Saturday, January 28, 2012

WTB Bronson Tire Review

Now that my Giant Trance is back together (It had an accident involving pavement and a speed of 70mph) I have added a few new parts to it to review. I changed the drive train to a 2x10 Shimano XTR set up, added a Giant dropper post, much wider Easton Havoc bars, an XTR shadow+ rear derailleur, and of course the WTB Bronson tires. I will review all these products at some point but today it is my initial impression of the tires.

I am very impressed with the traction these tires provide. However, to be fair, I want to point out that traction in the S. Foothills of Albuquerque right now is awesome- so take that as you will. I am running the 2.3 size TCS (Tubeless Compatible System) which measures just over 2.3 across the nobs but closer to 2.2 for the casing. They don't feel as heavy as the  810gms that the WTB website says they are, and I will pull one of and weigh it soon. They feel pretty fast for a tire that obviously errs towards grip over efficiency, and I can think of tires that feel heavier and slower that weigh the same or less (Schwalbe Fat Albert UST for instance). A friend of mine rode a pair of these and loved them but he did put an unrepairable hole in one in under a month. The casing does feel a bit thinner than I like for tubeless running but only time will tell, and my friend can break anything so...

The first two pics below are of the tire with the final one being of some awesome mountain biking in Switzerland that I had a chance to do a few years ago.

Charlie S.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Endurance Races

As the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo gets closer, more and more of us are shoring up our plans for all the endurance races we would like to do this year. In an effort to help this undertaking, I have created a spreadsheet of mountain biking endurance events in New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Arizona (and a few in Texas if you like that sort of thing).  I have copied and pasted it below, but it looks better in xls format. The first half of the list are the races in the region that are promoted and supported while the lower part is the grassroots section. I have organized the list by date because most of us are looking at our calendars first. I didn't include any links or exact dates so that the list would remain accurate for longer, and making changes will be easier for me. I intentionally left out some races that seem more like dirt road-bike races, but please feel free to inform me of any mountain bike races that I'm missing since it was hard to find everything. Enjoy.

Race Name General Format Date by month
Early Mid Late
El Paso Puzzler El Paso, TX 50/35 miles   Jan.  
24 Hours in the Old Pueblo Tuscon, AZ 24 hr   Feb.  
True Grit St. George, UT 100/50 miles   March  
Dawn till dusk Gallup, NM 12 hr   April  
Voodoo Fire Pueblo, CO 66/44 mile  
Whiskey Off-Road Prescott, AZ 50/25  
18 Hours of Fruita Fruita, CO 18 hr May
Ridgeline Rampage Castle Rock, CO 60/30 May
12 Hours of Mesa Verde Cortez, CO 12 hr   May  
12 Hours in the Wild West Ruidoso, NM 12 hr   May  
Battle the Bear Denver, CO 60/30   May  
Gunnison Growler Gunnison, CO 64/32 miles  
24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest Gallup, NM 24 hr   June  
Bailey Hundo Bailey, CO 100 miles   June  
Firecracker 50 Brekenridge, CO 50 miles July
Breckenridge 100 Brekenridge, CO 100 miles   July  
CT Classic Durango, CO 74 miles  
12 Hours of Snowmass Snowmass, CO 12 hr  
Leadville 100 Leadville, CO 100 miles   Aug.  
24 hours in the Sage Gunnison, CO 24 hr   Aug.  
Brek Epic Breckenridge, CO 6/3 day stage   Aug.  
Mt. Ogden 100/50 K Mt. Ogden, UT 100/50 kilometers  
Vapor Trail 125 Salida, CO 125 miles Sept.
Tommyknocker 24 Silver City, NM 24 hr Sept.
12 Hours of Sundance Sundance, UT 12 hr   Sept.  
Prescott Sixer Prescott, AZ 6 hr   Sept.  
Fire on the Rim Pine, AZ 45/30   Sept.  
24 Hours of Moab Moab, UT 24 hr Oct.
Tour of the White Mountains Show Low, AZ 60/35 miles Oct.
6 Hours of Frog Hollow Hurricane, UT 6 hr   Oct.  
12 Hours of Old El Paso El Paso, TX 12 hr  
25 Hours of Frog Hollow Hurricane, UT 25 hr Nov.
12 & 24 Hours of Fury Pheonix, AZ 24/12 hr Nov.
Dawn to Dusk Pheonix, AZ 10 hr, 7 min. Dec.

Grassroots/Self Supported          
New Mexico Off Road Endurance Series          
San Ysidro Dirty Century  Albuquerque, NM 100 miles  
 Santa Fe Big Friggin Loop  Santa Fe, NM 67 miles  
Chama Redneck Epic Chama, NM 80 miles   July  
Double Boundry Taos, NM 68 miles   Sept.  
Manzano Mountain Epic Albuquerque, NM 80 miles Oct.
Zuni Mountain 100 Gallup, NM 100 miles     Oct.
Arizona Endurance Series

Antelope Peak Challenge Oracle, AZ 115 miles  
Tor5olita Tuscon, AZ ?   Feb.  
Sedona Big Friggin Loop Sedona, AZ 55 miles   March  
Prescott Monstercross Prescott, AZ 58 miles  
Casner Mtn. Dirty Century Flagstaff, AZ 100 miles   May  
Coconino Stage Race Flagstaff, AZ 250 miles (4 day stage) Oct.
Black Canyon Trail Rock Springs, AZ 50 miles? Nov.
Kentucky Camp Tucson, AZ 48 miles   Nov.  
McDowell 60 Pheonix, AZ 60 miles Dec.    
Colorado Endurance Series      
Salida Big Friggin Loop Salida, CO 85 miles   June  
Durango Dirty Century Durango, CO 97 miles   July  
Rico Telluride 100 Rico, CO 100 miles  
Colorado Trail Race Denver to Durango 470 miles  
Best Of Brockover Pagosa Springs, CO 6 hr Aug.
Mega Friggin Sneffels Loop Ouray, CO 75 miles Aug.
Nederland Half-ass Nederland, CO 75 miles   Aug.  
Pain in the Aspen Aspen, CO tbd Sept.
Crested Butte Classic Cretsed Butte, CO 100 miles  
Ring the Peak Colorado Springs, CO 61 miles Oct.    
Arizona Trail Race Mexico to Utah 750/300 miles   April  
Tour Divide Trail Race Canada to Mexico 2745 Miles June

Thursday, January 19, 2012

American Classic Mini Review and January Mountain Biking in the Albuquerque Foothills

The mountain biking side of my brain is very happy for our recent weather trend but the skiing side of my brain is hoping for a storm. Maybe it could just snow in the mountains and leave the trails alone.

MINI REVIEW: I'm very happy with my American Classic All-Mountain 26 Tubeless wheelset. I love the way they ride and handle- they are very wide, stiff, and stable. They weigh less than 1600 grams (XTR wheels a few years ago weighed that much) and seem very tough. I have found a problem in the supplied AC tubeless valve though- it's very weak.

One of them was at least. Unlike most valves, they are made from aluminum and I'm not sure they are going to hold up to all the different pump-heads and inflating duties they will undoubtedly see. I don't have enough miles to know yet but even if they suck, I'm pretty sure I can get a different valve to work in there. I'll let you know.

On to the riding: The South Foothills surrounding Albuquerque, and the Placitas trails are all riding great right now. I imagine the North Foothills are just about ready but I haven't confirmed that. I've heard there was a little blog-spat over people riding there (while the trails were still wet) on the local pages. Conflict can be so fun when you are safe behind your computer screen.

Here is a great pose in the South Foothills overlooking the drop to the freeway.

Below is a whole series from the Placitas trails.

 For those of you who are not from Albuquerque- notice the awesomeness of our trails. If you live here- don't forget it.

Charlie S.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mountain Biking Photos

I failed once again to bring my camera on a night ride. It made it into the truck but in my excitement to get going, it stayed in the truck. I will try again next week. Instead I will post a few photos from the Oct. trip to Salida, CO area that are NOT on the Monarch Crest trail. There are boatloads of awesome trails in the area but Monarch gets all the fame, so I thought I'd showcase a few.

 I will be heading back this summer.

Charlie S.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Night Rides

Night riding is one of those things I would like to do more than I do. The problem is that in winter when it gets dark early, it’s often really damn cold and I’m already inebriated at that point. I much prefer to night ride in the summer. It’s a truly magical experience to be way out there in the forest at night on a slim ribbon of trail getting ambushed by all sorts of wildlife; but that too is hard to do because it doesn’t get dark till 9pm-ish and it’s really easy to start getting sleepy waiting around for the sun to go down- especially when I’m already inebriated (I detect a theme- don’t judge). Another difficulty is corralling people to ride with since they are often dealing with many of the same issues I am. Anyway, if you haven’t done it, I highly recommend it, and for those of you who do it often- kudos for not being lazy. Whichever you are, the following mini review might be helpful.

I have owned and ridden with a number of high-end lights over the years (Lupine, Light&Motion, Nite Rider) and I am blown away by the lights I now use from Exposure. They are compact, easy to attach, and more than bright enough. If you follow the night riding light industry, you’ll know that the lumen wars are slowly winding down as everybody makes some insanely bright lights. Now it’s about run-time and beam pattern and charge times. Exposure doesn’t lead the field in any of these departments (but neither is it behind by much). The beauty of the Exposure lights is simplicity. The light and battery are combined in one unit like a flash light. Not ground breaking, but I really can’t tell you how nice this is in reality- you just have to try it and you’ll want one. The beam pattern is more of a spotlight on the Maxx-D model which is over 1200 lumens and designed for handlebar use. Exposure recommends using two of their lights in tandem for best results and I concur (I like two no matter which brand I’m using). The hot combo is the Diablo on the Helmet and the Maxx-D on the bars. However, the Maxx-D does just fine on its own; you might just have to go a bit slower than if you had two lights. Considering their battery size, I think their run-times are right up there with the competition, however, The Diablo is designed to run for 1 hour at maximum while the Maxx-D can go 3 hours at full output. This works fine for most rides because you don’t need either of the lights at full-power for uphill riding. If you still need or want more, you can get piggyback batteries that extend the running time. The charge times on the exposures are fairly long and I would like to see this change. You can just plan on charging it overnight. Lastly, the design of these lights allows all of them to be used like flash-lights and there is even a diffuser attachment that turns them into a camp lantern, although I haven’t seen it on the US importer’s website.

For those of you who are our local followers, we are heading out for the 5th night ride of the winter tomorrow night at 6:45 at the top of Copper. It’s going to be a slower social type ride so pony-up! I don't have any night riding pictures yet, so I'll leave you with a photo of an awesome but dreary ride on the Colorado trail near Creede.

Charlie S.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Conti X-King mini review and stuff

I love me some new bike tires. I always get excited when I go on my first ride with some new rubber (don't be crass). I've just gotten a couple rides in on the 2.2 Conti X-King and I'm very impressed with the way it rides.  Please excuse the file footage but my bike is at the shop going through some fork reconditioning experiments and I forgot to get a close-up of the tread pattern.


It's fast and light and has a high level of traction- much higher than you would think from the photo. I did not buy the UST versions but I am running them tubeless. On the negative side, they seem a bit flimsy- not a thick enough side-wall, and I did burp one at 31psi (I weigh about 200 lbs) so I'm now running them around 34psi. Time will tell. The cornering nobs are fine for me but you bad-asses out there might find them lacking to some degree.

Also, the latest issue of Rocky Mountain Flyer is out. You can find it at Bikeworks ABQ or Barnes & Noble. If your bike store of choice doesn't carry the magazine then you need to look for a different bike shop. As usual, it has some excellent photos and articles and a very fun piece where a clever chap tried a somewhat scientific attempt to quantify the difference between 29ers and 26ers.

I'll leave you with a  couple nice photos of warmer days on Deer Creek trail in Crested Butte.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Spring in January

I rode a brief test ride in Albuquerque's South foothills this afternoon (I was testing my busted-ass knee) and the parts of the trails that get a lot of sun are perfect. The parts that get more shade are still quite sloppy. I was surprised it was still that bad. Mornings of course would be fine, but its colder then...

The new longsleeve jersey from Bikeworks was almost too hot it was so nice today.

Lets see if my phone photo of the mountains came out ok.

 and a couple more


Monday, January 2, 2012

Mountain Biking photos

I just changed the background of the blog to one of my photos, but it didn't really come out right. I'll have to keep working on that. I still haven't told anybody I know about this blog yet. Trying to hammer out all the big issues before spreading the word. Someday i may have as many as 8 followers if I add friends and family together. Lofty ambitions for sure.

So I think for awhile I'll just post random things with some photos of rides. I want to encourage anyone who reads this blog and wants to Mountain Bike in New Mexico, to contact me for trail tips and whatnot.  The photo below is of a trail in Sedona. The trail follows the narrow ribbon of vegetation around this butte. If you look closely, you can see my friend riding it.

The next photo shows you what it looks like while on the trail. I highly recommend Sedona for mountian biking.
The contrast is shocking and adds to how cool the riding is. The only annoying part is dodging all the vortex huggers- although I saw a few that were cute.