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Looking for a simple brake adjustment.... is that skipping chain driving you crazy.... how about those leaky seals on your suspension fork..... oh you need a wheel built.... the search is over! Mighty Mobile is here to help!

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Gregg Stone
Mighty Mobile Bicycle Repair
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

2-Day

First day on skis. Yep. Went and "let em run" on some groomers up at Sugarbowl. Good stuff actually.

Thinking about calling (or texting as per his request) this guy in response to this ad on Craigslist. Not sure if it would be interesting, dangerous or some kind of weird mix of both... but I've got some 26" rims he might want. I'm also always looking for some teammates for next season and he DOES say he's fast.

I wonder how many bike parts I'll have to sell to that guy before I can answer this ad. I've seen this stuff on TV and it sure does look easier than racing bikes. Maybe I'll take next year off the bike and get behind the wheel instead?

If you're still not sick of misc. Craigslist ads, you definitely won't be disappointed in one of my favorites: The bike for sale and the salty mechanic from Seattle

Hope this finds you well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

S Yuba Epic

Sometimes it takes more than excessive climbing, mileage and hours spent in the saddle to classify a ride as an epic. Some rides need events "above and beyond" the norm to help push a ride into true "epic" status. This ride would prove to have the necessary elements to make it one I won't forget anytime soon.



I thought my hands and feet were cold at the start of the ride. I was wrong. They were cold starting out, but within' the first hour we did a nice climb in the sun that brought all my extremities back to a level of warmth leaving me with normal feeling in my feet and fingers that could operate zippers, shifters and other small details of dexterity one usually finds necessary and comforting on a bike ride.

For the majority of the ride we had it made. Sunny skies. Warm temps. For the most part, we were wearing shorts and t-shirts. The trail was in good shape and we were having about as good of time as you'd expect on a ride.

No, it was later.... much later in the ride when things would start to get desperate. I first realized I was a bit "under gunned" with gear while attempting the simple act of applying lube to my chain after climbing the Alpha road. The Alpha road is a fairly stout climb gaining 2,000ft in 4 miles ascending from the quaint little town of Washington to Skillman Campground on Hwy 20. Once at the top of the climb I took off my pack and put on every piece of clothing I'd brought with me. I dug a little deeper in my pack and grabbed a bottle of chain lube. My grunts, groans and other miscellaneous sounds of desperation would leave one to believe that I had just broken my leg, been shot or had some other serious issue requiring emergency help. The simple fact of the matter was that I was having some serious trouble getting my fingers to squeeze the bottle of lube hard enough to get anything to come out! I would eventually "win the war" with the bottle of lube but it would require the use of both hands.

Soooo. It was almost 4:00. We had 16 miles to go with only about an hour of daylight left.
The trail looses 2,000ft of elevation in those 16 miles and, aside from a few small climbs, rolls nicely with good flow. With that being the case it's conceivable to cover the distance in about an hour but the fact that we'd just rode 37 miles and climbed 8,000ft left us with legs that felt anything but spunky. The only option, really, was to GO!

Instantly my hands were frozen as we descended through Skillman Campground. Even more so than when I was trying to lube my chain! Sure. I could've stopped and swung my arms around in an attempt to force blood into my finger tips or put my hands in my armpits but this would use up precious daylight. Nothing to do but push on. Within a few miles my feet would also feel the effects of the setting sun eventually feeling like blocks of ice. For the next 45 minutes we raced daylight but were barely keeping up.

We hit Miners Trail in a possessed state with juuuussst enough daylight to be dangerous. This is a high speed trail with most of its sections in a heavy canopy of trees. Had we gotten to the trailhead 10 minutes later we would've surely had to descend down hwy 20 in the dark to the car. The amount that this would've sucked is beyond comprehension. It would've been a cold, dangerous, dark 2 mile blast on pavement which, as any mountain biker will surely agree, is a really shitty way to end a ride... especially knowing that you're paralleling a ripping piece of singletrack above you in the relative safety of the woods.

Fortunately we made it down Miners without incident. All that we had left to do was ride a short-ish piece of flume trail to the car. By this point it was pretty much dark. I'm glad to have countless trips down this trail. It's fairly straight forward but has its hazards that include water along its entire right side and a couple of spots requiring the portaging of your bike. By the end of this trail it was definitely dark as we blindly negotiated the final piece of pavement to the car.

Changing out of riding gear with cold fingers is always a challenge. The only comforting part of doing it this time around was that it was totally dark as I scrambled partially naked around the freezing parking lot along hwy 20 feeling around for cotton layers that never felt so good.

Shortly after loading up bikes and gear we sat at a nearby bar and waited on our food. I had on every piece of clothing I'd brought with me that didn't accompany me on the ride. The gal behind the bar slid a nice hoppy beverage in front of me referring to me an Eskimo or something to that effect. Meh. Whatever.

As the warmth settled in my thoughts turned to what the next adventure might be. How long? How far? How cold? How hot? Who? What? When? Where?

Monday, December 12, 2011

ski porn

Not yet, but soon enough, we'll be donning stiff boots and big puffy gloves as we head out into the great white expanses of the Tahoe area to get our "schush" on.

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.



I'm officially making a call out that we'll get 6' of snow between Christmas and New Years. I have absolutely zero forecast knowledge or facts to back up my prediction... but it's happened before. Till then... see you on the singletrack.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

More Tools??

I've got alot of tools in the van but this will surely require the procurement of something I probably don't have on board.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I got a schtick!

Holy smokes folks. The record setting winds of last weeks storms had people telling stories about surfing on the lake, shingles torn from roofs and downed trees all over the place.

Aside from a bad nights sleep, the winds didn't really have too much of an effect on me until yesterday while heading down to Nevada City for a ride. I thought I noticed some branches and other miscellaneous debris down along the road while driving down the 20 but didn't realize the severity of the situation until I was on trail. The trails down there look like nobody has ridden them in years. Branches and sticks are so bad in spots that you're not even really riding on dirt... just a blanket of pine branches!

So, with that being the case I only rode for about 35 minutes before ripping off my rear derailleur and snapping the hanger in the process. I replaced the hanger with the spare from my pack and only made it another 5 minutes before doing almost the same thing again. Minutes later, after being forced to stop by yet another downed tree, I looked at my computer and saw that in the last hour and seven minutes I'd only covered 3.56 miles. Knowing that I was only heading higher on the ridge where I'd encounter more blown down branches and trees, I turned my bike around and headed back towards the car while I could still at least pedal my bike. Sometimes you just gotta know when to say when.

Since it was only 12:30 I headed out on a hike with "the little woman" and Flash the dog in negro canyon on the Donner Rim Trail. This trail is entirely rideable to the Drifter hut on the ridge. There are some patches of snow but the trails south/west face is melted out for the most part giving riders the option for some riding right here in Truckee. That being said, I'm sure Lloyds is GTG (good to go) as well.... although I haven't actually been there to have a look.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Ridin'!

Been riding. Shit tons. The weather's been too nice to not take advantage of heading off the hill to ride some classic foothills trails. Also re-acquainting myself with Reno. Haven't ridding down there in a couple of years... usually due to snow.



Mmm mmmm mmm. You're probably sick of me spewing about Nevada City trails but I'm not stopping any time soon. The trail conditions are "all time" there right now and missing out on what that place has to offer is just plain "crazy talk". The ride starts at Omega rest stop and ends in Nevada City proper using a mix of moto trails and the Pioneer. One look at the elevation profile (click on "view details" on the map more info) does most of the talking on this one.



Then there was the "shitty Reno ride". Too windy. Having gotten "beat down" by the wind while riding in Reno more times than I care to admit, my gut feeling was to bail. I'd like to think I'm getting smarter as I get older, but it was probably just dumb luck on the right decision to bail on the ride. As you can see from the stats (1.3 miles/11:28 elapsed time) it wasn't much of a ride. Weird, there wasn't any wind in the parking lot when we got there but by the time we got suited up and clipped in, momma nature's cheeks were puffed up like she was playing the horns. Within minutes my feet and hands were cold.... and we were climbing. Sooooo, we went back to the car, put the bikes on the roof and headed to Galena.



Although this ride is a bit higher in elevation, there was little to no wind. The snow line is just high enough that you can ride most of what you probably want to ride. This is a pretty good ride that leaves from the Chevron as you're heading up hwy 431. We got off track slightly on the way up the first climb because we were thinking of doing a different ride but bailed because I wasn't exactly sure how to link up the trails. We probably could've pulled it off but I didn't want to miss the lunch special at all you can eat sushi.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Too cool

This was just too cool to not pass along.
As a kid, I used to be easily mesmerized by the visual effects of spinning wheels and this video I found on BikeRumor this morning has to take the cake.



Ahh... this simpler things in life.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Mondayze

Just got back to town. Me and the "little woman" took a trip to lower lands where the sunshine was abundant, the temperatures allowed the donning of shorts and t-shirts and there wasn't even a speck of snow to look at the entire week. Umm umm good.

Saw the parking lot at Boreal PACKED on our way back into town of Saturday night. They had the snow guns at full throttle. So much so that I couldn't even see anyone doing the actual act of skiing or snowboarding through all the fog and blowing snow, but it's safe to say that at least someone must have been out there with the 200+ cars filling in the parking lot at Donner Summit.

Although I still have an absolutely zero % desire to race the bike right now, if I did I'd surely be heading down to San Fran to do the SSCXWC this weekend. That's sure to be a good time. I actually found the link to the site while checking in on this little piece of hardware. Safe to say I didn't spend many days on the one speed this season but look to change that for 2012.

Speaking of the one speed, I've got my Sniper for sale. Putting this rig up for sale wasn't the easiest of decisions to make but I've got another bike in the quiver that's ready for all the back breaking and knee damaging fun that IS one speeding. Seriously, this bike is sick. If your interested, give a brother a shout and we'll talk.
Asking $675.00
It's light.
It's custom.
It's awesome.


Although it's cold enough to make your nose hairs stand on end Mighty Mobile is still out and about doing repairs. I'm typically scheduling work between 10:00 and 3:00 while the sun is shining and it's warm to the point where the tools don't get frozen to my hands like the kids tongue in Christmas Story. If you got stuff broken, get it fixed!

Although you gotta spend a little "seat time" in a car to escape the snow, the trails off either side of the hill are in incredibly good shape right now. The dirt is that dark, chocolate brown color that you dream about when you're riding the moon dust of Tahoe in August with dusty shins and crusty boogers. Get revenge... GO RIDE!!!

Sure, everybody knows about the Auburn trails, but if you wanna try something different, hit up this site for some other stuff off the west slope. Round Mountain is usually free of snow all year long and is a really fun ride. The South Yuba meets this criteria as well although it's not what I'd call "easy trail". Don't forget Downieville either. Although "the downhill" will get shut down with snow, the North Yuba trail has seen lots of work in the past few years and rides really well in both directions. It doesn't stay open "year 'round" but has a long riding season nonetheless.

And don't forget Reno. These trails won't win any "best vista" awards, but there's plenty of little brown ribbons of singletrack to keep you entertained for hours on end. Here's a link to a map, although I think the best thing to do is head out there and just start trying stuff until you get lost enough times that you figure out a ride that works for you. I don't like, or recommend, riding Reno trails when it's windy or muddy. It sucks. Really bad. Don't do it. Trust me. Also, take a couple more layers of clothing than you think you'll need. Most of the trail head access points have this weird effect of tricking you into thinking that you'll be fine dressing in light layers. You'll be fine for a while until you reach the upper elevations of the trails where you'll start to think "hmm, it's a little chilly" then you'll freeze your ass off on the way back to the car. Again, it sucks. Really bad. Dont' do it. Trust me... I've done this more times than I care to admit.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Newz



Welp. Mark it. November 3rd. That just might have been the last day for riding on the dirt here in the immediate Truckee area for this season. Don't get me wrong, I'm a "glass is half full" kind of guy but I've already mentally prepared myself for a bit of driving down the hill for my fix of riding before it's "full on" winter and we leave the bikes in trade for skis. I hope I'm eating my words as I clip in and pedal from the house a couple of weeks from now, but I'm not holding my breath.

Let's see... what else. Oh yea! Come one out this Wed (9th) to the Cottonwood to support the Truckee Pump Track. This is going to be a fundraiser for what's sure to be THE best way to tire your arms out in less than a minute on a bike. Check out the latest and greatest on their site. This will probably be one of those events where the chances of winning are on your side.



Other goings ons here at Mighty Mobile have been of the tedious sort. I do some occasional product testing and review for Singletrack.com.... sorta like this one. After a summer of testing out gear -that really wasn't mine- I finally got the call. "Ummm... Gregg..... you still out there? Do you think 4 months is enough time to test out those grips we sent ya? You got any stories?" Yea.... I was slackin'. Sorta.

Truth be told I sorta had my hands full wrenchin' full days and trying to squeeze in a ride here and there during our all too short summer. That being said I had adequate time to test gear but lacked the computer time it takes to actually write about said gear. So, this found me spinnin' wrenches on my own rig a bit of Wed night and most of yesterday morning so I could box up miscelaneous test gear and send it back to VeloNews. I cleaned up the Magura Thor 150 fork that I'd had on the front of my Blur for a while. (Sorry 'bout the scratches on the stanchions boys) Uninstalled the M8 Brakes from the race bike. (Damn those things are light!) Then stripped the remaining 2012 Shimano XT componentry from the Blur.

It's funny how fast old parts come off a bike and how unbelievably long it takes to build it back up. Especially when its a bike being "cobbled" together with parts from various manufacturers with various ideas about compatibility. This inevitably leads to shimming, grinding, bloody knuckles and a fair amount of cussin'.

Welp, hunker down kids. The next phase of snow is due through the night. When it's all over, I'll see ya in the foothills for day trips to ride.... just like you'll probably be doing.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Season Finale

Welp, it's over. A summer full of turning myself inside-out on the bike, downing copious amounts of energy gels & drink mixes and piling a ton of miles on my car has come to an end.

The season finale for the Sierra Cup Series was held at Northstar this past weekend. Fun course. Poor bike choice on my part. Hardtails at Northstar don't really make a ton of sense. I knew this but felt like the 4,000+ ft of climbing would suit the hardtail better and I could just "deal" with the descents and try to not loose any time. Yea. That only kind of worked. The climbs were more manageable on the hardtail, but the descents (especially towards the bottom the the mountain) were really taxing. Don't get me wrong. This isn't a "shoulda, coulda, woulda" story in an attempt at telling you I could've won had I ridden my Blur... but I would've had a metric ass load more fun on the descents on Sunday.

In the end, I lost the battle (Sunday's race... I finished 2nd) but won the war (Sierra Cup Series) in a close battle with
Clint Claasen all season long. I haven't seen the points yet, but I'm guessing the championship was down to single digits.

So, now it's time to start working on the "bucket list" of trails that I really want to ride this year. This includes stuff I haven't done in years, trails that are super fun but I haven't got a chance to ride yet this year and some others that may require some travel.... yep.... road trip.

If I were to keep racing this season, it would surely include some cyclocross and wouldn't feel complete unless I checked out
this race at least once. Damn... that looks fun. Maybe...????

Thursday, September 29, 2011

miss me???

Since it's been well over a month without a blog posting I figured this might be a good time to get something going so ya'll don't think I packed up shop and flew the coop.

Time's been flying by and we've reached that point in time where the days are officially shorter than the nights. If you're "on the fence" about weather or not to go for a ride, remember.... our days are numbered. Factor in work, firewood and the honey-do list and our potential number of riding days is nearing the endangered list for this season.

Not to fear though, the best riding season is just getting under way. The temps are perfect and the recent rains have left trails in good condition.

If you still have a hankering to get your suffer on you should definitely be thinking of heading out to Northstar for the final round of the Sierra Cup Mountain Bike Race Series . Word has it their using the 2010 Collegiate Nation Course. Seems like a good course with enough varying terrain to suit everyone's style and preference. I'm heading into this race with a 12 point lead in the series. If all goes to plan I should come out on the top step of the podium ensuring me fame, fortune and bragging rights. Well.... at least bragging rights. The action happens this Sunday Oct 2nd. Race starts at 9:30.... sharp.

Hope this finds everyone well... if there's still anyone out there.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And so it begins

It starts with an email.
Someones burning desire to "get outta' dodge".
Ideas get thrown about.
A plan forms.
Then.... then it begins.

A new day starts in a new place.
You reach new heights
in a new place
searching for.....

....perfection
You explore your options....
....pick a direction
and go deep
loving every minute of it
regardless of how much it hurts
Every day has its end and this trip will be no different
as the sun sets and you begin to plan for your next day and your next adventure.
Here's to road trips.


Friday, August 19, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The TS100 Race Report... fianlly

Ok. This event is O-ficially on the team Mighty Mobile race calendar for next year.
The aid stations were stacked with everything you'd ever want and the volunteers go above and beyond to ensure your day of ultimate suffering goes foreword without hesitation or holdups.

The race - damn hard. Classic Tahoe dust, sketchy descents on both singletrack and Jeep trail. Ridiculously hard climbs. Chilly temps at the start that turned into plenty hot for me by mid day. Mmmm. I can almost taste the warm water in my bottles as I type.

The excitement at the start was electrifying. Or at least it must've been. I was actually at Sakos' truck shedding a layer when I heard everyone hooping and hollering. Sheeiite! I hopped on my bike and made it about halfway back to the start when I saw the pack coming at me full bore. I pulled in between two cars, got myself turned around and hopped in the front third-ish of the pack.

After a mile or so of pavement the course hit the dirt through some of the ski trails at Royal Gorge. Dusty. I was glad I had a bandanna tied around my neck that I could pull up over my nose and mouth to filter at least some of the dust. I probably re-passed most of the people that passed me at the start and was told about an hour into the race that I was 40th.

At this point of the day (7:00am) I was still uncertain as to how hard I wanted to push for what I thought would be about 9 more hours.

I spent the next hour riding at a medium pace and started to feel pretty good. At one point I saw Obie Miller get waaayy out of control on a fast rocky fireroad descent. His bike was swapping so far sideways left to right that I could read the letters on his downtube! I don't know how he saved it but I'm damn glad he did. We would end up riding quite a bit together throughout the day - sometimes talking, other times just pedaling along in survival mode with the classic "100 mile stare" in the eyes.

I didn't have enough time to get my ipod filled with music so I left it up to chance that I'd have some killer tunes in my head. This can be a deadly gamble. Seriously, one wrong thought on a tough climb will have you humming "don't worry be happy" over and over and over again until it makes you half crazy. Fortunately, I dodged that bullet and lucked out with stuff that didn't suck.... at least to me.

So, on and on. More aid stations. More drink mix. More gel packs. A nibble of PB&J. Perhaps a banana. Occasionally, two cookies - one for now and one in the leg of my shorts for later. Hate to eat and run but.....

At some point we got to the section of the course that I'd done a few weeks prior. This was both good and bad. The good thing was that I knew what was coming up. The bad thing was that I knew what was coming up.

All hundred milers (or at least the good ones) have an element on the course that "stands out" from the rest of its route. For the Tahoe Sierra 100 it's the last three climbs that takes this ride to eleven.

After a descent that overheats brakes and tests the limits of suspension you have 15 miles to go when you face the first of the last three climbs. It's 1,600 vertical ft in 1.5 miles. Plenty steep. 75% hike a bike even on a good day. The blood drains from your arms as you push your bike up this ungrateful ascension to Devils Thumb. Sweat stings your eyes as tiny flies buzz your head making an already tough situation even harder. You pray for the climbing to stop - and it will.

You'll have just enough time to get a few quick drinks from your water bottles before a second helping of ledgy, loose and steep switchbacks descend to yet another canyon. You'll need two fingers on your brake levers this time. Partly because it's steeper but mostly because your entire hands will be stinging from the constant beating their dealing with on this downhill.

Not to worry though, the pendulum of gravity will start to swing the other way once again and you'll be faced with your next climb. This one isn't quite as bad as the last but you'll still have to dig deep to get yourself out. 2,000ft in 3.5 miles. You'll be pedalling a little more on this climb but still be off the bike pushing for more time than you probably will the rest of the season. The last "kick up" on this one is a real monster. You round each corner hoping that you'll see the top of the climb... but you won't. Hang in there.

Thank you ma'am may I have another. Yep, one more time. Another descent and another climb. The last climb isn't as hard as the first two but it's still a soul crusher. You'll be glad to see the pavement near the top of this one and even more stoked to see the finish.

Full Epic. The course is hard. The help is amazing. You get fed after the race. There's beer. I mean, what more could you ask for out of a bike ride.

I would definitely recommend this race to a friend.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

more ts100

If you're not into 100 mile races, this might not be the week for you to be reading this blog. Or maybe it is since the race is actually only 89.3 miles. Not to worry though, it still has something like a billion feet of climbing so I'm still considering it an epic.

I couldn't help but notice a tandem signed up for the race while checking out the start list. Not sure if that's an act of burliness, a gluttonous desire for punishment.... or just plain stoopid. In any event, it did make my "wonder which bike I'll race" conundrum seem a bit petty.

Each 100 mile race I do presents itself with the need to plan, pack, plan some more, pack some more and set some sort of realistic goal for myself that I'd like to meet while out on course.

I'm still not sure exactly how I'm feeling about this race. One thought has me on a light bike with the bare essentials in an attempt at posting a decent finish. The other thought has me simply out riding around in the woods for the day with the main objective to finish and have some good fun. I guess I'll have to figure that out in the next couple of days.... or on the morning of the race while making my carpool friends as late for the race as I'll be.

On a separate -but somewhat related- note, good luck to ya'll that are heading to Leadville for the hundo out there. Seems like a good party. No, I'm not racing it. No, it's not because it's the same weekend as the TS100. No, it's not because it's too far. It's the lack of singletrack that keeps me away from that race. I've raced a 100 miles of fireroad before and quite frankly hope that I never have to do it again. If it weren't for music in my drop bag at the 50 mile mark and beer at the finish I'm sure I would've posted a big fat DNF at that one.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Lagging on the race report from Kirkwood. Sorry. I'm faster on the bike than I am at postings on this here blogity thing.

The race - I took the "W" by 6-ish minutes thanks to quite a bit of techy downhill. Well... that and deciding, at the last minute, to run the 2.35 Schwalbe Nobby Nic on the front of my race bike. Note to self; always... ALWAYS do a "shake down" ride on the race bike after doing changes. After having gotten used to the 2.35 inches of ultra-traction that the Nobby Nic provided me at Downieville going back the the "spindly" 2.1 WTB Prowler -which worked fine in the early season- proved to be quite scary. On my shakedown ride I was questioning my ability to pilot the bike as I overshot corners, had little to no braking power up front and generally had less fun on the ride than I knew was possible. Upon arriving back at home base, I threw the bike in the repair stand and put the Nobby Nic back on the front of my rig. That tire is simply AWESOME in the Tahoe duff and dust.

Fun course. 4 laps. Hard climb to start. Onto singletrack. Then a quick, hard, steep headwall climb on fireroad. Then... then some ultra-rad singletrack. Mostly descending. Lots of off camber sketchy rocky trail. Mmmmm. I like. A typical lap went like so: Get caught on the start climb - recover - drop the guy who caught me on the descent - repeat.

After the race, me and the misses did some investigation of the local campgrounds and decided on Kirkwood lake campground as our accommodations for the night. Super nice site. Out on a point. Killer views. A nice little trail that took us to a waterfall. Mmmm. I like.

Then on Sunday we did a nice road ride on nearby Blue Lakes Rd (Hope Valley). Light on traffic, heavy on views and nice pave'. Mmmm. I like.
Next up was some recon on the last 35 miles of the Tahoe Sierra 100 race course. This thing's gonna be a soul crusher. Steep climbs, river crossings, poison oak, loose trail with lots of rocks, bugs that swarm your head while hiking your bike.... should be a hoot. How hard is it? Well, hard enough to make you look like this!!!
Why do we do this? Because you also get trail like this:

and this

and this
and this
with views like this
and this????

So.... I'm racin'. Or at least going out and riding 100 miles. Should be some tales to tell. Race report to follow.

Ya'll come back now.... ya hear.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Summer Hump

Wow.

Holy shit.

Ok.

With another long winter that refused to release its grip on Tahoe until sometime in early June ya'll were more than ready to ride once the trails started melting out this year.

Business at Mighty Mobile took off like a team of unruly horses pulling a wagon full of tools and parts. I pulled on the reigns with all my might and yelled most of the curse words I know at those damn horses. They pulled that wagon just as fast as they could with nary a concern for passenger or cargo. After a while though, the horses started to tire themselves out and become slightly more... chill-axed. One by one they started to fall into a groove and work together as a team signaling to me that the flow of a summer in Tahoe is definately upon us.

A three week break in the race schedule has given me a chance to rest, re-coup and ultimately get things caught up with Mighty Mobile. Quarterly sales tax, sifting through long neglected receipts strewn about my desk and other miscellaneous sheeite necessary to operate a business have all been taken care of. i's dotted.... t's crossed.

Good thing too. Round #4 of the
Sierra Cup Series is this weekend at Kirkwood and the Tahoe Sierra 100 is juuuusst around the corner with plans already in the works for a pre-ride. Yikes!

I really feel like I've reached "the summit" this summer for all kinds of stuff. Weather you ride on the road or in the dirt it's always the downhill that most of us look forward to. And that time is now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Downieville Report

Downieville.
Wow.
Another year in the books.

First thing's first...Bike selection:
Well, this year was the year of the hardtail for me. I've been racing a carbon
Specialized Stumpjumper Expert 29er for most of my races this year and just plain ole' felt comfortable on it. A preride in Downieville 10ish days leading up to the race confirmed my suspicions that I'd be alllllmost as fast on the descent on my hardtail as I would my Blur LT. Sure, without a doubt, there were sections that I couldn't "pin it" on the hardtail that I definately could have on my Blur but not enough to offset the 4lb weight difference (Hardtail=24lbs/Blur=28lbs). I ran Schwalbe Nobby Nics in a 2.35 width which proved to be a really really really good choice. I installed my trusty USE suspension seatpost to "take the edge off". I also loosely installed a blue ziptie to the rear left side saddle rail. What did this do.... absolutely nothing except make people ask questions and laugh. Other than that, I ran the bike the same as I do at most of the other races I've done this year.


Saturday, The XC:
Last year:
Last year I felt like a friggin' hero coming over the top of the start climb. I think I crested the top in the high 40 to low 50 minute mark. I felt great. My breathing was deep... rhythmic. I felt rested and almost comfortable.... sorta. I was told I was in the top 10. With the first bit of single track (Sunrise Trail) in my sights and 5,000ft of descending between me and the finish line a permagrin smile formed on my face and I started into the trail with the speed of a cheata and the tactfulness of a mountain lion.

This year:
This year as I crested the start climb I felt like.... well.... shit. Yea. Shit. Not even the shit from a mountain lion. More like dookie stuck on the bottom of your shoe from the neighbors dog. I looked ahead and saw a sea of riders ahead of me and wondered how my legs, which had already shown signs of cramping, would hold up in the remaining hour of the race. Lingering snow meant no Sunrise trail this year and as the course banked left and started its descent towards Butcher Ranch I let gravity take over and tried to change my mental game and get psyched for the second half of the race. I caught a few riders on the top sections of the course. This helped. I wasn't getting caught. This also helped. I still cramped on the climb after Pauly Creek but not near as bad as last year. The bad cramping happened BEFORE the Pauly Creek Bridge this year while doing battle with Clint Claussen. Dang. Things got a little better as the course went on, but I never had that feeling that I was charging or making up much ground. I continued feeling like shit until some two hours after the race and was rewarded 9th for my efforts. I was 10 minutes off the winners time (Carl Decker). Meh.


Sunday, The DH:
Well geez-o-pete.
Damn.
I was ON!!
Holy shit.
Holding bib #10 meant an early start time for me. The course had a super sweet line/lines ridden in it from the previous days xc race. Riding early meant that things weren't as hot. The course was a dark ribbon of singletrack after having a night of moisture blanket the canyons. With a slightly different warm up tactic today I rolled off the start line with a plan to ride good lines, stay relatively mistake free and most importantly NOT CRASH!! A few minutes into the course I was really starting to feel good. My legs felt way better than I thought they would and the course was fairly fresh in my mind letting me mentally prepare for the next section of trail. I crossed the bridge at Pauly Creek, flipped the Cramp Monster "the bird" while simultaneously dropping his sorry ass climbing to 3rd divide.
So fast. So scary. 3rd Divide is a bench cut single track stuck to the side of a mountain that makes you realize that you are indeed alive. Sure, there are trails that are faster but the fact that 3rd Divide is a bench cut singletrack lined with trees, blind roll-overs and high speed corners with exposure really require you to stay alert. Pilot error isn't something you even want to think about while on your way down this trail.

My efforts were good enough for a 16th place finish for the DH. Still waiting to see how it worked out for an over all once they tally the points for the weekend. Stay tuned for results as well as more gear selection complete with reviews!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sierra Cup Rd#3 race report

Round #3 of the Sierra Cup Series was met with bea-u-ti-ful weather and a stacked field at Skyline Park in Napa.




The start. Well, before the start even started the promoter fessed up to a "computer glitch" wherein he was missing some riders from same day registration. Yes folks it pays to pre-reg. This was resolved pretty quick and it was back to "get nervous time".




Chaotic start. Riders swerving, dodging, bobbing, weaving and everything else that can ruin your day (ain't that right Fowler). Two minutes into the race and I sat in 3rd position with Weir and Cruz setting the pace. I was feeling comfortable and figured I'd have no problem holding that pace for quite a while. Just then about 15 dudes came rocketing by and I found myself buried in the pack with my heart rate monitor displaying a number I was hoping wasn't right. All of the sudden I had a ton of work to do.




15 minutes into the first (of three) laps we reached a clearing and I did my best to count back in an attempt at learning my position and it seemed as though I was 12th.




On and on. I'd pass a guy here. A guy there. Somebody flatted. Another dude crashed. By the end of a hard earned 1st lap I figured I was in 7th... give or take.




I started lap two with one of the Whole Athlete riders. These friggin' guys were everywhere. We swapped back and forth a few times until I finally reached a section tailor made for me... a technical traversing singletrack followed by a rocky downhill. Poor kid never had a chance. I'm now 6th.... give or take.




I'd catch two guys riding together next and get around both on a climb putting me in 4th. At this point we were starting to get into lapped traffic which always seems to have its own set of challenges. "On your left" to a lapped rider can mean anything from "you should move to your left" to "you shouldn't move left" to my personal favorite "you should move left... then right... then left again before swerving off into the weeds and taking yourself out". Ahh bike racing. I love it.




I was setting a pretty descent pace for the remainder of lap two but wasn't catching anyone else in my class. It was starting to look a little grim. I wasn't even in a podium position.




Starting the final lap I was told by a spectator that I was indeed in 4th position. Shit. I got down to business and set a pace that I thought I could endure without a visit from the cramp monster and just tried to ride mistake free. On the first climb I got a glimpse of Clint Claussen (round #1 winner) near the top of some switchbacks. I chased hard and did indeed bridge the gap but it took almost the entire lap to git 'er done. I formulated a plan of hanging with him so I could draft him through the flats leading into the finish and let it come down to a sprint. Then I realized that Clint is a 6'-2" powerhouse and I'd probably have my hands full just hanging on through the last mile of fire road that lead into the finish. So I made my jump and swung around his left side towards the top of a technical climb. I only had about 7 minutes of single track to put some distance between us before the fireroad section started so I made the most of it. I let lapped traffic know from WAAAY back that I was coming through and, fortunately, had good luck getting by without incident. The single track came to an end and there was just 1 mile of fireroad between me and a podium position. I took a quick look back and saw nobody. I topped out on the first small climb looked back and saw nobody. Through the chicanes, looked back... nobody. Now I'm within a half mile. I put the hammer down and entered the grassy finish shoot. Less that 150 meters to go. I looked back... and there he was. Clint. Out of the saddle. Hammering. Bike rocking back and forth. Sheeeit!! I clicked down a couple of gears and pedaled in earnest. I reached the hairpin turn at the oak tree and kept pedaling. I could hear the grass being uprooted as I pushed the limits of traction through the turn. I exited the turn wide... and hot brushing up against the course marking tape as I went. Clint was close, but it was too late. We entered the finish chute and I crossed the line with a three second advantage. Damn. I'm shattered.




I spun around to cool down. Thought about my day and smiled. Racing in and around the Bay Area is hard. The fields are always stacked and if you let your guard down, even for a second, you'll get passed. It's friggin' relentless... and I like it.




I'd later learn that I was indeed the third guy to cross the line. Thing was though that the fastest man of the day turned out to be Anthony Smith, an 18 year young up and comer, who wasn't racing my class. The second fastest rider of the day was Dario Fredrick. How could you possibly be slow with a name like "Dario". Dario really needs to quit sandbagging and start racing the pro class.




So after some quick math I deduced that I had indeed won!! This makes the series interesting as Clint and I are tied with points for the lead.






membership has its privileges



the race has been over for hours and I'm still sweatin'!


Clint and I weren't done racing yet. This is me chasing him down the highway on the way home.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More racin'

Round 3 of the Sierra Cup Series is at Skyline Park in Napa this weekend. This is a love/hate course for me. It's plenty technical (love) and I've managed to do quite well there in my previous two visits (love). The weather always seems to be just right (love) and there's always a good turnout of riders to do battle with. The unfortunate side of Napa for me is that the cramp monster is ALWAYS down there waiting for me.


I remember the first time I raced there. It was the last lap and I was catching two guys. Just as I was getting close to bridging the gap my legs started that familiar feeling of tightening. I backed off my pace, recovered and continued my attack. Again I started catching the two guys in front of me. We were within minutes of the finish. Again I got close. Again the cramp monster came knocking at the door. FRACK!! I had to back down. I'd learn a few minutes after crossing the finish line that the two dudes I was trying to catch were battling for the win. Meh. At least I made it to the podium. 3rd ain't bad ya know.

So, this weekend I've got a new plan to avoid the cramp monster. I'm going to pretend that my legs look like this....

... and I'll surely be immune to cramping. How are legs that look like this going to cramp?! It's impossible.


As always be on the lookout for a race report on Monday... or Tuesday... or maybe not at all.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Just Add Water

Round #2 of the Sierra Cup Series was officially postponed this weekend due to rain. Thank God. I commend the race promoter on the cancellation of the race. People were/are going to be upset either way but not racing was the better call. Nice job Kevin.

Anyone who's had the unfortunate experience of riding in Reno in the mud already knows that the dirt down there turns into an extra sticky peanut butter type of substance when it rains. Not only does the mud build up on the wheels of bikes leaving them without the ability to pass through the frame it will also suck the shoes right off your feet once you realize that you can no longer ride and start the inevitable walk back towards the car. I'm surprised that NASA isn't down there extracting that stuff for some sort of implementation in a space program. The Peavine race will be rescheduled for a later date. I'll keep ya'll posted on the new date for a race that you should really check out.

As the days of the calender tick away the race schedule is really starting to get busy. Round #3 of the Sierra Cup is next weekend in Napa. Super fun course. This will be my third time racing down there and it's always been worth the drive.

The week after Napa is the Boggs 8/24 hour solo. I'll be down there (Boggs) in an attempt at qualifying for the Tahoe Sierra 100 which is a 100 mile point to point race from Donner Summit to Forest Hill (Auburn-ish). Both the qualifier and the 100 mile should prove to be epic days in the saddle for sure.

The calender only lets up for a couple of weeks until Downieville. No; I didn't make it into the All Mountain Pro. Yes; I really want in. Yes; I need to try and "weasle" my way into a spot. Once again this year snow will be a hot topic on Downieville as another late winter in the Sierra is holding snow on most trails above 6,000ft. No; you can't yet ride from the top... not even close. Too much snow and lots of trees down. The trails are free of snow, cleaned up and perfectly rideable from the Paully Creek Bridge down to town. The N. Yuba trail (downriver from town) is also in good shape and riding well.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Today


It'll be quiet at Mighty Mobile today.

Headin' to Downieville.

Ridin' the bike.

Livin' the dream.

Work resumes Friday.

See you then.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sierra Cup #1

I don't have a ton of time for a quality post on this race but here's a brief description of my day of suffering at the series opener:

Heinous pace at the start. Good Lord people, can't we back it down just a touch, hold hands and tell some jokes. They told me this race was FUN.

Two guys got off the front and were setting a pace I knew I wouldn't be able to hold for 2ish hours. I was in the second group that consisted of 4 riders. Then there was a sea (ok, maybe a medium sized pond) of people behind us.

The first guy in our group dropped his chain at the bottom of a climb and we never saw him again. Yep, it happens just that fast.

On the second (out of three) laps we caught Kyle Dixon (one of the guys out front... who I actually picked to win) pushing his bike up a hill. I asked if he needed help and he said he was "good". There was air in his tires and a chain on his bike. Hard to say what was going on there??

Later on the 2nd lap, another rider in our group would "crack" on the baby head rock strew climb at the far end of the course. I've been in this dudes position before... and it sucks. If you try to keep the pace up you'll cramp so bad you'll need someone to cary you back to your car. The only thing you can do is put it in a ridiculously low gear and slum along until you feel "normal" again. For me, this usually requires a nice long downhill. You can't always count on this (downhill) so it's best to slow down and don't blow it. It's only a bike race.

Then there were two. Me... and Stosh Bangston... again.

Stosh started to put the hammer down on the third and final lap. This move shot my plans all to hell as to the what when and how I was going to make a move on the baby head rocky climb section of the course. In fact, when we got to the baby head rocky climb I was in such dire straights and that not only was the cramp monster knocking at the door he had one foot in and was asking what kind of beer I had in the fridge. Frack.

So, I hung in there as good as I could manage. Stosh gaped me but I was able to make the time back up on the downhill. I can't believe I didn't crack on the two headwalls near the end of the course.

It came down to a sprint finish at (near) the line. I ended up winning the battle between Stosh and I but Clint Claussen won the war taking the podium spot for the day.

Round two is coming up in two weeks. Peavine. I should probably get down there and do a ride... but I probably won't. Meh. Who knows.

Results here if yer interested.

Friday, May 20, 2011

and so it begins

The first race of the Sierra Cup Series (formerly the Nevada State Championsip Series) is this Saturday. Of course I'll be there to defend my title.

Last year at this race I was suffering around the course on my Blur LT (not that I'd be suffering any less on a different bike) chasing guys off in the distance that I'd never catch. Meh... that's racin'. I remember the temperature dropping each lap and thought it was getting pretty damn cold. Wasn't sure exactly how cold, but cold. Reality struck on the third and final lap when it began to snow! Not enough to stop and have a snowball fight or anything, but definately enough to sting my eyes and make my fingers hurt. It turned out that as hard as the race was the hardest part of the day was trying to get my fingers to turn the key in an attempt at unlocking the doors to my truck.

Will this year be any different? Well, I've got a different bike (not that I'll be suffering any less), the course will be run in the opposite direction (I'll probably still be chasing guys off in the distance) and my new (to me) car has a nifty little button on the key to unlock the doors. Good thing too. The weather calls for some precipitation after 11:00. Race starts @ 10:00. Hmm.

This is probably my least favorite course in the series. I'm not saying it's a bad course. I don't do bad courses. It's got some descent length to it (28 miles) and a fair bit of climbing (3,100ish ft) but from what I remember it's about as technical as riding down your local sidewalk.

Me... for me to have an advantage on a race course it needs to be technical. How about some rocks. I need rocks littering the trail. Enough rocks to make you wonder if you're still on course.... or if there's even a course at all. Even though I'll probably flat.... I love riding in the rocks. How about some roots. Slimy wet roots. Preferably at weird angles across the trail. Even though I'll probably crash... I love riding roots. Throw in some rediculously tight and twisty trail (preferably with low overhanging branches) and some deep wheel swallowing ruts on the high speed sections and I've got myself a course I just might have and advantage on.

Race report Monday... or Tuesday. Or maybe not at all.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Bad Day For Cycling

The flags at Mighty Mobile are flying at half mast today after watching the Giro D' Italia this morning and seeing Wouter Weylandt involved in a horrible crash on a descent with about 60ish K remaining in the race.
More info here.

Sad day indeed.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sqeaky Skewers

With all the posts about bike racing, beer drinking and other misc rambling you might find on this site, I should probably keep in mind that Mighty Mobile Bike Repair IS actually a place folks might visit to actually learn something about their bike.

In 1927 Tullio Campagnolo invented the quick release skewer and it's been a gracing the bicycle ever since. Quick release skewers are mostly found on wheels and seatpost clamps but can occasionally be seen used creatively for other items requiring frequent adjustment on the bike.

It probably goes without saying but quick release skewers need to be tight for them to do their job. It's probably obvious that if the quick release in the seatpost clamp isn't tight, your seat will "creep down" during a ride. Also don't forget the fact that if the skewers aren't tight YOUR WHEELS MIGHT FALL OFF!!!!

Now that I have your attention, let's get to the task at hand. First of all, not all skewers are created equal or made the same way. If your skewer resembles the one in the pictures below, the following tip will help you out. If your skewer looks different (skewers by Shimano, as well as others, have a different design) this post might not effect you.

It's hard to say which application is more popular for a quick release skewer (adjusting saddle height vs removing/reinstalling the front wheel) but since I only have pictures of the skewer on a front wheel, we'll use that for our demonstration. Regardless of the skewers job, it can be maintained the same way as the demonstration below.



If your skewer squeaks, feels "sticky" or otherwise is hard to operate while actuating the lever... stop right there and go get some chain lube.




The squeaking, sticking and other issues coming from the skewer are coming from the pivot of the lever. The issue is that the lever (the black part) rotates around the main body (the sliver part) of the skewer and friction is produced as a result.





A couple drops of your favorite chain lube is all you need to free things up. Simply put a drop or two of lube in the area where the lever and main skewer body pivot. Note: do NOT use aerosol type lube as any over spray can, and probably will, got onto the brake rotor leaving you with little or no brakes!!






Once you have a couple drops of lube on the skewer, swing the lever from the "open" to the "closed" position several times to work the lube into the pivots.



You'll undoubtedly feel the skewer getting easier to operate as the lube works itself into the pivot of the skewer. Wipe off the excess lube with a rag and tighten down the skewer properly.



When a quick release skewer is properly adjusted you should notice resistance in the skewer lever half way through its swing from the "open" (loose) to the "closed" (tight) position. This adjustment is attained by rotating the nut on the side of the skewer opposite the lever. Righty tighty... lefty loosy is an easy way to remember how this works.


If in doubt of a skewers ability to properly do its job... REPLACE IT!! Although incredibly reliable, quick release skewers can wear to a point where they can't do their job properly.


How often would/do I do this on my own bike? Probably every 8 or so times I lube my chain seems to do the trick on the front wheel since that's the skewer (at least for me) that gets used most often. The other skewers (rear wheel and seatpost) I do less often as those aren't being used as much so I just kinda go by "feel" for them. When their hard to tighten or squeaking while moving the lever to the "closed" position I'll usually give them a little "love".


Friday, April 22, 2011

Racin'

Well kidz, if you're into the racing scene there's a good one coming up in just over a week (April 30th) in the Redding area. Said race is called the Shast Lemurian Classic and I'm all for it. It contains the key elements that I look for in a bike race; the race takes place on dirt and has the word "classic" in the title. A quick look at the results from last year reveal that you're sure to see some familiar faces on the start line and that there will be pah-lenty of people in your class. Last years results had well over 80 riders listed in my class alone! If you come down the day before and take advantage of camping keep an eye out for our camp which should be easy to pick out in the way of dirty cars, frisbees, horseshoes and a beeramid marking our spot for the weekend.




(note: beeramid may vary slightly from this model)


Continuing on with the bike racing we're also getting close to the Sierra Cup Mountainbike Series. Formerly the "Nevada State Championships", this race series has grown from 4 to 7 races with some really good venues on the docket. I'll be coming out in an effort to defend my title while seeing how much snot and sweat I can accumulate on my top tube in the process. The first race is only a month out so get suffering people!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sorry Kidz

FTR is gonna have to wait.

Too much snow.

The route, yet to be unveiled, is AWESOME and will be a "must do" for all you adventure seekers out there. Bring lots of food and water.... and some money 'cause the ride ends at a bar this year.

A quick look into the crystal ball (one of the good ones made in Germany) is suggesting that the ride will have to wait until May 20th but only time will tell.

Bummed. Yea, me too. Get yourself a bag of popcorn and reminisce with
pics from last years ride.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The 1.5 Epic

Raced last night. Kind of an urban road style event. Bonus points for hopping curbs. Got off to a good start. Legs felt good. My bike handling skills weren't as good as I would've liked... but I don't think it made too big of a difference. It's been a while since I've been on the 'cross bike. Although I was sprinting up the hills and railing the corners my rival was marking my every move. I backed off my pace, only once, to put on another layer. At the finish it was almost dark. Hard to say who "took it" at the line. Without slowing down or showing any sort of "good race" camaraderie my rival just kept heading west towards its next race with the next guy with enough time to squeeze in a quick ride at the end of his day.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Pondering...


If you do intervals

and then come home

and drink 3 beers....

...is it still training

or just breaking even??



Monday, April 11, 2011

The Season Opener

The Napa Valley Dirt Classic is a race that's been on my radar for a while now and this year I would finally make it. Short-ish course but chocked full of excitement with alot of roller coaster style trail and tight-ish singletrack in the woods that kind of reminded me of something you would ride in Santa Cruz. Fun trail really. I'd like to get back there and check it out again sometime. Short races create some certainties with the most important (and painful) being a hard fast start. This would hold exceptionally true with this event as the course had about 1 minute of uphill paved road that leads into singletrack to get your day of suffering off and running. Ride like your life depends on it for the first minute and you'll be in the front-ish part of the pack with good riders. Lag, even for a second, at the start and you'll be sitting in a line of lycra clad dudes that will show you that even the most trivial of obstacles in the trail are cause for slowing, stopping, dismounting or some other strange lack of bike handling that makes you wonder if you signed up for the right class. Recap: Got into the singletrack at the start in about 10th. Course opened up a bit after a while and I could see a group of 4 about a minute out. Closed the gap but paid a hefty price in doing so. Started getting into these BIG roller coaster rollers on a rough-ish fire road repeating itself for a mile or so kinda like this: Short steep fast descent/"G-out" at the bottom/leg breaking lung busting climb up the other side/ repeat. After about 6 or 7 of these our group was wittled down to just me and some dude wearing one knee high pink sock on his left leg. Hmm? Interesting. After the rollers it was time to do some tight and twisty singletrack radness. I kept catching guys, which is always good, with Pink Sock Dude almost always in tow. I was guestimating that most of the riders I was catching were in the class that started in the group 2 minutes ahead of us which included pro & singlespeed. We were past the halfway point of the race I still had power in my legs and water in my bottles. Ffwd to the longish descent consisting of an overgrown fireroad/doubletrack. Fast. Scary fast! Although I had the smarts to scrub some speed and keep it together in the corners you just KNOW I couldn't resist that little kicker on the left side of the trail. It was perfect. Just a little hump on the outside of a fast sweeping right hander. It's one of those things where you don't really get too high off the ground but nonetheless you seem to float downhill FOREVER. Then... then you touch down. As my bike made contact with the earth I heard that oh so familiar KLANG of atomic #13 (my aluminum rim) making solid contact with a mass of hard consolidated matter (a rock) and for the next few seconds all I can do is keep riding and listen. Although I couldn't hear the oh so precious mix of 78% nitrogen 21% oxygen and 1% other substances escaping from my front tire it was clear that things were getting desperate on the very next corner when my tire nearly rolled off the rim sending me off the main line of the trail. Coincenetally this had me bouncing through rocks in high grass at race pace with the left side of my handlebars tick tick ticking through the overgrowing branches. Scary... sheeit! This was enough to make me realize that even if I was lucky enough to not crash I'd still be changing a tire. When it comes to flatting in races I'd be willing to bet that I'm in the running for having the most flats EVER. Having grown up riding and racing in the Appalachians (oh so rocky/technical) area of Pennsylvania I know a thing or two about fixing flats... fast. Being a full time bike mechanic doesn't hurt either. I've got my system for changing out a tube in a race situation and I'm not afraid to say; it's damn good. I figured that somewhere between 8-10 riders got by me while I performed my nascar style tire change. Of course I flatted at the bottom of one of the hardest climbs of the day. Legs... screaming. It seemed to take FOREVER to get back into a good pace again. I tried to keep count of the guys I was re-catching but can only guestimate that I got by 5ish riders. Once we topped out on the climb we were back in familiar territory and I knew we were within' two miles of the finish. I could see two riders up ahead. I caught them, but it took almost the rest of the course to do so. The finish of this race is Paris Roubaix style wherein you do a lap on a running track. As the three of us started around the track towards the finish the pace ramped up and it was ON! Well, it was on for the other two guys. My legs had no business for a sprint finish today and all I could do was watch those guys duking it out to the finish. A quick look at the results revealed a few things. First thing was that the racing was quite close with podium spots being filled in a minute and a half. Second thing was that Pink Sock Dude's name was Brian Buttler and he won his class (19-34 Expert). The third thing was that if the podium for my class (35-44 expert) had 5 steps instead of 3 I would've juuuussst squeaked onto the platform of victors instead of sitting in the grasses with the masses. Fourth and final thing; even though the raffle prizes were in abundance I would leave empty handed... like always. I suck at raffles.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BB Service

Imagine if you will that you are a set of bottom bracket bearings in your bicycle. Sounds like a simple job really. You'll get to go on some killer rides with your only responsibility being that of spinning in circles while supporting your good friend and neighbor... the crankset. You'll get to ride all the killer trails, probably travel to exotic locations and maybe... just maybe help your rider stand atop the podium at the local mountain bike race. Ahh, I can smell victory from here!!!


After some time at this "life" you'll probably start to realize that it's not all buff singletrack and long warm summer days. The first of the "rough days" might start with a trip to Downieville early in the season with multiple stream crossings followed by a ride atop a car at 80mph in the rain. The next ride might be an all day epic in the late summer with a group of buds where you'll be stuck behind other riders for most of the day eating more dust than you imagined ever possible. Then there's winter. Don't tell me you've never ridden in the snow. Oh... did I mention that you're "owner" might be a 200lb gorilla of a rider with a propensity for riding 5 days a week, thinks that all bikes make grinding noises from the bottom bracket and has a riding style that's described by his riding partners as ANYTHING but smooth.


Bottom bracket bearings have changed drastically over the years and will probably continue to do so as the industry strives to build a better mousetrap. The bottom bracket bearings live between the crankarms of your bike and take quite the beating during a typical day of riding regardless of rider weight, strength and/or technique. Although many variations exist, it's the "external bottom bracket" that we're going to hone in on this time around. External BB's have been widely accepted by all the "players" in the industry and regardless of the name on your crankset there's a good chance that it has external bearings which can and will fail at some point in their/your life. Fortunately for you and your bike there's a fix for the creaking, squeaking or whatever else might be going on in there and it comes in the form of aftermarket bearings. Mighty Mobile put some bearings on several riders bikes to see how they stood the test of time and after a year of positive results we started placing orders for the bearing kits in the masses. I won't bore you with too much technical mumbo jumbo and simplify things by saying that the aftermarket bearings come with a larger diameter bearings and a secondary seal (most of the time) that will keep your steed running smooth for longer than the stock bearings. But wait - just like buying something off of late night TV - THERE'S MORE!!! Things get even better (most of the time) when it comes to paying the bill. When you replace the bearings and reuse the existing bearing cups you'll be saving yourself some hard earned $$!!
First, out with the old.Close up shot of the bearing without the crankset. Dirty huh.

It's a nasty environment down there. Notice the grime on the spindle.

This is what your bottom bracket (half of it anyhow) looks like out of the bike. The silver part is the bearing cup and the black piece is a seal.

Inside the frame. Yep, that's water in there. With these tools...

... we can go in here. Muwhaahaaa. (to be said sinisterly... like Dracula)

The bearing has already been pressed out of the cup. With the inside of cups that look like this.... .... it's no wonder that your bearings probably look like this. So, at this point you can either buy a complete bottom bracket or just replace the bearings with a new set. How'z 'bout saving yourself some hard earned $$ and just press new bearings in the existing cups. The cups typically clean up just fine. See.

Tahdah! New bearings. I can almost feel the smoothness from here.

Let's clean up some more stuff like the spindle and the inside of the frame. Look Ma... no more grime!

Almost back together. Damn that bearing looks good doesn't it!

Wait. We're not done yet. How about another seal. Yeah... let's hear it for another seal!!!

You feeling warm and tingly yet? Me too!! Mighty Mobile carries bearing upgrades for most popular makes and models. Ceramic and ceramic hybrids also available. And just like everything we do, it's done at your house, on your terms and done right the first time. Call anytime to schedule an appointment.