No, you need to train hard and ride harder but still have fun because that is what it's all about!

Keep it real!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

reply to Allen

Again it doesn't let me reply in the comments, so here it is:

Well Allen, I'm glad to see that you read my blog, thank you for leaving a comment and we should definitely get together and ride. Let me know next spring/summer when you are in town and we'll get together. I love riding with new people.
Maybe their isn't a super open public rift but there is definitely something brewing and I'm not saying that it is just locally. I think you are right that most people do get along pretty well at the trails but if you follow any of the forms that aren't segregated into different categories, like gravity/dh/freeride, all mountain, and xc, a forum like MORC you will see that sides are being chosen very clearly in most debates and if you could pole the sides you would see that you could distinctly separate the two categories as I described them. Real or traditional mountain bikers and dirt roadies. Sure there are some that might fall through the cracks or on the middle ground and just because you ride a rigid single speed 29er doesn't make you a dirt roadie straight away, I'm not saying that. It's more about your mentality that you bring to the sport and riding then your bike or kit of choice that separates the two.
I feel and think you can see it on a much larger scale if you simply look at how XC racing, not at the WC level, but through the more grass root levels is becoming more like road racing on dirt, they are making the course more conducive to a pedal fest then a challenge of mountain biking skills. I understand XC is about endurance and you have multiple levels of rider skills competing on the same course or parts of the same course but you aren't doing the sport or the elite riders any good by encouraging this type of riding.  A good example is the Chequamegon fat 40, it is advertised as an epic mountain bike race but most of the race is on fire roads...? that's not very epic or even mountain biking. Which type of riders benefit from this, dirt roadies, who have won the last couple years? I believe they were tour de France riders... Is it cool that the Cable area draws 2000+ people for a bike race? Oh hell yeah! Technically it is called a mountain bike race, should it be? Well not in my opinion and I guess that is debatable. It's probably closer to a gnarly gravel grinder then a MTB race.
I don't think that anyone would publicly appose making the trail harder besides maybe a land owner, due to liability but there is sanitation of the trails happening, by that I mean removing or changing of feature to make them easier, maybe not to the extent that James write about in his blog.
Here is are a few prime examples, all from leb as that is where I ride the most. If you are familiar with the big rock on the left about 1/4mile in on the blue, it's right before the big table top jump. No one has obviously removed it but they have began to ride around it making the trail wider and in essence sanitizing the trail. Why even ride up to it if you can't do it? there is a wide clear ride around if you just stay on the main trail? I've seen people do it and unfortunately I have to say they fit my example of a dirt rodie.
I agree that people don't like to be pigeon holed but hell if people are going to call me a DHer (not that is all that bad IMO) and say that I'm not a mountain biker (which I most certainly am) then I'm going to call them as I see them. (see previous post "called out").
Next example There is a rock garden about 1/2 way through the first section and at the beginning of the year it was super tough and then someone moved the rocks and added dirt so the rocks were not so pronounced to make a clear path through with out touching rocks, what is the point of a rock garden then?
Third is the log step up toward the end of the first blue section that has the sharp right after it. It had to be replaced because it had eroded out from people making a wide path around it because they couldn't ride up it and when we were putting it back in we had a group of again dirt roadies complain that it was too high and to difficult to ride this section....
Do you kind of see where I'm coming from? and as I mentioned in the previous blog people complaining about sections being too hard and too many rocks.
As for making it tougher, they even have ride around in the black and double black, that makes no sense to me. It should be scary enough with no option but to ride it simply for the intimidation factor to keep people that shouldn't be in there from going in and riding it.
As for fast flowy trail, totally agree, there needs to be that style of trail and I wouldn't want every trail to be slow and technically precise riding but there should be more of that, there are over 75miles of single track in the metro and I'd say there is only about 10-15miles of that, that is technical (black diamond) and even less that would be considered double black.
Cuyuna is amazing and nothing should be changed to the existing trails, they are great how they are. Should there be more trail, that is more technical added with jumps and drops and rock and all sorts of fun stuff? Hell yes! And I've heard rumors that it might be in the works.
I have nothing against having easy trails, I think they are great. I encourage new riders to come out and ride as much as they can and hope they improve and some day will have the confidence and skills to ride the more advanced trails. I am even planning on having clinics when I finish the Lexington Street Bike Park and if MORC allows maybe some at the new Lebanon Hills Skills Park.
I'm saying that there needs to be more equality. There are tons of riders that can clean all the so called Black diamonds day in and day out. This will leads to stale riders. We have no more room to push our selves or progress when everything becomes too easy.
I do on the other hand understand why some of this is as MORC's insurance limits them to 30inches of height for drops and features.

Anyways, thanks again for the comment. I love to hear from my readers.

Keep it real!

Monday, December 12, 2011

reply

For some reason I cannot comment on my own blog, whatever so here is my reply

I knew I might get a comment from you (Ben), I meant no offence to you or anyone that rides a 29er, or wears lycra, I totally made that statement in the blog:
"I don't have anything against people riding 29ers or wearing lycra or set up their bike differently then I do. I think people should ride what makes them happy, wear what they like and ride the set up that is most comfortable to them. Am I against people riding differently then me or having a different style then me? NO, no way."

And the key word in your statement is you have a smile on your face and I know from personal experience that you are very passionate about the sport and not just out there to count laps but have a good time! As well as you have a different agenda then most riders and that is because you are an endurance athlete.
I understand the root painting if it is a safety issue for kids or for insurance purpose.

I was just making a point that there is a rift happening in this sport as much as there was in BMX 15 years ago, with alternative riding and racers, some cross both but most shouldn't be lumped into the term "BMXer" just like not everyone should be lumped into the term "MTBer" just because they have a bike that is labeled a mountain biker.
And by no means did I mean any offence or disrespect to the single speed community, there are some pretty seriously gnaly single speed riders out there.
The point of the blog was to get people thinking about why they are out there and to question why people are catering to this new crowd and straying from the roots of mtb by sanitizing and simplifying the courses. Is it for industry growth? If so is that the type of industry growth we as a mountain bike community should want?
Also I mean no disrespect the road, cyclocross or gravel racing community as they are all great aspects of the cycling world in their own right but are in no shape Mountain biking and should not be a standard that mtb should be held to. If you truly think about it those three facets are very similar in training and bike design and set up but a mountain bike has very few similarities in geo and design beyond it having two wheels and being chain driven. Different bars, different tires, different geo... ect you could go through the bike and point them all out and it doesn't stop there. It goes through to riding style and training. Mountain biking is a sport of short burst explosive energy. It is a high intensity cardio activity that requires an equal amount of strength to endurance.  Much of the riding IMO is more similar to a bmx racer then a road racer. Standing and cranking up steep climbs, lower seat position, and standing and flowing down the descents instead of tucking and getting as aero dynamic as possible.
Again ride what you like and what allows you to have fun. I'd personally just like to see more options for more real mtb trails and less dirt highways.
Keep it real!
this is where I got most of my fuel for my fire as well as many long conversations with my riding budies:
http://www.bikejames.com/strength/the-crucial-differences-between-fire-road-racing-mountain-biking/

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Rift?

Is there a growing rift in mountain biking these days? To me it sure seems so. Let me tell you why I feel this way and you can draw your own conclusion and decide if it is a good or bad thing.
First off there are many debates right now about what is right and wrong, good and bad. Some of them are more personal preference and some have a underlying crack that adds to the rift. You will always have the debates against hard tail and full suspension, less now then a few years ago and you will always have the odd ball rider that wants to stay traditional and that's cool. Then there is flats vs. clips this is still a personal preference but I think it is a little fuel to the fire in the rift of mtb. The last "preference" is a really big crack leading to the rift, IMO, and that is the 26 vs. 29 debate. I think they both have benefits but a bike set up can really tell you about the rider.
Let me explain first the rift. I feel there is a rift between mountain bikers and dirt roadies, people riding off road on mountain bikes but not really mountain bikers. You ask how can that be, they are mountain bikers then aren't they? Well no, 90 percent of dirt roadies are on 29ers, with long stems, narrow bars, probably the lightest bike they can afford, counting every gram (weight wienie), narrow tires with a not so aggressive tread. When they go for a ride the are going purely for exercise and not because they have a passion for mountain biking but a passion for fitness, they will most definitely be in lycra and sporting a water bottle cage on their bike and definitely rocking clips, if you ask them why they ride clips over flats they will answer as it is so falsely ingrained in their mind that it gives you more power, more efficiency, better climbing ability and they are able to ride more technical stuff since they can lift their rear end better and pull through the top of their pedal stroke.
All of which are unsubstantiated reasons for doing so, a good rider can do all of that and more with out locking their feet to the clips and pulling on your pedals doesn't add any more power or allow you to climb or pedal better actually it is tell tale sign of a horrible pedal stroke and is being used as a crutch to cover bad skills and technique and will also lead to over use injuries in your hips, knees and ankles. Don't believe me, leave me a message and we will go ride next spring and I will show you!
Also when they are riding they are trying to avoid as many of the obstacles they can, weaving all over the trail missing rocks and taking obscure lines through the rock garden because they can't handle their bike or avoiding them all together by taking a ride around. You will often hear the dirt roadies complaining in the parking lot about the rock gardens or obstacles. I actually had a guy once complain to me that he hated riding Lebanon because the "idiots that built this place just throw the rocks all over the place in dumb spots and he breaks a derailleur every time he comes out." You know what I told that guy, don't ride here then because there aren't enough rocks and it's not technical enough and  I should have told him to learn to ride his bike. Yep you guessed it he fit the bill that I described about to a tee.
Well what is a real mountain biker then? Not a dirt roadie, well it would be someone that has a passion for the sport and the outdoors. They enjoy challenging themselves through physical and mental challenges. They like to push the limit of their bike and them self by trying to ride the most technical trails that their abilities will allow. Their main point for a ride is to have fun not to get as many miles as they can or work on their lactic/cardio thresh hold, unless they are training for a race. The biggest and most evident way would be look at the rider, do they have a serious look on their face or a big smile? A mountain biker will have a big smile on their face. No real mountain biker will ever not have a smile on their face, as a real mountain biker is happy anytime they are on their mountain bike. While a dirt roadie will have a serious look on their face because they are training or exercising not "riding."  Mountain bikers are out to thrash the trail, slam through a rock garden, make that climb rip that down hill and clean that obstacle that has avoided them for so long. They aren't worried about how many miles or how many laps or how long they are riding that day. They will stop and hit that jump or try to ride that skinny for 15mins if that is what it takes to clean it.
I'm not sure if it is a good or bad thing. The good is that with the abundance of easy to medium level trails mountain biking is growing and more people are trying it and more bike shops are stocking mountain bikes but at the same time is that good? Should we simplify, dumb down and sanitize our trails and sports so shaved legged roadies can hop on a fat tired bike and ride them as fast as they can pedal with out any skills? I would have to question that. I personally don't feel so. I think there should be these trails so we don't scare new people away but at the same time we need to have an equal amount of technical trails that the real mountain bikers can go out and push themselves to the next level!
I don't have anything against people riding 29ers or wearing lycra or set up their bike differently then I do. I think people should ride what makes them happy, wear what they like and ride the set up that is most comfortable to them. Am I against people riding differently then me or having a different style then me? NO, no way.
Am I against people pushing for lamer, smoother, less technical trails? Hell yes, learn to ride your bike or go back to your road bike or grab cross bike and do a cross race or a gravel road ride but don't think you are a mountain biker because you ride a 29er in your road kit on the smoothest mountain bike single track you can find and call yourself a mountain biker, if that's what you want, go for it but call yourself what you are a dirt roadie or fire road rider...
Also don't hold an xc race and paint the rocks and roots a bright color or run the race mostly on a grass walking/ski path or fire road. That is not mountain biking that is dirt road racing!
You can draw your own conclusion but those are my opinions and if you want to have a good time and a relaxed fun ride, hit me up and I'll show  you what it's all about and don't think I'm some slouch on the pedals, I'll hold my own and pass you when shit gets tech!

Keep it real!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gear Review

First off I've never used this product, although I really want to! I really would love to try one out but they do not exist around here or at least I can't find them anywhere but the Internet, :( What is it you say? Well it is the Freeride Trail Backpack from Evoc, it's a German bag maker and they make some sweet ass bags. I've asked around and no one had even heard of them and QBP doesn't even have them on their brands they carry so I'm guessing no LBS will be able to get on.
Let's start wit the fun stuff, the pictures!

First off just look at how cool it looks. I know it's way sweeter looking then my day pack, but what are the advantages of buy this bag over lets say an Osprey or a Camelbak....?

Well let start with it's size. It is 20 litre and that means you can carry as much as you need for a short 1 hour trail ride at your local ride center or for an epic multi day trip to, lets say the Maah Daah Hey Trail and it has a 3 litre water bladder. I know if you are like me, you can never have enough water.
Second it has some nice features like a sleeve to put your lid in if you are hiking or better yet getting into some enduro where it helps to have two helmets. A light trail helmet for the journey and climbs and a full face for the payoff and fun section! As seen above, no matter what helmet you have on your head the other goes in your pack as well as you can take off your protection and put it on the bottom of your pack for easy accessibility when you get to the top of the mountain!


Speaking of protection, how about a built in spine and hip protector! I know that is one reason I where a backpack and believe me it has saved me more then once. It is definitely confidence inspiring to have a solid pack on your back that will save your ass when you go over the bars, because it's not if it is a when, when you are riding the fun stuff and pushing your limits like I like to do!

And you just can't beat the organization of this pack. I am not a very organize person but it's hard not to be with this pack. I just love the thought of not having to dig for all my stuff when I get a flat or have a mechanical! How nice and easy and when you are packing you can see everything you need and have already.
I know that I really want to have this pack before I go out to the black hills next fall, especially if I am thinking about doing the Dakota 5-0. I would really like to have it before we go to Whistler in June for our honey moon so we will see if I can scrounge up some extra cash for a gem like this!
For some first hand knowledge of the pack check out these guys, a couple crazy Australian's at Bewicked

I hope you enjoyed this and check it out! Looks like a killer option.

Keep it real!

Got called out....

So I'm pretty active on the MTB forums as I'm sure most of you could assume. I spend a lot of time on a computer, most of the time I'm suppose to be working, and I'm pretty opinionated. Most of the topics on the local mtb forums bore me so I keep a pretty low profile. I don't care what set up someone has on their fat bike or what tires they are running at Cuyuna on there 29er, but sometimes something comes up that is pretty interesting or gets pretty heated, with strong opinions on both sides so I toss my 2 cents in. Most times, I'm in the minority and this last couple weeks there were a couple of these threads and I got called out, haha, we'll get to that in a bit but first I want to lay a little background. I as most of you know if you read this blog I'm all about MTB, I like pretty much all sides to it and I ride what I consider a do it all bike, an All Mountain bike. I get asked from time to time if it is a DH rig or people make comments like why do you need that pig of a bike around here, most of those people I then usually leave in my dust on their HT 29ers, thinking how about you learn how to ride your bike before questioning my choice of bike or I shrug most of it off to ignorance or the Midwest just being behind the times like it is with 90% of things. However this one comment I don't think was to be slighted but still kind of bugs me and I don't know why. I didn't respond because I figured I'd let sleeping dogs sleep. Here is what she said:

"I think that everyone knows you are more into DH stuff rather than mountain biking. I appreciate that you are interested in helping maintain trails and you are offering time and your expertise at the lexington jumps.
can we just leave this topic where it is? Obviously there is a difference in riding the MORC maintained trails than a DH run here or a trail out west. No need to continue debating the topic or adding fuel to the fire with more examples of how things are done in other areas." 


So let's put this into perspective, first off this thread was started by some guy posting a freeride video shot at Northstar Bike Park in Tahoe and making the comment does this irritate anyone else how these pros and bike companies put out these videos showing all these pro riders sliding and skidding around corners. So of course to their ignorance I had to point out that what they are doing is called a drift or a cuttie, a slide of the back tire with out using the rear break, it is not a skid and it is done at high speed because the tire broke loose and it doesn't irritate me it inspires me. A lot of people agreed with me on this but some die hard XC people were like blah blah this inspires young people to go skid around the trails here in the metro and cause erosion and breaking bumps.
Long story short I said you are comparing apples to oranges and as this is DH/Freeride and not XC riding and people shouldn't skid and if it were some dude in lycra on a xc bike skidding around a berm at lebanon I'm sure we would all be in agreeance that it's not needed but at the same time the trails could be a little rougher and I wouldn't complain, I love riding in the black hills because it is gnarly and challenging and not maintained and posted a video being a smart ass of Stund and said does this inspire or irritate you? That is when I got called out. The guy basically is like I don't get you, you talk about going to trail work and making this bike park and then talk about how trails shouldn't be maintained and post this video link. So my reply was this:

"I was givin' them a hard time with the video as people are comparing apples to oranges here! They are watching epic dh and freeride videos were dude are riding in excess of 50miles an hour and people are getting pissed that they are sliding their tire around! I made that point earlier if you were following the whole time. my goal when I ride my bike is to never pedal and never use the breaks. Obviously that is not possible by I try my best to pump every obstetrical and roller and take corners as fast as I can with out breaking. If they would have shown a video of some lycra dude and murphy or leb sliding around the corner like an idiot with his rear tire locked up I would have jumped his sh#t. Maybe it is the snow, lack of stress release and for the centennial trail not being maintained... that is my preferred riding. I like to others two, dirt jump, pump tracks, dh and some xc but to get lost on a epic long trail that is rough rigid and raw. minimal maintenance, that is real mountain biking and no ride center will ever touch that! http://www.trans-provence.com/ watch this, this is the epitome of mountain biking and the terrain I like to ride.
I appreciate all the hard work everyone does and I get out as much as I can to help with trail work and work for projects like lexington.
so sorry if I lead you a stray with my slighted humor. "


And that is what that lady replied to, so in response to her I don't see how I could be more of a DH rider then a mountain biker? isn't that an oxymoron? are they not one in the same? Are not DH riders mountain bikers? are they not riding a mountain bike?
This comment didn't make scenes and totally supports my thought of how back wards, behind the times and ignorant so many people in the mtb community is here? I wanted to write back and say something like read a book, a mtb mag or the Internet, catch up with the times, but I didn't because I think she had good intentions. Either way I never support people intentionally riding stupid and ruining the trails that would be dumb. At the same point so man people are such huge babies when it comes to mtb around here the want to ride there wagon wheelers, HT and rigid bikes on basically concrete highways instead of pushing them selves, their skills and bikes to the limits. All I was trying to say is trails like the centennial trail in the Black Hills is the epitome of MTB. It is out there, it is an adventure, it offers everything from super challenging climbs to double track to fire roads, amazing views to some of the gnarliest DH runs I have ever been on!
If you remember my previous write ups and pictures. I have dreams of getting back out there. If you go out there you have to be a good rider or you wont have fun (at least on the trails I was riding) or will possibly get hurt and I love it! I think there should be at least one trail in the metro or at least MN that is like that mixed in with the hundreds of miles of smooth non-challenging single track. I love fast flowy stuff too! Cuyuna is a blast, lebanon is fun too. BC has a couple trails that are rough but the rest are smooth too, Redwing is cool it is a bit like a bike park freeride run but still not rugged! Oh well opinions differ but that isn't what bothered me the most about the comment.
I don't consider myself a DH rider and especially not an XC rider, I consider myself a mountain biker and I have to put a label, an All Mountain bike rider! I love to ride my bike, I don't mind climbs to the top and I love going down the other side. I like tight single track, I like flowy single track, and most of all I love technical single track so I'm just lost on the DH title... I don't even own a DH bike. I own one mountain bike a 150mm travel trail bike, a Giant Reign.
Maybe I need to put trail/all mountain bikes into perspective. Let me compare them to, hmmm, skis. Skis will work great. An XC bike is just like XC skis. They are good a going up hill, good at going fast on flats and not so good and going down hill. DH bike is like DH skis. They are really good at going down hill, not good at all at going up and ok on flat areas but a all mountain/trail bike is like tellemark skis. They are the jack of all trades, the do everything, the explorer skis and bikes. They go up hills pretty well, the good down them pretty darn good too, better then XC but not as good as DH and they will hold their own on flats. Better then DH but maybe not quite as good as an XC bike. They are the Swiss army knife of MTB. That's why I ride one because I want to do it all and can only afford one bike!
This brings me to the second thread I got called out on supporting the Local Bike Shop or LBS in the cycling world. First off I'm going to put it out on the table I love LBS' I visit them often, I have lots of friends that work at them and even own them and I think everyone should buy their bikes there. That being said many if not most of the LBS' in the metro and even MN are way behind the times and pushing a lot of marketing on the customers. Not all but quite a few. Where I came into this was that someone made the comment that if you can get the product from a local bike shop even if it cost a little more or takes a day longer to get it then you should!
Well I disagree. My point was that if LBS' what people like me to support them then they need to support us! (As you see on my page I support a couple select shops because they have helped me out, thank you guys, you rock!) What do I mean by my statement, well if you have been to a bike shop here I can almost guarantee you that 90%-100% of the bikes are XC bikes, HT or 29ers. A couple will carry the more xc style trail bikes like stumpy's, fuel ex's and trans x's but nothing with more then 120-130mm of travel. That's cool, that's a step in the right direction and I get it there isn't a huge demand for these bikes and I'm not saying every shop should stock them but maybe one, in like a medium and put it in your window. People like these bikes they are a bit flashy and cool looking. The biggest thing is that the bike shops don't stock the parts and supplies people like me want and need. Yes they can get them but that isn't the point, so can I and usually in 3 days with free shipping! I can't even get a 2.35 or 2.4 tire or tube for a matter of fact! WTF! I shouldn't have to order rubber! and things like platform pedals. I had to order them too because the only ones  I could find were cheap ass magnesium non replaceable pin non sealed baring garbage! Come on simple things like 5.10 shoes, flats, trail bars 700mm-780mm, short stems, 35mm-70mm. Let's go MN get with the times. This is the way of the future. This is what riders want! Have this stuff in stock so people can hold them and compare them try them on their bike. Have some cool shit laying around so people impulse buy! That is what I do and that is why the Internet for me is superior. It's about convenience and having it right now is convenient and that is what a LBS has over the Internet. I know that they can't always compete with price but customer service and having it right now they can.
That is another good point, customer service. I don't need some snide comment about my bike being too big for around here or what are you doing jumping off houses with all that travel.... Nope, and I'll tell you what my 6inch maestro suspension will pedal better then your 2001 80mm travel trek.
Anyways I hope that I do ruffle some feathers. Some people need to pull the lamp shade off their heads and get out of the dark ages and catch up to what's now and happening! I don't care if you are riding or stocking 29ers but get some cool ones for Christ sake, Yeti SB 95, Niner  W.F.O 9, Intense Trace 29er and I could go on and on but get the parts right parts for the job as well.
I hope if nothing else it was informative about the current markets and a little bit more about me and if I offended you. Sorry, you'll get over it!

Keep it real!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The follow up....

....and so the mindless Internet searching, review reading, blog reading, forum ranting finally gave me some information, haha. Well truth be told I learn something new everyday from MTBR.com and other blogs and forums I read. It's good I like to learn and the deeper I dive into the cycling industry the more this helps.
So this is what I found. First I learned something new. I found the geometry numbers for the Commencal Meta SX that I reviewed a week or so ago. The had the BB height listed as 3.0 and was like what the F could 3.0 mean? Everything else was in the metric system so I thought long and hard back to 7th grade science class but nothing. I couldn't be 3 meters because that would be like 3000mm and that is like 118inches, nope not right couldn't be 3mm because that is on the ground and so is 3 cm that's 1.2inches. So after some more research I found out it is drop. Drop is the distance the BB drops for the rear axle and this is the most accurate way to measure BB height as it can very depending on the tire used. If it is a positive number then it is above the BB and if it is negative it is below the BB. So this BB on the Meta SX is just above the rear axle height. So using the Maxxis Ardent 2.4 as an example. It's radius at 343mm, so with that tire, the unsagged BB would be 346mm or 13.6", which is pretty low and exactly what I'm looking for as I explained in the post about what I'm looking for in a bike.
Some of the other measurements for this bike are Seat Tube Angle= 73% that is good, that will allow for nice seated climbing as it wont hang you to far back over the rear tire! Head Tube Angle is 66% also great as you can still climb with this but will feel super secure and confident when pointed down hill! It has a 16.9inch chain stay length which is a pretty good compromise on length. It does have pros and cons. It will corner and climb better but be less flickable in tight technical stuff and not as easy to manual. Stand over height is pretty normal about 28inches. Wheel base is good at 45.1inches, that will make it really stable at high speed, going through corners and off jumps but again slightly less flickable. The top tube is a bit long for medium frame at 22.84inches but it is designed to be used with a 50mm stem. So that actually is equal or slightly shorter reach all together then on my bike with a 70mm stem.
Here is a picture to help visualise the measurements I'm talking about:
( For a better picture click here)
and here is a pic of the bike compared to a comparable ride the Turner RFX Prototype
Over all this bike is exactly what I'm looking for. I have read some draw backs such as you can't use a coil sprung rear shock or a piggy backed rear shock, so you are pretty limited to shocks like a Rock Shox Monarch and Fox RP2 or RP23.
I will continue to do research on it. I probably wont get it next year as my current ride has a couple more rides under it's belt but by 2013 they should have all the kinks worked out and it should be even better!

Keep it real!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

26 vs. 29

Oh yes this debate will never die. I try to stay out of it as much as possible because it is what it is. Ride what makes you happy and ride what gets YOU down the trail the best! I personally ride a 26er and probably will never drink the kool-aid and join the 29er craze. I have ridden a couple, they have their pros and cons but I don't feel they are worth the money yet. They haven't proven themselves to me but I will remain optimistic as they continue to improve year after year as they move from rigid to hardtail to full suspension XC and now into the 120-140mm trail bike scene and some are pushing into the All-m scene and rumors have it soon into the freeride, dj and dh scene? Slightly skeptical of this but who knows. Here are some good articles to fuel the fire.
First is a write up by Lee McCormack and his take on his 29er experience:  STUMPJUMPER COMP 29 TEST
The second is from PinkBike.com and the more aggressive side of the sports take on 29ers- the write up is good, I like the guy from Norco better, he gives more facts and straight talk the guy from Niner is just pushing a big advert- but I think that happens a lot in the 29er market- big companies just pushing beliefs with out sustainable facts, again we will see : Click Here
Who knows what will happen but my guess there will always be both now and it will be a consumer choice!
here's a pic of what a DH 29er might look like....
Keep it real!