Saturday, August 30, 2008

changin' stuff

So I'm a little freaked out over that broken handlebar a couple months ago. I used a Fubar for a while, but it kept slipping, so I over-tightened the faceplate bolts and already started to crimp into the aluminum bar. Then I put on my old titanium White Brothers DH bar, which required 2 shims to bring it up to the 31.8 of my new Thomson stem. It slipped as well, and I got concerned with over tightening after TimmyD's broken faceplate problem at the 101.

Looking for stronger and/or thicker bars now. They don't seem to be made in the funky swept-back style I've gotten used to over the past 3 years. Maybe when Jones gets his new ti H-bars out,........ if I feel like plunking 4 bills??

I got Merv to order this Truvativ bar and I also have my eye on this cro-moly AtomLab one built by a BMX star who used to work at the shop with Quigley and me back in Lake Ridge in the 80s. He moved to Cali and started making bombproof parts for the jump and DH scene. A cro-mo bar built for dirt jumping and downhill certainly oughta be enough for my situation. So I'll be rolling the SM 100 with a new bar, the 4th bar that's been on my bike this week.
And when I wasn't wearing out the torque wrench on the 4mm bolts all week, I was changing rear tubes and trying to find a mysterious thorn that I got on the Weds. shakedown ride...., the first ride on a new tire. I guess it wasn't much of a shakedown ride if I've since replaced the bar, chainring, chain, and put in 2 more tubes. I guess I'll have plenty of time tomorrow to see what works... better start packing now....

Monday, August 25, 2008


So, I wake up today, the day after vacation and see and read this.

"My rating for this morning assuming that the wind continues to stay off-shore & the swell continues to be at waist height. We have the best conditions we have had in about 2 weeks. The on-shore that the OBX has experienced for the last 4 days has finally switched & is now off-shore. I would check it out right now!"

This is one of the main reasons I took to mountain biking so quickly in 1987. I can ride anytime I want.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hatteras pics

the shots I get with a 5-yr old point & shoot

one of Kim's favorite eateries, John's for fresh fried seafood. try the dolphin basket

The surf wasn't great, not at all. Not one single day of easy waves. Winds at 20mph out of the east-northeast really chopped up the surf for many days. Of the 8 days there, I caught at least something every day but one. I could bike down to the end of the street, and then walk to 1st jetty at the lighthouse. Did that for a few low-tide dawn and dusk patrols. One session I was the only one out at the lighthouse. That's a sure sign that either the surf really sucked, or 0630 was too early for everyone else. I did get some decent waves that session, with only one fisherman around.
Quigley came in Friday night and we got out a couple times at the Frisco Pier, and once at the house in Buxton. All 3 sessions were pretty tough, hard waves to paddle into. He caught some waves, and got worked pretty hard too. Said something about 100 miles on a mountain bike being easier than an hour on a surfboard.....

apparently, motorcycle flats are a lot more complicated than mountain bike flats. a wood screw controlled the next several days of our friend's life.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

always worth a go out

ferry crossing
catch the glassy evening low tide before the next few days 20 mph NE winds rip the surf apart.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hatteras 1

Arrival evening, the tide was a little too fat with some easterly chop. I went out anyway at the house and it was better than it looked. A few other guys in the lineup, and I caught a few short moments of face time.
Was hoping for a low tide glassy session at dawn day 2, but it was already (or still) choppy and fat when I checked it at 0630. Followed my formula from last year, and waited for the tide flip and hit Frisco Pier where the wind was more offshore, but with very small gutless waves breaking on a chest-deep sandbar about 100 yards offshore.

If I planed my longboard up to speed, and got just right in the best spot of a wave, I could grab a second or two of open face before the whole section spilled into foam. Gutless, but at least worth a paddle. A lot of paddle for little. Serious, skilled surfers wouldn't have been caught dead in waves like this. Only a few old guys like me out.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

more of the future?

These are plans I found last week on the MORE site of two public bike parks, both with skills areas, freeride features, xc singletrack, and pump tracks.

I like the look of this future too. This is the kind of stuff that will keep me riding into old age. And it will be fun riding this stuff with Oliver and his friendz,... until they're old enough to not want the old man hangin' around anymore.....

Ski areas have been into this game with lift-served freeride and downhill parks for some time now. For some reason, I never bit into that scene even though I do like to go downhill. But these kinds of parks intrigue me, a lot. These look like they could be fun for hours at a time, especially if the kid is into it too. Not that I think anything like this will be coming soon to a venue near us, but I like the looks of it all the same.

Now, for yet another kind of future. This is a trail in the 'Shed. This is a 2-mile trail that I could ride back and forth on for 3 hours and be perfectly happy. And perfectly wasted afterwards.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

the future of mountain biking?

An Economic Experiment to see if spending a couple hundred thousand dollars (from grants and taxpayers) can lure mountain bikers to this region to play, eat, sleep, and spend.

This is fresh machine-made trail at Raystown Lake. It doesn't look like much now, compared to what I'm used to, but riding it was a different story. I don't have the vocabulary to really convey how much fun it was riding these new trails. It was the fastest and most intense I've ridden in some time, ....almost road-riding like intensity. Every second, up or down, we were pinning and grinning it. On your toes, weighting the front wheel, trying not to wash out or blow a curve, trying not to get too much air to make that curve just after the landing. Trying to keep up with Withers and Straub was a blast.

[freshly cut, we did not ride the above two sections, time. pics stolen from B4's site]

I never thought I'd be a fan of machine built trails. I remember about 10 years ago when Dan Hudson got excited about the new Stephens Trail near Camp Roosevelt in the GW being built with a SWECO machine. I didn't pay that much attention, I just loved the descent off Massanutten ridge, though I used to call that trail the uphill downhill trail. It seems that having some peanut butter in your chocolate and vicy versy is the key to flowable sustainable trails. The new Raystown trails are a perfect example: every 20 yds. or so, is a grade reversal and/or a curve. This means that while you're descending, every 20 yds. you have an uphill roller or a berm to bleed speed. And when you're climbing, you get lots of breaks. It also means that water can't stay on the trail for more than 20 yds. at a time which cuts out the rutting and erosion problem.

The elevation change from the lake to the top of the trail network is about 400'. When we turned our backs to the lake and headed up, it wasn't the type of settle in and suffer climb that I'm used to in the GW and Michaux. There were plenty of rolling dips to briefly recover on. Not the kind of drops where you hate to lose any elevation on a climb, but nice rollers to rest on and get some momo back. These pro trails are built with grades not exceeding 15%, with most only in the 10% range. This means everything is middle-ringable, and very SS-friendly.
Actually, nothing at Raystown was of the settle in type of riding. You needed to be on your game at every moment. There are no obstacles like logs or rocks, there. The biggest obstacle is speed. Speed can kill you there. It's so fast, and there are so many curves, rollers, berms, and whoops that it would be so easy to wash off into the brush or wrap your helmet around a tree. If there's ever a race here, I would expect far more carnage in one day than all the Michaux races combined. It's nutzy fast.
An interesting contrast between these kind of trails and the kind I'm used to is that machine built trails are initially built wider, with a built-in bench cut, and then get narrower over time as vegetation grows in. The singletrack I've worked on in the Forests are usually built by hand, without full benching, narrow at first, but they tend to get wider over time, and slowly shift downhill beyond where the bench should be.

The Raystown Trails are also being built with other uses in mind such as xc skiing. A friend recently remarked that no trail that's good for xc skiing could possibly be good for mountain biking. Well, I now totally disagree. Yea, it's not the same as the GW, Abby, Heaven or Hell, or Iceberg, but it's absolutely as fun for me. Taxpayer Trails are good!!! I hope it succeeds.