Friday, December 26, 2014

Pugsley'ing Saltese

Glen, Pat, and I took a lap around the Saltese Conservation area this morning. I rode out there for the first and only time about a year ago. At that time, we didn't do the full lap. It's not a huge lap. Map is here. I'm guessing it's about a 6 mile loop? It was a 45 minute ride: you ride generally up most of the time, then you descend back to the trailhead. That's my kind of ride.

But the ascent was a beautiful thing. I'm thinking the total elevation gain is only 400 feet or so, but the trail is so moderate and perfect. We're all wintery and out of shape, and the climb is perfect for that. And if a guy was in good shape, the hill would be a great climb on a CX bike: standing and slowly grinding the pedals for a nice clip up the hill.

I sort of had a religious experience climbing up that hill this morning. For one: xmas holiday this year has been a bit rough for a number or small reasons. Overall: life is good for sure. And climbing up a hill like that in the dense fog with a couple of my best friends really forces right and good thoughts into my head. And the fog was so great. Visibility was about 75 feet. So climbing up the twisty turny single track, I'd glance to the right and see a cyclist in a spot that didn't make any sense as far as I could figure. This happened a bunch. And of course it was Pat or Glen. But it was sort of trippy and surreal and happy time for me.

Jamming down the hill was fun too. Glen and I are pondering the handling characteristics of the Pugsleys. Our consensus is that the tires make for great XC-style descending, but the front-ends of the bikes fight against predictable and normal handling behavior.

Pat is on his new Bucksaw and pretty damn happy with that. I rode it for a hundred yards or so and found it to be frigging sweet. Pat remarked about how the Bucksaw just stays glued to the ground. I'd have to concur.

I think a guy could make the Pugsley into a good-enough XC mountain bike by putting a suspension-corrected fork on it. This solution is not my invention. According to Pat: lots of guys have done this. Putting a big honking tall fork on there would pivot the bike on the rear axel and slacken out the steepish HT/ST angles (70.5 degrees and 72 degrees, respectively), into something that should rock the descents much more effectively.

In fact, about 4 years ago local fat bike guru, Mr. Nelson, let me borrow his Pugs. Interestingly, he had a suspension fork on his bike. I want to find that fork. And I want it on my Pugs. And I really need to bite the bullet and put some hydro brakes on that sucka.

Monday, December 8, 2014

HD stroll

Light was right and weird warm winter make for nice colors and misty fog.

For years I mostly rode the trails on a cross bike. But in the last year or so,  I've pretty much ridden the HD trails on mountain bike or fat bike only. Obviously the riding is totally different. Mainly the hydro brakes, front suspension, and fatter tires make the descents really fast and fun. Climbing: not so much.

Taking the cross bike out again after a year of crashing through the trails made for an interesting ride. On the curvy switchy descent by the power lines I blew through two turns when my brakes didn't respond as I'm used to. I've also really gotten used to the fat contact patch of the mountain bike and the fat bike tires when cornering -- as a result, the way I approach, rail, and exit corners is totally different than it used to be.

On the cross bike, I have to be much more deliberate in my steering, leaning, and correcting. It's fun in a different way, but right now I'm enjoying mountain biking more than ever.

Maddie likes oysters. We're going on a bike trip next summer. We're aiming towards the oysters. Via Highway 20.