Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Carvin's Cove Gamut Stage 2 Day 2

Wow, what a way to get in this trail system!  And was I mistaken that stage two was anything like stage 1.  I thought that I would finish stage 2 and get in more of stage 1.  Even without my detour, stage 2 would have been much longer, with more climbing.  I was so glad I chose the geared bike for stage 2.  Both stages together make up an endurance event called the Gamut, held back in July.

The Gauntlet was definitely better as a DH.  I loved old school feel of the Lakeside trail.  Araminta really needed to be ridden in.  Short and sweet, Comet started a little gnarly, but ended more flowy.  Both the old and new parts of the Gorges trail were fun and flowy, switch backing in and out of the coves.  A lot of work has been done to armor the trails against erosion and the newer section had some great berms built into it.

Basically, this system , has everything a mountain biker could want.  Bermy trails, flowy trails, blasting and/or gnarly DHs, plenty of climbing if you want and plenty in the valley, if you don't, put it all together for great endurance ride.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Wilkes 100 at Kerr Scott 2014

Well I finally got all the video edited.  It was a busy video week with the Couch Potato and Swank the next weekend.  We got a late start, leaving New Jersey, but really wanted to get to Kerr Scott, to support our guys, being as it was in the direction we were heading. We did kind of compress our time in Roanoke (Carvin's Cove Trails).  But my Bulldog teammates and friends Tom Kruse and Ryan Heerschap were coming down to North Carolina for Wilkes 100k endurance event on October 25th.  Luckily, Bandit's Roost had one spot that could accommodate us and what  a great spot it was, allowing us to cheer on our guys and get some video.

I rode along for their pre-race tune up ride on friday evening and we went out to dinner for the prerequisite carbo loading.  I ordered the large calzone and was glad to have help finishing that monster, after all I was not the one doing this long event!  Along with the carbs, we strategerized, the start and where to jump to get good position going into the single track.  Mission accomplished as they came through 2nd and 3rd.  I got video of the first single track, the start of Lower Berry and sections after Dark Mountain, heading back through the Overmountain Victory trail to Bandit's roost, as well as a Post Race Interview and shenanigans with the guys.  Both made into the top 20 over all out of 140 finishers.  5:06:40 brought Ryan in at 6th place of 47 in the Open category and 11th over all.  With a time of 5:15:54 TK managed 3rd podium step out of 48 in the 40+ category and 19th over all.  Go Bulldogs!   You can see all the results and more info at the Bushy Mountain Cyclist Club web sight

I set out to ride the course the next day on my Lynskey Single Speed,  Proving I am not in race shape, I started close to 1 pm and did not quite do the entire course, before dark.  No neutral roll out and I skipped the last 2 miles of single track leading to the finish.  55 miles at 6:16 rolling, but 7:06 total time.  The Warrior Creek section seemed to go on for freaking ever!

Friday, November 14, 2014

2014 Swank

The Course changed from last year.  Turns out the well established short connector between FS225 and the top of Daniels ridge does not have the official blessing of the Forest Service.  The Forest Service also changed there mind, last minute on up to 200 riders going down Cove Creek twice, two days in a row.  Blue Ridge Adventures was forced to do two reroutes, very close to race day.  What they came up with was arguably even better.  Just enough fireroad to string out the pack, before the clockwise assault up Daniel Ridge.  The gradual old narrow FS road, still allowed plenty of opportunities for passing, until the right, where the bridge is gone.  From there the race is on, up a super gnarly climb, to the top of Daniel Ridge, past the connector, and down what was the timed enduro section of the previous days Couch Potato.  Completing the Daniel Ridge loop.  Taking a right back on 475, a long FS road climb up to Gloucester gap.  Then a left on to 471 for a little more climbing, before descending to the climb up to the Butter gap DH, up Long Branch, utilizing a little FS road to avoid the rutted part of Long Branch.  Where the Couch Potato. takes a right back on 475, the Swank, turns back up hill to the rest stop at Gloucester gap, before really pointing uphill on 229 towards the Farlow gap/Daniel Ridge enduro section, going down the initial climb of the event,  Left back on 475 (Couch Potato is the same from here), to the left up the Headwater rd (475B) climb to 225, and down Cove Creek to the finish.

I worked the gate so I started my video there, about a quarter mile from the start.  Then some video at the hairpin coming down Daniel the first time, Wes gives some cornering tips on that video.  Before heading to the finish, I got the top 9 descending the last of the gnar on the Enduro section on Daniels ridge and several others on my way back down.  They were so spread out I missed the top 5 at the finish, but got nearly everybody else.  Everybody that rode the Swank, is on the playlist somewhere, though, several times.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

2014 Couch Potato

I really dug last years event, so when I got into Brevard, I had to contact Blue Ridge Adventures, just the week before their final weekend of the year!  It started off with the Couch Potato.  Since my shoulder has only been amiable to mountain biking for a couple weeks, helping out the seemed wiser than racing.  Todd, Heather and crew, really foster a fun an festive atmosphere! From Tyler announcing every racer by name as they cross the line, furnished from BRA's crack timing staff and system, to the choice of either a pulled pork sandwich or chicken and rice, served with kale, along with recovery beverages too! Nightrider and Industry Nine showing there cool toys.

I arrived at 7:30 am to snow accumulating on the grassy slope, that serves as parking for the cars.  As you could imagine it made getting everyone parked safely, a little tricky at times, but we got it done without any mishaps.

I brought my GoPro, incase I had some opportunities to record.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Carvin's Cove SS Ride

It felt great to get back on the SingleSpeed again.  In regards to MTBing, I have had fits and starts after I damaged my shoulder.  So it felt great to get back on the SingleSpeed again.   After Sunday's ride at Stephen's, on my geared bike, I was stoked.  I was able to float through the rock gardens again and not want to cry when every my rear tire spun out on a climb.  My plan was to follow the Gamut course.  The Gamut has many loops that make it easy to get back the TH, making taking the SS a low risk situation.  If the shoulder wasn't having it, I could switch to my geared bike.  The first hour or so, was fine and I kept thinking I could have gone from the 22 to a 21 or 20t rear cog, mated up to my 34t Rotor ring and been a little bit happier on the inbetweens and still make the climbs.  That is until I started up Tuck-A-Way, still a 21t would be fine.  But Climbing Jacob's Drop was another story.  I had to get off and walk every so often.  Then once on Bushy MT you just keep climbing, but at a manageable grade.  Down the Trough and up the Gauntlet, led to a few short walks too.

Once you start going up or down, expect to be doing that for a while, here.

Carvin's is kind a like Douthat minus the Pisgah like portions.  I would have sworn that I was on the switchbacks of Buck Hollow in Douthat as I scampered down the switchbacks on Hi De Ho!

Being my first SS ride in a while, I figured that 21 miles was enough given the 3500 feet.  I will bring the geared bike back tomorrow.

Carter turned me on to VES website that has a great map and GPX files for the Gamut.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stopping off at Carvin's Cove

Carvin's Cove is just north of Roanoke Virginia.  I heard about it from Carter, well over a year ago, when he came up to Douthat to ride there with me.  It sounded great then, with like 20 miles of trails. They keep on adding and I am looking forward to 30 miles.  Unfortunately I am squeezing in two week day rides, between a rather late departure form NJ and rooting for my teammates at a race at Kerr Scott.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Strava Live Tracker

Strava finally says they are working in a Live Tracker, I am stoked!

See the Support thread:

Me Too! it and add a comment to keep them stoked as well.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Ever wonder why some riders just pull away when it gets twisty, even though others might be a more powerful climbers or faster in a the straights?

In mountain biking, you need sufficient fitness and power to weight of course.  But without bike handling skills, you will be left in the dust.  In this article I will discuss cornering.

There are a couple of camps on cornering.  Cross Country or Down Hill/All mountain .

DH and All Mountain riders, generally run full suspension rigs with more travel, wider tires and bars than those used by the XC crowd.  They will drop the seat post, unlike XC, where the length of the rides and races preclude standing the whole time.  There is debate on whether the energy savings of staying seated is worth more than the aggressive handling that a dropped seat allows.  Dropper seat posts are a burgeoning option to do both.

For all turns above tip over speed 4-5 mph, initiating the turn, with a counter steer, weighting the outside grip, momentarily turning slightly opposite the turn, helps set up turning in the direction you want to go.

XC riders and racer, particularly those with a road back ground, will then steer into the turn and by weighting the inside grip and outside pedal(pedaling forward, not backwards to prevent derailing the chain and crossing gears).  Not long ago more hardtails than full suspension bikes were found at the races.  That ratio has flipped and there are more FS bikes now.

The DH/AM rider will also counter steer and then weight the inside grip, but here is were the dynamics differ.  Ala BikeJames and Better rides, you keep your outside foot back to support the weight of the hip swing to the outside weighting that pedal down, akin to carving a ski turn, with a back pedal action.

Lee McCormack, is similar but you go into the corner with the outside foot forward, allowing you to swing your inside knee towards the inside of the corner, allowing a forward pedal to weight the outside foot.

In his article Seb Kemp states a concern that weighting the inside grip,may push the front tire to far to the outside.

I am in the XC camp.  You can read below to see how that came about.  My style is more of a blend.  I run my saddle a little lower than my road bike height, but still in efficient pedaling range.  I will slide my but off the saddle slightly to the outside.  With the outside foot down, inside leg is up high enough to do this, or even let it move in front of the saddle to get more outside if needed.  I keep my upper body close to the bars to weight the front wheel, to maximize traction, with a slight up words roll to the outside.  Kind of automatic when you push the inside bar down, while staying close to the bars.  But like Seb says don't let the front wheel stray to far outside.  I learned pressure on the inside grip method.  it comes from road biking where the handlebars are much narrower.  So after the counter steer, weight the inside grip to get the lean going in the direction of the turn, then drive the front wheel into the ground with the outside grip.  It kind of feels like flying and the handlebars are your wings.

There are times that keeping your pedals level ground, particularly in rough terrain.  There is one technical section at the Vortex at Santos in Ocala Florida that I go in to the right and snake left and right in not much more than a bike length.  I felt much more stable with the left foot back, because the two right snakes define the feature.

I see a problem with outside pedal back, weight the pedal down is effectively a back pedal.  Even with a chain guide upfront, the chain can cross up in back across the the cogs.  Sometimes just a nasty noise, sometimes the chain skips or jams, twists or breaks.  The hopefully you just stop and not knee the stem or pitch off the bike, ouch.

I was part of a lengthy discussing at Mountain Bike Geezer.

I started to revisit cornering after encountering machine made berms for the first time at  Tannehill Alabama, shortly after embarking on this Quest.

I mean man made berms, not the occasional natural banking off of a the base of a tree or the contour trails that cross washes, kills and runs.  Now, I have been riding for decades on fire roads and deer trails.  Deer don't have much need for berms.  I taught myself how to corner after reading Davis Phiney's book "Training For Cycling", oh so many years ago.  being a sprinter and not a climber, he used cornering skills regain contact with the peloton on the descents.  You can get copies on online cheap.

Berms actually require little technique, at speed.  I had to train myself not to do my usual technique on berms.  You need to keep your weigh more in line with the bike. You and the bike lean in relationship to the horizon but is nearly perpendicular to to the banked surface.   To actually increase your speed, bring your mass to the inside, swing your inside knee in and opening your chest facing it toward the exit of the berm, pushing the bike into the hole that is the apex of the berm and pull the bars back to the chest on exit, pulling a wheelie or almost pulling one.  I am starting to get it, letting off the brakes and using as much speed as possible, seems to be the trick.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Velocity Blunt 35

 Up to now I have not said much about the Blunt 35s.  To be blunt, they have given me pretty much zero reason to worry about them, they simply do a great job of holding the bead of that big tire tubelessly. I am super happy with the Velocity tubeless rim strip and valve!  As a system it is great, give the 3 inch tire a nice profile and is strong and reasonably light, particulary compared to the Surly Rabbit Hole.No apparent damage,even after numerous soft bottom outs, usually running 13.5 psi, Last ride, I must have had a puncture or burp and was down to 9.5 PSI and Blunt still held the Knards bead!
No sign of stretch, using Stan's sealant on the lighter 120 TPI Kards

Knob to knob.
After lot's of trail time, the corner and side knobs are showing some wear.  This may account for the hunting on wet rocks on the Lynskey.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Surly 29er+ Velocity Blunt 35 Knard to Follow

After several months of Knard, Knard and nothing but Knard on the front of my either my Lynskey Pro29 SL, fits nicely in the Black sheep fork, for everything short of the Maah Daah Hey after a rain or on my old Ferrous and Switchblade fork combo (plenty of room there).  Except for some railbed riding.

Click here for my First Look at the Knard.
Click here for Follow Up

The Knard Rolls pretty good on the Velocity's Blunt 35. I am running it tubeless, but I was pretty conservative on the pressure and only ran it 17.5, just 1.5 psi lower than my 2.35 Ikon. I dropped another half PSI when I got back near the car at Games Loop/UWF Pensacola Florida.  It was great in the sugar sand of course.  Slid out on some fresh pine needles. Usually I could feel it slide and hook back up though.  I had to keep it weighted, more on top of the front wheel, kinda like riding a hardtail with a big fork up front.

As I slowly lowered the pressure, like half a PSI each ride, I had to ride on top of the front end less.  I worked down to 14 PSI.  That was just starting to feel more shock absorption at 14.  I stayed here a while, as I am concerned about breaking a bead and rolling the Knard off of the Blunt 35.

I settled at 13.5 psi, getting just the occasional bottom out clank.  I weigh around 200 lbs. No scale in the bus so not 100% sure.

Now I always break something at Stokes, Stokes has my number, you could say,  Stokes is pretty much all rock garden, even though rock gardens are usually my forte. My Stan's sealant was getting thin I guess.  I burped or punctured and was able to put the Knard/Blunt 35 up a few times, but ended up putting in a tube.
Back at a compressor, I removed the tube, added some Stan's and  reinflated and it has been good for a couple months now.

Wet rocks seem to be the Knards nemesis.  Particularly on technical rocky climbs, the Knard hunts around a bit, sometimes finding the wrong line, accentuated on a single speed.

Having a 29er+ up front and a weekend on a fat bike, got me jonesin for a 29er+ rear as well.  The Surly Krampus and the Carver Titanium Gnarvester, if you guys are listening :-) Lynskey said they could build me a custom one.  A guy can Dream.

My Lynskey was down for a while, when I got her back together, the bike's handling felt a little slower than I remember with the Knard.  The Ferrous has slightly steeper head angle, and maybe I got used to that.  I gave the 2.35 Ikon another try for comparison and it just worked better with my Lynskey geometry.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back In The Saddle Again


1st and Second rides in the Books!  Two months is to long to go with out a single speed.  Bar switching components back and forth on the Ferrous, it was gears only for me for a while.

No creaks rattles or moans, except occasionally from the handlebar and seat clamp and sometimes the rider :-)

Due to me not being in top shape and it has been a while, I decided to put on a very low 22t cog, pared with my 34t Q ring and 180mm cranks.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Blue Dawn

Most bike mechanics know that regular old fashioned Blue dawn is the best thing to clean disc brakes.

But it is getting harder to find. With all the eco 2 times and now 5 times concentrate!

I have been a die hard user of Dawn for years.  It really cleans up your hands after a greasy job, bike or car.

But ever since the trend to concentrate, I have had a harder time cleaning my hands.  Finger nail brushes helped, but I used to just soap up with Dawn, back then there was only one, let it soak a bit and rinse it off with warm water, wala clean hands! Not so much any more.

So it got me thinking, maybe all this concentrating is the issue.  So, maybe great for dishes and making a spray bottle to detect leak, in tubes and such, but just a little too viscous to get deep into the fingerprints on my hands.

I founds a bottle of regular old fashioned blue Dawn at a Krausers after a remodel.

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise, my hands where cleaner faster than they have been for years!

So I diluted some of the 2X concentrate, about 50/50.  It seemed a little thin and did not mix to the even consistency of Original Blue Dawn, but it did clean my hands much better than the concentrate.  Even with wet hands or cupping water in my hand first, the concentrate will not mix well enough, in my hand, to get into the nooks and crannies of my hands.

I know this is somewhat off the topic of this blog, but epic rides, sometimes require epic repairs and clean up afterwards!

The moral is if you cant find good old fashioned blue Dawn, split the bottle in half and add your local water, keeps the carbon foot print down and gets your hand clean to boot!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Play List of BullDog Rump H2H Race Videos

Here is the play list of edited video from the Rump.  I will add the awards later.
You can use the drop down at the top left of the Youtube screen to skip around the videos.
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

BullDog Rump Video H2H race Series White Trail

Som KVSP White Trail Happiness
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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

BullDog Rump Video H2H race Series

Pros and Cat 1 guys and gals taking on Dunlop on lap one of three on a warm summers afternoon.

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Emergency Derailleur Hanger

I have been carrying a Wheel Mfg Emergency Derailleur Hanger for some time now.  It is something you never want to need, but you sure are happy you have one when you need it.  I was only 10 miles in, but did not want to walk or make the bike a single speed.  The EDH saved the day and it worked well enough to get in 25 more miles.  I got all my gears almost all the time.

 This is not a happy Derailleur Hanger. But it gave it's life to save my frame and derailleur.

No more nobler end for a Hanger!

Here is the EDH after the install.

The EDH does have a tendency to rotate forward.  I only really slowed down some upshifts as derailleur was close enough to the chain to impede it from coming up of it's cog high enough to derail.  Downshifts worked because cable tension force and not a spring make the derailleur shift, down and up respectively.

Problem Solvers makes one that looks a little bit easier to install and addresses the rotation problem.

Either one is then next best thing to carrying the specific hanger for your bike, maybe better if your buddy breaks his and does not have a spare for his bike.  There are so many different hangers for different bikes, an EDH makes sense.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Walnut Creek Austin Texas

We went to Austin to visit friends, enjoy the warm dry Texas spring time weather.  Steve showed me around Walnut Creek.  A nice park in a suburb just north of Austin.  The main loop is well marked, but there are quite a few trails that are not.  Most of the maps at intersections are of the vague variety, we did find one detailed map, with a "You Are Here" star.  It has been a while since Steve has had time to Trail ride, between family and work.  But we did find his favorite section of his favorite trail, the Log Loop, which is also well marked.  It was very swoopy and begged to be railed.  No berms here just natural trails with roots, rocks and trees to negotiate.  Then a fireroad connector to the other single track part of the Log Loop, which had some bigger roots, change ups and a alternate log ramp.  We did each a few times, alternating, depending on the traffic.  We went on a Saturday and there were a lot of hikers and bikers out, not as much as you would think for the first really nice weekend in some time.  It does get chilly down here and it can feel pretty cold to the locals that are used to the Texas summer heat!

On the way back to the cars, you just follow the "P" for parking on the trail markers, we only made one wrong turn trying to follow them.  And am I glad we did, cause we came across Endo Alley.  Steve thought better of of dropping in.  It was right up my alley, pun intended.  This was a very short but intense black diamond DH, with a nut buster climb back up.  When Steve did not show up at the top, I did it again, before realizing that there was another trail that avoided the climb and let out onto the power lines.  We went the wrong way into some berms before deciding to find those "P"s.

Some very nice scenery and cool trails, nestled in a metropolitan area.  Steve has since picked up the fatbike that he has been wanting.  I would like to think that I inspired him to rekindle his love of Trail riding.
Plenty of these generic signs

I am not too happy with the quality that MS Movie maker published after the edit, maybe too many splices.  Looks OK on my Iphone.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Barton Creek Austin, Texas

With a 34/15, I was geared great for much the river valley trails and made most of one of the big offshoot climbs, before the first underpass.  The Hill of Life, was another story altogether, I be back with gears, cause one gear that makes that climb, maybe doable, would be painfully slow on some of the trails along the creek.  There are lots of rock gardens and features to work your technical skills, a few would have benefited from a lower gear too!  There are two entries on Single Tracks that kind of overlap, Barton Creek Greenbelt and Barton Creek Wilderness.  From the topo maps they  look like slightly different versions of the same trails.  Distance and descriptions vary quite a bit though.  My best take on that is that the Greenbelt encompasses the main trail along the creek and the Hill of Life and the Wilderness trails are the unmarked trails across the creek from the main trail head in Zilker park.  A nice warm up would be to go east toward the river/lake, cross the first bridge and head west up to the road, around the construction and access the unmarked trails, just up the road a bit.  Take them to the karin and go right across the creek, back to the main side.  It looked like the trail may continue on the unmarked side, but I was uncomfortable riding through what looked like someones property, no signs, just a patio and a landscaped walkway.  Even on the main side there are many offshoots, some come back to the trail, some dead end and others go back down into the creek.  Some reviews on both entries mention the Hill of Life, but I do not think that you could get there in the 4 miles listed for the Wilderness, but the topo map includes it, but seems to miss the unmarked trails across the creek from the TH.

This is the first time since I started running the Knard/Blunt 35, that I got to descend big rocks and drops, maybe since Pisgah even!  Now while I was not descending like a I was on a downhill rig, I felt in more control and I did not feel like I was going to be bounce of the bike, like at Farlow Gap!  While not quite as intense and gnarly as Farlow, descending the Hill of Life and other sections of Barton were a good test.

I love the technical aspect of these trail and the first real climbing in quite a while.  They can get pretty busy at peak times, so plan accordingly.  Zilker park has a lot of other activities, such as canoe and kayak rentals, swimming holes, playground a kids train and a garden.  Zilker also gets you access to the Town Lake bike path, which was even busier, due to its tame wide and flat crushed stone surface.

Ironically, at first these trails reminded me of other river valley riding that I did way back when in the Minnesota and Mississippi river valleys in Minnesota.  Just throw in lots of rock gardens from my more recent home town trails in northern New Jersey and a couple big climbs.  It was "ironic" cause part way along as I was about to take another dead end, a rider comes by and I tag along.  His name was Tim and he also was borne and raised in Minnesota.  He left when for texas when he was 21.  Small world for sure.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bruce and Lois

Bruce, messaged Tammy and asked for some medium rides, for a trip they are planning later in the year.  Years ago back in Jersey, Bruce and Lois helped me through a tough period in my life and helped keep me riding after I got slow and fat and depressed.  I don't know if they know how much it helped.  I have had many friends that seem to come into and out of my life.  I like to think of it as our paths coming together for a while, before they diverge.  Even when I met, Bruce and Lois had been riding for many decades and liked somewhat technical riding and would not interested in Strava KOMs or accumulated feet of climbing.  Just having a good ride.  There have been times that they had to put the Mountain Bikes away for various reasons.  It is good to see them even planning such a trip, leaving sunny California.

I would recommend the following Epics:

Kansas Switchgrass
Kerr Scott, North Carolina
Dupont State Park, North Carolina
Ocoee Trail, Tennessee
Big South Fork, Tennessee
Rock Lake, Cable, Wisconsin
Levis-Trow Mounds Wisconsin
Cuyuna Lakes, Minnesota
Alafia River State Park, Florida
Santos, Florida
MOCO Epic, Maryland
Maah Daah Hey, North Dakota
But only well after a rain and when it is not scorching hot, kind of a small window in the end  July, early August I guess.
Copper Harbor, Michigan
This does have some tough climbs, but they are not too long.  But it may be my favorite trail system yet.

For rides not on the IBMA list:
San Felasco Hammock Preserve, Gainesville
Bethel Biloxi Mississippi
Games Loop/UWF Pensacola Florida
Balm Boyette Florida
Lake Leatherwood Eureka Arkansas
Redbug Lake Overstreet Tallahassee, Florida
Tom Brown Tallahassee Florida 
San-Lee Sanford North Carolina
Tannehill Forge Alabama

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Dupont IMBA Epic

Dupont has a trail to tickle almost any riders fancy. Slick rock climbs, like the armored Jim Branch climb, where your tires stick like glue even when wet. In fact the trails hold up nicely even after a rain.  More slickrock, long and steep, going up and down Big Rock, it is a nice challenge.  For a more moderate climb, Laurel offers some nice singletrack, with some nice flow and a few corners that make you work to keep the knobbys planted.  Mine Mountain moves the needle back to steeper side a bit, more rugged and faster change ups.  Mine Mountain is fun in both directions.  Pine pitch and Three Lakes combine to takes down the oxygen debt from climbing, quite a bit, but leaves plenty roots and change ups work your tech skills and become more challenging the faster faster you go.  And I would be remiss not to mention the Airstrip DH, as anybody that I have talked to, that has traveled to Dupont, ask me how I liked the Airstrip trail.  Airstrip is one of the shorter trails at Dupont, but it loses a fair amount of elevation though, with some tough roots, rocks and sharp hairpins and a couple jumps, for those so inclined.  You pay for that fun with a good fire road climb, but you can repeat it a few times pretty easily, if you like.
Going to Church, Greg Heil's article on

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Surly Knard on a Velocity Blunt 35 First Look

Back on February 20th, I built up a Velocity Blunt 35 29er rim, to mount up a Surly Knard 29x3 inch tire, 29 plus to all the cool kids.  Both my bikes are suspension free and riding in Pisgah, particularly Farlow Gap, got me thinking, as I walked way too much of it.  I was calling it semi-fat, but 29+ is more succinct.
See the follow up here Surly 29er+ Velocity Blunt 35 Knard to Follow and Follow Up

Here is the freshly built front wheel

I will only be running it on the front.  Like suspension, it is most important on the front and it would not fit in either of my bikes in the rear.  I was sure it would fit in the Bontrager Switch blade and pretty sure it would fit in the Blacksheep fork(turns out that,except for Maah Daah Hey quality mud, there is more than adequate room).  

Here is the Knard/Blunt compared to a 2.2 Ikon/Stans Arch

On the Blunt 35, the Knard casing measures out to 71.6 mm or 2.8 inches and 75.6 mm knob to knob, nearly 3 inches.  I expected less, considering it is mounted on a rim 15 mm narrower than Surly's intended rim the Rabbit Hole.  Luckily it still fit in the BlackSheep fork.  You have to angle the big old tire past the brake caliper on both forks.

Stay tuned for my trail experiences with the Knard and the Blunt 35, sounds like a superhero team from Jay and silent Bob.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

Lake Houston Park Kwik Stats

With like 18 miles of total trails and a big loop of 14 listed on Singletracks, I figured I could do a couple loops, with some exploring on the first one and get 30 plus.  Well I managed 35 miles, but the loop was kind of impeded by a big boggy area.  So went to that point in both directions, plus some exploring.  The Ameritrail, was pretty fun, I liked it best on the way back.  The rest was either dual track, with sporadic mud holes or Forest Service roads.  Some of the Dual track was almost like single track, kinda.  Numerous places had a slightly greasy layer, that put me down once and made for lot's of two wheel drifting around corners, which made up a little for the lack of tech and twists.  Got some practice with the Knard in the mud.  The 34/15 was a decent gear, except in the mud bog.
There is a lot of potential here.  But some serious work would need to be done.
At least the green slimy mud did not stink!

 I did not see any Though

 Big Mud Bog at 4.5 miles along the Ameri-trail

If this is the rainy season in Texas, They got there average of 3 inches in February and 2.48 of 3.84 inches so far for march.  Something must be jamming up some drainage.

 Follow the Blue Posts

Ameri-trail mostly follows along Caney Creek, Mostly.

 Before Too Much Mud bathing

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Jack Brooks Kwik Stats Single Speed

Went back knowing the segments, to see how I stacked up. I warmed up by taking the Park road the the other entrance on the other side (my knees were happy!), shore up my understanding of how Autobahn turned off of Hermits Run, then rode part of the loop back the the TH. I love that this trail is one way!

Jack Brooks is full of surprises. That first bridge that goes down, across and up a huge gully, that turned out to be a water collector. Even though it had not rained since Sunday and was dry on Monday, today it had water in it. But the bridge was above the water, no problem...Right?
Turns out the bridge is on pontoons and was floating on the water. So it was kind of like dropping down onto a floating dock for the first time, without foreknowledge of such floating of said bridge. It was a cool sensation, to say the least, like riding a wave, on a bike on a boat.
There were a few more greasy spots than on Monday. Locals, were not aware of any rain since Sunday though. For my Strava runs, I rode every stunt except for the concrete cylinders, the water step over right after that and the super long skinny. I ran just over 13 psi in the Knard, mounted to a Velocity Blunt 35, up front and it seems to be the sweet spot, very forgiving, with just a hint of that unnerving tire deflection. I ran a 34/15. I was getting a pretty bad skip, so I did my best to keep tension in the chain. For the 2nd lap I tighten the chain, but still got one clunk. It may be time for a new freehub body or at least pawls. The Full loop has a short loop in the middle that is repeated. That is how the segment reads. So I did it that way. I did one without that duplication as well, which makes more sense to me. Except for one pretty cool naturally bermed hairpin, no other stunts or features were included in that duplicate quarter mile or so, go figure.

Spider Drop

Long Skinny

Compound Teeter


Garbage Clean Up!

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