The Weekly Update

It’s somewhat difficult to formulate a single train of thought blog post with so many things happening at once, so quickly. Over the last week, I’ve been super busy at the shop, overhauling suspension parts, building bikes, and fixing whatever else walks through the door. Words of advice- don’t get your hand meat caught in the slide on the bearing puller

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Also, Fox forks will randomly break… well before you reach the 50 in-lb torque spec

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In shop stuff that doesn’t suck, I tried out a new XTR drivetrain on a SRAM 10-42 cassette.

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The shifting was OK. Not perfect, though I attribute that in large part to the cassette’s ~2yrs of prior use. I think that the 10t and the 42t are what set SRAM 1x drivetrains apart from anything else, but I love the ergonomics and function of the Shimano shifter, so I’d love to try it out with a new 10-42 and see if it’s what I’m hoping for.

After building the XTR11 bike, the winter shop staff/Enduro kids showed up. They invited me to ride Golden Gate Canyon with them, and we managed to find both nice views and all of the trails that still had a snow pack on top of them. It was a nice, laid-back time that included peanut butter sandwiches and yoga. Only in Colorado can you find 21 year old college bros who can execute “tree pose” on top of a rock while holding a sandwich in one hand.

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Through working on everyone’s bikes, Indy and I have both made some new friends

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Indy and Agnus played until they were both pretty exhausted. Once we were back at home, Indy passed out hard

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Sunday, Ky (from the pic above) and Shane (from the 92Fifty team) invited me to ride with them at a place north of Boulder called Devil’s Backbone. It was a pretty great day of riding and whatnot. Both scenery and company were excellent.

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Afterward, they took me to a place called Georgia Boys to sample Colorado’s interpretation of Southern barbecue. It was slightly less greasy, and I’m pretty sure the collards lacked any hog jowl, but for a place far flung from its roots, it does a good job.

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Yesterday, I planned my own epic solo ride. It was a little overly ambitious… but that’s generally true of some of the best rides. I rode to a place about 12 miles away called White Ranch Open Space. It was… interesting. I’m not really in to trails so steep and used that they necessitate the installation of hundred of water bars, and that’s mostly what this place was.

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It had its high points, though.

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I managed to clean all of the roots and rocks going uphill to the spot in the above pic. By that point, I was so out or breath that I was slightly dizzy.

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The descent in this pic was very rowdy and very fun:

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From there, I headed back towards home, but detoured through Golden Gate Canyon state park. From where I entered the park (~7400ft elevation), it’s almost all climbing up to where I exited (~10k ft) and headed home. Grand total for the day was just over 6000 feet. I’m not usually one to pay a lot of attention to amount of climbing in a ride, but jeez, that wore me out. I felt very much like this:

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Back at the house, I scavenged the pantry and found a bag of pre-cooked/seasoned brown rice and quinoa. I heated it up with leftover easter ham, broccoli, and then put some ranch dip on top. It tasted way better than it looks, I promise.

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I still feel like this guy every time I go up hill

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Today is the last nice day we’ll have for a while.

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While the Weather Channel is only predicting 1-2″ total, I was in a place called Dot’s Diner this morning (after yoga in Nederland) and an older mountain man named Smith told me that it’s highly possible that we’ll have feet of snow. Possible enough, in fact, that he and the waitress discussed how they were getting a few days’ worth of groceries in preparation. Seeing as this place didn’t bat an eyelash at the last 4-6″ that came through (which would have shut Memphis down for 3 days), hearing locals talk about snow-prep makes me think it’s time to batten down hatches and break out the fat bike. Dot’s is a unique little local place, and it was full of older mountain people sharing gossip over coffee and waffles.

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P.S. The biscuit at Dot’s is homemade and the size of three normal biscuits. I ate nearly everything, because I had post back-to-back big ride hunger that was potentially insatiable otherwise

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Solo Ride/Sick Whip

Black Hawk was scheduled to get a round of snow on Thursday afternoon, so I decided to squeeze in a ride before it arrived. It was 38 and cloudy- not usually weather I’d ride in, but I wanted to test out the “dry cold” of the mountains to see if I could extend my own limits of personal comfort. The route Jon gave me was ~30miles and about 50-50 dirt vs. pavement. The dirt roads here might as well be pavement. They’re graded and sealed to well that, aside from the occasional brake bumps, you can’t tell the difference beneath your tires.

The first part of the ride went by quickly because it was mostly downhill. It got chilly, and I did end up stopping halfway to put on an extra layer, but the view the whole way was astounding… basically par for the course any time you leave the house when you’re in the mountains.

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Soon, the road pitched upwards on Highway 72. I am a slow climber at altitude. Sooooo slooooooow. The road wasn’t busy, but the “Colorado pass” that drivers have perfected takes some getting used to. They’re accustomed to cyclists, and none of them passed too closely, but they seem to have nailed an exact 3-foot buffer at about 30 mph… frightening at first, but not bad once you realize that they seem to know what they’re doing.

With weather rolling in, the top of the climb was in the clouds. I was gassed and a little shaken by the fact that I was in the clouds and didn’t have enough light on my bike to feel like I was visible. Then, I heard music…

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Take this photo in just a little. It’s cold, the fog is thick, and you’ve just climbed ~1000ft up a road to the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant that feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. Now, listen to this…

I couldn’t help but laugh a little as I zipped up all my layers and headed back downhill. Luckily, the descent was fast, and, as I thought about Pina Coladas, I was able to match the posted speed limit and worry slightly less about cars. I made the turn to go back up Gap road towards Hwy 119, and, just as the climb started to get meaty, I saw this sign, and had to take a picture.

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I smiled the rest of the way up, mostly on my lowest gear. I can’t even begin to explain how amazing it is here. The temperature dropped while I was out, and, even though I had “enough” clothing, I was still chilled, miserable, and a little exhausted when I arrived back at home base. It was the greatest chilled/miserable/exhausted I’ve ever experienced, though.

After some food and coffee, I went to the shop and started a killer build on a Mach 4 (and finished it Friday morning, after the snow came through).

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Twenty three pounds of awesome.

It feels great to be back in a shop again.

First Week in Colorado

First things first- The Land Run 100 Race Reports are on Mountain Bike Radio now! I’d suggest listening to both episodes, but if you’re just wanting to hear my account of the race, click on “Part 2” on this page: http://www.mountainbikeradio.com/just-riding-along/land-run/

As I mentioned in my previous post, I packed many of my belongings (including little old Indy) in my car (and a little in my parents’ car) and headed across the country. We spent the night in Hays, Kansas before making the final push to Black Hawk (or, more accurately, a little ways north of Black Hawk).

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I spent most of Tuesday dealing with unpacking and worked part of the day at the shop on Wednesday. The biggest accomplishment was likely cleaning the bathroom. Someone had washed parts in the shower and the floor was covered in tubeless sealant. I’m happy to say, it no longer looks like you’ll come out of it dirtier than when you entered. It also snowed Tuesday night and parts of Wednesday… a volume of snow large enough to shut down Memphis, but was barely acknowledged by locals.

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Indy paced the shop floor until he fell asleep by the door. I moved his bed there so he’d be comfy.

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He’s making friends with everyone around the house.

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Wednesday evening, I packed what I needed for Moab and, before sunrise Thursday morning, we were on the road in the 92Fifty/Elevated Legs Sprinter Van heading west. The scenery… holy crap. We went from passing feet of snow on Vail Pass to the vast desert-ish area around Moab in just a handful of hours.

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Indy travels in his crate, so Duke was happy to keep the bed warm on the trip out.

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That afternoon, after setting up a group camp site, we went for a quick ride on a trail called Pipe Dream.

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…supposedly one of the easier trails, yet I managed to fall off of the trail and somersault into some rocks. Oops.

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That thing is still swollen & achy.

The next day, we rode up to the upper end of the Porcupine Rim trail. It was a long and gorgeous climb. The whole way up, you watch the La Sal mountains getting closer and closer as you ascend.

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Last stop before you get on the trail:

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The trail is a relentless one. It’s nearly constant rocks and rock drops. I rode a lot of it. I walked some of it. I wrecked once more on the same knee and cursed profusely.

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Back at camp, the vibe was pretty amazing. Everyone was incredibly welcoming and kind, and I made a bunch of new friends.

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I was excited to go to bed at night because of the view I’d have when I woke up in the morning.

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Saturday, I hopped in with a group of ladies to ride the Hymasa, Amasa, and Captain Ahab trails. I’ve never really had the chance to ride with a group of like-minded women. I’ve always been a bit of an outlier amongst my Memphis peers (with the exception of Laureen Coffelt, but since we race each other on the reg, we’ve never really made attempts to train with one another), so it means that I am on my own or with the guys most of the time. The ladies here were amazing. We pushed each other, cheered for each other, took photos, and basically had an awesome “LESS YAPPIN, MORE BRAPPIN” time, punctuated with high fives and fist bumps.

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Photos of the other ladies on the same rocks are loaded on the 92Fifty Facebook Page.

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Sunday morning, we packed up camp and I went out with the ladies again to the Mag 7 trails. It got kinda warm out there. I love the dry desert air, because the breeze actually cools you off.

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It was a great way to wrap up the trip before piling back into the Sprinter and heading back east.

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Monday, I worked a full day at the shop before clocking out and recording the first remote episode of JRA. I used my $20 truckstop headphones w/a mic, and the cord needed some guidance to keep the mic closer to my face.

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It’s been amazing so far. Coming from Memphis,  I feel a huge sense of awe and appreciation for how amazing this place is.

 

Cysco #2 Rundown

Yesterday, I was going to post all about how excited I was to get my new hardtail frame from Cysco in the next couple of weeks, but I had to do some important wrenching instead (details on that in just a second). The Cysco is loosely based on the small Niner Air9 Carbon CYA frame, but with some important changes:

– A spot for a bottle on the seat tube
Dear manufacturers… STOP GIVING A F*#^ ABOUT TONS OF STANDOVER AND GIVE ME A 2ND FREAKING CAGE. When was the last time that someone wrecked and landed straddling the top tube with both feet on the ground? When was the last time that anyone who had been riding a bike for more than a week needed to be able to stand in that same position in order to function? Just because you’re afraid that a part of your bike is anywhere near your precious man-bits, you’re going to deny anyone under 5’6″ the ability to carry an extra bottle?!? Give me a freaking break.
-A spot for a bottle under the downtube
Hey… why not? Another reason why I’ll likely ride this bike (with a rigid fork and some 2.0 Maxxis Ikons) at Dirty Kanza.
-1cm more reach
Being slightly long of torso/arm, I wanted to bump the reach out a tiny bit and use a slightly shorter stem. Aesthetics.
-A 27.2 seatpost
The combination of Ti frame + skinnier post is gonna be cozy. I did, however, run into a small issue with the nice, flexy carbon posts in that size- the ones I was looking at (Niner RDO and Syntace Hi-flex) don’t come in a setback model. Sure, there are some great Ti ones out there, but I’m a sucker for the 2-bolt clamp style. In my experience, it’s the most reliable and very easy to adjust.
Solution? It’s a custom frame… make that seat tube angle slacker and use my desired zero-offset post.
-It’ll be a PF30 BB shell, which will allow for a 2″ downtube. The pedaling stiffness should be very close to the Air9 frame, but with the previously mentioned cozy features. I’ll be using this EBB in order to make it easy to swap back and fourth between geared (1×11) and Singlespeed.
-Along the same “pedals as stiffly as the AIR9” vein, it’s going to use this chainstay yoke:

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Not because I’m terribly concerned with being able to run 3″ tires, but because it will allow for the use of oversized chainstays.
– Polishing it off, a 142×12 rear end. Icing on the cake? A press-in headset. I despise the integrated, “drop in” style that Niner (and plenty of other manufacturers) started using. They make no sense for a mountain bike (about as smart as not setting a frame up for full-run housing), and I’ve had to constantly replace bearings because they’re so easily fouled/grenaded from things like “sweating,” “riding in dirt,” and “washing my bike.”

It should be very versatile and fun to ride. I’m pretty stoked.

As or the work I did yesterday… I needed to finish building Ryan’s (2nd) warranty Jet9 Carbon and rebuild my SID WC fork that’s on my Air9 RDO. The Jet had been waiting on a Wheels Manufacturing PF30 to GXP adapter BB:

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I’m hoping it works a lot better than the crappy plastic SRAM one that was constantly walking out of the frame. I also took the rebuild as an opportunity to route the rear derailleur housing outside the frame (as seen in the photo). I used my infamous “Superfly” technique… I claim that as my own since I started doing it to customers’ Superfly 100s back when I worked at Outdoors. Turns out, a 4″ piece of housing that jumps over the bottom bracket area behind a crank is a terrible idea, and I figured out that a full length piece of housing could be cleanly run along the rear brake line in order to get to the rear of the bike.

After that was together, I overhauled the fork from my hardtail. Exactly 1 month out of warranty, the damper broke. SRAM gave me the middle finger because of the age of the fork as well as their placing the breakage blame on me for “taking a big hit with the fork locked out.” I’m assuming such a hit would be memorable, seeing as it’d be hard enough to bypass the floodgate action of the lockout. I must have been daydreaming about armbars or something.
Hopefully I don’t get the same crap when Kenny calls in about the new SID RCT3 that I installed about a month ago on my jet and ceased locking out after about 4 rides. Being on my full suspension, it’s always unlocked when I’m on the trail, so there’s no way in hell that a “big hit with it locked out” could have happened.

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I replaced the seals and all the o-rings on the oil/rebound side. It’s now back to feeling nice & buttery. Hopefully that’ll be a bonus selling point for the complete bike when I sell it next month following the arrival of my Ti Supersteed.

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Road Bike Solution

If you follow along on Twitter or Facebook (links over to the right), you have noticed my excited postings yesterday when I had just talked with Chris from Cysco Cycles. Earlier in the year, when I was in the middle of my frame drama with Cannondale, he’d contacted me about building something custom if the Cannondale thing didn’t work out. Fast forward 6 months, and I’m shopping for a frameset and realizing that the frames that have most everything that I want in both geometry, stiffness, and handling characteristics are pretty expensive, and all of them had tiny, nit-picky things about them that I didn’t like (fit not exactly right, BB standard that would mean changing cranks, etc). I was literally laying in bed half asleep, thinking about road bikes, when I remembered the conversation I’d had with Chris, and realized that I could get EXACTLY what I wanted in a custom bike for the same cost as some of the frames I’d been running through my head.

So, late last week,I emailed him, and, over the weekend, we started the planning process. By yesterday (Monday) evening, I had the 3rd draft of a frame…

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As we’ve talked about on Just Riding Along, if you know exactly what you want, the custom process is magical. I’m getting a frame with the exact stack and reach measurements that I like, an oversized downtube & swoopy seatstays (like this one featured in Bike Rumor a while back: Custom Stiff Yet Comfortable Road Frame), oversized chainstays, and a seat mast & raw ti finish like this bike. We’re also throwing around the idea of some extra bottle bosses, but they may be too difficult to squeeze in on such a small frame. If I wanted, I could have full-run housing mounts instead of normal cable stops, but I’m not intent on full-run housing for a road bike like I am for an off-road bike. It’s nice to know that the option is there, though.

Talking with Chris is great, because he sounds almost as enthused as I am, and, as an added bonus, we share feelings on the importance of standover and Chris King components. We’ve got a few more small details to hash out before the final draft & deposit, but it should be a go by the end of the week. I’m excited to not only get exactly the bike I want, but also have the cool factor of supporting a regional small business and having a gorgeous, one-of road bike.

 

 

Handlebar Tape- Etiquette and Attention to Detail

I’ve come to notice a disturbing trend that’s taking the mountain bike world by storm. As “Gravel Grinder” bikes are becoming the newest hot thing (I’ll reserve comment about the whole gravel grinder specialty bike thing… Guitar Ted did a good writeup, and he’s much more qualified to opine on the subject than myself) . It’s not the gravel grinder trend that I find disturbing, it’s the utter lack of respect for handlebar tape I’ve seen on some gravel grinder bikes.

I understand- as a mountain bike person, you’ve only dealt with lock on/slip on grips. Now that you’ve got this fancy drop-bar bike, suddenly, there’s a new skill to be had with getting that overpriced strip of foam/cork/pleather wrapped around the bars in a way that covers the metal and doesn’t come loose. Uh… kinda a pain, but whatevs.

What you don’t realize is, it’s so much more than that.

Enter, the roadie world. Perfectly wrapped bars are more than just function. They’re a sign that your attention to detail is impeccable. It means, “I’ve poured over every detail of this machine as if it were a part of my own body.” At one time, white bar tape was used to denote the “captain” of a road team. There’s history there. The perfectness of your wrap job is a sign of respect to the activity of both cycling and wrenching itself.

So, when I see things like this:

(The finishing tape… oh god, it’s so wrong)

…it’s as if someone got up during the eulogy of a funeral and talked about the time he had a raunchy one night stand with the deceased. You just don’t do that.

I understand- the guys at ESI (makers of the above tape) are, as I described earlier, just not privy to the tradition that surrounds the accessory. That’s why I’m making this post- so you, the gravel grinder seller/buyer/wrench/new wrench who just started learning, know exactly just how disrespectful it is to our sport to not take care and make the tape just right.

You’ll find instructional videos and websites all over the place, so I’m not going to go into detail about the process itself, just the small details that you should pay attention to when you’re wrapping bars.

-If the bar-end plugs that come with your tape have any sort of logo on them, make sure it’s upright and straight when you install them.
-If you’re using SRAM road shifters, make sure that the ends of  the strip of “cover” tape for the back of the lever don’t come between the hood nubs  and any of their respective holes in the body of the shifter. If you prevent the hood from resting in those spots properly, the hood will rotate around the shifter while you’re riding. I usually wrap the bar as normal then go back and trim the cover strip away from any of the holes in the shifter body before rolling the hood back into place. Rob Manning has a great photo of what I’m talking about in his blog post about 2012 SRAM Red:

-The finishing tape that comes with your tape is bunk. No one really uses it. You’ll want black electrical tape. Yes, electrical tape comes in other colors, and there’s some cool pin-striping you can do with it, as well as some fun color-swapping/customizing (see photo below), but black is always appropriate on every bike.
-The surest sign of a nice wrap job (aside from tight, evenly spaced, complete coverage of the bar with tape) is a good finish. When you read most taping instructions, you’ll see how to trim the last bit of tape at an angle so that it creates a straight line around the bar. That’s incredibly important to master prior to the application of electrical tape.
-The electrical tape goes on the bar tape… not on the bar itself. This is the most often violated “rule” out there. If you do everything else right, one width of tape wrapped around 2-3 times is all you need to keep your handlebar tape in place. Here’s one from the Garmin Pro team:
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Also, it’s extra style points if you apply electrical tape in a way that allows a tiny bit of the cross-section of tape color to show on the edge (especially if it’s something cool, like the Cinelli Caleido Tape). See photo of Poolboy Matt’s bike:
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-Finally, make sure that the distance from tape to stem is even on both sides. The tape should cover at least to the part of the bar where it gets fat for the stem clamp. I like 3 finger’s width (my fingers and yours may not be the same size, but 3 fingers is usually a safe bet, anyway). I’ve been known to count the number of wraps from end to lever then lever to finish, but as long as you can make them look symmetrical, one more or less on a side isn’t going to spoil everything.

So, there you have it. Like any other part of wrenching, it’s really about attention to detail. It’s the little touches that add polish to a job well done that make a big difference between a bike that just “works” and one that not only works perfectly, but that has the extra flair that makes it pleasing to the eye.

Ready for the Action

Today, I’m wrapping up the final bike prep for my trip. Based on my experience with Breck Epic last year, I’m making a couple of changes. First off, the gearing…

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Endless makes a ginormous variety of cogs- prettymuch any size and color you could possibly wish for. The cogs also happen to be super fat and light, too. They definitely live up to their name. As an extra bonus, Shanna, the seller of all things Endless, is a bundle of smiles and energy. I know her best only through the internet, but this photo sums up the general gist of her personality (found via Google Image search that took me to Jeff Zimmerman Photography). You can also take a look at the Endless Bike Company facebook page.

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I’m going to try the 32×22 at Breck and see what happens. If I dislike it, I’ll just swap out to something else between stages (something we discussed on JRA Monday night and decided was “OK” via the “ethics” of singlespeeding). Click the JRA link and listen to something else while you wait for the most recent episode to arrive in the archives.

Moving along to other big mountain-related stuff, I also decided to beef up the brakes a little. Last year, I glazed over/wore down a couple of sets of pads. This year, I’m using Shimano XTR race brakes (as opposed to SRAM XX), and I’m opting for a 180mm front rotor and set of the finned trail-style brake pads (yet to be installed):

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To wrap it up, I opted to replace my slightly worn “light” Maxxis Ardent with a new one in the EXO version. At ~740g, it’s a little on the heavy side compared to the non-EXO version (advertised at 690g, but mine was 651g), but I like the added sidewall protection for the rocky mine trail descents that are a staple of the Breck courses.

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I’m using the Ikon 2.35 on the rear, also with EXO sidewall protection. The higher volume adds an extra layer of comfort on a hardtail, though, if I feel like I want more tread, I’ll swap to a Crossmark.
Side note- If you’ve been living under a “What wheels are those?” rock, they’re the Industry 9 Trail 24s, and they’re the best combination of stiffness, width, and bling that I’ve found in a wheel. The hub engagement is phenomenal, too. Don’t ride a set unless you’re prepared to be spoiled forever.

In case you failed to notice in the blurry pic of my rotor, Yes, the scooter is muddy. On my off days, I’ve been participating in a heated game of scooter photo-tag (you take a photo of your scooter at a place of interest, post it, and someone else finds the spot, posts a photo there, then goes someplace else and puts the next spot up for everyone to find). Since I’ll be out of town for a little over 2 weeks, I left the group with a doozie. In case you were ever wondering,  a 50cc scooter can off-road like a champ.

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Buy this stuff:

I vowed at TSE to purchase a scooter with my prize money. In keeping with my promise, my plan is to take a check to Kenny today. I also bought a fullface helmet, goggles, and gloves to wear while riding said scooter, AND made a little drivetrain upgrade to the Jet9 during its rebuild. All of the associated expense is totally coverable through the sales of the stuff listed below- I just need to get it out to a broader audience…

I’m selling my X.0 2×10 drivetrain since I’m upgrading the Jet9 to XX1. Check it here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=200933351555

Also, sadly, I can’t afford to build a downhill bike to go with the badass fork that I won at Trans-Sylvania. So, it’s up for grabs as well: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rock-Shox-Totem-1-5/200933351679?ssPageName=WDVW&rd=1&ih=010&category=177815&cmd=ViewItem

 

If you’re interested in an off-Ebay transaction, I might be willing to go for that, but don’t count on it if I don’t have a clue who you are. Here’s a pic of the scooter. It’s freakin’ sweet.

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Pre Trans-Sylvania Rundown

I’ve been pretty quiet here since Syllamo because I’m trying to NOT wait until the last minute to have everything ready to leave for Trans-Sylvania. I’ve been pretty successful so far, getting both the Air9 RDO and the Jet9 prepped for action and even managing to squeeze in a 3 hour ride to check out some flooding in north Shelby County…

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(Post-ride recovery brought to you by Podium Legs Cold. Easier than an ice bath, and less expensive than moving to a house near a snowmelt-fed stream)

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While I was out on my ride, I made a decision on something I’d been pondering for the previous 24 hours. I bought a Specialized Command Post dropper seatpost for the Jet9. Because of the kink in the Jet9 seattube, I traditionally need to trim a longer seatpost down to achieve a proper seat height. The dropper post, at 280mm, was a hair too long. Literally- I could ride it by scooting my seat forward a  few millimeters, but it was going to bug the hell out of me, and maybe give me weird “you changed something” feelings in my joints. Upon closer inspection, I realized that there was at least a centimeter and a half of bare post at the bottom end of the mech. So, I made a 2mm modification…

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Good news and bad news, though. The good news? It fits PERFECTLY now. The bad news? I got metal shavings in my beer, and the amount you see in the picture below had to be poured down the drain.

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So, things are falling into place. I’m excited, scared, anxious, and a little hopeful, all at once. Along with some posts here, you can expect a myriad of stuff on social media, as well as through XXC Magazine and Mountain Bike Radio.

Cautious Optimism

As I mentioned in last week’s posts (as well as in TSE Journal #2 that I wrote for XXCMag), I successfully completed a sold block of training. It’s something I haven’t done much because of either A) work or B) some unforeseen issue like injury or feeling overly-fatigued. (glad to have eliminated option “A”) This time, however, I did it. Every minute of all of it. Perfectly.

Following that last big ride on Wednesday, my legs hurt like hell. I was supposed to do a 1hr recovery ride on Thursday, but all I could muster was a painfully slow ride to/from Outdoors (20 minutes round-trip) to give some love to the rear brake on my Air9 RDO. Apparently, some sort of reverse hydro brake jesus has been working his mojo on my bike, because the mineral oil inside had mystically been turned into black swamp water…

XTR brake

After flushing at least 4 syringes full of mineral oil into it and tapping it all over with a screwdriver to chase the bubbles out, it’s as good as new.

Aside from some pretty kickass yoga classes, I otherwise took it easy until yesterday, when I had a “half” training ride on the schedule. After making a Mother’s Day brunch that even Gordon Ramsey would be proud of, I went out to my favorite pain cave spot in Shelby Farms and proceeded to destroy my two prescribed intervals. They almost felt too good to be true.

Almost.

So, I get one more of the same abbreviated interval workouts between now and Syllamo’s Revenge on Saturday. I don’t ever like to get my hopes up about a race and the possibility to feel awesome, because there are soooo many other factors that go in to having a good race- especially at Syllamo, where the potential for outside killers like inclement weather and mechanicals is probably greater than any other race I’ll go to this season. It’s kinda like getting my hopes up for my birthday on Wednesday- all I can do is turn 32 as best as I can, but the quality of the birthday party is reliant on outside factors that I have little control over. Philosophy of “hope for the best, expect the worst” is implemented.