Monday, December 26, 2016
My wife is on break! So I ran out Saturday morning before the storms rolled in to brown's since I had enough time to run that distance. I was really excited to ride this place, I always have a great time here. It was surprisingly dark as I got parked and was testing my eyesight for the first 10 minutes. It was again amazing outside, the sense were smelling and the eyes were catching wonderful colors as the sun rose. It just kept getting better as light grew and clouds and landscape really took on some colors as I rode onto Diablo trail. Always a fun trail and even better with the scenery. I had a little different plan today and once done with Diablo I was headed for hawks nest, a fast flowy fun trail, one of my favorites for sure now. Then a series of trails and ended up back at the north end of diablo. The Divide to Cholla Mountain loop to Watershed to Whiskey Bottle to Latigo and I was one happy dude with a mega good ride!!
Wow! Storms rolled on in wednesday night and into Thursday, and while the outlook for a ride was looking grim, the radar did show signs of improvement just an hour before the ride time. I looked around and studied the radar and while I was planning on San Tan it was looking fierce and saw South Mountain to the west glowing in sunlight between dark clouds I went for South Mountain. As I was driving towards it was absolutely glowing in light against the dark skies that passed over it and were heading north, I knew this was going to be an absolute stunner. Some of the best clouds I have seen all year were present large and little brilliant white clouds and gray angry skies with clear blue breaks. The dirt was perfect, just a little soft in the sand but enough to grip and secure the tire as hard as you wanted. It was absolutely glorious out, it felt good to be out on the bike I enjoyed the entire ride and was begging for more but had to head home.
Out on the Kona Unit again and looking to enjoy that 18 tooth cog. I have come to a decision that 20 tooth would probably be a nice sweet spot between riding a 18 and a 22 tooth. I must say though that 22 comes in handy on tough technical climbs and I could not conquer them without it, but spinning on the flats is slightly odd but I think I will stay with 18 and 22 cogs for now. The Unit was instantly feeling like a pig as I got it rolling, I am quite close to throwing a 29er wheelset I have in the garage and being done with 27.5+ I just don't care much for it, I'd rather go fast. The kona sure is a nice fit though, comfy steel ride and it loves to pedal. I did my normal maze of trail at Usery and enjoyed it.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
With two rides under the new bigger tire I put the skinnier much lighter bike in my truck on Friday and headed for the rain clouds over Gold Canyon. As I pedaled in it was gray and misting, it felt amazing! Immediately the Trek accelerated which was obviously going to happen on skinnier tires. It was great to be back on my trek, perhaps too good. As I got into the heart of things I began to grow weak and lethargic, thinking of the best way out of there alive. My body began to become defeated on climbs, I felt like junk, I guess more low carb aftermath. Once I hit flatter ground it was a speedy ride out and while my performance was bonked the scenery was absolutely breathtaking.
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
I was out in the morning goofing off with my kiddo and decided to give the bike shop a call since my Kona Unit was due to be in Monday and it was now Tuesday. I called and they told me they were drooling over it and it was ready to go, I am not sure why they liked it so much but once I got it I was quite pleased with the paint color and bike. The tires looked big and meaty and barking for a ride but that would have to come later. As the day wore on I had to figure out a way to get a ride in, so I decided after the boy went to sleep I would do 30 minutes on trail. I had enough time to setup tubeless before the ride and it went smoothly for the most part, there was seepage where the rim is fused and quite a few spoke holes, never had a rim do this but others had same result. For now I aired the tires up to 19psi and went out on a tougher gearing on 32X18 compared to my normal 32X22. Right off the bat it was so nice to be able to pedal and be going somewhere, the 22 tooth gear is a skinny one, great for long steep climbs, the benefits were obvious. The bike was super smooth, even for having no suspension the tires offered a supple ride. Then it cornered, and man did it corner, such confidence the turns could offer. I even enjoyed the cheap O hub and it's smooth engagements, the tired felt a little soft to me and going over rocks was nerve wrecking but no rim strikes. Just a tweak of the handlebars and more PSI and switch over my hydro brakes and this baby is ready for the desert!
Excited to get out and found the sun so dang strong lately I am still wearing sun block. The weather is nice no doubt, but in a short 2 months it will start to climb and another tough summer will be upon us. The ride went smooth, lots of elderly people out there walking the trails, a few bikers. Can't say much about this ride just another spin around Usery.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
The weekend has come, but unfortunately my bike has not, it looks like Monday it should be in the store. I am excited but surprisingly calm about the whole thing shockingly. I was excited to head to South Mountain with my bike bike to get rowdy, I was in a funk of a mood and was armed to release the trail with my fury. I hate that I can't find terrain to charge hard enough, I just want to go fast with this bike, I want to hit big jumps, don't get me wrong Phoenix area can offer some chunk but I can never fully release the YT Capra completely in the desert terrain. So I climbed up Mormon, lazier than normal but somehow set records, then down national. Always over too fast but a good time. The down Javalina which was bland for some reason. Then up Beverly and down the gnar to Desert Classic, whole crap I forget what suspension can do, honestly I feel like my wheels should not be able to stay round after I charge some chunk. Always astonished how this bike can climb, I will never get rid of this bike, I want to take it the the bike park sooooo bad! Did a lot of technical climbs today, I liked it.
I have been noticing the rear tire looking more haggard each ride, today it definitely barked at me to change it, man the desert sure eats my tires right up! But I guess I do a fair bit of riding to tear thru them, I don't think I would go back to the Maxxis Ardent Race but however am happy with the Ikon. So I will soon be slapping one of those on next week. I took a little detour from the normal loop over to Saddle and Upper Secret, added a little spice happily. It was all butter from there, getting warm here for December I've about had enough with the 70s go away!
Off to Usery for my normal easy fast spin of the week. I decided part way in to switch up the mix of trails to bring in some new flavor, it turns out that it doesn't spice up the trail experience very much. But it did however seem faster, probably the fastest 18 miles under 90 minutes I have ever done on dirt. I have to say I was feeling pretty good this day, body was finally in tune where I like it, maybe I am finally adjusted to this low carb thing. Still I need was less teeth on my bike, I need to start experimenting with a smaller cog to help with the flats, I can say that 32x22 was just fine in Utah where you climb plenty, but here in the desert some places are flat. Not the end of the world either way, I am fine 32x22 for life as far as I am concerned as big if a diaper baby gear it is.
I was trying to figure just where to go on Monday as the kid happily went off on the bus to school. I can say I am fortunate to have options, about 4-5 options to be exact. I had in my head wanting to do something a little different and I took the chance at a populated San Tan. Now I frequent here 1-2 times a month so this is not out of the norm, but I do ride here less due to the fee and horse/people traffic. When I got to the lot it had normal amount of cars and I happily got climbing. My legs were absolutely funky as I began to climb, they did although happily warm up. A pretty normal loop around the place, came upon a bunch of kids having a session on a jump, about 10 or so, turns out they were missionaries. Just 3 groups of horses with happy encountering and some hikers. Good to see people out enjoying the trails.
Sunday, December 4, 2016
I ended heading for Hawes on friday, set out for my normal loop and noticed a lot of pungent horse poopies, soon after I spotted few horses, at first I assumed domesticated but then I figured out after a second they were the wild horses I have come across before. One nervously crossed my path and I got a good picture of it. Wild horses, the only horses I can appreciate.
Set off thursday for Gold Canyon, tried in my mind to mix things up slightly for a goo 80 minutes of fun. It was nice to have the dirt all prime and it felt great to be out on it. Now into December the afternoon rides have become quite nice and comfortable, it will all go to crap in a few months but for now I am loving it!
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
I got antsy and called the Cactus Bike Shop in Phoenix where I ordered my bike, shockingly the owner was about to call me to tell me the bike was coming in soon. It sounds like the boat comes in this week and the shop should have it by next week. I am soon excited to get this thing up an rolling, I have some new Race Face Chester pedals I am looking forward to trying, they will be my first nylon composite pedal. Also need to get it going tubeless and I should be happily on my way down the trail, maybe by the weekend it will get it's first ride. I have realized how happy I am with my Trek Superfly, I love it for what it is, might I like another bike more, maybe but I am content. I am pretty sure I am done buying bikes for awhile since I feel pretty complete with my stable. I really am quite excited for this one!
Rolled out on Monday with the kid going to school and all. I was excited to be back to my rigid machine and went on a hero sand/dirt ride. It rained pretty hard the night before and with it being so cool it didn't magically evaporate. So when I attacked the soil it was already prodded on by horses and lacked that groomed effect it gets after it rains. No big deal as I rolled in to do my normal loop. Rode thru a few puddles and had a casual ride. The desert doesn't offer Hero necessarily but it has it's own version, nowhere near the effect you get in the woods but take what you can get right.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
I have been wanting to go around the horn for a bit now, I knew it was a hike a bike over the mountain and I guess I put it off for some reason. So Saturday I had the big bike and rolled myself happily on over to Hawes on a cool cloudy afternoon to tackle this sucker. I hit Hawes a little after 12 and got moving. On the bike bike I was thrown off as usual, it felt her pedaling like my legs just could not do it but they warmed up as I went on. Then when it got to climbing up to twisted sister I remembered the greatness of gears as I stayed seated on the saddle my legs could push up anything with the traction and gearing. I will say for steep loose climbs I will take this bike any day, despite 160mm of travel and 30+ pounds it does it extremely well! As I was loving on my bike and thinking of how amazing these machines are compare to what they use to be I was happy I got a good one. In a few years I will want a newer bike but for now I am in the moment. Made my way into Twisted Sister and went thru it's technical bits before I could descend on a pretty fun but too short descent. From there it was onwards to Wild Horse, this trail I have ridden a few times and it was comforting as it's a straight forward mellow trail. It was then my crank arm was feeling funny, I continued on a 1/2 mile and found it worse, I knew the crank arm was loose. Flipped the bike over and got to looking at things, the crank arm was indeed very loose, I looked at it's locking nut and found that it was a huge allen key that I was not carrying. The other crank arm had a size that I had but it was of no use since it wasn't the one loosening. I managed to use my two tire levers to tighten it up but was far from tight. I was now 8 miles from the car and as it loosened again after a mile this was going to be an issue. I was pretty frustrated I could not tighten it fully and as I moved off Wild Horse and onto L'Alpe D'Huez it became a greater issue, loosening after a few minutes. Soon the trail became hike a bike, very steep at times as I went up the mountain, but I liked it! As I crested a part the trail narrowly loosely dropped and hugged the hillside. This part was sketchy but I had enough grip and skill to ride it. One last 200ft hike up Goat Trail and I was at the top. The view was pretty dang good, what I was looking at kind of scratched my head, I knew where it was but surprised to facing so South. I dropped into Cactus Garden and happy to be moving downhill without silly steep climbs. It was smooth sailing from then as I hit Hawes it became quite fun to rip down the trail. I never get going fast enough around here, this allowed me to let loose a little. I want to take this bike to the bike park so bad! Made my way easily back to the car and somehow the crank arm felt after the 10th time that it was going to be snug for the rest of the ride. That proved to be true as I got to the car stoked on that ride and crank arm in tact, now off to the bike shop!. It appears I lose a part of the tightening nut on the arm, apparently an allen within an allen, why Race Face...... makes sense to have a smaller allen so one could tighten with a normal multi tool in you pack, but allen within and allen, this I have to direct for it's reason.