What's the weather like in Doug's neighborhood?

Friday, May 25, 2007

It's a bust

Well, another week in the books and nothing to show for it. The house is in chaos with the move. This weekend will be the big push to get everything out that needs to be out. No major problems though, so I can't complain too much. The garage is starting to clear out. I am just amazed at the sheer volume of stuff that was packed in there. Not only are all of my tools, workbenches, and shelving there but all were loaded up. Top that with all of the house overflow and you have yourself a right mess. Oh well, it's just about in the books and then the majority of the rest will be the bedrooms.

Did I mention that moving sucks.

Riding, what's that? Seriously not getting out on the bike much right now. I swapped out the tires on the 29er (took off the narrow xc threads and put back on the trail tires). I was able to grunt out a short ride yesterday in the Lode. Pulled some of the tight switchbacks, but for the most part did the 90% and then lose it method. Those have got to be the tightest switchbacks around. Couple that up with the steepness and it becomes a real challenge. Bigger tires were a lot more comfortable and confidence inspiring, but they do add a bit of weight and resistance. Overall the bike is riding well and the rear wheel is holding up even with the flat spot, so life rolls on.

I got a bit of poison oak currently. Nothing major just small patches all over. I was asking for it though. Went out on Tuesday and cleared about a mile of trail that had been bugging us every time we rode through. There was a lot of oak in there. I don't think I had noticed that some of the big bushes were actually poison oak. So I pulled and trimmed the stuff back off the trail. I really should be covered in oak for the fact that I was out there in a short sleeve shirt. Either I got lucky or the stuff isn't that potent right now. That or I am finally building up a small tolerance to the stuff (I wouldn't count on that though).

This weekend:
Well, it's a holiday so an extra day is thrown in for most of us.

- Boys at Cyclesport are trying to get together a bigger ride on one of the days

- Trailhead is having their 10th anniversary party (beer and sale prices provided)

- Doug and family moving more crap out of the house (let me know if you are bored and want to lug anything around)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Napa Valley Dirt Classic Photos

Looks like the photographer finally got around to posting up the photos. Check for your photos.

Photo site

Bib #'s and results

Friday, May 18, 2007

Sweet Home Alabama

Well, it's official. We are heading for the deep south. Erin, Faith, and I spent about a week driving around and checking things out in the Huntsville area. Scenery is a bit different, but otherwise it is about the same as any other mid-sized city. It was warm and humid while we were there. Should be interesting a bit later in the summer, but for now it felt great to be the the warm weather. One thing that is very cool is how easy it is to strike up conversation with just about anyone there. People in the area were very friendly and always willing to have a short or long conversation. That makes things a bit easier for us coming into an unfamiliar area and not knowing where anything is. The high tech industry in the area has made for a much more diverse community than we had expected. That is a positive.

So at this point it really doesn't look like there is anything really turning us away from the area. We will likely rent for 6-12mo when we get there and then go from there with respect to buying a home. Erin will likely try to drive me nuts by looking at homes from the start. Yes, she has already started looking. About the biggest hurdle left is for me to find a job. That should be interesting. It is a bit more complicated to find a job from halfway across the country, but there are a lot of possibilities so I just need to start throwing out resumes.

I mentioned the Southern Hospitality a bit earlier. It is not limited to conversation. One nice fellow out there let me ride his 2mo old Turner Sultan, loaned me gear, and guided me on a ride in Monte Sano state park. Talk about a good gig. I had bugged him a few times online just asking him questions about the area. On a whim I e-mailed him while I was in town. He called me up and offered a ride. Very cool. Here is the bike that I rode:

The turner rode very well. It actually rode well enough that even setup for a rider 20lb lighter than myself it still didn't bob or do anything obnoxious. Color me smitten with this turner 29er. The white brothers fork was stiff, but not marzocchi or fox level of plush. I can't say it gave me any problems, I just wasn't overly impressed. But for now they are the only player in the 130mm travel for a 29er bike game. Another component of interest was the middleburn cranks. They end up about 100g lighter than the XT M760 cranks, but I found them to be just as stiff. They are a bit harder to get a hold of, but for shaving grams these might be a good investment. Another positive is that they make chainrings that could be setup 20-30-40 which would work better on the 29er than the traditional 22-32-44.

Who would have thought I could find someone across the country who not only would take me for a ride, but have gear that fit. What are the odds?

Monte Sano park was cool. It was like carving through tight singletrack on good dirt with trees and brush making a tunnel. The trails I rode were well maintained and perfect match for the 29er bikes we were riding. There are a lot more rocks there, but they make things entertaining. There isn't much elevation change around Huntsville (maybe 800-1000') but I am not sure that is a bad thing. I am partial to 10-20 minute climbs instead of 1hr+ grunts. Scenery on the trail was great. Lots of wildlife and the greenery was great. I think things stay green all year round there. The locals claim that the riding is year round, so I count that as another positive. It isn't as cool as Santa Cruz, but I think I can make it work. There are literally hundreds of other ride locations withing 2-3 hours as well in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. So I think I won't go totally bonkers.

Okay, enough about Alabama. Thursday night ride went off last night. We had a good crew and even picked up a stragler on the trail. HC for locals loop for about hour and a half. No casualties, but it was a fast paced ride with a lot of close calls and washed out tires. Temperatures were warm enough that everyone broke out the short sleeves. Nice to finally be rolling into the summer warmth on evening rides.

This weekend? Who knows. I gotta work a few hours on Sunday for Schwillis. The rest of the weekend will likely be moving and packing. If we get motivated we might get enough of our stuff rounded up to get out of the house by the end of the weekend. Then we would just have to round up some friends in the next month or so to get the big furniture pieces out (they can stay while the house is selling).

That's a wrap, hope you get out and enjoy your weekend.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Little bit of traction

Okay, so some rain is sprinkling down. Nothing major. Forecast looks clear for the weekend. Yet again, it is like a sign that we should all be on our bikes this weekend. Maybe a demo ride or laps in Wilder/UC. I dunno. Have to figure out something. I am kind of going to be wrapped up in packing and weed wacking.

Yes, packing. For those of you who don't know we have decided to get serious about moving out of state. It has been a discussion that Erin and I have been having for about 5 years. In that time we have seen housing costs go from un-affordable to ridiculous around here. We are moving out of our house by June 1st, but will be staying in the Bay Area until I secure a job. At this point our top pick is Huntsville Alabama. Going to be flying out next week to check it out in person. Hopefully we both find it as nice in person because it looks great on paper. Yeah, it will be a bit humid during the summer. And, yes, if we don't like it we can always come back to the Bay Area (not likely once we become familiar with reasonable housing costs though). So that's it in a nut shell.

I took another look at my 29er's rear wheel last night. Might just be best to take it out back and shoot it. The golf ball sized ding is enough to have dropped tension on the spokes in the immediate vicinity. Maybe xc 29er stuff just isn't up to the abuse that my 230lb can lay on it. Or maybe I should stop jumping and casing shit on it. I do like the bike, but replacing the rear rim once a month is going to get old fast.

The Ventana? Case things on that bike all day and it is none the worse for the wear. Hell, for all intents and purposes it is built as burly as most peoples dh bikes. Schwillis' demo only weighs in 2lb heavier. Yeah, it sucks to climb a bit but the convenience of having stuff not break just riding along goes a long ways to making up for that.

The Rock Lobster? F'that, it has been collecting dust solid since February. I don't think I have had it off the hook since March. It is a good bike, but with the weather there are just other places I want to be than on the asphalt. Kind of a weird transition because over the winter I was riding it solid enough that I actually became a lot more comfortable riding it. It is still sketchy, but not quite as hair raising to corner on at 30-40mph as it was when I first built it up.

The family? Everyone is doing well. Austin is getting ready to graduate preschool at the end of the month. All his evaluations went well, so he is off to kindergarten in the fall. Faith is walking and talking up a storm. Erin and I are a bit wrapped up in this whole relocation mess, but feel that in the end we will be better off.

On for the weekend?
- Fontana Nationals in Socal
- Coolest 24hr race
- Spring Thaw XC/DH
- Doug at Scotts Valley Cyclesport on Saturday 10-5
- Weed wacking, packing, and some moving at Doug's Sunday (let me know if you want to help)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Feeling a little abused

So yesterday I was sitting at work and feeling a bit dumpy. I see that there is a call on my phone from Jon. At this point I have pretty much passed on getting out for a ride and have resolved to get some additional work done. Check the message and of course he wants to ride. Erin is cool with me taking off for the evening, so I change pace and decide to suck it up.

The ride is going to be a Saratoga Gap top to bottom run so I decide that the 29er is the most appropriate rig to avoid massive pain on the climbs. I still have my xc race skinnies on it, but hey the Gap is an xc ride right? For once Jon and I arrive in sync and on time at the bottom of Redwood Gulch. I am on the xc bike, so I put in a bit of extra effort to keep Jon in sight up the climb. We get up to the Gap trailhead in 50min. For the record that's about as fast as I ever climb that (I think I have hit 45m on one of my 26er hardtails, but I was trying for a fast time). We take a short break and gear up for the chill that has set in.

As soon as we drop into the singletrack I realize that I am getting bounced all over the place and not having nearly as much fun as normal on this trail. Also, the XC tires don't have enough bite to get good grip on the loose over hard pack so traction kind of sucks. Oh well, make the best of it. Jon kicks my ass up down and around the mountain. Obviously the 5spot with big tires descends a bit better than my xc clad hardtail. I think it has been about a decade since I hit the Gap on a hardtail with 80mm of suspension. It is still fun, but I notice my hands are fatigued early on and my dh speed sucks. I hit a couple of small drops and jumps and thing are flowing well towards the bottom. After a quick break I am able to keep Jon in sight as the singletrack has leveled off and smoothed a bit. I do a small drop near the bottom. Wasn't pretty, but felt good to pull it.

We then climb out towards Steven's Canyon. The singletrack is feeling good. We both pull the stream crossing as some guy on a gravity rig blows it. Up a bit more, then downhill towards the exit. I am tired and on the xc bike, but decide to jump the triple log at the gate. I pedal in slow, get no lift, and case the 3rd log so hard that the chain came off the cranks. I tag the seat hard, right in the bits. I haven't nutted myself that bad since I was a kid. Ow. Fortunately I stayed on the bike and the wheel doesn't look too bad for the wear. I really am going to have to stop treating this bike like my typical all mountain bikes. It just doesn't react the same as a ht with 100mm fork despite the fact that it slices through the woods faster.

After a couple of minutes of trail side groaning we continue back to the cars. Total lap was 2300' climbing and 1:50 on the clock. That is about 25 minutes faster than we normally do that lap. No wonder I was feeling like shit and tired every time we hit a small hill. Good ride other than the cased exit.

something fun from youtube:

I gotta build up a street/dirt bike one of these days. That kind of stuff is just fun.