Sunday, March 25, 2012

First Dirt

First dirt (and beers) at The Overlook
Classic American story: (51 year old) kid gets shiny new bike. Report after first ride: Need to change my riding style.

Turning. The Rig needs to be horsed around some of the turns, the El Mar turns much easier. Horsing it almost sent me into the trees a couple of times. Maybe it's geometry, maybe the maxel, maybe the new Reba fork (stiffer?) but it is definitely more nimble.

Acceleration. OMG yes. While it's not a light frame, the hoops are light and with 26" 1.95 tubes (trick I learned at the shop) so are the tires. So it accelerates quickly. Or maybe it's the new bike buzz I had going, but who cares.

The shifting is fast and precise, both front and back, thanks to the X9 upgrade.

And the unexpected surprise is the brakes. Hydraulics give such a better feel than cable. Maybe the big rotor up front makes a difference. Whatever. I had not anticipated this bonus. Huge.

Only two knocks against it after two rides:

  • Needs chain stay protector. Actually very little chain slap, but with a BRAND NEW shiny frame I want to keep it that way.
  • Front tire feels slightly out of round. Only noticeable on very smooth stretches, but is noticeable. Maybe tire bead needs to be re-seated. That should be fun (see prior post).

Oh and one more great feature. I suspected it ahead of time, but still it may be the best of all. The new bike draws a crowd! It started with fellow riders stopping by the house to "sneak a peek" and it culminated with myself, MikeR, RobI, and Zoey out at The Overlook. Moments later MikeM came screaming in sweaty and out of breath after a dash from the boat launch to meet us  see the bike  drink beer. And MarkS arriving 5 minutes later from the bonus loop with the same agenda.

If the first couple of rides are any indication, many more memories will be made with this bike.


"It won't make you ride better, it will make you ride more, and that will make you ride better."
     - Nippleworks ad (talking about value of a good bike)

Glamour Shoot

Photo shoot prior to Friday's cherry popper ride.

Enjoy these glam shots of the El Mar before she sees the dirt. She's a 2012 El Mar 2 with upgraded shifters (X9) and Ergon grips. And one unexpected upgrade at the shop was a maxel adaptor for my roof rack (du-oh).

Glad I had them change the tubes at Garrison's Cyclery (1.96 26-ers to reduce rotational mass). In the process we discovered that the Continental X Kings are really tight on those Stans Arch rims. How tight? Well 5 minutes after Rob started preaching to me about the importance of never using an iron to put a tire back on the rim (I agree), he was using an iron to put the tire on the rim. Oh and he busted the iron in the process. So these tires are tight and the rim sidewalls are tall. I hope something loosens up because that could be a real bitch out on the trail.

Small green globule in middle of the Salsa headtube badge is a bug who met his unfortunate but mercifully quick demise during the car ride home from the bike shop. Next post will be a first dirt ride report.


"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a bicycle, must be in want of another one."
     -- unknown

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dos and Don'ts

Don't Do This
My life expectancy rose but my heart sank yesterday as I rode to the totter meeting place by The Bonus Loop. The tree that mother nature had placed at a perfectly gnarly 45 degree angle across the trail had been moved aside by some miscreant. That log at that angle definitely made things interesting (especially when the log was wet) but I personally do not subscribe to "dumbing down" the local trails.

Do Do This
But my heart was lifted (and my life expectancy probably rose) today as we made our happy hour dash to The Overlook. It was my first ride in months with short sleeves, the trails were buff, and my Camelback was full of beer. And it was there on the Overlook that I decided to pull the trigger on a new Salsa El Mariachi. I will have to wait until tomorrow morning at 10am to actually pull it, but finally making up my mind, standing at the overlook with a beer in my hand, was memorable.

Oh and the mad dash back in tight four bike formation will not soon be forgotten. Chests heaving, beers sloshing, faces smiling.


"It never gets easier, you just go faster."
     – Greg LeMond

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Wednesday to Remember

All we could eat
The day started with my bike and roof rack being violently ripped off my car and unceremoniously thrown into into the driveway. But it ended with a couple of hours of sweet single track, wings, and some beer with friends. I would call that a net gain.

This morning's culprit was the basketball hoop hanging over my driveway at the perfect height to snag the handlebar of a roof mounted bike. Hundreds of times I have backed out of the driveway, peeking through the moon roof, expertly guiding the car and it's valuable payload around the net with inches to spare. This morning not so much.

This afternoon's culprit was the trio of spectacular springtime weather, three riding buddies, and the buff single track of White Clay. Adrenaline and fresh air made up for a winter of atrophy and we ripped the sh*t out of those trails for a couple of hours, having more fun than is normally allowed for a Wednesday afternoon.  The ride even helped Mark avoid a minor surgical procedure and a $35 copay (sorry I can't figure out how to elaborate without disgusting my Mom who I know reads this blog).

We decided to cap the ride with a beer at McGlynn's. Turns out that Wednesday is all you can eat wings. Oh yeah. The morning driveway calamity was a distant memory...

“Like dogs, bicycles are social catalysts that attract a superior category of people” 
     -- Chip Brown