Monday, May 8, 2017

2017 bicycle events that I might show up to!

All my reading last night got me a few event listings and series websites.

general 2017 Twin Cities events:
http://mnbiketrailnavigator.blogspot.com/2016/10/2017-minnesota-bike-tours-rides-races.html

MN Mountain Bike Series
http://www.mnmtbseries.com/page/show/4819-home

Lake Superior Gravity Series
http://www.lsgs.bike/

Dirt Cup Mountain Bike Sprints @ Three Rivers Parks

https://web2.vermontsystems.com/wbwsc/mnthreeriverswt.wsc/search.html?module=AR&type=OUTDOORRECREATION&subtype=MOUNTAINBIKING

Thats all i've got for now.

Cheers,
Gabe

Sunday, May 7, 2017

recouped and back in the saddle!

well, nearly a month later and I am back to the blog as well as the bike! Not too shabby.

First off I just saw this beauty and I want one so bad! Not that it is at all useful but it is awesome.
https://www.dakine.com/bags/bags-accessories/party-collection/party-bucket.html
Other than that it has been a rather Trialsy month. Bryan and myself got out twice or three times. I got the Norco Evolve back in riding shape, only to mess up one of the pedals, but we will get to that.

Riding with Bryan and Zac was awesome as they worked with me to develop my "climbing" skill and I now feel closer to getting up faces. We also did a bunch of side drops and wheelie drops as well so I feel like this summer might be the summer I make some serious inroads on the Trials skillset.

A few pictures here.

Yesterday I also got the Trek back out and met up with a few guys from work and rode Elm Creek singletrack for the first time this season. The advanced section, aka Grizzland, has a few more dirt-jump style lines in the works, which would be cool if I was confident on them! Parry, a coworker, is quite the wild one so I made him hit all the drops and jumps that I'm not comfortable on. Good fun.

Unfortunately the Enduro saga continues. I ended up running Jagwire replacement hoses on both the M985 Shimano XT brakes and I gained very little at the rear caliper. So I purchased a euro orientation brand new Shimano XT brake from Chain reaction Cycles in the UK, along with some trials parts, and installed that.
Unfortunately that rear brake feels nearly THE SAME! total squish, no grip till the very end of the stroke. Cannot lock up the rear wheel on asphalt.I plan to take the bike out for a ride with this brake before I throw it all away. :)

Because of that I have not had the enduro out for a proper ride at all yet! I still have to try out the spring fork and these brakes to know if it is worth even taking to Spirit Mountain. Very disappointing.

As I mentioned earlier I have put quite a few parts into the Norco Evolve to get a ride-able "urban" trials bike. In the last month or so I have bought:
-a nearly new front wheel.
-a new set of Try-All crank arms
-a new Neon HD bashring
-a new set of RaceFace Chester pedals
Lots of effort going into this thing but I really like it so I feel like that is okay.

Sorry for a lot of text with few pictures. I still have not mastered this blogging thing after all these years. :) I also have not done any youtube videos either which makes me sad. but tomorrow is monday so I have little to worry about for another week :/

Oh, and I am considering buying a brand new road bike.
-G

Friday, April 14, 2017

AZ road trip 2017!

Hey everybody!
I know I have been neglecting my blogs lately, very busy at work and with other life things getting in the way.

I just returned from my AZ Road trip last week and thought I would throw something together to share with the blogging world.

I left MN on Friday morning, the 31st of March at about 6am. Returned to MN the following Saturday at about 7pm.
3732 miles driven, 63+ hours on the dash counter.
Total miles rode on the Trek Rumblefish was probably only in the 50 miles range. Which does not sound like much but the South-Eastern AZ trails are pretty awful for good riding so i blame them for my shortcomings. Sadly I did not bring and GPS so you will have to trust me on my guesstimates and crude GoogleMaps.

I B-lined for New Mexico so that I could make it to the Trinity Site while it was open. I just barely squeeked by, maybe an hour to spare. Though I did sit in line for 45 minutes to get checked in.
After Trinity I drove to Silver City, NM. In the morning I woke up early and rode the Big Tree Loop in Arenas Valley which was great riding. I did make a detour onto the Petroglyph trail which sucked and I ended up getting an explosive puncture on some of the sharp rocks on that trail. Still cool. The bike shop in Silver City hooked me up with a cheap rear tire as I wasn't sure how the old tire would last with a puncture right in the middle of the carcass.

Then I drove down to Bisbee and spent a couple of days hanging out with my dad and riding a little in the Mule Mountains, as well as an attempt at the Stronghold Loop.

Southeast AZ has very steep mountain pockets that are very rocky and gravely. This means the few posted trails are mostly hike-a-bike material and very exhausting in the sun and heat of the desert mountains. If you are into personal fitness and conquering a few trails and the personal satisfaction then give them a try. If you want flow trails and gravity goodies, steer clear! Though the downhills are pretty awesome when you get them.
In Bisbee (Mule Mountains) I hiked up from where we were staying and rode up to the antenna cluster on Mule Mountain which bigG says was about 4 miles up, and when I returned I descended down Brewery  Gulch (Wildcat Canyon) which was pretty cool, till I had to ride back up to High Road. If you go into Google Earth and look at this area you can see both the elevation this covers and in the aerial photos you can follow the paths I took. The descent down Wilcat/Zacatacas/Brewery Gulch was very rough with grapefuit size rocks and gravel most of the way. Would have been better on my enduro, instead of the 29er trailbike I was riding!

The Stronghold Loop in the Dragoon Mountains was also very difficult, and with the washed out trails I encountered I would not suggest it to anybody. You can't ride up it and you can only ride down some of it. And the other half is all graded gravel roads in the mountains. Pretty awful for riding in my opinion but the scenery is INCREDIBLE!

I also did some hiking around Bisbee with my dad that was fun, as he knows the area very well.

On the way home I stayed in Santa Fe and busted out the trials bike in the morning as there was a small skate park across the street from the hotel. I clearly have no idea what I am doing there so i made a loop around some government buildings and then checked out and headed north.

The Rift Valley Trail, outside Taos, NM, was a nice easy ride. It has a few good climbs but everything is very brief. Awesome views of the Rio Grand rift valley and the mountains around Taos.

After that i pushed north through southern Colorado. More epic scenery there. I sadly did not stop to get enlightened in CO, though I wanted to. :) I made it almost to the Nebraska border before stopping at a rest stop for a few hours sleep. the next day i pushed all the way home, I looked at MTBProject a few times but in the Midwest the trails are so spotty, or just a single trail off by itself that hardly warranted stopping at. :(

Overall a good trip that was not terribly restful but enjoyable just the same.

The Route down:


The Route up:


I rented a Dodge Caravan through Enterprise, it fit two bikes, my bag, a cooler and I still had room to sleep in the back as needed. It got great fuel economy, 28ish MPG even doing 80mph down the interstate.

Costs:
$461 for 1 week and 2 days of rental minivan
$288 in gas
$99 in food receipts, though my dad bought food and drink a couple of days, plus the odd cash meal.
$318 for two nights in hotels. (definitely over paid here)
plus less than $200 in cash.

Total: around $1200 for a week on the road. Definitely more than it should have been but I do not feel like I stressed myself or was operating way above or below my means for the trip.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

New Bike day! 2011 Specialized Enduro Comp

Yep! you read that title right: its new bike day. What is the flavor today you ask?

2011 Specialized Enduro Comp

So...those of you know know me in person will attest to the idea that I am a cheapskate: I never buy brand new when it comes to significant purchases like cars or bikes. I really want that brand new all carbon 29er enduro but at the end of the day I simply cannot come to terms with spending the better part of $10,000 on a car, let alone a bike!

Me and eBay go way back though. Way further than craigslist could hope to go! I have bought vehicles and paintball gear and all sorts of useless chinese junk through ebay and now i have bought a complete, albeit used, bicycle!

Of course this idea comes with lots of unknowns and puts a LOT of trust in the seller. This is not always well founded trust.
But it is usually enough of a good deal to me to take that risk and worry about the details later. This bike was one of the "worry about the details later" moments just like the Porsche adventure was.

I did get a complete bicycle and not a box of rocks, so at least I have that going for me. I ended up paying about $950, once shipping was added on, for a well abused 6 year old bike. maybe not the best of gambles but it should be fun to ride once I spend a bunch more money on it!

This is what she looks like assembled and out of the box. 
Per the ebay ad I already know the following:
  • Rear triangle was replaced with a piece from a 2012. Gives the bike a 12x142 rear axle.
  • Rear Easton Havoc wheel has a pretty big dent in it.
  • Lots of paint scuffs and chips.
  • Thompson Elite seat post
Now for the things I have discovered since unwrapping and setting it up tonight:
  • LOTS of scuffs and paint chips. Way more than anticipated and clearly from trail use not just "from the cheap bike rack I used" stuff.
  • Tires are original, and full of tubeless goo, and have bent presta valves. But do take air and appear to hold at least for a few minutes!
  • Handlebars are from BlkMrkt. Hubba hubba!
  • Seat is an old Bontrager junker...will probably replace with the WTB Speed on the old hardrock.
  • front brake master cylinder is shot. pushes fluid out of the gasket somehow.
  • Shock needs a rebuild. oil comes out when pumping the pressure up.
  • Cranks are badly beaten and at least one is bent.
  • Rear derailleur hanger is bent, possibly from shipping as pictured above. Hard to tell if the derailleur itself is bent.
  • Fork should probably be rebuilt while I am at it.
  • Should probably replace the suspension bearings while I am tearing things up.
Thats all I have so far.  Looking forward to some, hopefully, easy wrenching and tuning!

Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

2013 Trek Rumblefish

So I wanted to do a little bike check to tell everybody about what I have been riding this year, for the most part. I have wanted a full squish pretty much from the get-go but until this last season I have not had the drive or resources ($$$) to make it a reality. I definitely do not see a full squish as a starting point for beginning riders, but once you have the basics down the compliance of full suspension sure is nice.

2013 Trek Rumblefish
picture
So I bought this bike used from a nice talkative guy on the south side of the cities. there were a few mods that he had done that I thought were useless to me but I also thought that they showed that the bike was not beat up by him. Unlike me using a bike...

So we agreed on $1100 and I took the bike home. I didn't even know how to remove the QR15 front axle that day so I tried to fit it inside the truck cab and that wasn't even close so i ended up flopping it in the back. It has since rode many miles in the back of the ole Chevy!

I took the riser post off of the fork and the silly flame grips off and returned the bike to a mostly stock configuration. I checked the pressure in the shock and fork and rode around the yard until I thought the ergonomics felt good.  I took a few bits apart to grease and check the condition of bearings but for the most part everything was in good shape if a little dusty from sitting in the guys garage for a while.

First Ride.
Myself, Bryan and our coworker and former classmate Shawn met up to ride some trails non of us had hit before. We hit up Carver Lake Park, which is awesome with great technical features for the more trialsy riders. then we went down the road to Battle Creek trails area. This was an area none of us knew and we parked at the top where there is poor trail signage. There are some wicked narrow and technical descents and sure enough I got caught out trying to keep up with those two ya-hoos.
I hit a little kicker along a bank thinking the guys had hit it and as soon as my front tire came up I regretted it, panic braked and when I came down the bike stopped and I went OTB and the bike tumbled down the trail. Unknown until a week later I bent both the handlebars and one of the saddle rails in this off.

I didn't get significantly injured, besides my pride, so I considered it a good day.

I also rode my first MTB race at Elm Creek on this bike over the summer. I didn't finish very high but I still had a blast doing it. I can see doing lots of XC on this bike but after riding it at Spirit Mountain a few times, and my experience at Battle Creek, I am not sure if I will keep it for the long haul. I will likely post a new update once that fate becomes clearer...

Change comes from within

Hey all,

Thanks for suffering through this transformation of the website and changes to the blog. I still dont have things sorted out but I need a place to play with some new features and options. Unfortunately I am no longer able to keep the blog and youtube channel free from ads; this is simply a sad fact of life that I am not able to devote the resources to keep things going out of my own pocket indefinitely. My plan is to offer products that reflect me and the lifestyle that i promote through this blog and my youtube videos and hopefully branded items like shirts and stickers and the like. I know these are lofty dreams but you have to start somewhere!

cheers!