Saturday, March 20, 2010

Going back to Caly... to Caly... to Caly

I just couldn't get enough of California I guess. So I signed up for the Idyllwild Spring Challenge stage race. It's a 2 day event. 30 mile cross country race on Saturday, Super D and TT on Sunday.

I know what you are thinking. Why go all the way out there and spend tons of money to do that race when you could have gone to Trans-Sylvania Epic which is closer and more "Epic."

My answer to you is that it's complicated. I don't have $900 to spend on strictly bike stuff. I do however have some money to spend on "Vacation." Going out to CA is a vacation. Going out to CA to do a stage race is awesome. Get over it!

Furthermore, not to make you jealous or anything but I used to live in Idyllwild. Yep, in the 7th grade. But that is were I first got into mountain biking and wanted to get into racing. So this is my Mecca.

I have this memory of riding there, back in 1989. We met some old timers who had only one chainring up front. They said "it's all you need." I thought they were being macho or something. But now I'm coming back with only one gear. Does that make me macho?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mt. Tam

California was a lot of fun. I was able to get out for a ride the day after we arrived in SF. Thanks to Thom Parsons who hooked me up with Pete Verdone.
Pete brought me one of his creations. This is a SS Trail bike. The fit was perfect for my taste. And it rode nice. The slack HT was ideal for descending. I just wish I knew how. Some of the stuff Pete was sending me down was insane. I just walked. He rode it of course.

The climb we took to get near the top of Tam were all fire roads. Some beautiful stuff.

I love this shot because it seems so surreal to me. That's how it felt. Like a dream. I couldn't believe I was out here on the West side riding bikes in the warm weather. And the way it all came together was perfect.

Pete took me down some sweet trails that were all off limits to bikes. He called it "Poaching." We ran into some surly hikers with their dogs off the leash. They were pissed but Pete was able to sweet talk them and remind them that they too were braking the law by not having their dog on a leash. We went on a busy Sunday afternoon so no wonder there was so much traffic. The trails were sick. Sometimes the single track was only 15" wide one a steep side hill. I wanted to look around more but I didn't dare. I had a few close calls that kept me focused and heart pounding.
Pete had a lot to say about 29'ers. He doesn't like them. I don't know if it is because of the type of riding he does or just is a die-hard 26'er. He was telling me of a 28'er that he made. He thinks the 29" wheels are too big. He might be right. The 26'er he had me on was easy to pedal over. Kinda made me miss the 1x1. But I won't go back.
Pete thinks outside of the box and makes changes to his bikes that make sense. Like putting a 7" roter on the front. He said it evens out the braking. This caught me off guard a few times and I locked them up like nothing. He builds fast motorcycles for a living so he knows what he's talking about.
Unfortunately this was the only day that week that I rode a bike. I did however get some trail running in. I ran the shore side of Mt Tam through Muir Woods. Running through the redwoods was another dream come true experience. The trails were steep and had stairs. It was fun to be running along the trails that were unrideable. I ran for about an hour and a half and only got about 5 miles. Trail running is my new favorite thing to do. I know you guys are cringing. I'm not going to give up riding bikes anytime soon (ever). But when you want to get out on some trails and don't have a bike you have to improvise. And if I only have an hour to do some kind of "training" then I'm going to run because I feel like it's a more intense work out.