Thursday, September 28, 2006

the SRAM/Shimano debate

Those that know me know that I am definitely a fan of Shimano XT and XTR over SRAM X9 and XO (LX v X7 is no contest...). I'm still rockin' the M952 XTR shifters and derailleurs that debuted in something like 1996! It's not that I'm hugely loyal to Shimano, though. In fact, I started out my mtb career with Suntour and I still think that XC Pro was one of the greatest mtb groups ever. No, it's not allegiance to Shimano, I just like the fact that it works, it's durable, and... well, it works and it's durable. That's pretty much what I'm looking for in parts. That, and it's light and good looking, too. There are some design elements of SRAM drivetrain parts that I am not really in to.

I just got some of the new (2007) SRAM X9 bits in today. Some of my feelings may start to change. First off, I've been spending a bit of time lately on the Turner Flux demo, and that has a complete SRAM X9 (2006) drivetrain. It works well. I've had to fine tune my finger muscles a bit to compensate for the different shifter, but so far I've been pretty happy. About the only thing I've not been stoked on is front (down) shifting under load. There have been a couple of instances where my XT front der would've done the trick, but the XGen did not. But I digress. Like I said, I just got some of the new '07 X9 in. They've changed a few things. First, the shifter gets the multi position mount, much like XO. Definitely a sweet feature for those of you out there that just can't get your shift/brake lever positions 100% dialed. The downshifting lever (thumb) definitely has a more positive snap than the previous version, which is also a good thing.

But the rear der is something else. I think they've finally got it. My biggest beef with the X9 rear der has been the cheap steel plates on the back of the derailleur body. I recently came across one that had been bent slightly enough that, even though it still shifted well, the low limit screw was no longer touching the innner der parralelogram plate, so the bike would easily shift into the spokes! The new 07 version addresses that. Gone is the cheap stamped steel and new is a finely crafted hunk o' aluminum. SRAM also changed the inside/outside orientation of the pivots on the der mechanism, so it should feel a little stiffer in the der shifting under load.

The 2007 X9 from SRAM may be the hot ticket for that level of drivetrain, and there's no question that XO works well. We'll just have to wait and see what that new Shimano XTR feels like ;) ...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

sun downer

I snapped off one good pic tonight. The aspens were great up there, too. Here's Dave and Dave riding off into the sunset. Thanks for being the ride leader tonight Debaser!

Dave, Dave, Dave, and me.

Good ride tonight. Minimal carnage, and great trails. Good thing we had a backup light!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tuesday Ride 9/26

This Tuesday, is anyone down with meeting up in Boulder? We could meet at Settler's Park and ride up, loop Bettasso and back? I haven't done that in about a year. How does 5:45 work?
OK, here's the new updated plan. Meet up at the Taj parking lot* in Boulder at 5:45. From there, we will carpool/caravan west of town into the forest. It's about a 20 minute drive from the parking lot. Fun terrain, some steep stuff, some technical stuff, but mostly just plain old good. I've only done this loop once before, so let's hope Debaser comes along. If he doesn't, we'll resort to plan B, which is - try the same ride anyway and risk getting lost.

Lights mandatory!

*Taj parking lot is on the SE corner of Baseline and Broadway by Cutting Edge and Taco Bell.

weekend wrap up

I hope everyone had a great weekend, despite your preferences in weather. My weekend was good. I was lucky enough to catch a quick spin at Hall on Friday before dark, and it was great. I don't think I will ever get bored with Hall Ranch. I mean, I love to ride in a lot of different areas, but I never get sick of riding Hall, even though I'm there quite a bit. Anyway, I met a guy at Hall that lives a few minutes up the road. He told me that there's been a rather blatant breach of perimeter security within the last few months. He was not very happy about it. I don't blame him, especially given the source.

No riding on Saturday. It was a good day to hang out. We grabbed some pizza from the local new pizza place, Ma's Pizzeria. They do a good job on pizza, so be sure to check 'em out next time you're through Lyons. The place was jamming last night - I hope they can make it enough to stick around.

Mary ran the 1/2 at the Boulder Backroads this morning. She took off super early so the girls and I came down later to meet up. It's a fun vibe, kind of like bike racing, but with a little wider appeal so you get a little of everybody. The good times came to an end with the traffic jam leaving the beach area of the Boulder Res. It took about 45 minutes to get out of the parking lot. Went straight back to the bike shop after the race. Man, what a beautiful day, eh? We saw tons of bikes out on the road there, too.

After an action packed day at the shop, I took a quick lap up at Hall again. I went up Hwy 7, did a loop, then back down to Hwy 7. It was a fun ride, especially in part becaus I'm back on a Flux. The Intense 6.6 is still rocking, but I thought I'd spend a few days on the Flux demo. I've almost forgotten how quickly this bike handles. Man, the Flux is a superb handling bike. It can be a handful on the downhill if you're not ready for it, but the thing flows swoopy singletrack like nobodies business. It climbs amazingly well, too. I've definitely grown accustom to riding the big blue couch. I am eager to ride the new 29" Flux, the Sultan. I wonder how that Sultan will go head to head against a Spider 29er? Speaking of, there's one on the way...

That's all for now.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Storm? What storm?

Sweet sweet singletrack in the mountains. SSV, Sourdough, and a little getting lost.

And just a weee little bit of carnage.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Fall Classic in Breckenridge, this weekend

Current Conditions as of 1:50 PM on Thursday.
Ummmm...Action, Jackson?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bridges of Kenosha

I think Chad would ride over a bridge of popcicle sticks if he ran accross one. He's got no fear of falling to certain doom.

Wierd right hand to two foot step up entrance on this one.

Another right hand step up - the first of two bridges one after another.

20 feet later, the second bridge over another creek.

After hitting both bridges seperatly and succesfully he went back and hit both in succesion. Check out the chain on the wheelie drop off the second one!

Tuesday Night Ride, 9/18

Meetin' up at the shop at 6pm to stage for a 20min drive to the trailhead. Expect fun stuff and a steep climb out at the end. Definitely bring a light. Kind of along those lines, the loaner light is down for the count and may be going incognito for a while.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

juan solo ride today

Every day is a good day in the backcountry. I hit one of my favorite spots today. It's rideable as a loop combination of trail and jeep road, but today I rode the singletrack as an out and back. Doing that gave me A)a slightly longer ride and B)more net singletrack. That's a good thing, I estimated. Oh, and I started at the bottom of Bmx Track, so I got the bermie, swoopie descent at the end.

It was chilly, though. That made it 2 days in a row for long sleeves and knickers. It was chilly when the trail was by the water. When the trail climbed up away from the water, the sun felt good but the wind was more blustery. Did someone forget that it's still technically summer? At least it wasn't snowing today.

The fall color was going off in the bottom of the canyon. Yep, everyday is a good day in the backcountry.

good day today

This morning, we worked on new trail construction at the nearby Heil Ranch Open Space. Today was the first public workday for a new trail, about 3 miles long that creates a second loop in the park. It was great to see such an enthusiastic group of mountain bikers jump in to help. Mountain bikers were definitely the majority of the help out there today. Big thanks also to BMA and to everyone that sends letters and comments. This loop was never part of the original plan, but we rallied and came out 1 trail ahead. Great job! In another year or so, a connector trail will come off this new loop and roll into Lyons. Can't wait.

Dale from Oskars helped out with the necessary beer and food afterwards. We obliged. Then we rode. We drove up to Miller Rock for a little ride. It was snowing on and off the entire ride. The moisture was great, though - the dirt was about perfect. We stopped to scramble to the top of Miller Rock. The views from up there are sweet, but it was a little cloudy.

then we rode some more.

It was a great day, bikes, trails, beer. good stuff.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yard Art

What do you do with a couple broken frames and a rainy day?

Buy a 12 pack and rebuild. Yard art was born.

May the chameleon and the IFT rest in peace.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

"Change to allow bikes"

The Eldorado Mountain TSA is going to the Open Space Board of Trustees early next month - here's the Open Space's map of the area. All the current trails will be opened (solid red) , and many miles of new trails will be open to us (red & yellow trails), assuming it gets approved.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

no glasses

You just don't need suntan lotion or tinted lenses mountain biking here. The canopy is so thick you rock the clear lenses on sunny days. But the trails are tight and the turns are tighter.

This is a place called hartwood acres and is about 10 miles outside of the Burg'. Its a maze of trails but you can link up a good long ride there. But you better be prepared to hop about 50000 logs!

building trail is good

To quote Rockin' Ron from last Friday...

"Finally, the exciting news is that Saturday Sept. 16th the trail building for the new loop up in Heil will begin!!!!. The time for building will be from 9am to 1pm and volunteers will receive a free T-shirt and lunch provided by Oskar Blues. If you want to volunteer, call Mary Wiener at 303.678.6216. If you are reading this, you need to be there. Bring your work gloves, water, and snacks and ready to have some fun."

On top of that, Redstone will be giving 10% off normally priced stuff (everything, that includes special orders) to anyone that shows up for trail work. Heck, I'll even go to 20% off if you can make both days (Sept 16 and Oct 21). Yep, it's that important to show up.

Enough people bitch about the riding around here. Time to step up and do something productive. Hopefully, this will be incentive for some folks.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Tuesday Ride, 9/12

We'll be leaving the shop at 6pm pronto. Bring lights! We'll be driving from the shop to the trailhead. See you there!

Montana - Big Sky Country

We just got back from a doozy of a trip. The plan - head up through Tetons and Yellowstone en route to visit a peculiar Red Barn hidden deep in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana. Visit people and do some bike riding. Simple enough.

As on time as we ever are, we managed to get out of town around 8pm the Thurs before Labor Day. After driving all night (and I mean all night, we arrived at 4:20am) we finally arrived at our first destination - Jackson, Wyoming, just outside of Teton Nat'l Park. After 4 hours of sleep (nap?)I got up to sneak in a bike ride while the girls still slept. I'm glad I pried my eyes open that early, too. It was a fantastic ride. I hopped on the bike and meandered through town. It was early enough that the town was just starting to awaken. I rolled through downtown and up to the base of Snow King Mountain, the local ski hill that is literally in town in Jackson. The locals had recommended a ride on the other side of the mountain, but my watch was telling me that I would run short on time with that plan. I picked up a map at the base and decided to start climbing. The jeep road/double track to the top of the mountain was steep, but non technical and worth the climb. The views of town and the Tetons were outstanding.
The map showed a sliver of a trail going off the other side of the mountain. If I hit it right, the ridge trail looked to take me to within blocks of the hotel. Perfect. From the top, the narrow ridge trail slung me off the back side,
where I caught some smooth but uber steep riding that dumped me off almost at the front door of the hotel. It was all completely smooth and buff. Life was good that day. We got the car packed up and headed out after some tourist sight seeing in town. We banged out both Teton
and Yellowstone in one day via automobile. We toured like lazy Americans, I know, but we were on a schedule! Good thing, too, as the schedule got derailed in Ennis, MT at the local DQ. But that's another story entirely, purple hair and all. We finally got to our end destination shortly after midnight. Beers were consumed as we celebrated our arrival in the Bitterroot. It had been too long. Way too long. I was told I was in for a suprise for Saturday. Preparing for the worst, I nodded off on the sofa of Casa de Kirk.

The Jahoney rolled up at 9am pronto Saturday morning with none other than Chaybo behind the wheel. We hopped in and headed north to Missoula (the only liberal place in all of MT) for New Belgium Brewery's MT edition of Tour de Fat. Definitely Tour de Weirdness and Fun. Here's some random photos:

We wrapped up the day with the creation of more recycling. Throw everyone's wife and 5 kids into the mix and it was Bedlam. Serious fun, that is. It ended up being a late one. Everyone was tired but happy. We called it a night when we experienced the simultaneous meltdown of the abovementioned 5 kids.

Sunday was the real gem of the trip. Threat of afternoon thunderstorms wasn't a factor, so we lazily rolled out around noon on Sunday to ride. We rode all day on all types of terrain. I gotta say, especially after just returning from a trip to Crested Butte. The Butte has the views, no doubt, but the riding cannot even touch what we rode in SW Montana. It was awesome. The following shots were from the Sunday ride. We rode up and around that ridge and back. Big. Big Sky Country Big.

It wasn't entirely uphill.

Ok, there were some fantastic views. Especially this one with the Pintlars in the background.

We kicked back with the kids on Labor Day, acknowleding the thankless laboring of our wives, the great mothers that they are. Labor Day was their day so we hung back with the kids. We did go for a night ride, though :). It was great but there are no photos. I'd like to say that's because it was dark but it was really because I forgot the camera. Bdiddy and I snuck out for a quick lap around Lake Como. I wish we could've hit it during the day so we could amaze ourselves with beautiful views, but it was not too be. What was to be was dark, rocks, dust, rocks, and enough smoke from neighboring forest fires to choke Smokey Bear, and more rocks. Did I mention the rocks? Montana is rocky. Another late night it was. We got back to the car around 11:30. Just a few beers and we were lights out sleepy. Good thing Taco Hell was open late, too.

The local yocals had to work Tues so it was another lazy day hanging out Montana. The ladies went hiking and the kids and I played. We were still able to sneak in a quick after work ride since it was our last night there and all. The ride? Think about heading up to Lions Gulch at 7pm this time of year. Not necessarily the smartest of ideas, but adventure was definitely had. It was rocky there, too. And steep.
We made it up to Camas Lake in the daylight yet. Check out how clear the water is.

We didn't stick around, though. It was getting dark quick, so we turned around to back from whence we came. We had to ride by Braille going down. I only fell once and considered myself lucky. Bdiddy opted out of the gas fume smelling ride down in the Jahoney and busted out with his helmet light. Chad and I hopped in and took the creative way down the mountain. As rocky as the singletrack is up there, the jeep roads are in great shape. We picked Bdiddy up at the bottom and rolled back to town.

We arose the next day bright and early, packed up, and said our good byes. It was a long drive back but I miss it already. Thanks Chaybo and Bdiddy for showing me some kickass riding up there, and an all around fantastic time. Next time won't be so long coming, I promise!

Baby Boy Schuman

There is a new mountainbiker in Lyons as of Saturday Sept 9th. My wife gave birth to a baby boy and everyone is doing great. We haven't decided on a name yet, I've been pushing for Hammer or Diesel but had no takers. Yeti didn't work either. I'll report back later with a name.