Monday, February 25, 2013

CCX Ride- Iowa Hill - Yankee Jim - Ponderosa

A Real Butt-Kicker! ~48 miles ~8k vertical gain. Ouch!
Iowa Hill is one of those climbs that is a challenge for anyone. You climb nearly 2,000 feet in 5 miles, but the first 1,200 feet come in the first 1.7 miles. Big time switchbacks with 20% bumps. I had only attempted it once, during the Auburn Century back in 2004ish. I walked most of it. Today I attacked it. I wanted to make that hill my B!%@#.  I sat when I could, stood when I had to (which was a lot) and ultimately failed. I had to hop off the bike and start pushing...and along comes Gina, one of two others on the ride (Kane being the third). She passes me and around a turn she slowly climbs up and stops. The top was right there. Had I known, maybe I could have dug down for something extra, but being that we still had 40+ miles and 6000+', maybe it was for the best. The rest of the ride went kinda the same. I would attack hills and eventually Gina would pass me (on her cute, light road bike), while Kane plugged along on his nearly 30lb touring bike. Eventually, after the last climb, those two left me and I struggled to keep Kane in my sights. when I did, I saw that Gina had left him. So here is this gal, new to the area (moved from Alaska of all places), who just rode 100 miles the day before; she shows up on this monster climbing ride and crushes it! Pretty impressive.
Guess I won't be riding with her much any more...unless maybe she rides 150 the day before and is in super slow recovery pace...or on a mtb. Yeah, that sounds better. ;)
Thanks for setting up and leading the ride Kane.
Good people, good ride, good times.

One big climb down, two to go, so still feeling frisky.
Asking myself why I bought the 21lb bike and not the 17lb bike.

Kane taking in the canyon view.

Gina did not read the CCX memo, so she is glad to be off her seat during this final decent.
With one climb to go, Gina thinks of violating the one written rule.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

California Ridin'

Take at Jenkinson Lake, Sly Park
After what was a disappointing 2012 for mileage, 2013 is looking up. Living in the beautiful Sierra Foothills in Norcal the riding is pristine (road and mtb) and high elevation gains are guaranteed. I may not hit the mileage milestone of 2011 (over 4000 miles, thanks to the fast flowy single track and fireroads in central NC) but I will definitely set new highs in elevation. Of course I am new to GPS technology having owned a smartphone for a whopping 5 months (with the Strava app), but so far this year I have been on 10 rides for ~310 miles and ~42000' of gain. According to my estimations, it would take me at least 4 months to reach that in NC (going with ~700 to 800 ft every 10 miles of riding). I have grown to love climbing (no, seriously). I  considering each hill a challenge to conquer rather than an unfortunate compromise within a ride. I have learned to stand and mash the SS for climbs over a mile in length...not saying I am any faster (maybe slower) but definitely getting stronger. It's a good thing.

Starting to meet some good folks to ride with. Besides the Bike Emporium and Tailgater crew, I have met some fun people on the Hammerin' wheels meetups (both road and mtb) that seem to share the same passion/obsession for bikes and riding that I do.  I knew that was inevitable. You cannot go anywhere in Auburn (or Rocklin, or Roseville...) without seeing riders on bikes or bikes on cars going every direction (or parked at Starbucks). With so many riders, it was just a matter of time before I started meeting people who shared the same love of biking (and post ride beer) as I do.
Even Zoe and Maxine were out on their bikes today. :) Now if I can just get Val (the wife) out on some more rides, well, it just doesn't get any better than that. So in-spite of a new home, no job and an uncertain future, Life is good!

Some pics from a recent ride:

Hammerin' Wheels Fleming Meadows/Sly Park ride.
Bike Emporium Salmon Falls ride (top of Flagstaff climb)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Niner One 9 and NIner SIR 9 Details

Since I am bored at work, time for a detailed parts list of my bea-u-tiful machines. Keep in mind I ride the SS 98% of the time, but I am threatening to get that down to as low as 75% in the coming year as the SIR 9 is a nice ride that deserves some lovin'.
One Bike to rule them all!

                                 One 9                                      SIR 9
Frame          Scandium , small (raw)                    Steel, small (kermit green)
Fork:            Niner Carbon, Vanna White             Reba RL (white)
Wheelset:     Stans ArchEX (white) with               Stans Arch (white) with
                    Hope Pro II (silver)                          Hope Pro II (silver)
Tires:            Scwhalbe Racing Ralphs                  Michelin Wild Grip'R II TL
                    2.35 front, 2.25 rear                         2.25's

Crank:          Shimano XT 170mm                         Shimano XT 170mm
Chainring:     HBC 32t silver                                  Blackspire 33t w/Silver WCM Bash
Cog:             C.King 20t steel                               Sram 970 9spd

Saddle:         Nashbar R2 Ti (white)                      Nashbar C2 Cromo (white)
Seatpost:      Thomson Masterpiece, silver             Thomson Elite, silver
Stem:            Thomson X4 90mm, silver                Thomson X4 90mm, silver
Handlebar:    Ritchey WCS flat, white                    FSA 150 flat, white
Headset:       CaneCreek S-8 white                        CaneCreek S-3 silver
Brakeset:      Avid Elixir 5 (white) w/windcutters    Avid Juicy Carbon (silver) w/windcutters

Grips:            ESI Chunky, white                            ESI Chunky, white
Chain:           SRAM 850                                       SRAM 971
Pedals:          Shimano XTR SPD                           Forte' Carve SPD

R.Shifter:      none                                                  Shimano XTR
R.Derailleur   none                                                  Shimano XTR

Great bikes. Naturally, I could have gone lighter in many areas, but strength was important (especially for riding rigid), as was looks and cost. The only future 'big' upgrades I could see making are XT brakes for the One9 along with a Ti Eriksen 'sweetpost'.

Edit: Weight Update. I hit a recent milestone. Hopefully with a serious week of juicing and exercise I will see 16? on my scale for the first time in years.

Damnit! Might have been 169.8 without those heavy wool socks.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Michelin Wild Grip'R2 29" Review

Ever since switching to a 29er SS, it seems I have been looking for a replacement for the Schwalbe Racing Ralphs I have been using. I have some strange obsession with tires. I should go to a support group because I know they exists, and I know I should just stop wasting time and stick with Schwalbe's but it is what it is. Over the last couple years (since going tubeless) I have tried (besides RaRa's) Maxiss Ikons, Kenda Slant 6, and now Michelin Wild Grip'R2. The three main factors that drew me to this tire are:
1. The cost ~$35ea. (at back in December)
2. They are Tubless ready. Hopefully this means I will avoid the Ikon problems of bubbling up etc.
3. They have what looks to be a nice tread pattern...something that will grip well and roll well.
O.k., 4. The are not tooooo heavy at ~720g (on my scale). I wanted something heavier than the RaRa (and more durable) to use as a rear winter tire, and to use on the wifes bike (my backup) when she hits the rocky trails with me in the Spring and Fall. Hoping this will fit the bill.

Next to a 2.35 RaRa
 Mounting: Son of a B!#% that was hard. I could mount RaRa's by hand and by going crazy on the floor pump, I could get them to mount without a compressor. In fact I would get the bead to set, let it sit for a day and it would still be holding air before putting in sealant (same experience with Ikons). Unfortunately I needed a tool, make that two tools, to mount the Michelins. The first was really tough. Then second I had to double check to make sure it was not a 650b tire because there was no way it was going on the rim (Stans Arch EX). Finally, after warming up the tire a bit, and after a lot of frustration, swearing and a bit of rage, it finally went on.

Sealing: Used soapy water on the sidewalls and pumped them up with a compressor to 40psi. The bead started popping in and I continued up to 50psi with a floor pump. Within a couple hours the tires were flat, but whatever. Added sealant the next day as I was going to use the rear on my SS the day after. Did the shake n' bake/flip/rotate and the side resting tricks to seal the tire. Unfortunately it was still loosing some air and was flat the next morning for my ride. Well, this sucks! I did not want it to just loose air on the trail (no way I am putting a tube in this tire), so I pumped it up to ~45psi, grabbed two cartridges and off I went.
Again with a 2.35 RaRa

Riding: That first ride was ~42 miles (6600' climbing...that's right B!%$#) in semi-slick conditions (my front tire is a 2.35 RR at 18-19psi). Note that all rides have been in the Auburn-Folsom area.
I must say that the tire held pretty well considering my rear RaRa is usually at ~23psi. I spun out a couple times on some wet, loose gravely steep sections and maybe once on a slick section, but anything might have. With a much lower pressure, I was sure the grip would improve, and it did.
The next ride was ~24 miles ~4000'. I had both tires holding air well now, so I put them both at ~25psi and off I went. During the ride I adjusted the tires a couple times and eventually settled on 20psi front and ~23pse rear. Now I am on a rigid SS and was getting beaten up w/25psi. The 20 was a great improvement, but in the future I will be sticking with the 2.35 or 2.4 front tire at ~18-19psi. Still, the front tire held it's line very well and braking was very good. I think it will do very well on the backup geared hardtail w/front susp.

With a 2.25 RaRa

The rear tire was great at 23psi. Took the rear for a couple more rides in more challenging conditions and it was fantastic. They roll fast and grip well, if they are durable/long lasting, I think I have a winner.

Volume Etc: The volume is good for a 2.25. I don't have calipers but it seems slightly larger than the 2.25 RaRa I was using (closer to the 2.35 RR). The side nobs make it a tougher fit in my bike tray than the 2.35 RR (of course, 45psi can make a difference).  Note that these tires are directional with the tread reversed on the rear...though it looks like the rear would be fine run either direction, and it seems that many that have the 26" version have been doing this for a while.

So, to summarize, after all my belly-achin' I am pleased with this tire. It seems thus far like it will make a solid tire for the backup bike, and I will use the rear tire on my rigid SS during the winter and at times when I feel the trail calls for a beefier, more durable tire...or if a trail has a rep as as tire destroyer I will go with the $35 tire rather than the $65 tire (my momma din't rase no dummee).

Note: A form of this review is a thread on MTBR, check there to read the thread/get more info from others.