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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Workin' it

Since moving to Tahoe area in 1999, I've been fortunate to have the ability to get away the first weekend in June to go and check out a little motocross just down the hill in Sacramento at a track they call Hangtown.

For years Europeans dominated the sport of motocross, but in the late 70's and early 80's, Americans started to take over. Now, racers from all over the globe move here to try their luck at competing with the best riders in the world in the AMA National Motocross Series. If you're looking for something to do this weekend, grab some cold ones and a couple of your buddies and head down there to check it out.

Had I known back in March that the race was this weekend, I probably wouldn't have volunteered as mechanical support for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride. But, what's done is done and I'm actually looking forward to hanging out with some 3000 like minded people at one of the earlier rest stops on the rides planned route. I'm charging up my camera batteries and heading out in search of people with broken spokes, flat tires, gears that won't shift and some stories that can only be found at a ride like this one.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Good az it gits

The rain is penetrating the trails with force and as of yesterday you could push the envelope of traction to ridiculous levels. Some might even say EXTREEEEEEEEM!!!!!!

I set off with a crew on Sunday for "one of those days" on the bike. One of those days where the forecast was for steady rain, the ride started late, and I was on a bike with LOTS of new work and parts. Fortunately, the cards being dealt to us this day were played out with unexpected warm temps, welcomed occasional light showers and not only were there no mechanicals.... we couldn't pinch flat even if we tried!!

With anything possible, we set off on a 4 hour tour. After climbing to snow line (guessing 7,250ft elevation) we hopped on one of my favorite trails in Truckee. This is a classic ridge line rolling descent that is "choice" to say the least. From "tight and twisty" to "open and hauling", this trail has it all. Aaron and I tried to ride this trail two weeks ago and were flat out denied by snow. This day, we would get revenge..... and then some. As the trails 3rd year in existence and personally riding it for all three, I can honestly say conditions couldn't have been any better. The next 1/2 hour would be spent carving turns, picking through rock gardens and stopping every once in a while to look at your buddy with the biggest shit eating grin saying "are you kidding me?"

All good things must come to and end, and for this trail the end had come. The end was marked by a swollen creek which we walked the banks of in search of a crossing that would keep our feet dry. After 15 minutes, T-Bone took it upon himself to show us the way as he charged the creek going at least hub deep in a loose, care-free style that IS T-Bone. At the other side, while I was emptying my shoes of water and ringing out my socks, the ever quick learning Mike Koogler trumped us all by pulling out a fresh/dry pair of socks from his pack!

With more trails to ride, we set off in yet another rain shower and climbed to our next bit of "single-track radness" that are Truckee Trails.

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's ON kidz!!

After having the Sierra doused in rain showers the past few days, I took it upon myself to go out and make sure the trails are doing ok... and boy are things lookin' good. Tackiness abounds and there's plenty open. Here's the skinny.

Sawtooth Trail is open and riding well. The link you can click on get you the basics, but there's more... sooooooo much more. I highly recommend an exploratory day back there.

The Immigrant Trail is also completely open and riding well. Several variations of this trial exist with the blue section on the map (see link) is the most popular and fun.

Although I haven't been out there to ride it yet, The Flume is surely open and free of snow at this point. The previous link is a really good resource for this trail as well as other surrounding goodness. (is goodness really a word??) Note: surrounding goodness probably not rideable yet due to snow.

The Tahoe Rim Trail has stuff open as well. I'd be thinking southern exposure and not getting too high just yet. I'll be doing some serious "research" on this trail over the next few weeks. Check back for the latest / greatest.

Gravity fed types will be happy to know that Northstar's opening day is this weekend!! This place is serious fun. It's not Whistler, but it's right in our back yard. If you're looking for a more "deep woods" adventure, you can't go wrong with Downieville. Shuttles are starting this weekend as well. Get there before the trails get too "haggard".... that's my plan at least.

Wherever you ride: have fun & be safe.

Peace out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hole in the ground trail....

............ is not open yet!!!!!!!!!!!!!

24 hours of Cool....

The process: Bike in stand, wire brush chain, wipe chain with rag, lube chain, spin wheel to work in lube, clean fork stanchions with rag, wipe excess lube from chain, remove bike from stand. NEXT!!!

I would do this little "dance" 78 times from noon Saturday to noon Sunday while helping out some lads racing the Coolest 24 Hour race in Cool Ca. See pics here.

After several attempts at 24 hour races, I've come to the realization that those things just aren't for me. Something about climbing out of a warm, soft sleeping bag at 3:30 AM to ride yet another lap just doesn't work for me. 100 mile mountain bike races, xc races, cyclocross.... it's all good... but not 24 hour events. However, in the environment of good people in camp, cold beer in coolers and no pressure to ride in the wee hours... I've come around a little bit for the craziness that is 24 hour racing.

I decided to take on this little "task" of doing mechanical support for a team (4 people) and four solo riders (aka: sicko's) to help out friends and really put my mobile bike repair service to the test (more on that later).

The way I see it, the race is only part of the weekend. The real "experience" comes from all the other stuff associated with the race. Hanging out with old friends, making new ones, seeing people suffer, seeing people charge, checking out a new town, delerium on the drive home.... it's all part of the experience. This weekend would be no different.

I could go on and on about standing in front of the bike stand at who knows what time in the morning, chain lube in hand, sleep deprived, wobling in small circles like the town drunk, wondering what I just did 10 seconds ago.... but it wouldn't do justice. It's something you just have to see and do for yourself. Hopefully you will. Or maybe you just have!

Hats off to everyone in camp at the race. Twas a pleasure meeting new folks and seeing people push themselves. Extra special kudo's to Ryan Fowler for not only doing 19 laps, but also going out to get per lap donations for the fight against cancer!!