Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Snowy Ride in Buffalo Creek

3 of us went to Buffalo Creek because we *heard* it was dry... it wasn't.
As we drove up, we realized that the insider info was wrong. Lots of snow.

(This was the first ride on the new demo fleet of Giant Anthems)

We parked at the ranger station and started our climb. On the for road up, there was a bunch of puddles that were coated with ice. The fire road soon turned to ice and snow. Not the easiest climb I've experienced. The bike was fish tailing all over the place. We finally found the entrance to the trail. It was a hike of about 200 yards in snow at least a foot deep to get to a ridable place. For about 6 miles, that was what we faced. Sections of snow that we hiked and sections of sort-of-trail that we rode. Both Chris and Scott flipped over the bars twice during the ride. Both times landing in snow with a large eruption of laughter. No broken bones or bikes, just bruises. The descent was decent. We all got really wet and muddy which was fantastic. At the bottom of the ride where we had crossed over from puddles to ice, we stopped and defrosted our frozen feet in the sun. After a good 15 minutes we were refreshed and warm, so we moved on. The last section of the trail was a little tiny loop before the car. It was easily the fastest most fun part of the day. Lots of scary icy and snowy turns with pine straw for added uncertainty. Fun fun fun stuff.

Dave - Surly Cross check
Chris - BlackSheep FS Ti
Scott - Giant Anthem (1st ride with)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Researching a bike

Mountain bikes are starting to sell again. Mostly because people are buying more than one bike for different riding. They are starting to follow a trend toward simplicity on one side and over complexity on the other side. Examples are single speed 29ers and Santa Cruz's Virtual Pivot Point (VPP). These two machines can be compared only a little and contrasted everywhere. The main thing that they have in common is that given the right person on the right size, these bikes are FUN. People are getting so caught up in the technology and weight and over-toughness that they are losing sight of the thing that matters: riding the bike. My advice to those who are considering a fully rigid bike because it appeals to you is to ride one. See what you think. The same goes for people who want suspension. Go ride one. What will happen is what I call the "at home factor". If the bike feels at home, you will enjoy riding it. If it doesn't feel right, you will not enjoy it. You cannot expect to have the feeling of "at home on a bike" if you have not ridden many bikes. My advice to the new rider is pick out 3 bikes that appeal to your sense of what a bike should be and go try it. Buy the one that feels the *most* at home so that you will have a great bike to start with. When you are ready to buy a new bike in a few seasons, you will have defined your needs and wants because you will have a vocabulary of what you like and don't like. And all that time in between you will be having a blast without doing all that insane research. Research what trails you want to explore instead. Look up the trail photos on Google Image Search.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Evergreen Ride - Wine vs. Whine

We set out to ride in Evergreen at a reasonable hour and it was damn cold in Denver. I wore some nice wool socks and heavy cycling shoes to keep the toes warm. The rest was layered up and I brought 2 pair of gloves so I would comfortable no matter what the weather. As soon as we arrived in Evergreen, it was obvious that we had all over dressed for the occasion. I was able to get down to shorts (with diaper) and a lightweight wool jersey, but the feet would have to stay warm.
So, we set out to ride and within one mile Dave lost his chain. We tried several things, but it was actually broken, so rigging it was out. He has lived in Evergreen, so we left him to walk back into town with an agreement that we would meet him at Creekside Winery. We continued on our way. Not more than 15 minutes later, Andres broke his chain clean in half. We got him up and running, but decided that something wasn't right with the world... something was just weird. So we carefully rode for another 8 or so miles up and down around Three Sisters and found our way downtown.
We were met by the staff of Creekside Winery and they showed us where Dave was. Somehow, the owner knew that we were having a rough day, so he talked us into having lunch. They seated us out on the deck right beside the creek. We ordered a bottle of wine and some amazing sandwiches. The butternut squash soup was exactly what was needed for all of us to come out of our funk. If you are in the Evergreen area, make sure you go by Creekside Winery for lunch and some wine. Thank you to the staff and cooks for such a day saving meal.
Andres - Mountain Cycle - broken chain
Chris LGB - Black Sheep Full Suspension - Actually feeling sluggish
Dave - Fixed Surly Cross Check - broken chain
Scott - Black Sheep SS 29er - Hot Feet

Monday, October 16, 2006

Snow Bike

I think I am going to set up my Kona 2-4 as the ultimate city snow bike. The bars are already wide and high like I want, but I am going to put on a 24x3.0 tire on the front and something with paddles that is light on the back. This way, I will be able to skid at my leisure, while still maintaining a line of my choice with the ridiculous footprint of the huge front. The bike only has a rear brake, so ice is not negotiable. I just plan on falling when there is ice on the road. My commute has seen 1 patch of ice in a couple of years.

I did, on this Kona 2-4, fall nicely in a patch of ice that was an intersection close to Denver Univ. I was sliding comfortable and silently and knew I would be out of control for atleast another 30 feet when I saw a car coming up from the side. They slammed on the brakes and started to slide quietly toward me steering into the skid as they are supposed to. We smoothly got closer and closer and finally I found a spot to dig into and we missed each other. I didn't have any adrenaline for about 3 minutes, but then it dumped. This won't happen this year, because I'm going for the huge tire.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


5 of us set out to ride on the 9th of OCT. We knew it was going to be cold. Hah.

We decided on Golden Gate Canyon State Park and left at 7:30am from Metropolis Coffee. The temp in Denver was around 42 when we left. It was misting on the way up to the trail, but nothing major. It seemed to be around 35 to 40 degrees outside. We had prepared well. All of us had on lots of layers. I personally went for 2 layers of wool on top with a wind/rain layer on the outside. I wore long cycling pants with short on over them, and shin guards for fun. We headed out only to find that it was too much clothing. I shedded a few items here and there after the first long climb, mostly to protect against sweating a great deal (don't want it to freeze). We continued to climb up lots of beautiful singletrack until it finally turned back down. I think this is when it started to snow/sleet lightly. It was absolutely beautiful. We all kept commenting about how quiet and perfect it was. As we approached the top of Windy Peak, it began snowing big flakes. BIG ONES. On October 9th! It was nice since we were all warm enough. Then we started getting cold.

We all cycled through losing feeling in different parts of our bodies, mostly extremeties. This all changed as we got into the creek crossing section of the trail. Lots of water on airy cold feet meant that I started seeing ice on my shoes. Not too good. From the last creek crossing was a really long climb on jeep trails with stumps for feet. We all agreed that it was good timing, cause we did warm up for the most part. We finished up on the road because we had some mechanical problems.

We all thawed out on the way back to Denver.
All in all it was a great ride. Hard to explain why, but it was amazing.

Dave - Surly Fixed Mountain - Surly Steel Bars
LGB - Black Sheep F/S - Push Fox parts
Greg - Indie Fab F/S - Sqwarshy
Danny - Giant Trance - Whored out as usual
Scott - Black Sheep SS - Boing

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Car Run Ins

Everyone has them. My latest was really great:

On my commute home, I roll through Capital Hill up 12th Ave. I always take a lane, because there isn't another safe choice.

On this early evening, I was stopped at a light waiting for it to turn and the car behind me honked its horn. I thought they knew me or someone else around, so I just looked quickly and continued my commute. They rolled up behind me again and honked again. Being that I haven't slowed this car down at all (by taking my advance greens when i get them) I decided to see who this person was and if they knew me. I got up the the passenger window and leaned down to look in. It was some college kid with his mom driving. I was alarmed to say the least. What good mom in their right mind puts a cyclist at risk (hahaha)? Here is the exchange:
Me: "What's going on?" (still polite)
Boy: "You need to scoot over!" (NOT POLITE) (Mom is afraid and will not look at me)
Me: "Haha. No. I can't" (about to not be polite)
Boy: "You need to be over to the right so cars can pass you" (STILL NOT POLITE)
Me: "No no no. See? The problem is that there are inconsiderate people like yourself who will not look before they open their doors and I will be hit. Have you ever ridden a bike in Denver?" (OK, now not polite)
Boy: "Yes, I live on Capital Hill" (SNOTTY)
The light turned green and mom peeled out of there. I followed them and actually parked before they did. But, since being diplomatic is a practiced art, I left them alone.

I am still taking a lane. I am pretty proud that I didn't do what my imagination forged from stupid person adrenaline.

Someone needs to start a website to report MEAN driving to others. Submit pictures, a story and see what happens. http://www.yousuckbadasadriverandnowicandosomethingaboutit.com

Friday, October 06, 2006

Aidan's Bike

Salvagetti picked up Giant for 2006/7 a few weeks ago.
I finally got the chance to give my nephew his bike. It is a 2007 STP 125. This is a great kids bike. The parts are perfect for a kid who is really going to beat up a bike. A real suspension fork that actually works under a 50 lb rider. The brakes are just right. The frame is way overbuilt and still very attractive. Then you start to take a closer look at the parts...

The stem is an oversized 31.8mm attached to a super tough alloy bar.
The saddle is the 8mm dirt jump kind, just because Giant can.
They spec'd Kenda K-Rad tires.
And lastly, they put on a full on legitimate chain guide on the chainring.

With this kind of detail in a kid's bike, I can hardly wait to see what they are going to come out with in their adult mountain and road bikes. As bikes arrive, we will update the website as we know what, where, how, when, but we all (already) know why.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Nederland can snap your bars

Woke up at 4:30am. Had coffee.
Rode to bus only to miss it by 1 minute. Dave was waiting there for me.
Chris showed up. I was still not awake. Not even close.
Got to Nederland and had coffee at Happy Trails (the big caboose near the bus stop). If you are in Ned and don't go to the caboose, you are missing out. Their bike shop is great too. Randy is a top notch guy.

Went to the "high school trails". I don't know my way around up there, but I can tell you, we went right a lot of times. The trails were in perfect shape. My only whiny pants complaint is that it was a little bit chilly; God bless arm warmers. We rode up and down through aspen-leaf -carpet-tight singletrack. It felt like a movie; it felt insane and great. Even the dirt roads were fun. All of the climbs were doable, some much tougher than others, but all could be cleared. I'm not saying I cleared all of them, but I will.


Our general direction was the southeast side of Ned heading toward Boulder. We started down a county road that was washed out from recent rains. Long sections were washboards. I almost lost my hands several times, because I was trying to let the tires and fork do what they needed to do to clear. We took a hard right and were all together talking. It got steep again and we got aero to coast as fast as possible. Chris and I usually have bursts that are a little faster than Dave, so we got ahead. We stopped at the next major turn and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. We turned back to see what was up. We rode back about 3/4 mile to find Dave walking his bike. He was holding himself funny from a distance and was definitely limping. As we got closer, we could see his pants were BLOODY. Closer, we could see his left shoulder was covered with some nice dirt. Closer, we could see his handlebar was broken in half. Chills. Absolute sick feelings. Dave was riding through those same washboards that I almost lost control on. He was going very fast and his bars SNAPPED. "Pow!" was what Dave heard, then he was sent tumbling. He cracked his helmet and cut his forehead... but he remembers everything.

I ran to a house right next to where we were. A young woman named Pamela (thank you again, you are great) ended up driving us all back down to Nederland to go the the medical clinic there. The clinic snuck Dave in very quickly and bandaged him up. Dave is one of the toughest people I can think of and I saw him wince a few times in pain. They ended up having to remove a chunk of skin so that his knee would heal properly, but no stitches.

So, we went back out riding. Just kidding.

We headed home on the N bus, to catch the B bus.

What a day. Hope you feel better Dave!

Chris: Black Sheep full suspension Ti - Push industries upgrades
Dave: Surly Cross Check - nerded out to no end
Scott: Black Sheep SS 29er - silly light, cheap parts