Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yelling at a fellow MTB'er, Buzz Cut Speed Walker and Yesterday's Dog Hike


"When the trails are closed, it's time for road work..." says my new custom headset top cap on my Surly Pacer. Shit man... I struggled - I think I rode too soon after I ate - but caught second wind coming home - total ride was about 30 miles.


I did the flat loop all the way past Bailey Rd. and got this sweet pic - there's all kinds of stuff like this going toward Morgan Hill - just abandoned, old, rusted stuff where feral cats and possible homeless people find refuge. Makes you wonder how and why this stuff just becomes forgotten - Who owns it? What's the deal with it? It was filled with junk and a real pretty Siamese cat said "What's up" but I wouldn't touch that thing and bring possible kitty disease to my cats.

I went back down Santa Teresa and this is when I noticed that when the seasons change, so does the direction of the head wind. In the winter, the wind blows against you going south - giving you an extra lift for the northbound trip back home. It doesn't do any good since the Bernal Rd. climb is right there; at least there's no wind going up!

I started to climb Bernal and approached a crazy looking old man with a Buzz Cut - he looked like Coach BuzzCut from Beavis and Butthead - and he had a good tilt on the speed walking! So much, that I didn't think I was going to pass him, which was embarrassing. I know he knew I was behind him, so he picked up the pace as to not let me pass. Finally, a XC MTB'er passed me and I kicked it into high gear and passed Coach BuzzCut. I was almost embarrassed that this guy was handing it to me on foot, but this was also mile 20 or so into my ride - so I was a little pooped.


Before the BuzzCut incident, I noticed more than one MTB'er messing around on the trails. I yelled out to one of them "HEY - THOSE TRAILS ARE CLOSED! THE RANGERS ARE GIVING TICKETS FOR RIDING ON THEM!" He said, "THANKS!" and kept on riding. I don't have a problem with riding a closed trail, but I do have a problem when people ride on a closed trail and they're closed as to preserve the trail for later use. As you'll read in my Dog Hike report, Santa Teresa County Park IS NOT suitable to ride on as a result of the recent rain - MTB's and horses will just destroy them. Com'on people! Respect!

I got a decent iPhone shot at the top of Bernal at IBM, and lost my house key in the process. I had to go back, it was getting dark - and I found it sparkling in the grass.




Yesterday, I decided to take my dogs, Mina (Dalmatian) and Rocky (Pitbull), out to hike Santa Teresa County Park. I figured it was a nice time to go since the trails are closed to MTB's and horses (except for you lawbreakers!) and I wouldn't have to worry about somebody blazing down Stiles Trail and have an accident with my dogs on leashes. I went up Stiles, down Mines and back to Fortini.






I now understand why the trails become closed - they are a MESS from the rain. Since the trails are clay, that crap cakes on your boots and traction is very sketchy - in fact I saw a lot of slide marks where it seems that people slipped and fell. I could only imagine if a horse were to walk on that stuff or MTB's leaving big grooves - it would be hard to get the trails back into pristine condition. I will always respect trail closures now that I've seen the potential damage bikes and horses can cause.

Mina and Rocky had a blast. We came upon this part of a vertebrae - deer perhaps? It was CLEAN - so some animal, probably a coyote, had a feast. Didn't see the rest of the body, though. Rocky wanted to take it and I was, like, "NO!"


Tomorrow, it looks like I'm going to get a straight trade - my Custom Bobber for a Honda CBR600RR - I am f*cking stoked. I don't even ride the Bobber and he doesn't ride the CBR - so it's going to be a good deal for the both of us.

Saturday is flatland BMX in Manteca with the Valley riders.

I'm bringing shin guards.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Rain Ride


Yesterday I threw on the rain gear and went out for a spin on the fixed gear. I just did "the loop" which is about 25 miles or so. Unfortunately, I got a flat about 2 miles away from home. Time got too short to do a repair (had to meet with a client at 7:30pm) so I called my wife to pick me up.

Looks like glass damage. >:(

Being the only rider out there - and being quite comfortable in the rain - I wonder why more people don't do rain rides. Where are all the local hardcores? I've been riding almost everyday on my road, MTB or fixed gear and I see very few people when the temperature becomes lower than 60 degrees - except on the weekends when the hoity toity roadies come out. The local fixster crowd? Nowhere to be seen.

When the singlecross is finally built in a week or so, rain, storms, mud, muck will all be part of the routine. I was hesitant to take out my Surly Pacer because of the drivetrain - and I'm glad I rode the fixed gear instead. It's going to be nice to be able to venture on/off road on the same bike and have some grunt behind both. The frame comes in tomorrow, but the rest of the bike won't be in until next week or so.


Frustrated with the uneven mounting of my Maxxis High Roller LUST tires with the Stan's Rim Strip on my full suspension bike, I took the advice of some folks on MTBR and went ghetto tubeless. It seems to be holding air just fine - which makes me a little preturbed considering Stan's rimstrips are $25 a piece and 20" tubes for ghetto tubeless are $3 a piece. The tire mounted up just fine and there is no casing wobble.

The other day I took the full suspension down Rocky Ridge and cleared the trail at a decent speed. I'm convinced that full suspension is the way to go if you want to go fast downhill - climbing is a different story. I have a feeling my XC bike is going to hang in the garage for some time.

Off to work. Hopefully I get back early enough for a spin later on.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Really?!

Insane. What's really sad is I'm on a $1000 flatland bike and they're doing the same stuff I'm doing!



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve, 2009 Ride a.k.a. "It's nice not having to think about work..."

Today I took advantage of the Home Office in New Haven, Ct. being closed for Christmas and decided to ride a good portion of the day. My normal Santa Teresa County Park rides consist of having to watch the clock (usually because I have appointments with clients that evening) so going out for four hours at a time without it being a weekend is a rarity - like a holiday or something.

My local trails were open so I decided to basically ride the entire park and took the singlespeed 29'er out to do the job. I was going to take the full suspension but decided I didn't want to mess with gears or lockouts today. I wanted to keep it simple.

I hit everything today by starting off at Fortini > climbed Coyote Peak > crossed over to Rocky Ridge > descended Rocky Ridge > went across the parking lot and climbed up to the small parking lot > descended Mines > climbed up and descended Stiles. The only trail I left out was Ohlone and that was because I wanted to save my climbing strength for Coyote Peak instead of blowing it on Bernal Rd.

I did crash today leaving my knee a bloody mess - and I wrecked trying to hoist that one-gear up Coyote Peak. I basically looped it. It's steep and it takes a lot of grunt. If you slow down you hit a wall and you can fall - so I did. My crank arm came loose and I guess tightening it gave me a good excuse to take a breather.

A couple of teenagers in DH jerseys, full face helmets and full suspension bikes were pushing their bikes up.

At the top one of the kids asks me, "Hey is that a single speed?"

"Yup" I say.

"Dude, that is crazy. There's no way I'd be able to make it up this with one gear."

I thought to myself: I wish I was his age again! Both of their bikes had standard MTB triples so I told them they should've got into their granny gears and they could've ridden up easily.

Anyhow, I rolled Rocky Ridge (RR) which was a hoot and it looks like some trail bandits have built some kicker jumps up there. Pretty cool if you have the right bike for that. Plus, you have to be going at a good speed to hit them to do anything worth a snot. I just went around them - maybe next time.



After getting down RR, I crossed the parking lot and got to Mines Trail leading to Stiles. Again, I was able to clear that climb on the single speed without stopping. Stiles is really, really muddy in the shade and it caked on pretty well on my Kenda Karmas, but I did not let that stop me. I grabbed handfuls of grip and cranked up. The descend was faster than normal for me and I had a great time. I definitely need to take the full suspension, but I always feel like I have something to prove to myself with the single speed.


Today was beautiful. The deer are looking majestic and the hills are green all around, blanketed in soft, grey blue fleece. There's no way I'd get on my road bike on a day like today.

I'm awaiting the arrival of my Motobecane (yes, another) Fantom Cross Uno frame which will be my fixed cyclocross bike. I sold the vintage and I'm using the parts from that to build this. I'll be riding STP on that bike come a couple of weeks. It's going to be nice to be rocking a sub-20lb bike that's also road worthy. I'll probably be shouldering and running a lot of the steep stuff, but that's an option I like to have in the stable.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

BMX Upgrades

I like it when kids ask me if this is a street or flatland bike and I tell them, "Kid, I'm old school - this is for BOTH!" Anyhow, I can't wait to get this thing pounding the pavement again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Today was good, except for the part where I got seriously lost - iPhone bailed my ass out.

Today was good, except for the part where I got seriously lost.

Weapon of choice today, was of course, SS 29'er (yeah, baby). That bike is perfect - no fiddling with gears, no messing with lock-out or wierd adjustable knobs - SIMPLE. I started off at my parent's house about a mile away from Natural Bridges Beach in Santa Cruz and rode out to the Wilder entrance. Climbed Long Meadow Trail (no stopping allowed on the single speed!) and finally made it to the gates.

Here's where things went awry. I started off going to my left, where my brother usually takes me. I rode and rode and rode and rode singletracks for awhile. I THOUGHT I was going to finally hit UCONN trail to get back to the railroad tracks (I usually ride through Santa Cruz back to my parents house) but I ended up on a really fun single track descend.

I figured if I was going downhill, I must be getting back into Santa Cruz, right? Well, things started to look very unfamiliar and by this time I was 3 hours into my ride. So I take out the iPhone to get a satellite look and HOLY SH*T - I WAS IN FELTON!

Felton is a long way from Natural Bridges Beach via single-speed. I turned around and finally found HWY 9, which I rode down.

Thinking I was going to be slick, I turned off where a bunch of other MTB'ers were parked and I went down a steep fireroad descend that lead to the River. It said Rincon Trail, or Ridge Trail (?). Unfortunately, that was a bad choice, so I had to climb all the way up that steep sh*t. At this point, I said "screw it" and rode down HWY 9 all the way into town.

I rode through downtown Santa Cruz and made it back to my parent's via West Cliff Dr.

Besides my lack of navigation, the conditions were perfect .

I really wish they'd open STP so at least I'd know where the hell I'm going.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Truly Believe the Fixed Gear is The Perfect Night-Spin Bike

Kelly and I went to Mimi's Cafe today for Linner (Lunch/Dinner) and I went for the fish and chips. I could only eat half - and I feel fatty and filled with salt. SO! What to do but bust out a night ride? Get a little cold sweat going, ya' know? Got the wild hair after running my dogs with the beach cruiser and feeling the tolerable winter evening.

I did "the loop" which is about 20 miles, but kept it at a fast spin on flat ground. There was no way I was going up in those hills because 1) 48X16 gearing and 2) Crazy rednecks and ghosts. I always creep myself out whenever I leave civilization in the night time.

I got going pretty damn well; I was steaming off my shoulders. And my NiteRider lights did me well, too. The helmet light works killer to shine in people's faces before they roll stop signs. I especially like seeing the looks on their stupid faces when 300 lumens hits them directly in the eyes saying, "Hey stupid, watch for bicycles and pedestrians! Don't roll the stops!"

Anyhow, it wasn't too cold and I had a nice ride. I still don't think I burned off dinner, though.

The Simple Things in Life


I bought this for for a few hundred bucks from Jenson and it just puts a smile on my face everytime I ride it - it's my "mail run" bike and it's a much better alternative to my 20" brakeless flatland/street BMX. Yet, I can still do street manuevers on it that I can't do on my MTB's or my road bikes (I bunnyhopped my road bike and I thought I was going to fold it in half). We all talk about single-speeds being so fun... this is another version with BMX style geometry.

The Eastern Element 26" has gotten some iffy reviews, most likely because people are trying to short-track or dirt jump it. There are better bikes for that stuff, but this is just the cat's meow when you use it within it's limitations and for urban it's perfect. Former BMX junkies would love this bike.

Grinds, high bunnyhops, manuals, peg wheelies, etc. It steers ultra fast and manuevers through town like a shark. Dirt kickers along the way, loading docks, stairs... it does it all.

Sometimes it's nice when something so simple can result in such big smiles.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good one, Jorgecito!!

OSG came out with this after VanderJam. Good one, mang!!

Merry Christmas to me, ramblings, and UGLY! Pads Sponsorship

A few days ago, I received this from Alberto at IEFixed:

On Saturday January 16th 2010, IEfixed.net, in conjunction with The Bicycle Lounge, will be hosting its first IEfixed Madison Street Race. The primary purpose for this event is to nurture growth of California's Inland Empire's cycling community and to promote a more sustainable form of transportation. This event will bring people from not only the Inland Empire area but also cyclist from the greater Los Angeles region.

IEFixed.net accepted their first member October 2008. After one year and 623 members, and a daily rate of 5 new memberships a day, we are continually growing our online community. We receive an average of 26,000 hits a day.Modeled after other bicycle collectives and cooperatives, The Bicycle Lounge is the California's Inland Empire region only free bicycle clinic aimed towards helping out new cyclist at learning proper bicycle maintenance, and repair. With successful clinics once a week and several dedicated volunteer mechanics, their aim is to expand to a new facility that will be opened daily towards a larger crowd.

IEFixed.net and The Bicycle Lounge is interested to partner with UGLY! Pads.There will be many segments of the event that will offer giveaways to attendees. We will also raffle several prizes donated to us. For the main event we will be having the first Madison street race ever modeled after the Madison track race. In the past couple of months street racing has become a very popular event among urban cyclist, particularly races modeled after professional racing. We would like to use this event as a fundraiser for the Bicycle Lounge. All proceeds will be donated towards The Bicycle Lounge and the maintenance of IEFixed.net.

Donations can range from $5-$300 values. Recent sponsors have donated promotional clothing or various bike parts such as: tire levers, tires, lights, pedals, crankset.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me through telephone (***)***-**** or e-mail via (private)@hotmail.com and for more information on The Bicycle Lounge please visit
thebicyclelounge.com. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you on this and future events here at IEFixed.net and the Bicycle Lounge

Regards,
Alberto

So... I decided to donate a handful of pads to this event. I never turn this stuff down. Really, since I don't advertise, this is my way of getting the UGLY! Pads name out there. Grass roots, baby.

I decided to give the 20" a makeover with:

...a new Odyssey Freestyle Fork with minimal offset


...new Shadow Conspiracy 28T sprocket


...and 175mm Redline Device Cranks

I'm also going BRAKELESS! I know, I know... but I figure I need to learn. This old dog really needs to learn new tricks and I feel like I used BMX brakes as a crutch. I figure if my my friend, O.S.G. can handle it, I should be able to, as well. Time to get out the shin guards and Ibuprophen.


I'm still waiting for the trails to get open. I like the rain, but shutting down trails SUCKS ASS. I'm jonzin' to take out the full suspension bike again.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Splashing In Puddles


I took the new full suspension (Motobecane Fantom Comp DS) out on the maiden voyage for a 4 hour long ride through UCSC and down Wilder.

When I pulled up to my parent's house, my brother happened to ride by on West Cliff Dr. at the same time and he stopped to tell me the conditions and what to watch out for. He was on the "black bike" - a 20 yr. old Rock Lobster CycloCross bike (his non-race bike). I started off at my parent's house, right off West Cliff Drive, along Antonelli's Pond (there's a memoial for my younger brother who died there, paid my respects) and rode up Western Dr. to High St. and entered onto the campus.

I got lost on campus (down a trail, saw that it went nowhere and had to turn around), I crashed (brused hip), and rode through some serious deep water. I had my amber lens glasses, but those didn't do much due to fogging.

I finally made it to Wilder where I had to hop a handful of fences to get back home. Aside from a needed derailure adjustment, the new bike RULED - very comfy compared to to my hardtails! After I got used to being drenched and cold, I sat back, spun and enjoyed the plush ride.


My nephews were at my parent's house when I returned, and they always bring joy, so I hung out and played with those little crumb snatchers after I took a shower and got cleaned up. They were setting up a toy train that goes around my parent's Christmas tree (family tradition). Of course, my mom always has food and hot coffee at all hours of the day.

Excellent day of riding!


This is what I'm talking about...

The Yamaha Tricker is a Dream Bike of mine. Unfortunately they don't produce them in the US. I stumbled upon this awesome video of the Tricker in action in Marocco.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I promise this is the last bike I'll buy...

I swear. Last bike purchase, I promise. I just needed a full suspension bike to complete the garage. Waiting for my Stans Rim Strips so I can install the Maxxis High Roller 2.35 UST's.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

23lbs. of Titanium

Took 23lbs. of geared Titanium out today on my normal loop. That clay was a tough climb, I tell you... it just really feels like you're going nowhere real fast. Talk about rolling resistance uphill AND downhill... and my Smoke and Dart tires mud shedding capabilities is crappola. Oh well, it was fun, but I think I blew a bunch of energy initially trying to muscle my way through the dirt.

I made all of it, including the deep stuff on Stiles... wait, take that back... I had to stop once to place my bike in a more stable area when I felt like I was going into some quicksand.

I feel like I work harder on my geared bike than I do on my SS, which is not only just one gear, but nearly 4lbs. heavier. WTF?!

SuperMoto Elbow Dragging

Very nice.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't need to go far to get snow...

Given the fact that I've been feeling like straight shizzle these past few days, I needed to get out on some sort of two-wheeled machine without putting me into the flu zone - and so I chose the very handsome DRZ400SM. I just installed "highway gearing" of 16/38... much better than the 14/41 that I was using. I can actually RIDE that bike on the freeway beyond 60MPH without feeling like the motor is going to blow up! Incredibly I actually went into the carpool lane, which is a first for me on this bike. I'm pretty happy with the gearing and the 3X3, jetting and exhaust helps in the power department a lot.

Anyhow... I wanted to get up to the snow, which can be seen from my house toward Mount Umunhum, so up Hicks Rd. I went. Granted, I didn't feel like falling today on black ice, so I took it slow(ish) up the hill and even took it slower when I got to high elevations and saw the white stuff.

There were quite a few people up there considering the time of day... but then again, 20% of the Bay Area is unemployed and going up to the snow in San Jose is essentially free entertainment. I saw a fatty, little snowman that had a Mickey's can in his stick hand. Good stuff.

Coming home I decided to take a detour and see if the MTB trails were open. Lo and behold, that blasted sign was flipped down revealing trail closure. Damn it!

I guess I'll be riding in Santa Cruz this weekend - I got the Motobecane Fantom Comp DS on order and it should be here in Friday. I have a set of Maxxis High Roller UST tires and some Crank Brother Acid pedals waiting for the arrival.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review of the On-One Inbred 29'er Frame

*No riding pics in today's BLOG entry, my friends. I'm shaking this run-down feeling that usually follows up with a flu when I don't watch it. I'm chilling out (literally, it's freezing outside) and letting this thing go away. I'll be back with some dope-ass winter stories when I'm feeling better. In the mean time, check out the On-One Inbred 29'er.

I built this bike into a single-speed and it is definetely my go-to bike for my local trails (I have two MTB's with a full suspension bike on the way). I wanted a steel frame that I could change components out over time and have the thing live as long as me. The Inbred is proving it's worth!

I ride 5 days per week, mostly on this bike... so even though I've only had it 3 months, I definetely ride it often enough to give it an honest review. I love this frame... it's lax enough for chill-out mountain exploration (which I mostly do), but racy enough for some climbing and XC.

Given that I only went with a 80mm travel fork, I shy away from any agressive terrain that would require long travel suspension (learned the hard way), but as far as single track, fire roads and trail is concerned, this bike just rocks. I do go over some rock gardens that, on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being extreme downhill, I would say they are about a 2 or 3. So, it's not all that bad. I let the 29" wheels do their thing.

As with most hardtails, it's a great climber and I've been in situations where I had to really stand up and crank; the 29'er wheels and geometry just tossed me up the obstacle at hand.

The biggest improvement I made to this build was that I went tubeless. Because it is a hardtail, you can get monkey butt on seated, rough climbs. Tubeless allows me to run lower pressures so the hardtail isn't so harsh on the bumps. No more Preparation H.

I got this frame for a great bargain. Just because it was inexpensive doesn't mean it is cheap. Beautiful welds, great look and graphics and excellent do-it-all geometry. You can pretty much go any direction with this frame: SS, geared, 1X9, mountain touring, XC, CX, Fixed (mountain or road), commuter, Monster cross... well anything but downhill (that's why you need more than one bike!).

If you're building a 29'er, consider this frame. It's a great all arounder and leaves the hanger most in my garage.