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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.