Monday, October 8, 2012

Durango Mountain Biking

Some photos from our fall trip.

Looking left towards the Needles Range shortly after being dropped at Molas Pass

Traversing/Climbing towards intersection with Jura Gap and Rolling Pass

Rest stop halfway from Molas to Rolling Pass

Looking up towards Jura Gap

The top of Rolling Pass

Looking South towards our well earned descent from Rolling Pass

High point East of Bolam- Engineer Peak in background

The top of Blackhawk Pass.

Day 4 hike - Ruby Lake (closer) and Emerald Like in Weminuche Wilderness

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Whole Enchilada

I don't think I'm going to make it up to Moab this year, but below is a picture from the whole Enchilada ride in Moab. This is absolutely the best time of year to go since you have a huge section of the trail that descends through Aspen trees and Scrub Oak- both of which get very colorful right now.

This photo is looking back the way we came. We rode from behind the single peak in the center of the photo, all the way around its base and down to where this was snapped. This photo was taken from the top of the Hazard County section and is roughly halfway through the ride. Go do it! I highly recommend the guys at Uranium Cycles if they are still doing the shuttle.

Charlie S.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Geax Mescal 29er TNT 2.1 Tire Review

I put one of these tires on the back of my full suspension 29er in anticipation of the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest race, figuring that it would be a fast light option, and given my experience with Geax's durability and tough casings in the past, maybe it wouldn't flat on me.

The tire itself has a very low center tread with a chevron shaped knob and a tight row of medium sized cornering knobs. It looks fast and it felt it too. The minute I rode the bike I could feel a difference (the old tire was a Spez Captain) which is impressive since I only changed one tire on the bike. Part (most) of this is its light weight of course- 625 grams for a tubeless compatible 29x2.1 is pretty damn good. The 2.1 size is about spot-on, unlike many manufacturers tires. The Mescal did its job during the race and I felt reasonably fast despite coming off an injury not too many weeks prior.

I left it on the bike for the next few months to try it out on the trails. It seems that the Mescal is also a passable trail tire. I found that it gripped very well on dry or slightly moist packed trails, it was more than competent (for its size) on loose trails, but it's Achilles was the smooth limestone rocks of the East Mountains. No tire is good on those rocks but the Mescal seemed worse than most. Perhaps it was the tread, the size, the rubber compound, or a mix of all those things, but it was just a bit scary and aggravating on those trails.

The sidewalls do seem thin compared to the trail tires I usually run (which makes sense), but I never suffered a flat or puncture. It could be luck, but Geax seems to do well for me in this regard. Generally, he 2.1 size alone leaves it off the trail tire list around here, but trail riding in other parts of the country is different, and if you are looking for a tire that you can definitely race on, and use on your not-too-rugged local trails as well, the Mescal deserves a look.

Charlie S.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Santa Fe Loop - Again

Not long ago I blathered about a nice ride I did in Santa Fe that connects Big Tesuque, Aspen Vista, and Winsor. Well, I did it again but this time with Dr. Dave, Marc, Dan L., Matt, and Alex (who is now allowed to ride his mtn bike again after surgery from his last mtb ride).
                    Alex and Marc on top of Aspen Vista and a bit chilled after waiting for me

                            The leader of the charge up Aspen Vista- Senor Angry Pedals

                                   Dr D- changing, adjusting, tinkering, or fiddling with something

                                                  The ride of champions, and 2 seconds later...

                                                                 The walk of shame

                                             Coolness never had so nice a backdrop

We had pleasant temperatures and no rain. It was great. Alex texted later to let me know that he was quite tired, and since he hasn't been mountain biking for about 2 months, I believed him.

Charlie S.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Liteville 301 First Impressions

Its been awhile since my last post. I'm not riding quite as often as I'd like, I haven't been feeling too good, and there just hasn't been much in the mountain biking world to excite me lately. Hopefully all those things will change.

I took my virgin ride on the Liteville 301 on Sunday, and rode it again on Monday. It rides great- It feels like an old glove that you loved, thought you'd lost, and then found again. It does everything well and is as stiff as all get out! I haven't finished tweaking the cockpit for my desires but even the way it is now gives me very little to complain about. It rides like a proper trail bike. Uphill it can hold its own with any trail bike out there and on the descent, it far exceeds my abilities. I am happy.

On a separate note. My Ikon rear tire ripped open coming down Rambo. I don't have a lot of time on it and maybe it was bad luck but if you look at the pictures, It seems like it should be a bit tougher. I like the tread and weight though. I give it another shot, but it might be too light-weight for around here.

Till next time.

Charlie S.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Santa Fe Mountain Bike Loop

I managed to haul my tired old body up to Santa Fe for a ride on Thursday. I haven't been getting outside of ABQ much this summer, and it was about time. The rains have finally decided to grace us with their cooling love and the trails were in perfect condition.

The first climb up Big Tesuque to Aspen Vista- notice the superhero traction
My loop was short but had a fair amount of climbing. I started at Big Tesuque campground (Elev. 9,600) on Hyde Park Road and road up to Aspen Vista. I took Aspen Vista to the top (Elev. 12,000) and then connected to Raven's Ridge and rode it all the way to Winsor trail. Then down Winsor for a few miles to where the Big Tesuque trail intersects (Elev. 9140), then up a mile and a half to where I parked. It rained a bunch but never hard enough to be a bother. The lightning however, was scary enough that I took cover a few times. I highly recommend this loop if you want great views, a hard ride, some elevation training, an escape from the heat, and some occasional hiking (on Raven's).

The top of Aspen Vista. The trail on the right takes you to Raven's Ridge
The view of Lake Peak from the traverse to Raven's
Nambe Lake with the Rio En Medio fire scar in the distance
Santa Fe Baldy
Don't Fall to the right
On the way back up Big T.
It is a pretty hard 13 miles but totally worth it.

Charlie S.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Maxis Ikon Initial Tire Review

At first glance, the Maxxis Ikon tire looks like a Kenda Small Block 8 with larger knobs. That is, of course, essentially what it is, but that's not a bad thing. The SB8 is a good tire and an excellent tread design- why not make a similar tire that is a bit bigger and grip-ier and see how that works? Excellent is the answer, and too bad for Kenda that it wasn't them.

The Ikon is a race tire and Maxxis is clear about that, but it is designed to be a high-volume race tire and therefore only comes in a 2.2 size (26 or 29). It is a proper 2.2 also, not like some of those bull shit 2.2's that end up smaller than a 2.1 from other manufacturers.

The sidewalls feel appropriately thin, but not scary, and the whole tire feels very solid once mounted. It snapped right into place on the tubeless American Classic wheelset and with one dose of sealant, has lost very little air since mounted.

I'm riding on the 26x2.2 with the "EXO" sidewall protection. Of course it is not being used for racing, but for trail riding, and I have to say that it has held up well. I only have 4-5 good rides on it, but a number of other tires have shown trouble in less time than that. The traction these tire have is quite good. It is much better than I thought it would be, but obviously not up there with some of the burly trail tires out there. They roll fast though and are light as you can hope for on a tire like this. The published weight was 550 grams and mine came in at 560 grams.

If you are looking for a high-volume race tire, or a fast tire that can double as a light-medium duty trail tire- this is a good candidate. I don't know how long they will last on trail duty but if they can get through another 12-15 rides, I'd call that a fair deal.

Charlie S.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Crisp Titanium with Leonardi Racing Fork

I came across this at the Bespoked Bristol (a UK hand-built bike show) website the other day and the Crisp frame is very nice, but the fork by Leonardi Racing is very cool.

John Whyte had a similar linkage design on his PSRT series bikes but this one takes it a step further by making it a lefty design. This Italian stuff is hard to find on the internet, much less read about, so I don't know any details but I would love to try one. Oh well.

Charlie S

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mountain Biking Stuff

There seems to be a lull in the mountain biking world right now. I hope it is because everybody is out riding and just getting it done. Regardless, there has been a dearth of excitement and I have been tired and still partially injured, so My blog has suffered (not that it's that great).

First of all, the 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest is coming up in a few days and it is one big mountain biking party. I am excited for the event and to see all my friends (especially Alex who has moved to Flagstaff). Next year it is going to be the 24 hour endurance championship so it will probably double in size. If you haven't done a 24 hour race- this is a good one to start with.

Next: a picture of Kip on Poco Loco which is riding really nice,

and somebody built a lovely connector from Poco over to the top of Otero across a small chunk of the "VERBOTEN" territory- it's illegal, but convenient.

Riding the North Foothills today, I saw some cool insect action- some type of ground dwelling Bee had hatched its way out of the ground and was very busy flying in and out of the holes they had dug.

Some other flying insects (horsefly?) seem to be getting in on the action but I couldn't discern what was actually going on.

Lastly, I converted my Cross/Commuter/Frankenbike back to its originally intended form- a 29er singlespeed. I went full rigid to see if I can be as bad-ass as the guy we rode with in Sedona a few months ago (not possible), but it did end up very pretty and very light at 18.75 Lbs.

Yes, I'm spoiled. Cheers.

Charlie S.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

SRAM 1x11

I haven't seen a lot of cool stuff from the bike bike industry lately, but the new 1x11 drivetrain from SRAM gets me kind of excited. I wouldn't want it on every bike I have but I like the idea.

It has a massive rear cassette (10-42) and a proprietary derailleur to make it work.

It will have the XX designation so it will be high-end, although it doesn't sound like there is much weight savings by the time you add it all up, but in the name of simplifying the bike and not having to deal with a front derailleur, it sounds like win.

You won't have to run a chain-guide on the front due to a special chain-ring design. Notice the wide teeth below.

We'll see, but I'm going to give it a shot.

Charlie S.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Baggie Bibs

I ran across the Dirtbaggies the other day and thought the idea might be good for those of you bib lovers out there (I'm not really a fan). I'm trying to get my Dan Lucero to buy a pair so we can get his opinion. Of course the guy in the picture is a little goofy but the product seems well thought-out.


Charlie S.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Liteville Frame

I just ordered a Liteville 301 frame from the US importer, and in the process, Bikeworks chose to become one of only a select few dealers in the country. For those of you who don't know, Liteville is an Uber-German company with ties to Syntace (another Uber-Germ, who make some of the best components out there). It's kind of a Trail/AM bike with all sorts of geeky details. I couldn't possibly do it justice myself, so check them out at Liteville. They have more information and whatnot than any bike company website I have seen.

If you want to go check it out, the frame is over at Bikeworks right now, and will be hanging there for at least few weeks until I can get all the parts I need to build it up.

More importantly, during all my research on the frame, I encountered the video that I have linked below. I love it not because of the bike, but because the trail he is riding looks awesome and a bit scary.

That is good stuff.

Charlie S.

Monday, May 14, 2012

12 Hours in the Wild West Report

Zia rides (Lyndsay) put on another good race this year. I was supposed to race but due to my leg injury, I gave my spot to Dan, which created a cascade of other Bikeworks guys deciding to go to the race, and then suddenly, the store was closed and everybody raced. I was there for emotional support, and to poke my finger in their thighs and hamstrings really hard late in the race to try and start a cramp.

The weather was ominous when we showed up. It was pouring rain, and had been for some time. It cleared up later that night, and the next day began with sun and blue sky. The rain from the night before was a memory, but dropped enough water that the race to be delayed one hour and caused a slight re-route of the major climb (and only real technical section) on the course.

Apparently the trail was very fast this year because people were beating their times by about 15 minutes or more. I hiked up on the course to take a couple photos and it definitely was a harder packed surface than last year.

The rain tried again just before the end of the race. It was halfhearted, but I felt bad for anybody out on the course late because the temperature dropped quite a bit as well.

                                               Dan and Dan taking it easy on the first lap

                                             Dan and Dan taking it easy on the last lap

                                                         Dr. Dave waiting for Dr. Jeff

                                                       Mike waiting for Maggie

Good Times.

Charlie S.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Trans-Alp Tour Guide

I just read about a tour operator, Wilderness Breaks, that does a Trans-Alp style trip that sounds awesome. Unlike some other tour companies, this one seems to understand what's important- Singletrack, and more downhill vertical than uphill.

It is 10 days of riding from Geneva to Monaco with over 60,000 vertical feet of descending! This is a British outfit that caters mostly to Brits (and even has some American trips) but us Yanks are more than welcome.

It is a pretty good deal at $2,400.00 +/- for all breakfasts and dinners, all lodging, airport transfers, and lift tickets for the uplifts. That leaves you to buy lunches (and I assume-some alcohol).

Cash in some frequent flyer miles and get it done.

Charlie S.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Schwalbe Hans Dampf Impressions

Schwalbe makes some good tires and the Hans Damf 2.35 is no exception.  It was designed to be an "all-arounder" and was developed specifically with North America in mind with all the varied conditions we can see in different parts of the country.

The Hans Dampf is a Proper 2.35. When cornering hard, I can get it to rub the chainstay. I really like that mine both weighed in at around 780 grams. That is bad ass! These are potential trail tires extraordinaire! They have stronger sidewalls "Snakeskin"- Schwalbe's nomer, and are tubeless ready (not UST).

I mounted them up on two different bikes and headed out to Sedona, AZ. to see if they would make me a hero. They did very well but I didn't manage to achieve hero status. Sedona doesn't have a huge amount of variable conditions- there is slickrock, and loose sandy stuff, and that's it, but they did just fine. They did what they were asked and sometimes more, and the more I rode them the more I liked them, and trusted them.

I have ridden the foothills a handful of times on them too. Again, they pretty much do what is asked. When they do let go on the corners, they do it predictably. I only ride on tires this wide once in awhile (usually Moab or Sedona)  and I have noticed that they can float around a bit, and loose traction earlier on the loose-over-hardpack trails of the Albuquerque foothills and similar areas. The Hans did this too, but not as bad as other tires this size that I have tried, so I'd actually put that in the positive column for Hans.

They feel like they roll pretty dampf well for their size and level of traction, and I'm excited to try them on the longer rides in the East Mountains and up at altitude.

On the negative side, the knobs are "chunking" and "mushrooming" (like most Schwalbes do) and they will probably wear down quicker than most tires. The price paid for the triple compound rubber and whatnot...Of course, Schwalbe being Schwalbe, they are freaking expensive!

There are definitely tires that do some things better, but these are very good all-around tires at a great weight. The price is too high and the level of wear too high for them to appeal to the majority of riders, but if you want a great all-conditions tire in a large size, at at low weight- then the Hans Dampf is your bad boy.

Charlie S.