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 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!

oh where have I been....?

Well I have been on hiatus haven't I? It has been crazy yet boring at the same time if that is possible. Life is crazy but this time of year is boring for me. There is no snow or ice so no winter sports, so you say go mtb right, wrong. I don't find these rides enjoyable. I went for a ride yesterday at Lebanon and after work and it was ok don't get me wrong I hardly ever have a truly bad time on a bike, unless I break something and then it still could have been fun. The thing is I hate feeling rushed on my bike. There is hardly any day light right now, I don't have lights and don't really enjoy night riding. It might grow on me but I don't have lights and or money to buy them so I have to go with people and sometimes that's a hassle. I put down a pretty good pace and was smooth through all the sections but something didn't feel right. I felt a bit sluggish, my suspension didn't feel right, must be the cold or something. Maybe someone should invent bottom warmers for your fork so the oil is still loose.
The biggest thing is I hate that harsh feeling in the back of your throat you get from breathing cold air, I know where a face cover but it's too warm for that. I was riding in a long sleeve and shorts with just normal gloves yesterday. It's 38 degrees! The biggest thing was my eyes tearing up and it was too dark for even my lightest lenses on my glasses since I don't have clear and they didn't help at the beginning anyways. Maybe I should get a sweet enduro helmet and some goggles, haha I would get some looks then! haha.
It was good to get that craving for a ride out of my system when I can still get out with out snow but nothing will replace a 65 degree sunny day with nice tacky loam where I can rock a short sleeve and shorts and just rip! Although yesterdays trail was super sick tacky, probably the best tack all year. It hasn't rained in ages so it must be the freeze thaw effect!
Other then that ride I have just been working out at lunch, mostly lifting and building core strength and mobility. I'm feeling a strong season coming up!
Other then that we went back to a-town for Thanksgiving with the family. It was nice. No events at dinner, that was amazing. I like just chilling with the family and friends. Went out to dinner with some friends and a party on Saturday. Yikes I forgot I wasn't in college anymore and paid for that all Sunday. I felt awful and Kelly had to drive home while I slept in my misery!
Good news it's Wednesday so the week is half over, bad news no snow or ice. Lets go winter come get it over with. I don't want you to last into my spring filled with trail building and riding so lets keep it short and sweet, December, January and February and then go away! haha, yeah right!

Keep it real!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

adios summer

Another year of riding has come and past for most people. I got out today for my last ride of the season. I also road on Thursday. Thursday we went to Battle Creek and sessioned the luge DH run and the jump towards the end for about an hour. It was super cold. I was working on some balance things as I was hoping up on the wall and trying to ride around the curve and drop off. I did that for about ten minutes. I really want to work on thing like balance, riding skinnies and nose stalls and manuals, as well as improving my jumping and just over all confidence on my bike. This morning Tim and I headed over to the Hwy 8 dirt jumps for a little jump session and I was really feeling solid on my bike in the air. I wasn't confident enough to try some of the big line but I will work on that next year and the Lexington Bike Park will help out tremendously I think. After the ride I went to Kelly's parent's house and helped put the Christmas lights up. When we were finished with that I went home with the dog and went XC skiing. It isn't very often that you get to ride bike in the morning and ski in the afternoon around here.
During the off season I will continue to work out and prepare for next year but as of now the bikes are in the basement and being prepared for the winter. I will clean them and do the general maintenance so when next spring rolls around they will be ready to rip it up again!
Now it is time to enjoy winter. XC skiing, hockey and ice climbing are upon us and I can't wait.
This year has been a solid year for me. I purchased my first full suspension bike and made improvements in my riding in leaps and bounds. I have to credit Lee McCormack for his great online riding instruction as well as James Wilson for his work outs and information on MTB as well as all the people I met and got to ride with. I learned a lot from every ride and from every rider I got a chance to ride with. My skill set definitely increased with every new location I rode and every new obstacle I had to over come. My goal was to ride every trail in the Twin Cities at least once this summer but I failed to achieve that goal but I did manage to ride a plethora of different trail from the black hills of SD, all over MN and even Turkey Mountain in Oklahoma. I can't wait to keep growing and obtaining more and more skills. As well as continuing to train specifically for MTB and cross training with winter activities I plan on purchasing a few books that will help me develop as a rider as well as being able to help other riders increase their skills. The first book few books are all from Lee McCormick, Mastering Mountain Bike Skills, Pro BMX Skills and Teaching Mountain Bike Skills. I also want read the book Mind Gym as this will help with focus, commitment and proper training technique that pros use to succeed!
I need to be in good shape straight away as Kelly and I are going to Whistler for our honey moon and I was given permission to rent a bike and ride at least one day! So excited for that! I hope you all have big plans for the winter and goals for next season! Work hard and ride harder!
Keep it real!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And it begins

It's official, the City of Eagan has leveled the first section of the build and piled them into nice workable piles were the 3 pump tracks will be built and one large stock pile in the south west corner that will allow us to get starting right away next spring. It is possible that we could begin to move some dirt and possible rough in and even shape the beginner pump track.

I will let everyone know via here,, and the facebook page if we are planning on doing an in-prompt-to build day yet this fall.
Keep in touch!

Keep it real!

what to look for in a trail/all-mountain/enduro bike

The other day I was out riding at Leb  with my buddies Tim and Trevor and towards the end of the ride Tim was riding in the skills section at the end of the new green loop and cased one of the jumps and destroyed his rear triangle on his Jamis Dakar. I've never seen one blow up like that. It broke on top and bottom on the chain side and the bottom on the other side! That's right 3 breaks! It was crazy, luckily he didn't get hurt and it was at the end of our ride so he just had the walk of shame to his car and we followed shortly. This however lead to a discussion about possible new bikes to replace it. He is getting it warrantied but he isn't sure he wants to keep it.

So chatting with a Tim about bikes, which ones we liked or looked cool and what important things to look at. Theses are some of the bikes that were mentioned Commencal Meta SX and AM, Yeti SB 66, Cannondale Jekyll and Claymor, Trek Slash and Remedy, Transition Covert, Santa Cruz Nomad, Specialized Enduro, Banshee Spitfire, Rocky Mountain Slayer and Intense Tracer. They are all definitely worth looking at and all have quite a few things in common actually.

In my opinion and through the experience of riding a lot this year on at a lot of different trails, on a lot of different terrain and on a hand full of different bikes these are the main things that you need to take into consideration when considering a new bike and things I wish I knew more about when I bought my bike.
Obviously you have to choose what type of riding you will do and if you want hard tail or full suspension and then 29er or 26er but that is too much to cover so I'm going to discuss what I look for in a good ride now with my new incite.

Chain stay length and overall wheel base length. I personally like a wheel base somewhere in that 43-45inches as that will give you a solid stable feeling ride and a shorter chain stay length some were around 16-17inches as that gives you a lot more responsive feeling in the rear end. It helps with manuals, jumps and cornering. So that means that the head tube angle has to be a little slacker to put the front wheel/axle farther out to get that 43-45 inch wheel base.

For a head tube angle I would say 67.5 degrees would be the steepest I would consider going with. Mark Weir said that the ideal HA for a trail bike is 66 degrees. I would would totally agree. The bike feels so much more stable and confidence inspiring when pointed down hill and it still climbs well. The range you should look for then is 66-67.5 degree.

Another great thing to consider is Bottom Bracket height. This is very important for cornering and getting that feeling that the bike is on rails. The lower the BB usually the lower the center of gravity of the bike and the better it turns. Some of the low center of gravity is to do with the over all frame and rear platform design such as where they have the pivots and rear shock placed but the BB height is crucial. You will want a BB 14inch or less. The lower you go the more careful you will have to be when pedalling through technical sections with rocks and such as you will be more apt to pedal strikes and I would also recommend that you have a bash guard to save your chain and chain ring.

Seat tube angle is also important for an all around bike. A more vertical seat tube angle will allow for better seated climbing and pedaling. You will be looking for an angle in the 70's for degree angle.
One huge thing that I really wish that my bike had is a rear through axle. This will add massive stiffness to the rear end and really make your bike handle a lot better. Through axles are very common now on the front axle with the 15mm and 20mm depending on brand and size of fork. As well is the new standard 142 by 12mm through axle rear end.

You must also consider what size fork you want. You have two sizes to look at here. First is your suspension travel and this will depend on how smooth of a rider you are and what type of terrain you are riding. I would say 120mm is the smallest I would go and 170mm is probably at the top unless you have an adjustable travel fork and then you could go to 180mm.  120mm is a great number if you are very smooth and running your bike on relatively smooth trails. Jumps really doesn't play an issue with fork length, it more depends on if you are doing large drops to flat or riding really rocky, root filled trails and if that is the case you will probably want to run a longer travel shock. A good rule of thumb is watch what pros are riding on that bike on similar trails and add at least 1 inch or about 20-25mm of travel as you are not as smooth as they are!

The second number to look at is the stanchion size most bikes 150mm and under come with 32mm stanchions and 160+ have 36mm stanchions. This will make a huge difference on how your front end handles. The bigger stanchions are miles stiffer and less likely to deflect and flex. If you are riding a lot of jumps, down hills and rough areas you will want the 36mm stanchions! If it's smoother then 32mm will be just fine and will save you about 1 lbs in weight.

There are other things such as a tapered steer tube  as well as a 30mm press fit bottom bracket that are great for adding rigidity to your bike. Both are great and are becoming somewhat standard on mtb's these days but keep your eyes open for them.

The last bit is just a bonus that I wish I had and that is the ISCG 3 or 5 tabs. These allow you to run a chain guide so if you are riding a lot of rough stuff you wont drop your chain. They make adaptors for external bottom brackets but if you take a hard hit you can damage your BB with those.

As you can see I didn't mention Brand, Color or the little bits that can be changed out easily to accommodate your brand preference and riding style but I would also recommend using a 700mm or wider handle bar and a 50-70mm stem anything longer belongs on a road bike not a MTB.

With all of that information you will have a good start with your research, however you will have to experiment, test ride and demo multiple bikes to find what feels best and works the best for you. Do some research, read reviews and talk to other riders and the people at your local bike shop.

I hope this helps you all as you start looking for that new ride for next season!

Keep it real!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Hey guys this was just brought to my attention recently through some of the forums that I frequent. I remember seeing these bikes on the interbike pictures or somewhere a few months back but these are two of the coolest bikes to come out of Europe in the coming months and they are going to give some of the big name companies a run for their money in the bike category that I care the most about all-mountain/trail, some European companies are calling them enduro bikes now due to the ever growing popularity of the enduro DH, enduro stage and super d style races going on all over Europe. The US is behind but I'm used to that it's normal for the US to lag a bit behind Europe. The one I like the most and truly would consider for my next bike, I will keep my eyes on it, was powered by Remy Absalon to the Superenduro Finale Ligure #1 podium spot and that is the Commencal Meta SX .

This bike is mean, Commencal doesn't claim it to be a XC or Trail bike that can descend and climb but a DH bike that can climb! That's for real that means this bad boy hauls ass down hill and will get you to the top! It has 160mm of travel with a 66 degree head tube angle which, quoting Mark Weir is the ideal HA for a trail/all mountain bike. If you look closely the rear platform is almost identical to their DH bike the Supreme DH .
The second is also from Commencal and that is the slightly smaller model of the Meta, the Meta AM this bike was piloted by Dan Atherton to some solid finishes this year as well on the SuperEnduro Circuit.
Unfortunately these bikes wont be available for another 40 days and I will never probably have the chance to ride one unless I buy one or some how make my way to Outerbike due to the lack of demand for real bikes in this area. No bike shop will stock this or any other bike you see on this blog for that matter. The bike I'm riding now I basically did research and bought sight unseen. That is just the nature of the beast here. It is unfortunate because these bikes are truly jacks of all trades. You only have to make minor concessions on the extremes. No they are not 24lbs XC bike and no they are not 8" super low slung DH rigs but they can do both and they truly shine at what I do most and what I'm sure most of you do most and that is ride trails, freeride with your buddies and just have a good time that isn't timed! This is the type of bike that I like as, at least for now, I am more of a one bike wonder and I'm always looking for the Swiss Army Knife. The do it all bike! and these are definitely contenders. For closing here is a good write up from PinkBike on these two rippers. Stay tuned as I find out more info I will let you know!

Keep it real!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Hmm..... well my apologies with my incredible slacking I've been doing as of late with the blog but not a lot of exciting things going on these days. Last night was Kelly and my date night. We went to Apple B's and had some wings, burgers and beer since each is only $5 on Monday's after 4pm! What a great deal. I think will make that a bit of a tradition, if I have anything to say about it!
This last weekend was my buddy's birthday ride, well actually yesterday was my buddy Josh's birthday but we went to Red Wing on Sunday and went for a ride. I got two flats, both in the parking lot! Yeah how lame. I was there early so they have this old fire ring thing, i have no idea what it actually is but its about a 2ft high stone wall so I decided to go ride it. I didn't just want to ride the 12 inch wide circle skinny so I had to get on it, that was the challenge. I did it once and then the second time I got on and then my back tire went flat! Dang it, pinch flat! So I went and changed it and went back to trying to ride it, I stacked a rock in the spot I pinch flatted so it wouldn't happen again I got on it and was dicking around on it when Josh showed up so he wanted to get some picks so I went back over there and wiped out and flatted again! WTF and he didn't even get a pic of it, haha. So no more tubes, good deal I had my tools with me. It has a patch kit in it. So two patches laters, since it was another rim pinch flat and we were off for our 2 laps of XC fun! The tube held up and the ride was great. I met 3 more cool people and had a good time.
It looks like the week night rides my be on the way out real quick like! I am going to try and sneak one in tonight either BC or Carver. Nice and short focused training ride!
Hope you are all ready for winter looks like it's just around the corner. I know some of you are crazy snow bikers but i'm sharpening my ice axes and waxing my skis!
Keep it real!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lexington Street Bike Park

Alright the cat can finally be let out of the bag. It has been pretty hush hush for the last I don't know many months but I can finally start discussing it. There has been a small group of us drafting a proposal to approach the City of Eagan to revamp the run down Lexington Street Dirt Jumps and turn them into a full fledged respectable bike park. It was something that had been brewing in my mind since I first laid eyes on it. There is a lot of land there and a ton of potential for this place to be epic and really take the skill of riders in the Twin Cities to a new level. I know I'm not the first to attempt this at this location. Actually I'm the 4th according to the city officials but they said that Tim and I were the most professional and well prepared out of any of them. I took this very serious and know that it will be a lot of work. It isn't something to take lightly as it wont build it's self but it really is a great opportunity for my self as a rider and an emerging figure in the cycling community as well as for Tim to expand is ever growing knowledge of trail building but we can't forget the more behind the scenes people. I would like to thank Frank and Dave for all there ideas and efforts. Frank has played a critical roll in helping map out the dimensions and design the proposal.
The general layout of the park is complete and official. There is some room for design change that will continue to be discussed over the winter but will be nailed down by the time we can actually get our hands dirty.
The city said they were going to start right away by spraying the entire area for weeds and then tearing up approximately half of the existing dirt park that is there and beginning to pile the dirt in the location of the 3 pump tracks! That's right you read that right. We will have 3 quality pump tracks at this location a beginner, an intermediate and an advanced track that an advanced rider could connect them all together with some choice lines! Let the creative juices flow. This is where most of the design effort will go over the next few winter months. We have some guide lines the city wants us to follow for the beginner and intermediate pump tracks but the advanced is kind of open to our imaginations.
The jump line will be a side by side 15 foot wide 3 tiered section of table tops. The large jumps will be some were in the 60-70inch tall area and about 10ft long, 40-50 inches high and about 8ft long for the intermediate and 30-36 inches tall and about 6ft long for the beginner. They will all share the same landing pad which will allow for some creative lines but all so the reassurance and safety of a 15ft wide landing!  There will be for sure 4 multi tiered jumps down the main straight that start from a launch ramp and head into a berm and will carry into another jump and into a berm followed by some larger rollers that could be jumped into another berm and then finish with a set of 4, 4ft tall tables set a little closer together to get that really flowy trail feel to them.
I'm super excited for this project and I know that it will be a great success. As well as keep my going through the long MN winters. It's awesome to add another hat to the rack, Project Manager and Trail designer/builder, I like the sound of that! Now I have some big shoes to fill so I don't let you guys down! I can't wait to see you all out there next summer building, riding and having a great timer. Stay tuned to my blog or like this on facebook at /
This is a rough drawing of what the park lay out will look like.

As for me and riding, I got out with Tim on Tuesday for a good ride at Battle Creek. Man I felt on. I don't know what it was, maybe because I'm back in the gym rocking the work out again! Love the DB Combos but I just picked up the Ultimate MTB Work Out and I'm super amped to get cracking with that. There is a lot of stuff included with that so it might take me a bit to sort through it all but I know it will be worth it!
Get out and enjoy what's left of fall, day light savings is coming this weekend and it's all down hill to darkness from there!
Keep it real!