Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Crandalls before the storm

Thank goodness I got out the door in time to crank out a ride. I was so stoked to ride and knew this could be my last one for weeks. The forecast called for 4-8" of white stuff and it was bound to start very shortly so I rocketed off into the woods. The plan was to see how many miles I could get out of the joint in 2 hours and planned on 2 laps of Zig and Zag. It was 17f which to some seems real cold, but for me it felt just fine, a long sleeve shirt and DH pants I was feeling just dandy. Climbed up Knickerbocker and then down JnJ. Then I rode over TVA to climb back up and felt a little burn in my legs, I guess I am still getting them back. Then I headed down whales back from the top and then up onto the far side, I took the trail that empties out onto the road and found a little mini loop back there. Then up Intestine, things were going mighty good, it was so great to be out. I did a loop starting on Zag and ended on Zig and then went for lap 2 in opposite direction starting on Zig and ending on Zag. While on Zig I got a puff of 2stroke, damn motos were out on the trails, and they were close, I soon ran into them, they were on the single track. I tried to get close enough to have a word with them and when I did I told them they were not welcome and it was illegal to ride there and a lot of effort go into the trails and respect them as they leave. Not sure if they will be back, but I at least got a chance to speak with them. Once i finsihed the two laps I was heading down red not looking forward to ending the ride. I milked it out on just a few more trails as I found a good 2 hour ride now, pretty bummed to have to end the ride but my legs were toast anyway. Winter riding has been kind to me these last few weeks I can't complain.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Shredda

So stoked to get out and ride on today, it was pretty warm so shorts and a long sleeve jersey were in. I crammed the full suspension into the car since the belltown had a loose crank and required a specific tool to tighten, more on that later. I chose to ride down to Grayville where there is some great riding, it's a good place to ride but for some reason I never really loved the place like I have others. It does have the best rock slabs which is the highlight of the place. I started off on the river side loop and climbed it the wrong way by mistake for the 2nd time, it was no big deal just a few tough sections to walk to save some leg. Feeling better on the full suspension but still not liking it, it was going smoother than last weeks rides though. Once I closed that loop out I was torn between taking the high route which would induce more work and feeling lazy I took the middle route. When I got out on the end of the park I usually get confused but can always find what I was looking for. I rode the short slab section and then had to pedal back up into the good long section. I love this part, always the highlight of visiting Grayville. Not long into it my tire all of a sudden goes flat, wow it's been a long long time since I have had to change a flat on the trail, oh well. Some time lost there but it happens, a few minutes down the trail I snap the fricken quick link and slam my knee into the stem as usual. That sucked but I had a quick link so it was a quick fix. Once I was done with the rock trail I a lined it to the car so that no more events could happen. I guess it was a good ride but not as great as most have been recently, snow on the way, tomorrows ride will have to count, hope it comes together.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fun friday

Set off another ride to make it my 3rd of the week, it was warm so I was rocking t shirt and shorts on the ride which was nice. I picked case to ride yet another new trail "Graveyard", I am the last to know these days but I did find the trail. It was pretty awesome riding that trail, navigating on fresh trail, pretty steep climbing with not much relief. I did not expect mud on this ride but on this trail I did unfortunately, the only mud really I have in the last few weeks. I was pretty unhappy I was riding that trail when it went through the sloppy sections, I won't ride it again until its frozen or dry. Just like Shank Juice its a heave more downhill oriented since it uses the same hillside, this trip I planned to ride down Shank to offer some relief to the ride since riding up it mid ride is a beast. I took my way down Tinti before I would climb back up the power lines and head to the top again. Riding down Shank Juice was pretty fun, brakes need some work, maybe a bleed they're just not powering. Took the quick way up blue which I have not done in awhile. I was on the Belltown and was hammering the trail, felt so good to be back on the bike, hated dousing in the slop of Graveyard. Mighty fine ride, stoked to get 3 good ones in this week, next week is looking great, back to cold but I don't care bring it!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wednesday bright foggy shred

Set off bravely into the fog from the house, set to ride Mansfield Hollow since the soil there holds well, arrived to the trail head and had gotten under most the fog. I was in shorts and a t shirt with gears and 2 hours. I rode up the same way on Monday to tap into the new trail again, I noticed there are two spots where they seem to split or attach to another trail. Next ride out there I will have to explore more. Stoked on another good run down it, I do miss just charging down blue since it's a fun drop. I wish CT had more burly lines, its pretty weak around here in the DH department and technical. I chose to take the hard way around the hollow, throwing in the trails by the soccer fields, then hitting the humps in the opposing direction, I always remember why I ride them the other way even on a geared bike. I got halfway around the lake where I realized I had a time dilemma after spitting the chain over the cassette a few time almost totaling my derailleur two times in a row. I chose to stick the rest of the ride in a riding gear and climbing gear between ring 1 & 2 so I could get out alive. The woods were alive, it started in a foggy haze with a bright sun above it, giving plenty of light in a PNW attitude. Soon the skies did open to sun, it was warm, felt more like Spring than mid January. My legs were toast, they were hurt from Monday, somehow I though the full suspension would be easier on them, but riding position and weight of the bike wrecked them. I really plan to bust out the Belltown tomorrow and plan to stop being such a baby about getting it dirty. I hit the car 20 minutes late, headed home and enjoyed the rest of the day with the family in the nice weather. Snow is in the forecast, it does not look like an accumulation ordeal so stay tuned lets hope nothing happens.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Monday ride

It rained like mad Saturday, Sunday it cleared up and my yard was still mush. I was really anxious for a ride Monday and chose to ride a less ridden area which is Mansfield Hollow area that has a lot of leaves and would do no harm to trails. Down to my Kona and Belltown, I still have not mounted up the bell town to the trunk bike rack and was not looking to bring since I am still babying it, I wish I could stop doing this in a way. So I was armed with the Kona and got to the parking lot where I found the rear tire low, pulled out my pump and found the pump in my pack was schrader only. I lost my blackburn pump a few months ago and for got this other pump was schrader only. The tire was pretty low for my liking, probably 15-18 psi. I was taking a risk riding on it low but I was willing to take that risk, I had two hours to ride. As I began to pedal the bike it was feeling terribly awkward, it was really hard to standup and climb even though having the gears. Also my legs felt weak, both things were making things uncomfortable but I was carrying on missing my rigid SS's. The trails turned out to be just fine, especially leafy ones. Headed up Pine Ridge to blue and then crossed the road and back on blue. Just after the lookout I took a trail that I spotted last ride, it was marked with red tie. I really hoped it was not going to put me into someones backyard like some of them do, boy was I wrong. What a great trail, this was a good ride, up down and plenty of fun XC. I was really happy to have found this trail. It ended up back at the end of the blue trail just as you cross Chaffeeville Rd. That trail took up a bit of time on my planned loop so I took the fastest route to connect back into Schoolhouse. When I did get climbing on the bird loop trail I was pretty pooped, I had 50 more minutes to ride and had every intent on pushing through. I did a quick odd loop in Schoolhouse, finding more very confusing webbed trail, I really am wondering what the builder has going on in their head but I still welcome the challenge of figuring it out. It was a quick jaunt back to the car that went smoothly. I think I will now pull out the Belltown for questionable occasions, I just love my SS, I can't wait to get my Raleigh back so I can put a beating on it.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Well after Thursdays ride I found a broken spoke in the parking lot so I stopped by the shop. Turns out they found a crack int he chainstay! There goes frame number 3! I am going today to the shop to have it warrantied. It's a slow process but I end up with a new frame to break for life so it's not so bad. I wonder where if any will I fin a weak point on the belltown. It's still so shiny and new I am having trouble riding it.

Thursday Banger

The weather has been cold, I could not ride Wednesday, I was bummed but still stoked after the great ride on Tuesday so I controlled myself. I set my sights on Thursday, Landon fell asleep for his afternoon nap so I set off to mix up the Schoolhouse Brook and Mansfield Hollow trails. I was not looking forward to snowy conditions but knew it could not be worse than Tuesdays ride I think. It turns out there was plenty of dirt with just little snow and ice! I set off of the lot with an idea in mind, linking two connectors that cross a main road to make a big loop. Any extra time at the end I would make up in Schoolhouse. Legs were feeling a little dull since I guess I am still getting them back, plus I think the snow ride caused a little more effort. It was a swift climb up to the top of Stoned Hill and then a fun descent down blue, I love this section, steep, technical and rocky. I wish more trails had steep pitches to them, there is not enough of it around here but this trail does give a dose. I rode some great trails, I had to skip some to work with my time frame but it was a fast ride, I closed out Mansfield Hollow and made my way back into Schoolhouse. I had enough time to do a short loop around Wolf rock so I did so. Finished out as I usually do on Stone Bridge. I came in just under 15 miles which was nuts, must have been moving at a good clip. I can't wait to link the two parks next rides.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Bitter Tuesday Ride

Monday was crazy, the temperature went up to 57 degrees and rained hard with thunder, then it changed over to snow as the arctic air made it's way back in. I was bummed when I started to see snow since I knew that without it conditions would be prime all week for bike rides. By the next morning it was just a coating of snow and really cold, 9F cold! I had desperation to go out for a ride but every time I was near a window or let my dogs out I felt just how nasty cold it was and it turned me off. By 11am my son was getting tired and ready for his nap when I said screw it, I can do this, I would ride Hale so I could always bail to just ride home. I would ride flattish trails to see what there was for traction. I geared up pretty light and turned out even that was too much clothes. Armed with the Raleigh since this was going to be an unpredictable ride, I set off on the trail and found it not all that bad. The snow and sun light made it a pretty magical setting as I carefully chugged along. When the climbing began that's where I quickly lost traction on a steep pitch. It still was not that bad, I was pretty warm and was pumped to realize so far I could do a full almost normal ride. Some ares had puddled and frozen over, this made for sketchy moments but as long as you keep the wheels straight I could roll over any snow covered ice. Sometimes I would break through the ice and it would splash and instantly freeze on my bike. When Al's loop closed out I went across the road and took the dirt road onto the standard down to Rufus Brook. Holy crap that road was sketchy, I could ride over some and broke through some but eventually did get back on single track. I was able to pick up speed and ride everything just fine, just had to be extra careful since I have such a length of riding season left and do not want to get injured. My hands were beautifully toasty, I was wearing my new Gore Bike Gloves my lovely wife bought me for Christmas. I must admit I did not know if I was going to be able to use them this winter since they have been overkill on even 20F rides. Turned out they were just right even on Grip mode. I have never wore nice gloves like these, they are pretty thick but they do function, and can also make a great pair of ski gloves. I wanted to take the big loop out, but I knew the trouble areas for traction so I took the easy way out which was double track. I dunked my entire foot crossing the stream and my good old 5.10 still kept me toasty despite a lot of splashing from all the other stream crossings. The drive train was pissed with so much splashing, chain rings and chain wold ice up instantly with any water creating a rubbing tire on a frame kind of feel. That was about the only unpleasant thing about the ride. This was a real special ride, I was really glad I sacked up and got out there.

Friday, January 3, 2014

First day of the year

I was anxious to ride Wednesday and was awaiting Landon for his expected afternoon nap when I hear my phone buzz and another rider wanted to ride. I planned a solo mission as usual but had no problem if someone wanted to join me. Turned out Pat does not know the Schoolhouse network very well so I took him on my loop. I was hesitant to wonder how the ride would go since Pat is a very fast and very good rider who would be stuck behind me. So it gave me a little motivation to push harder which I strangely did not mind. I was pretty winded quick but just kept pushing. It was a really great out, I was trying to especially enjoy it since snow was in the forecast for the next day. I pushed hard and on a few climbs told Pat to take the lead so he could hammer. At one point I lost him at an intersection. After a few minutes we found each other. I was on the Belltown and holy crap was it a better ride! Having one more tooth on the cog for climbing and the light nimble beauty that it is was such a pleasure to ride, I really love this bike. Took a little different route at the end, turned out the mix was a keeper. This really was a great ride, was nice too knowing I got my game back. Can't wait til this snow melts and I can get back out there for shredding.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Last day fo the year

Every year I seem to luck out with a New Year's Eve or the 1st day of the year. I am happy to say I should be riding tomorrow too so it should be both! I really wanted to ride Monday but we got heavy rain Sunday and decided to wait it out which is good since one less day Mountain Biking my Wife never seems to mind. It was pretty cold this morning, somewhere in the teens but this was not going to stop this guy. I was really excited to ride, the sky was blue and sun was out offering only 24f but still the sun was out. I set off for Schoolhouse Brook to do s standard loop. I took a new route crossing the road which adds some sweet but short trail. I am getting a good feeling for the Schoolhoiuse Brook trail system now. I was feeling pretty good riding, it was cold out but my body was plenty warm so long as I was spinning. A few trails see little traffic were very hard to follow and very soft. On the far end it was hard making out the trail as well. Climbing back up Wolf rock I was failing on the big climb, the climb up blue got worse. Really great ride I can;t wait tog get more riding in.