Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Since I don't really know where to start, I guess I will start at the beginning. My wife's 2 brothers live in Phoenix and one of them recently bought a house. It went something like this. "Dave, want to go to Phoenix for Chrismas this year?" "No." "hmmm, hey Dave, want to go to Phoenix for Christmas?" "No." "We'll drive - you should bring your bike." "Ok. We should go to Phoenix for Christmas after all. Great idea." I was in!
We packed up the kids and the car to make the long, long, long trek to the AZ desert. We were left the day after our very successful 1st Ever Redstone Cyclery White Elephant 6 Pack Exchange (in which, I thought it was implicit that it would be a 6 pack of alcoholic beer but I guess I'll have to be more explicit next time). Clay! **cough, cough** Anyway...
The drive was shaping up to be exciting, especially given that the worst storm so far this winter was pounding everything from the southwest to the midwest. The drive ended up being not so bad once we got past Glenwood Canyon. A few sketchy bits in southern UT and we were good to go. Funny thing driving across the desert - there was snow on the ground the ENTIRE way until we dropped into the desert after leaving Flagstaff. But enough of that, on to the good stuff. Day one and the family took off for something leaving me alone at Uncle James' house with the girls. I peered over his concrete block "fence" and saw and empty lot and a Walmart in one direction. In the other direction, I see South Mountain!
S. Mountain is the largest municipal park in the country. City of Phoenix owns and maintains this 18,000 acre monster. Just how big is it, you ask? Well, it's damn big and what you see here is just barely a little bit of it. South Mountain is more like a complex of desert mountains rising up from the Valley of the Sun. I would later find that Uncle James' house is much like having a ski in/ski out condo at the base of a mountain. :)
After the family returned from errand running, it would be time to check out the trails. But first, some bike cleaning was in order. 15+ hours driving on gunky roads does not equal a beautiful ready to ride bike.
You could imagine what the rest of it looked like.
Finally, ride time! The Mormon Trail, or 24th St as it's locally known was the closest trailhead. It was recommended to me by locals to not try to climb Mormon. As my wife would say, though, I am not a good listener. It was hard as hell, but a great climb nonetheless. I walked quite a bit climbing up this technical beast of a trail.
My plan was to hit National Trail - a trail at S Mt that is ironically nationally known to be quite good.
It was. I rode it as an out and back as I didn't really know what to expect for time and effort and all that good stuff. Last thing I wanted to be was late getting back to the inlaws on Christmas Eve. That could have a suboptimal impact on my riding other days in Phoenix. The return trip included riding (and cleaning) the infamous "Waterfall on National Trail."
Definitely mind over matter, even though I took one of the easier lines. Later down the trail, not knowing the line, I left a little Stan's on the trail in a super chunky section that left me gasping for air as well as needing to reinflate my majorly burped (but still sealed) tire. Back down Mormon trail did not dissapoint. It was techy going down. I think I walked 5 times in the superchunk.
Day 2, Christmas Day. Up Mormon again, but this time my plan was to climb National a ways and drop down the "backside" of the mountain, loop back around a swoopy trail called Desert Classic, then up the frontside and back down Mormon. That was a good day. I was able to climb a little more of Mormon than the day before.
National is a good climb, too. I ran in to a Flagstaff guy escaping the snow as well. Here's a shot of him hitting the waterfall, just to give it different perspective. It was a super sweet section of tricky trail.
Thankfully, some locals provided me with a user GPSed map of South Mountain that included some trails that weren't exactly authorized by City o Phoenix. I can see why. Old Man was steeper than shite and full of loose shale and Cactus. Old Man was the type of trail that you could tell where it started, but there were no bike tracks. I picked up my bike and hiked in to preserve its authenticity ;)
It turned out to be one of my favorite trails there, until I sliced my front tire on a rock and sent Stan's spewing in every direction. I can definitely see the need for riding something beefier than a single ply tire in this terrain.
I booted the tire and used one of my 2 tubes. I walked a lot down the rest of the descent because I didn't want to burn thru all of my tubes in one ride. It would make a super long walk home, too. It turned out to be a long ride home anyway. Desert Classic was ok. Lots of pedaling in and out of desert washes with moderate up and down. Lots of pedaling. Good connector, but nothing I'd go out of my way for. The rest of the ride was good. This time, I only had to walk 3 times coming down Mormon :)
Day 3 of riding was the best, the day after Christmas. Steve-O from Smoken Spokes and part of the AZ Freeride collective was running the shuttle on South Mountain. I hooked up with Durtgurl, a local friend of a friend, to run some shuttles and see some of South Mountains finer descents.
They looked at me kinda funny since they all had big dh bikes, full faced helmets, and body armor. I had on my normal get up - baggies, jersey, XC helmet. They especially looked at me funny when I declined the offer of extra armor. I told them that if I wasn't confident, I'd walk, no worries. More funny looks. There's a write up of the day on mtbr here. We made 4 runs that day. To be completely honest, I was glad to be on my Snyper. One of the trails would've been more fun on a dh bike, but the rest involved lots of pedaling. We started on Geronimo. That was a full speed, moderately technical hoot all the way to the bottom. Next up, we rode down National to an unmarked trail, 32nd street. I loved 32nd. It was a lot like North Sheep Mountain but without the trees or the fun swoopy stuff. Steep, channeled out and lots of shale rock. fun. Holbert Trail was probaby the toughest and would've been more enjoyable on a bigger bike. The upper section was smoove and swoopy, but the middle section:
and the lower section were uber gnarly. Really fun stuff. I would've walked quite a bit riding solo but I was fortunate to be following some skilled riders that knew the line. I was able to clean everything, dabbing only twice when riders in front of me got hung up. On the last run, we rode down National and out on Mormon/24th Street. This time down Mormon, I only walked once and dabbed 2 other times - sweet! Next time I'm out, I'll clean that mofo. Shuttling was good. I'm a downhiller now brah. Special thanks to Kathleen for the good hookup and personal tour guiding!
Day 4 - 2 days after the mega day of shuttling, I snuck out for a little ride. I had to say goodbye to South Mountain. I rode out the bike path to the main trailhead complex of the area. I climbed Javelina
(great climb, by the way) and made my way to another unmapped or unmarked trail that I had heard about on shuttle day. It was pretty easy to find. Steep, too. A lot like the 32nd street run but a little shorter and not quite as enjoyable.
There were some fun chunky sections, though...
I stopped close to the bottom to reflect. Life was good. Christmas trip was good. South Mountain was good. And the location of James' house was especially good!
One last reflection from this road tripper. Even though a bigger bike would've been fun on a couple of descents, I was incredibly, thoroughly impressed with my Tomac Snyper 140. It doesn't have the most sophisticated suspension in the world, but it rides so damn good in about every arena.
To say I'm please would be a complete understatement. This bike was the bees knees. Johnny Tomac knows how to make a bike handle like nobodies business. I beat the shit out of this bike and came thru with nary a scratch. Well, there was that sliced tire. Oh, and a bent der hanger. Oh yeah, broken spoke, too. The desert riding is harsh on equipment down here but the Tomac was super solid. Super duper solid.
The riding at South Mountain in Phoenix was also super duper solid. I'll be back. Next time, though, I think I'll have to nab the car for a day to check out some other riding areas around Phoenix. The escape to the Valley of the Sun was just what the doctor ordered. Now, if we can get the doctor to order away all of this snow around Lyons, we'll be set!
No pics from tonight- but I did double dip today. I headed down to Pueblo South Shore where the trails are dry. Digging the Pueblo trails, especially during this snow spell. Trails were pretty much bone dry except for the north facing canyon innards. I liked the set-up; good mix of beginner, intermediate and advanced trails in this 30+ mile stacked loop network. Spreads folks out. Diverse too- ranged from short steep rocky technical to buff fruita like singletrack. Could bring any bike from your quiver and be content. Great for singlespeed rigids too. Definitely would go back to master some of the technical lines. The turner sultan did well today. I recently replaced the pads on my formula oro biancos with the formula brand sintered pads (this is what came with biancos originally). Nice to be back on an awesome pad again. Previously went with a cheaper brand-ceramic pad, and the difference in feel and stopping power is significant.
Trail conditions- this trail had the most snow about 1/2" of packed powder
Shot of Hooter's-
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
P-Rock is good up to the silo. But it may just be the new SS On-One Scandal rockin 2.4 ardents. Nothing like a new ride.
Still was laughin about last nights white elephant on the way up. St. Pauli's N.A. and Mike's Hard Pomegranete Cranberry Lemonade...seriously...WTF??? Sir-Mix-A-Lot.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Large Titus Racer X 29er with all the good stuff.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Rules are - 6 Pack absolutely REQUIRED for attendance. There must be 6 beers - good, bad, mixed, whatever. Make sure the 6 pack is wrapped up, too. Um, that's the rules so far. I reserve the right to alter/create rules at my own will.
Bike ride will be ghetto singletrack around Lyons. Lights required for bike ride!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Not sure if you've heard of Lynskey? Here's a hint. David Lynskey was the founder/creator/owner of Litespeed bicycles before they sold to ABG.
I hadn't been on the XO in a while. It was just the ticket for a 1/2 hour spin around town. I velcroed the leg band around my pants, put the headphones in and I was off.
The soundtrack for today was Supersuckers. Their punk/country punkry tunes were just the thing for rolling around with no direction other than to check the beautiful scenery and feel the breeze on my face.
Supersuckers - Roamin' Round. Check it.
Crank spinning was great. It was the world's most epic 20 minute ride. Or at least that's what it felt like. Felt like flying on a magic carpet and around me was the earth. Mountains, clouds, trees, cliffs, yep. Good stuff. Really good stuff.Hat Rock was looking tough. I love the cliffs around the south side of Hall Ranch. This morning I was pretty much loving everything.
Yep. Loving life. All good. Hope you're loving life, too.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
It was a blustery and sloppy day today. The rural roads of Boulder County were mixed conditions ranging from uber sloppy to not quite so bad. All in all, it was still a good day. I was on the bike after all.
No Tuesday ride for me tomorrow, but I'll be back for more next week.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
We're also going to have a gift exchange that nite , but this one's actually going to be fun. Get ready for the first ever Redstone Cyclery White Elephant 6 Pack Exchange! Here's the rules:
Bring a 6 pack of beer to the bike shop before the ride - they don't even have to match, it just has to be 6. Good beer, crappy beer, whatever. I'm sure we'll have a good variety. That's the only rules I have so far. Maybe we can make up more as we go along. Be prepared - it's going to be huge.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
If you didn't go to the Oskar Blues 7th Canniversary last night, you missed out. Can your own beer (Devian Dale's in my case), $5 pulled pork, Romano on the stage and free appetizers. I probably shouldn't have had that last shot of tequila last night with Dale, but sometimes you just have to sieze the moment. Hey - while were speaking of OB, make sure to check out their new and improved, revamped website - www.oskarblues.com.
I was running errands in Longmont this AM and stopped by Acme Bikes at their new location on Main Street. Pete, the owner, is another little guy workin' stiff like the rest of us and is proudly flying the independent flag in Strongmont. Swing in to say hey and wish him good luck in his new location.
I've joined the technology revolution with a new portable device, too, so make sure you stay tuned via Twitter and Facebook, too. It's the communication age, yo!
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Paul was bundled up for the .1 degree weather.
Some of the riding was good snow.
Some was packed and snowed upon foot prints and tough to ride thru.
And I had no idea that some would be 6"+ deep. But it was fun. And it made you work hard enough to stay warm. Sort of.
Speaking of warm, beards are good.
Kind of like a sweater for your face. But insulated with an igloo. A form fitting face beard sweater igloo. Cozy. We managed to actually get in about an hour and a half. Some folks were freezing by then and some weren't. I was toasty warm with my Pearl Izumi Amfib gloves and my GTX Barrier boots. There's a lot of great apparel companies out there, but it's tough to beat Pearl for winter gear. Even though Chris and I were still good, we caved to the demands of our frozen brothers, called the ride, and headed back to the shop.
But wait! The fun didn't end there. Bstiff met up with the crew (cause he's smart enough to not ride in sub zero temps) and we headed to Oskars. Everything was fine and dandy until the manager started bringing out dishes of ice cream. First was Mama's Yella Pils caramel. Pretty good but not enough pils and too much carme. Then there was Old Chub, Velvet Elvis, and Ten Fidy ice cream. Last was some vanilla/oreo ice cream with wort from Dale's mixed in.
Yummy. We decided that our favorite was the Fidy ice cream. Vanilla with overtones of coffee and chocolate with a touch of beer taste. Yummy.
But wait, that's not all. Eat the ice cream now and you get a plate full of caramel apples. Oh yeah! We'll be back!
Monday, December 07, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
This is an exceptionally well cared for 2009 Commencal Supreme DH, size S/M. As you can see, it's all decked out. It'll be sold with Hadley/823 wheels which are not pictured but are nearly new. A great buy at $3200. This one is not on site at Redstone so get in touch with me if you'd like to contact the owner.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Thanks to all the riders that have been getting on 845 recently. It's getting worn in and turning into a heckuva fun trail.
Back up to 5 points for lap #2 after that. It was nice to see some OHV educational signage on the kiosk at 5 points. Keep those roads narrow!
Loop #2 up Fireman Hill and down 842/841 did not dissapoint, as usual. And noone fell off any cliffs last night, too, which was good.
Oskars never dissapoints either :)
Thanks for the ride everyone. We'll figure something out for next week. Might be LGS on the SS.