Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mountain bike tweaks

 The sharp-eyed reader will notice two obvious changes to the Kona: the stem is stubbier and the fork stantions are sparkly clean. Let's deal with these in order.

A few months ago I was chatting with Mr. Tobin about bike fit. I was carrying on about how I wanted to be more stretched out on the mountain bike. Ben has a look that is sort of a smirk/smile that he was deploying as I told him this. That smirk/smile is his "I'm hearing it but I'm not buying it" look. Generally, his take was that he liked being more up-right. He likes how it distributes his weight.

Ben is a great trail rider -- just super smooth and natural. He's been riding and hucking for years so his skill is the best kind: it's informed and shaped by years of practice, experience, pondering, wrecking....

So the conversation has stuck with me. And today I changed stems after a quick trail ride. I had this stubby stem in my stash and I'm looking forward to trying it out. I'll report back. Here's a pic of the bike with the longer stem.

And here's a great, unrelated pic of Alex and Andre man-handling something.  But my favorite part is Jon calmly putting together his meal in the background. Good eggs all.

Part two: forks. I blew a seal on these forks during my and Glen's last adventure. I was hoping to get one more summer out of them before sending them to Fox. I assumed Tom at 2 Wheel would be the guy to take care of these, but that's not on the menu there. Ironically enough, Bike Hub, in the old 2 Wheel spot does fork rebuilds. And what's more: they had the seals in stock and had it done in three days. It was $81+tax. Frickin rad all around.

Friendly advice from the Bike Hub guys: wipe down the stantions after each ride to make your forks last longer. I'm not big on maintenance, but I can handle that. Hence the sparkly stantions.

Finally, if you are going to blog post about technical parts of a suspension fork and you want to make sure you (over)use a term (like, for example, say, "stantion"), you can refer to this handy picture.

Monday, June 10, 2013

As it turns out...

That last post, titled, "Jungle Hill," was mis-titled. That trail wasn't Jungle Hill. We're not sure if that trail had a name, but it was a nice climb and it wasn't Jungle Hill. It pushed us out on Highway 20. So that's not ideal.

Anyway, I've heard of the Jungle Hill Trail before and I've skirted it a couple times on other rides through that neighborhood of Colville Nat'l Forest. So I've been wanting to check it out for a couple years.

The plan was to ride up Jungle Hill trail and loop it -- according to this excellent route.


The trail was a mess. What would've been a difficult climb in any condition was made super way worse by a ton of deadfall crossing the trail. We did the 4 mile climb/1300 foot elevation gain in about 2.5 hours.

The majority of work was climbing over monster piles of deadfall. We ended up getting up to the Kettle Crest Trail and decided to ride back down the way we came up.

Creek crossing. 

According to the folks at the National Forest office, trail cleaning is just getting started. Hopefully this will be cleared out in the next few weeks, because I think it would a pretty good two-day ride to come in at Boulder, ride the Kettle Crest and then come down Jungle Hill to Deadman Creek Road. Verily.

Deadfall injuries.

Time for an oil change.

Jungle Hill - 5250 ft

3G coverage.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Officially, school is out next week. But I've got most of my stuff done.

So the plan was to sort of ease into summer vacation.

But today I plunged.

It started at 6 AM at Pat's for manual'ing practice.

6:40 AM -- on the way home from Pat's. Empty coffee pot.

Standard shadow pic.
Required by the genre once a biennium.
At least.

It sort of dawned on me unexpectedly yesterday that I didn't have the normal metric shit ton of homework to do this week. Normally, Tuesdays are homework from dawn to dusk.

So I emailed Glen with a generous time frame hoping he would figure out a way to spare a couple of hours in the middle of his busy work day. His reply to my email: "Be here at 10 with supplies for alpine adventure."

Verily. We went to Mt Spokane.

Typical ride: about 2 hours of climbing and 25 minutes of descending.
But that descending was so good. Trail 140 to be precise.

I discovered that my phone has two camera lenses.  One is for self-portraits.
Lucky you.

Faster furiouser funner descending is really a function of brakes.
I've not carried on nearly enough about how much these brakes rule. They're SLX hydro.

I think this is the top of Day Mountain. But it might be Kit Carson.

Mountain meadow.
Reminds me of Kettle Crest.
Which I'll be hitting soon.

Top of the fun part.