Thursday, August 30, 2007

Colorado trails

Good Colorado trail resource

Hoppin' Rocks or Jumpin' Stumps?

I took a trip to the bike store on Saturday. It was a lot of fun - just Calise and I went. She was very interested in getting a new bike for herself, bless her... :)

After talking to the salesman I can understand why the Stumpjumper is a better bike than the Rockhopper. (He also tried to interest me in the Epic - but I'm not sure that's really in my league....)

The Stumpjumper is a pretty sweet bike -- great components and a better frame, but I think I might save myself the thousand dollars and simply go with the Rockhopper.



Tuesday, August 21, 2007

So Special(ized)

I love Specialized.

They're a great company and make great bikes. Maybe it's an emotional attachment carry-over from my favorite bike. Maybe they just have good marketing.

Maybe I'm just an emotional sap, but these videos captured everything I love about riding.

Click on Bike Exhibits in the back center. Select an exhibit and click on Watch Video in the bottom right corner. Enduro is my favorite.

Pain in the ...

Here's a great find from Mike:

I ride single-track trails on a mountain bike in the heart of Colorado's Rocky Mountains and during 20 years of riding I was unable to find a handlebar grip that alleviated numbness and pain in my palms -- until I tried the Ergon GP1 grip. Ergon grips differ from normal grips in that they have a contoured, rubber-coated platform under the outside portion of your palm. This platform provides support in such a way that pressure on the ulnar nerve is reduced or eliminated entirely. (I learned my hand numbness arose from pressure on the ulnar nerve in my palm while holding the handlebars.)

Installation is simple, requiring the use of a 4mm allen wrench. Fine-tuning the fit involves riding your bike for a few miles and then evaluating any pain or numbness. If necessary, loosen the bolts, slightly rotate the grips up or down, and retighten the bolts -- repeat until your pain or numbness disappears. In my case, rotating the rearmost portion of the grip down from horizontal did the trick. I understand people with carpal-tunnel issues typically rotate the grips upwards from horizontal to reduce the flex angle of their wrists.

Ergon grips are mounted on straight handlebars, such as those found on mountain bikes and some touring bikes, but NOT drop bars. They are available in models with or without bar ends and special short models that work with twist shifters, plus slightly smaller and lighter competition models.

Compared with standard rubber slide-on or "lock-on" grips the Ergon grips are more expensive and heavier. However, the price and weight difference for mine (70-100 grams more) pale next to the increased comfort and pleasure while riding. Since installing the grips, I've ridden 244 miles of expert mountain trails with a total 26,500' vertical gain, and experienced no pain and a huge reduction in my chronic numbness -- absolutely no numbness in my right hand and only very minor, infrequent numbness in my left. Everyone I have recommended these to has been pleased, including my chiropractor wife.

-- Graham Ullrich

Available at

Monday, August 20, 2007

Third Funeral

I had a sad weekend. I attended two funerals, which you can read about here.

Admittedly, the supposed third funeral wasn't exactly the loss of a loved one. At least a loved one that's really alive.

I've owned my Specialized Rockhopper since 1995. I cracked the frame from hanging it in an attic for 2 years and subjecting it to severe heat/cold swings. I replaced the frame in 1998 and have enjoyed it ever since. It's been about 3 years since riding regularly, and knowing that, I was afraid of what condition I'd find my old friend in.

I was pleased to find my bike in good shape - at least initially.

On my first ride I broke my front shock.

Last week I broke my chain and my shoes.

Saturday I took it into the local shop to get a new chain and received some bad news.

The guy there told me that my bottom bracket bearings were crushed, my rear cassette and front chain cog shot, and of course my shocks were toast. All the parts and labor would add up quickly - almost what I would pay for a brand new bike.

So long ol' buddy - see you on the great trails in the sky.

Monday, August 13, 2007

My Weak-end Ride

Caren and I had a jillion things to do this weekend but we still wanted to get a ride in. (She's been riding the past couple of Saturdays because of a minor foot injury.)

After we got all the necessary things out of the way, we packed up the bikes and headed up to Hobble Creek Trail to squeeze a quick ride in.

My poor bike is starting to show its age. On a recent ride I broke my shocks and I figured that it was the beginning of the end for my old Rockhopper.

Sure enough, this ride I managed to break my biking shoes - which are just a little younger than my bike - as well as my chain. Breaking my chain meant that I had to walk the last .75 miles to where Caren and the kids were waiting. And I had to do it on shoes that were totally falling apart.

All-in-all, not my best ride ever.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

So far...

Mike sent out an email the other day giving a broad overview of the goal for this next fall.

[we] are planning on going on a 2 day bike ride next September (2008). It will be training for a longer 4-5 day bike ride that we would like to do in a year or two.

Mike also invited those who simply want to come and visit and maybe hit the trails around the camp.

For those that would like to go camping and do a little biking, you are welcome as well. There is a lot of pretty country out there, and we would love to have you participate however you feel comfortable.

So far we have Mike and I signed up for the long 'out-and-back' style ride. Conor, Becky, Dad, Daniel, and Mom have all indicated some intrest in participating. The question is, are you all planning on the out-and-back style of ride or the bring-your-bike-and-go-camping style?

Sound off!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Point of Clarification

As I was talking over this ride with Dad I was talking him through what we might encounter while on a trail (stumps, roots, rough roads, drop-offs), when he commented, "Hmmm, sounds technical."

Yes, technical compared to road biking but not nearly as much as other disciplines within mountain biking.

In the back of my mind I've always known that there are different types of mountain biking, but have never really thought about how to classify different types of riding styles.

Lucky for us, Wikipedia is there to save the day.

On the Mountain Bike page it details out all the major disciplines you find in mountain biking.

Our Epic Ride will fall squarely under the Cross Country style of riding. No tricks, no ├╝ber-technical downhill/uphill, no major obstacles; just a long well-planned journey that happens to be on a semi-technical trail.

We won't be doing any freeriding, downhill, or trials.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Kokopelli Trail

Here is a fun trail that looks to have some technical aspects as well as some good riding. This one looks best to do in September/October time frame.


Epic Ride Beginnings

The Adventure Cycling post at Funky-Disco is really a fair primer to put this blog in context.

In short, Mike and Andrew (that's me) are planning an epic ride. We've always wanted to do one - and now that we're a little less stupid than when we first dreamt this up - it's time to start training.

What exactly constitutes an 'epic ride' you ask? We'll keep you posted.