Friday, September 30, 2011

Let the good times roll!

What more needs to be said? Nothing, I have no words to describe this!

Now that the party has started lets keep it rockin'! We only have to get through the next 8hrs and then we are free from the man! Keep your head up and lets do it!

So my plans for the weekend are cool but not crazy. My mom is in town. She got in last night and will be staying till Sunday. She's here to help with the wedding planning and things like that. Tonight were all going to a flower looking appointment, not sure what to call it, and then the lady folks are going to look at wedding dresses and I'm going to go sit at home or something maybe I'll work on some bike skills/tricks in the driveway and then we are going out to eat.
Tomorrow the plan is to get up meet this guy from Canadia ehh at Lebanon and show him around. I hope he's a ripper, I love riding with really strong riders, helps push me. I'll be doing that while the lady folks are doing more dress shopping and then we'll meet back up and do some more shopping to please my mother and who knows.
Sunday probably hang out with the mom, probably wont involve bikes to my chagrin, haha and the new agreement between Kelly and I is that after 5pm on Sundays it's no bike Kelly and Chance only time. So that works for me!
I hope you all have great plans for the weekend!

Keep it real!

Trans Provence up date: My boy/inspiration to rip harder Jerome Clementz is in the lead- if you don't know about this guy do your research! He is one of the hardest rippers in the game!
Standings After Day Four
1) Jerome Clementz 02:04:22
2) Nico Vouilloz 02:05:25
3) Mark Weir 02:05:42
4) Fabien Barel 02:07:42
5) Matt Ryan 02:10:23
6) Marc Beaumont 02:17:08
7) Rowan Sorell 02:18:55
8.) James Richards 02:24:12
9) Steve Jones 02:25:14
10) Andreas Hestler 02:28:29
1) Tracy Moseley 02:37:34
2) Anka Martin 02:48:56
3)I ngrid Hohermuth 02:58:01
4) Kara Bolelema 03:23:51
5) Fiona Thomson 03:59:31
Click HERE for video

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The difference between road riding on dirt/fire road racing and mtb

Wow this is one of the best post I’ve seen posted on one of my frequent sites in a long time! Please click here and read " Why we need to distinguish between Fire Road Racing and Mountain Biking" and then this will make total sense.
I have felt this way about the trails, MTB and XC pretty much since I started riding MTB and really getting serious about it. Due to this and not wanting to simply be that guy on the sideline bitching and moaning, I have started helping with trail building and maintenance here in MN for these reason specifically. I understand some of the legal and liability reasons more now after helping out but it appears that the trails always have to be simplify or dumb down. I'm not sure why since we have different markings on the trails. Sorry I don't want to offend anyone but 29ers IMO are a roadies version of a MTbike and xc is in a sad state. Also I was really sad to hear that all the smack talk about the US super-d courses being weak is true, I can't believe they removed or rerouted a course because riders threatened to pull out! They should have told them good, we only want real mountain bikers and good riders to race. I know the stuff around here isn’t that gnarly but I was trying to get out west to race but now I’m not so sure its worth the trip to race- all though one can't be the judge of that till you do it, so they are still on my bucket list, but I might just go ride the trails and save the money. We need more Enduro/European all-mountain like the trans- Provence and the BC bike race. Point to point gnarly aggressive and challenging mtb trails and races. I’ve been trying to get a real super d or enduro started here and there are some good spots but people are like I think that's to gnar/dangerous. No its not it’s real MTB and it shouldn’t easily be won by some roadie/tour de France racer on a hard tail carbon 29er because they are fast and can pedal their ass off. If you choose to ride that kind of bike in a real mtb race you better damn well be a solid rider or you probably have to walk some sections or you will break it! IMO, I don't want people to break bikes but I don't know very many people, myself included that can find a trail and ride it that will push a trail bike to its riding/breaking limits around here. Battle Creek, Leb double black and some stuff in Duluth and the Black Hills and maybe the UP (never been there) but that's it!
Totally agree with adding the different designation to the list all the point to point races in this area have become this way, 80% fire road and the rest easy to mild single track, namely the Chequamegon, they have a bunch of sweet single track up there but they run fire roads! Make that shit legit!
One of the best trails for pure raw, unadulterated mtb is the Centennial trail in the Black Hills of SD. It is a multi-purpose trail, mtb hike and horse but it truly tests your skills going up and down! It will break bikes if you don't know what you are doing or stop focusing for even a second! I am no where near a pro and have tons of room to grow but I love to be challenged, I love the risk involved with pushing myself and there is no way to improve if there is nothing to work towards or push for! That's all I'm saying. Even if its just some new lines at an existing trail we need more harder lines. Sorry, I've really tried to keep the rants down but some time it gets old hearing the same response, "oh liability and we have to build to the masses" They need to make mtb the same is skiing, rider excepts all responsibility and that's that. Post the trail:
real bad asses only
don't ride if you suck
you will get hurt and if you do it's your fault
and your responsibility,
sorry have a nice ride
Anyways I'm sure I will get criticised for this but it's true there are tons of green and blue trails we need to make more black, more raw rugged real mountain bike trails and have more "real" mountain bike race and less dirt roadie events. If you want those they have this bad ass series call the AGRS check it out! Or if you want to ride a road bike off road then you can race cyclo-cross! both are a blast but not MTB!

Keep it real!

disclaimer- just like everything on this blog this is all my opinion except the external link to the other blog that started this blog, those are James Wilson's opinions and I share his sentiment. Thanks

Tacky as an 80's Prom Dress

Ok well we have made it to thirsty Thursday for all you college folks or those of you that are still holding on to the golden years, haha. Yesterday was a great day, the weather was nice and work went quickly. I headed straight home after work, a quick little chat with me pretty lady and scratched Jerry's ears and grabbed the ripper and headed over to Leb. Today's plan was to do a hard fast ride. On lap, blue double black and blue out with as limited stops as possible. This wasn't really an issue but my OCD did come into play a couple times. I was ripping hard, in the zone. Light hands and heavy feet, when you have that position and are conscious of it the bike just feels so much more alive and snappy. I cleaned everything first try until that damn tree ride! That was the first OCD hold up I gave it 5, 5 f'n tries and never got past the half way point, whatever. I'm chalking it up to being out of breath, haha-lame i know. The trail was almost perfect, tacky in most places, just enough to leave a little tread mark and the tires were grippin' super sick style! With a nice sheen on the rocks. A couple nice power drifts and quick through the rock gardens. I was really trying to work on my vision. Looking through things really works, you have to trust your bike and skills but it allows you to hit lines, hold them and go fast! Still a work in progress, especially in rough sections, like rock gardens but it makes it way easier to ride balancing sections. I was feeling solid through the double black, cleaned everything but the Y skinny, just didn't make it to the end but did ride most of it. I can tell when I start to fatigue my corners aren't as crisp and I start to creep forward on the bike which makes me off balance and I'm not in as much control. This is when I really need to focus and push myself. Over all great short, hard ride. 9 miles in under an hour and could have been way faster had I not sessioned the two tree rides and the Y skinny for probably 5 mins or so each.
I hope you all get out and enjoy the trails this weekend. I love the fall but it will be gone shortly and then my season is most likely over.

Keep it real!

PS: if you want to read a good write up of the trans Provence by one of the riders Andreas Hestler, click HERE 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

No Report

Well non of the sites have a day 3 report, bummer but here it is straight off of Jerome Clementz Facebook page! Three Jekyll riders on top, yeah buddy that means the Cannondale Over Mountain team stood on the podium today!
If you want the full day two report click here. As for my day, Kelly had to go out of town again for work so it was just Jerry and I. When I got home from work I went for a 2.5-3mile run with Jerry to get him some exercise and then I changed into riding close and headed out on the LHT. I figure I better get some miles on that bad boy. I just found out last weekend that I some how made the cut fort he Dirt Bag I thought I was late for sure but after looking at the roster they must have been feeling generous or maybe they gave vets a break, haha. Anyways I'm in good mtb shape but not sure about an epic distance ride like that so I will have to step up the miles in the month to come!
I hope you all are having an easy, fun week it's no the half way point, keep your eye on the prize!
Keep it real!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Trans-Provence Day 2

Well it is technically day 4 I thinks since it officially started Saturday September 4th but maybe they didn't race the first day? or they are two days behind in posting standings and such but here is the order after day 2.
video click here
1) Nico Vouilloz 58:24
2) Jerome Clementz 59:11
3) Mark Weir 59:40
4) Fabien Barel 01:00:35
5) Matt Ryan 01:01:09
6) Ben Cruz 01:01:58
7) Marc Beaumont 01:04:00
8) Rowan Sorrell 01:04:15
9) Steve Jones 01:06:33
10) James Richards 01:08:37
Again the over mountain boys are holding their own Mark and Jerome simply swapped places and unfortunately Ben fell a spot but that's ok. It's his first Euro Enduro race and I think he is only like 19 so he will be one to watch in the years to come! and it was Marc Beaumonts birthday on Sunday I believe it was. For me this is like the Tour de France of mtb and some day I would like to do the race but if I can't do the race they do offer a guided ride, all inclusive for about $1500 (not including flight). Other riders have called it the Le BC Bike race of Provence. The BC race is probably more feasible for me so hopefully I can get that sorted in the next few years. I would also like to do the Trestle All-Mountain Enduro.

As for a ride yesterday I rode over to check out the Lexington Street Dirt Jumps, man they are in some sad shape and in need of some serious tlc but I did about 10 laps on the little pump track there and then rode over to this big set of stairs and ran 10 laps on those and then back home working on manuals and endos! haha and trying to ride any ledge, curb or rock collection that required balance. Pretty chill ride. Good luck to Mike Schroden of St. Cloud (Revolution Cycle and Ski) as he competes this weekend as a solo rider at the US National 24 hour race!

Keep it real!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Alright be for I start the weekend report I want to give you all an up date on the Trans Provence (click to read full report and watch video) thanks to
Results for all three stages in total today.
Nico Vouilloz  28:19
Mark Weir 28:48
Jerome Clementz 28:57

Matt Ryan 29:09
Ben Cruz 30:02
Marc Beaumont 30:15
Fabien Barel 30:34
Andreas Hestler 31:29
Steve Jones (!)  31:44
Rowan Sorrell 32:22
No surprise to me to see the Cannonade Over Mountain team bad asses (in yellow) all in the top 5!

Ok back to reality I also had a great ride on Saturday with my bud Dave. If you remember early this year I mentioned how James Wilson of stated that you need to find your 3 riders, one better, one equal and one less in riding abilities. Well Dave is my one better for sure. I love riding with him because it pushes me and he shows me new lines also he gives me pointers on cleaning different stuff. He is super good at riding technical features. His pointers helped me clean the Y skinny in the XX for the first time and both of the long tree rides! it was great! Very confidence inspiring and can't wait to nail it a few more time! Plus he knows a shit ton about bikes and is pretty much into the same type of riding as I am so it's fun to chat with him on and after the ride! However this led to time slipping away and my 2 hour ride turned into close to 4hrs! oops! haha.
Saturday afternoon was pretty much just hanging with Kelly and Jerry and then I went and watched Kelly bowl during her league.
Believe it or not I didn't drink at the bowling alley. I know amazing, not really I'm just a cheap ass and there pitchers were like $9-11 ! Holly shit that's a lot and this was in Cottage Grove, I was like what no drink specials for league and the guy basically told me league people don't get anything special and no specials on Saturday so I a rock star and was wired! haha.
Sunday morning we got up super early for Kelly, my normal time 530am and packed the car with Jerry's stuff and some outfits and headed up to Duluth for the day. We were going to have our engagement pictures taken at Lester Park. Which has mtb trails but I didn't get to take my bike but now is on my list to ride next year because it looked fun and reminded me of the Black Hills plus I've read there are a bunch of sick raw trails up there! The pictures turned out great and I had a lot of fun goofing off in front of the camera.

After the photo shoot we went to Grandma's Sports Garden for lunch, they had $5 pitchures but I try not to drink on Sundays so no dice. Glad we didn't stay to watch all the Vikings game, bahahaha they are junk. Also glad I'm not a Vikings fan or much of a football fan at all. When we were finished we walked around Canal Park and let Jerry go in the lake. He didn't stay in long, not sure if it was because of the coldness of the water or if he was afraid of the waves. He's never seen waves before.  Then he chased the seagulls and then it was time to go sit in traffic! It took a solid 15mins to get out of the parking lot and then Hwy 35 is under construction, no problem coming up 2.5hrs like normal, it had to be a solid extra hour longer of travel coming back home!
Anyways over all it was great weekend, I had a blast and the leaves are starting to change so that means winter will be here soon!

Keep it real

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nite rider

The title says it all I went to leb last night and went for my first night ride ever. It was pretty sweet, not as sweet as a morning ride when I can see everything and really push my limits and work on technique and not just try to see and survive but it was cool. I don't own my own lights so I met my friend Porter there about 530ish, the MORC group ride starts at 6 which means about 3/4 of a lap now in light and then 1/4 in low light and then the rest in darkness. The light worked great they are all super bright some of those guys look like they have frickin' car head lamps on there bikes but it's all good. I would definitely do it again but not sure if I'm so amped about it that I'm going to go drop $100+ on some lights. I like to be able to ride the tech stuff and at speed and I just couldn't get my eyes dialed in to the depth perception and it made jumping damn near impossible to judge the landing, sketchy! haha.

The first part of the ride was great the trail was primo, not as tacky as it could be but tires were definitely grabbing nicely. Some slips might be because I need some new rubber but hey seasons almost over that's when I work on my bike. It was great to get to ride with people, since I spent the majority of the summer riding by myself, which I also like a lot. It gives me time to reflect on life and really focus on what I want to and redo sections as many times as I want until I get it dialed.

I've decided that even though my balance on my bike is good it's not great. I tried 5 times to do the skinny Y in the double black to fail all 5 times, so I will be slack lining as much as I can until it snows and I will also be building my own skinnies, since 2x4s are cheap and using them in the back yard till it snows and then in the garage over the winter as well as working on epic long track stands! I think that will help.

I've also been trying to spark some interest into the MTB crowed about an Enduro race, people seem interested a couple said they would try to help organize it, so that's a start. I've been checking out videos about any some what local super d races, which are similar but not as cool. The problem I've found is that a lot of them are basically short, point to point glorified xc races and that is not what an "all mountain" race should be. Be it Super D or Enduro. The difference is they should both be majority gravity driven, technical and short. Super D is one slightly longer race usually with a mass start and enduro is a series of shorter majority dh runs done as time trials that require the ride to ride to the next stage! But the key is MAJORITY DH and TECHNICAL this isn't a race that someone on a hard tail 29er should win. It is possible but shouldn't be plausible unless you're amazing then more power to you and even then after the race you should be wishing or thinking "yeah I probably should have used a full suspension with 4-6inchs!" haha.

Lastly I really want to build a snow bike, no not a fat tire snow bike but a snow ski bike! I know they sell them but I think I could take an old Huffy BMX bike and a pair of old skis and build one for about $50. So that might also be on my winter to do list. What an awesome way to pass the winter, DH snow biking! haha epic!
Keep it real!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Great Ride

Kelly is gone for the next couple days for work. She left yesterday at 3pm or so and will be back on Friday about 3pm and of course it looks like it's going to rain the whole damn time! haha figures but I was able to sneak a sweet ride in at BC last night with Stu. Stu had just completed the chequamegon 40mile xc race. It sounds like he had a good time. Also sounds like I will never be competing in this event. It has a bunch of fire road, not exciting and also not technical in nature plus almost 2000 people at the start? nope not for me. Now a 40mile point to point technical single track race would be epic, like on the centennial trail in the black hills that would be cool!
Speaking of epic races you all need to check out the Trans-Provence now this race is epic and they offer a non-competitive guided ride for about 1500 bucks, granted its in Europe but that's a 7 day ride and includes food (3 meals a day), lodging and what ever shuttling is needed! That is a cheap, fun and exciting vacation! Both the race and the guided ride are now on my bucket list! Some day I'll post up my bucket list, I first have to put it all down on paper!
Trans- Provence Teaser
So back to the ride, I decided that I would take Stu to some of the hidden gems that I found up top when I was riding with my buddies for a-town. There is a DH run that is hands down one of the best DH runs in the twin cities. It has to be one of the longest too and to boot if I can get this race off it will be a featured run! I just love how raw and natural BC is. It just adds a tech factor to riding that you can't really get anywhere else here. Elk River is pretty close and the nice thing about elk river is it is laid out way nicer and has better flow. Over all the ride was great a nice 1.5hr mtb ride I was feeling fast and flowy and the bike was handling well. The fork is still feeling weird but I read on a bunch of forums that if you have stock FOX seals and scrubbers you need to store your bike upside down a couple days a week to keep them moist with oil so I did that and they said that you should lube your stanchions before each ride, did that as well and also lowered my air pressure and I am now getting more of the stroke out of my fork but still not the full 150mm travel and now the sag is much more then the 25% recommended so yeah. It needs a rebuild but I'm hoping to ride it out for the next month! This rain should make the trails primo! I know BC and Leb where dangerously dry but in a day or so they should be so fast and tacky! I'm so excited!
Keep it real!

Monday, September 19, 2011

The recap

This last week at work just crawled by, probably because I'm in training and also because I was waiting for the weekend. My buddies from a-town came over to the cities and I got to be the local pro tour guide, I use those terms lightly, haha.
They got here Friday afternoon, killed some time waiting for me exploring the local bike shops. When I got off work we headed over to Leb. This was a good starting ride because it gave us all a lot of option and I could see exactly what type of riding would be best for the rest of the weekend.
I knew my buddy Tyler would be up for anything. He's a solid rider with at strong bike back ground. I sort of got him into BMX and he sort of got me into MTB. He is well rounded but more of a XC guy opposed to a Freerider like myself but he can handle a bike. Kyle on the other hand is a green horn. He has just recently, in the last couple years, got into endurance athletics, running, road biking and most recently MTB so he's skills are still being honed but he did a great job and learned quite a bit this weekend and we will continue to try and ride together and work on those needed skills. leb went well. We did about 13.5miles, started green, did blue, double black, blue to green x2 and a session on the skills area at the end.

After leb we headed back to my place ordered some pizza cracked a few frosty beverages opened and a couple more of my friends came over and we proceeded to have a good time till about 2 am chatting laughing and playing darts in the basement! What a great night.
Unfortunately it didn't lead to the best morning but a cup of coffee, a couple eggs and some bacon later and we were ready to thrash again.
We left at about 830am, drove an hour to Elk River and proceeded to work Hillside over. This has to be one of my absolute favorite courses in the greater metro area. If it didn't have so much sand it would be my favorite and be right at the top of all time favorites! This course has everything from climbing to flow to natural features to man made awesomeness! My fork has seen some better days so I'm not getting the compliance out of it I would like, lots of sticktion and just not plush anymore and for some reason don't get the full travel it really bunches at the top. I'm going to see what I can do to just nurse it through the season and then probably get it Pushed over the winter. All have to talk to my favorite mechanic and resident bike genius James and see if there is a inexpensive band-aid we can do for now. Over all this ride went great. Before we hit the trail I gave Kyle some pointers on some of the things I saw that he was struggling on the most and we worked on it for about 15mins in the parking lot and I think it helped a lot. As he gets more confident he will be able to rip harder and faster!

After the morning ride, we did one full lap and then section 1 and 4, so we did approximately a half lap, we headed to get some grub. Again right around that 13 mile mark. We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings, great food horrible service. I haven't had the best luck there with service lately but the food is always good. After that they wanted to go to Dick's Sporting Goods and Ramsey Cycle as they both were having sales this weekend.
About 3 or so we got to Battle Creek and got suited up. I decided to have Tyler park at the Rec Center parking lot since I didn't want to risk his car getting broken into down below. I've heard too many horror stories.
We headed out and I wasn't too familiar about where we were since I don't normally start there and I got us a bit lost but we discovered some bomb trails that I look forward to going back to and really exploring further! There are so many options for short tech DH runs. I really hope we can get something going with that endro race there. I'm meeting with a guy hopefully this week that might be able to help!
The ride was great, it might have been a bit on the gnar side for Tyler and some was possibly out of Kyles league especially because he was rocking a hard tail but it looked like they were having a blast! They definitely like the luge, always a hit. It is a much more raw and demanding course. It has tough, long, loose up hills with rough tech down hills. Plain and simple its realy MTB and it's not some polished and groomed trail system and that's what I love!
Over all the weekend was a hit. They left with a great experience and huge smile on their faces. Kyle gained some valuable knowledge and I know with his desire to learn he will come back next year and be an even better rider and learn even more! I had a great time showing them around, helping Kyle and getting to just ride with my hommies! Thanks guys for coming down and I look forward to next year and hopefully doing it again!

Keep it real

Friday, September 16, 2011

Follow up

So I stumbled across this article on and figured it pertained to my last blog so I thought I would throw up the link and let you all read it. It is great and it really goes through the logic of this style of riding and hopefully the progression of the sport and might give you a little more insite into what I'm hoping to accomplish and why I want to do it.

Jerome Clementz Killing it!

This is one of my favorite quotes from it:

In my opinion, the state of mountain bike racing in North America needs help. As a bike racer who has seen it all, I'm able to take a pragmatic approach and help nudge things in the right direction. A lot of riders, including myself, have gotten tired of people talking about a race like this. Time for a change. Selfishly and personally, I don't want to be too old when these bike races start catching on. Ask old man Weir, he knows what I'm talking about- Ross Schnell

and this one from the author- haha:

It was refreshing to see the dichotomy of DH machines battling high-posting XC bikes all in one venue. There aren’t many bike races where you see XC dorks wearing skinsuits and knee pads,

Click here to read the whole story!

Keep it real!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Enduro, All-Mountain, Avalanche- call it what you want, it's what we need!

Alright as the title says what MN and the Midwest needs is some "real" mountain bike races as well as other things like pump tracks and bike parks but I'm working on that ; ) .

This would be race for the masses, it doesn't favor some baller rich dirt rodies on a 18lbs carbon fiber 29er that cost more then my car or a full on gravity driven rider with a 40mm double crown front fork that also costs more then my car, no it is the race for the average joe that rocks the typical bike! The trail/all-mountain bike, yes they are now making maga avalanche/enduro bikes like the Trek Slash and Cannondale Claymore but we wont get into that right now. I'd say at least 75% of us, enthusiast mountain bikers, have a trail bike 120-170mm of travel sitting in our garage that we ride on a daily basis. That is what this race would entail.

What is enduro mtb? Let me explain:

Enduro racing is a cross country based event which is similar to super-d but is set up in stages and is normally run on an existing mtb loops. The event is run like a stage rally event where each rider has to complete a set amount of stages usually 3-5 stages, most of the timed stages will be majority downhill but some will have uphill and flat sections. Each event will consist of 3-5 competitive stages where you will be set off as an individual with a gap between each rider. At the end of each stage you will ride on a non-timed section to get to the next stage, this will involve riding uphill. The times for the link sections will be very generous so you don't have to ride quick on these sections, you will have time to take it easy. The rider with the quickest overall time for the 3-5 timed stages will win their category. Each stage will be electronically timed with manual backup. The sections would last anywhere from probably 5-15mins so it would all be sprint, fast paced and preferably technical in nature. The reason they would be short is the majority dh part. I rode crows peak 3.2miles or so 1hr 45mins up and 15-20mins down! Down is always faster and will have shorter times.

What trails will be used?

The trails used in these events will be largely established quality trails, however it can include more challenging and natural sections where possible to make it enjoyable and challenging for all riders.
Where would/could we have these races? Well my first thought for the cities was battle creek but that has been meet by some resistance so if anyone can help with that it would be great. Other suggestions in the twin cities, Buck Hill or Afton. In MN redwing, Giants ridge, or Cuyuna? Not sure about the rest... SD has tons of areas but that's a long drive.


Each rider is required to use the same bike for all stages! The only thing that the rider can change is their tire selection. This is why it doesn't favor xc or dh bikes. You need to choose wisely because, especially because we are in MN/Midwest, there will be climbing and flat sections. It will be around 70% dh and 30% climbing and flat but no less then 60-40 or it will become a xc race in my opinion.


A helmet for sure, depending on the course probably a full face or enduro style would be a good call but not required. Also recommend gloves and knee pads. I don't normally wear gloves to free ride but for races I would.

I would really like to see this become a reality but who knows. I am new the twin cities and trying to build my "street cred" by doing trail work and going on group rides and trying to spear head other projects and also organize a race or two, hopefully.

If this sounds like an interesting or intriguing idea to anyone and you want to help or think you know of some one I should get in touch with, definitely let me know. Leave me a comment and a way to get in touch with you and I will definitely do it.

Keep it real!

useful links:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

flyin' high

Yesterday at work was slow, I almost fell asleep. Not good but I got off at 4 and after work I went home, walked the dog and then was off to Leb for a short hard ride. The plan was no stops or breaks. Just push it on through as hard as I could.
Before I got going. I ran into this guy I knew that previously was riding an old giant hard tail but he was like check out my new ride I just picked up from angry cat fish! He just got a Salsa Spearfish. Great bike I was actually looking at one for a second, more race oriented bike, and you know that I think highly of it then since you probably got the drift that I'm still pretty on the fence about the whole 29er gig but we'll see. Anyways so I was talking to him about the bike and the up coming chequamegon 40. I think it's this weekend. Not really my type of race but I've heard it's a lot of fun but like hundreds and hundreds of racers in a mass chaotic start... not for me!
Then some of his buddies showed up and they were giving him a hard time for it being a tank, almost 30lbs and I was like 28.5lbs is not bad. It's full suspension and you know it will last. Then another guy was like I have a 5inch Klein that's like from '94 that's aluminum and only ways 24lbs, I still don't believe that guy since like a carbon Ibis Mojo Hd with high build is like 25lbs but that's beside the point. I stuck up for him since they were all those roadies on there hard tail carbon 29ers. "oh mines only 18lbs" great, it's not a road race do an extra squat and push up. His bike is going be way more comfy riding for 4-8hrs and whoop your ass on the dh.
Then they started to ras me for running flats and you probably know how I feel about flats. Long story short I basically gave them the scientific stats about clips to flats. The pros and cons, not many cons here and told them if they can't jump, corner, ride a rock garden, bunny hop, and manual with out clips they aren't good riders and should get a pair of flats. In so many words. It wasn't as blunt as that. They didn't have much for a come back on that.
So I tore off in to the woods. I was standing for most of the first section only sitting a couple times until the first trail crossing. I was feeling fresh and great. I don't know if it had something to do with riding a little earlier or what but I was loving it! I was flowing hard, trail vision on lock and just screaming through the trail. I came to the tea party area and went right over the logs and followed the black section back out and right down the blue out. I was on pace to rip out the blue, single black blue in like 30mins which is very fast for me since the blue only best time is 38mins! that I recorded of course and that was at the beginning of the year. I was tearing up the flowy section right before you cross the bridge over the swamp when I came around the flat corner that has the rock in the middle and you can go high or low and there was a 1.5inch fat stick about 2feet long sitting in my line. I tried to adjust but just clipped it and it got lodged between my front tire and the cross beam on my fork and chucked me hard. Luckily I landed and rolled pretty smooth. Just supper dusty. I was sure I broke some spokes.
Nope no broken spokes, pulled the stick out. It was jammed in there tight. checked the stanchions, no scratches, sweet. Nope wait, yep I broke my front break handle! F! so I thought it was toast so I rode out pissed. Just took the fastest easiest way out. Got back to my car and I was looking at it and I pulled my ball out of the plunger. It broke loose the snap ring that holds it in place. If I was to keep constant pressure on it, it still works but I need to replace it. I called my buddy James to see if it can be fixed. He said yeah but then looked to see if they sold parts and they don't so I have to replace it but he said he might have one just laying around that might work that I can just throw on for the rest of the season. That would be great!
So my Mark Weir killer run was cut short but it was a pretty good ride. I kind of wish those dirt roadies would have rolled out with me so I could have showed them how to ride since everything besides the crash was on lock down, all features, speed, corners and jumps. Some days it just all flows beautifully!
Keep it real!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

To sum it up....

This week has been long and boring, haha. Work has been a lot of reading and job shadowing. I haven't learned a whole lot of new stuff since my mentor/trainer has been swamped with work so he hasn't been able to show me a lot of the system work but the week is over and it's now the weekend which is awesome!
As for this week in the world of biking? Not a whole lot going on in this department, unfortunately. Monday was a drive home from SD and then Tuesday was trail work at Leb so again no riding. Wednesday I became and unofficial uncle, I say that because Kelly and I aren't married yet, but Kelly's sister Katie had her baby. She went into the hospital at 230am and was in labor in and out until 7ish and then when she pushed the baby went backwards so she had to have a c-section at 730pm. So I was at the hospital till 10ish that night so I was pretty tired Thursday morning. Thursday evening I went for the MORC trail group ride that started at 6pm. It was a pretty good ride. They were all doing two laps but the second would be a low light to night ride and they all had lights and I didn't.
I did get a bit annoyed because the guys that were there are all good riders but not as technically as sound as I am, in my opinion anyway. I say that because if I was behind them going through the fast technical sections they were on the breaks and I'm not and I would have to slam on them in order to not hit them. So I decided to just hang back hand session a tree ride section for a bit to let them get a head of me so I could just do my own thing. I love riding with people you learn a lot from riding with them but I also like to be pushed and be able ride sections that are fun at my own speed, full speed :) I did meet some new guys that I hadn't met so it was great to make more friends and riding buddies. A couple of them did the Dakota 50 and seem to be pretty solid riders so I hope to get with them next spring and use them as a good training partners.
Friday was hangin' with Kelly and Bear night. We watch some of our taped shows from last week and Rio, the cartoon movie, it was actually really funny but most of those Disney movies actually are with all their hidden adult comedy.
Saturday morning I got up and went to session leb by myself. I should have checked my email because my buddy Dave wanted to ride at 9 but I didn't see that so I went at 10 by myself. The ride was pretty good. I did a little session on the table at the beginning of the blue! Had a couple nice whips, nothing like Danny Hart in his UCI win at 2:18, click here My ride consisted of blue to double black back to tea party area, single black and then blue out to green, green lap with session in the terrain park to green lap out. Unfortunately I crashed pretty hard on the way out. I was manually the rollers like I normally do but I got off balance and when the front came down it bucked me pretty hard and I landed on my bad right shoulder that was pretty much recovered but now its sore again, dang it! oh well ice and ibuprofen my two favorite things!
After the ride I took the beast home and gave it a bath and was going through the pedals since they were clicking got that taken care of, tightened up the cones on the rear hub and was going to try to fix the ghost shifting problem but I had to make a trip to the bike shop to do that. I guess the problem wasn't cable tension, I had disintegrated the bottom pulley on my rear derailleur and had ridden the second two days in the black hills and 2hrs at leb on Thursday and today's ride with no pulley just a baring for it to ride on, haha! well that's all fixed now and the shifting is a lot more smooth but I do have some slop in my rear derailleur so I will have to get that fixed here pretty soon. Another winter project to put on the list I guess.
Below are a picture line of my favorite section at Leb. The first part on the blue line, the big rock to rock garden to drop to big table to double!
Keep it real!

Friday, September 9, 2011

hello mister buffalo!

Ok the 3rd and final ride was also on the centennial trail. I started at the same place, Badger Clark Cabin Trail Head, and head down the 1/2mile connector trail however this time I headed right down The Iron Creek Trail instead of left and instantly started going down. I wasn't too sure if this was good or bad, will the return trip be longer now? But shortly after it leveled out and started going back up hill. This trail started as single track for the first part, just winding through the prairies. The occasional climb, all ridable and a lot more tame then the French Creek side. The scenery was absolutely beautiful! I couldn't believe how tranquil it was out there. I was the only one there.

There were thick patches of trees and then it would open up to large open prairies again
I'm guessing there were logging projects back in the day or something as the sign indicates a lot more trees at one point. The trail then began to look more like double track or some abandoned service road which was fine. It was very rutted out though.
Two hitches in ride today weren't the terrain but the buffalo! As I was riding I ran into two different buffalo, right there on the trail. This lead to some hike a bike as I wanted to keep a wide berth as not to upset one of them.

The trail then turned into more of a rough gravel service road for a while before turning back into single track. It was really fun to ride because on the way back I felt comfortable enough to really let it open up and fly down the gravel stuff which had these crazy whoops or rollers just randomly that you could catch some sweet air off of! I ended the out on the best DH run to that point it was fast and almost sunk in I guess would be the best way to explain it. It was rutted out so I was hoping from rut to rut and bunny hopping at high speed over big holes and using the sides as berms of sorts  to keep speed through the corners. The way back was the only real hike a bike I had to do on this part of the ride.
Just before I got back to the second buffalo I noticed a sign that said legion lake 1 mile left and badger clark 2.5miles straight ahead, not having a map I was like heck yeah new trail, no buff and its shorter lets do it. The trail was super over grown grass, that led into some trees and then quickly started going up and up and soon it was super loose looked just like French creek and I was pushing my bike again. When I got to the top it was on, it wasn't as rocky as the way up and looked twisty and fun as hell. I was flying, this was the best dh run of the week. I don't know how fast I was going but I was in the zone and then 3/4 down plunk! thump thump thump, pinch flat! no!!! well I had my tube and hand pump and fixed it but just couldnt' get enough air in the tire, when I got back and checked it it was at 28 and I normally ride 35-40. I guess it's just another reason to go with tubeless. I guess I'm just worried to burp a tire off a jump or drop probably over thinking it.

The next dilemma, because I didn't have a map, was a sign that said left legion lake loop, straight centennial trail. Had I had a map I would have probably just went strait as that led back to the camp ground just on the other side but I'm glad I didn't. I did have to do the most serious hike a bike ever and I'm not sure this section would even be ride able and if it was you probably would need a DH bike with a 64degree head tube angle. It was so steep and so rocky. I wish I had a pic or this but I was to worried about were the trail was going as it wasn't beat in or anything. It was just random blue blazes on trees, like connect the dots. When I got to the top I was exhausted as I had to carry my bike through parts of it.
The other side was much more ridable and a hell of a lot of fun I would love to do that side again but a little fresher this time. I made a few mistakes that I wouldn't have made if I was fresh with a clear mind and that ride could have been a lot smoother and faster but it was a great way to end a great ride and a great weekend in the black hills!
If you haven't been there to ride you need to get out there it's so much fun and definitely will bring your game to the next level!
Equipment recommendations:
Bike: 5-6inch trail bike but really any bike will work you just will be limited on what you can do.
Components: I would highly recommend a dropper post you don't want the ejector seat up when your going down, you can do what I did and just stop at the top and bottom and lower your seat with a quick release but why kill the momentum and tubeless tires, there are tons of rocks and roots and they aren't that sharp but pinch flats are very easy to get. Also wide bars and a short stem to make the cockpit feel secure and keep you in control because the roots, ruts and rocks really want to try and tell you where to go and don't forget your flats, easiest safest way to bail if you need to.
Equipment: Helmet for sure, knee pads probably wouldn't be a bad thing, gloves are optional- I don't typically ride with them because I loose them all the time but they will save your hands on the hard ground if you fall. You will also want a good multi tool, a tire repair kit and some sort of air source and finally a good hydration pack, need lots of water even in the fall. The elevation go to me and I drank a ton on 2-3hrs rides. You are working hard out there! but it's worth it. Nothing is more rewarding the earning your turns!
Keep it real!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ridge Riding

The second morning of riding was spend pedaling, pushing and carrying my bike across, down and over the French Creek Trail. The Trail kicks off just under a quarter mile from legion lake at the Badger Clark Cabin. There is a short connector trail that is relatively mild, minus some horse tracks that can add some unnecessary bumps and ruts.

After about .5 miles the trail splits left to French Creek Trail and horse camp and right to Iron Creek and out of Custer park. I hoped on Horse Creek for today's ride. I figured I'd ride 1hr -1.5hrs one way and the head back. The return trip is always fast or most times.
Right away I was like this trail is pretty mild, a steady climb some rocks. Nothing like Crow Peak, haha yeah right! I had one short tech climb followed by a little longer down hill that was pretty tech, thinking to myself probably not going to be able to ride that on the way back, had to bunny hop the creek twice. There was a log ride on one but it was a 4inch post and I just thought it would be easier to hope the 3 foot stream and it was. The trail opened up to a nice prairie but I could see where the trail was going and it was a large ridge line filled with trees and rocks off about 3/4 or a mile. The trail began to follow what looked like a dry creek bed but it quickly got to steep to be a creak bed so it must be a wash out or something. Don't want to be standing there if it started to rain hard!

Before I go to the bottom of the ridge I came to a cool rock feature off to the right side of the trail so I had to go play on that. It was cool and a good skill check. working on some minor trials skills and track stands and hops. When I got off that the trail wraps around the rock and drops quickly and then you begin up, what I thought was a super gnarly climb/dh which required about 50/50 riding and pushing. I was like damn when I got to the top and stared across the vista that is going to be fun to go down.

Then I began going down the other side which started off in a deep rut but smooth dirt but took two quick turns and then bam! It dropped off and got WCI crazy real quick! and I had to get my DH wits about me in a hurry!

Unfortunately I didn't get that quick enough and got ejector seated from a steep square hit on the front tire and I wasn't over the bottom bracket enough and the high saddle slapped me in the but and sent me over the handle bars! Good thing I don't wear clipless pedals because I was able to just step/jump over and walk away with no scratches or anything.

I grabbed my bike out of the tree and slammed the seat down, another good reason to invest in a dropper post if you're going to be doing big mountain riding and ditch the clips! From that point on I was heck of a lot more focused and was on point the whole way down and it just kept going and going. I wish I had more time because I could have rode that wave for a long time I think it was going to open up into a prairie/valley but I  came across a downed tree and decided to turn around since I could only ride up about 25% of the trail I just came down. It was super steep and super rocky and not solid rock but softball to basketball loose rock mixed in with solid big rock!

It was a long push but after that the other side going back down was a cake walk and I ripped that up and flew back home for about a 2hr and 15min ride about 1hr and 30mins out and 45mins back, the hike took about 20mins alone!

It was a great ride that  I will definitely do again next year and will be a little more prepared for it!
Keep it real!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let the good time roll

First off I want to point out how sweet it is to have 3 official followers now! Rock on! Well lets get down to business. This is a freakin' biking blog, so biking it is!
Crow Peak, in short bad ass!, was really my first experience with "real" mountains on a bike. I have been to CO and the Black Hills multiple times but this was my first time testing, what I would like to call, skills!
Crow peak trail head, as I had mentioned before in my previous blog, was difficult to find if you are looking for actual markings. It is pretty much the only thing that resembles a parking area and trail head on the 10 miles of road that my dad and I drove. When I got there I told my dad I would see him in 2.5-3hrs as that is how long I was told it would take me to ride to the top and back down by the guys at the bike shop. I started off hard, feeling fresh and was quickly taken a back by the thin air. Thin air you say? yeah that's right 4200 feet apposed to the measly 700ft of elevation here in the Twin Cities is pretty substantial and it was all climb to boot!

As I climbed I began to get use to it, I wouldn't call it acclimating as that takes 7-21 days to officially acclimate but my body realized it was time to work and things began to work smoother. I did have to take breaks, about 4 in total to make it to the top. I also had mini breaks, from riding, aka hike a bike on some of the sections that I couldn't muster the energy to ride or they were just too gnarly to ride. I do feel that I rode about 80% on the way up and I know I ripped all 100% on the way doooowwwn! Holla! but I feel if I was in a little better shape and more use to the altitude I could have rode closer to 90-95% there were a couple sections that were basically unridable unless you were maybe Hans Ray or Mark Weir or something.

The vista view from the top was so worth the climb! I can't even explain how crisp the air was there at 5700ft and the view was epic as picture shows!

The riding here is just so much more raw and gnarly then anything I've rode in MN. I know that I have to get up to Duluth and the north shore and really start ripping up there but that probably wont happen till next summer! The trail is just littered with rocks and loose shale and even loose baby head rocks in parts. The trail in general wasn't originally designed to be rode by bike and you can tell that it was an after thought but man it is awesome.
The decent was fabulous! I don't even know to explain it but hold on and let her rip. The top section was very steep and some what sketchy. Not having any experience with "big" mountain biking and no serious DH riding unless you consider BC DH, which I don't, it was exhilarating and I feel like I killed it. I did use my breaks a lot at the top, your MORCers would be proud of my front brake usage!, like I said it was super steep and some really tight switch backs and not a lot of room for mistakes.

I thought I broke my derailleur here on the way up but some how the rock just jarred it loose from the catch on the derailleur hanger and swung it backwards? Who knows but a quick and easy fix and I was back pedaling, might have tweaked the hanger though as it now ghost shifts a bit. This section was sketchy at speed on the way down. The further down the mountain I got the more comfortable I felt, it started to become more flowy and fast and smooth. Exactly what I'm use to, so I started to let it all hang out then and off the breaks went and the speed increased. I did almost kill a hiker, sorry :( take your head phones out, haha I didn't wear mine for that reason!

All in all it took me about 1hr and 45mins to make it to the top, with the repair and 15mins to get to the bottom! Damn that was sick, I need to get someplace with a lift assist so I can have multiple runs like that in one day. I think I could only do crows peak like twice in one day even though it is only 3.25miles one way. The climb is brutal! haha

Totally worth your time to make a trip out there. If you check the schedule they do have periodic DH races at Terry Peak which is lift assist and there is so much bad ass riding to do out there!
Keep it real!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Back in Black

It was a great week in the black hills with Kelly and my parents. I will have to say that I have spent more then enough time in a car over the last few weeks. 6hrs to my parents on Tuesday night and then 7hrs in the car to devils tower, an hour walking around there. Grab some lunch in Sundance WY and then an hour to Spearfish. We spent the night there. I had to grab a tub so I headed over to Rushmore Mountain Sports they are a group of great guys. I was chatting it up there, had a great beer from the Crow Peak Brewery and then it was suggested to me that I should ride Crow Peak in the AM. So that is what I did. More about that later. I will do a separate blog about each ride. It did take my dad and I a while to find the trail head as it isn't very well marked from the road. There is a small pull off that looks a like a half ass parking lot with a fence and a gate after driving 5 miles further down the road we decided that must be it and after walking up the trail about 150 feet or so there was the to trail head sign!
After the ride it was back to the hotel and loaded up all our gear, showered and headed south to Custer State Park to Legion Lake Lodge. It was great to get there and take a load off. I woke up early the next morning, Friday, and hit up the Centennial Trail which is located just behind Legion Lake. It was great to get out for some epic mtb two days in a row this trail is awesome but MTB was definitely an after thought when it was designed and it is noticeable with some of the gnarly climbs and descents. That afternoon was spent on the back of a horse. Not my normal mode of transportation but it was also extremely fun! I had a great time tho.
Again I woke up early on Saturday morning and headed out the opposite direction this time for some more epic mtb. Which again I will write more about this in another blog. After the ride we went into Custer walked through some of the stores, played the hardest mini golf course ever! and then went for a kayak around Legion Lake.
Over all it was great week, I love the Black Hills and love it even more now that I've rode them! If you haven't tasted the sweet epicness of the mtb in the BH you need to!
Keep it real!

some odds and end photos!

Crazy funny sign from the Tennessee
Some of the sick back tails at BC
The new loop at leb
The new skills park at Leb