Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Deed is Done...

Along with a handful of other Ethos jerks, I did the deed and pre-registered for one of my favorite races of all time; Bonebender. I have done this race every year since it was born and I will continue to do so until I can no longer ride a bike. This race is a super fun local race put-on by a good fella named Chris Locke backed by his team Cow Town and a handful of sponsors and volunteers.
Yeah, Thats our boys Travis and Cameron  in the top seat from 2010
[It] is a 3 or 6 hour race and this year and has moved from Smithville lake to Clinton Lake State Park. The trails at Clinton Lake will kill most mortals, so 6 hours flying solo on the singlespeed is going to be a helluva grand time. Looking for some beer hand-ups and cow bells from my boys. Hope to see you there!
2011 course

Friday, March 25, 2011

KC Sprints...Right Freaking Now!

Weather God(less)...

The last week has been packed full of dry trail and good weather. Of course I have been stuck working and spending time with my family so I have little to say about the riding scene, other than the following...

Thursday night I hit up Swope for a quick lap before dark. The trail was in absolutely ripping good shape, a pleasure to ride. As I entered one of my favorite rock gardens, dubbed 8-pins, I developed a slight bike related issue; my stem was totally loose and my front wheel turned sideways as I surmounted the first large rock. Bummer! This is about as far as you can get from the car and the first time in three years that I blew off bringing my kit-o-tools. I walked the remaining 100 yards of 8-pin and then thought 'this is so lame'. I just got back on my bike and started riding. I hoped for the best and expected the worst. My wheel stayed fairly straight for the rest of the ride. A few quick pit-stops to turn it forward and I was soon at the parking area. Thankfully a fella on a black Surly Karate Monkey was kind enough to loan me a wrench. I was back rolling in seconds.

I headed back up to phase 2 for a lap of some more good trail. I am always pleased with the pure joy of riding Swope. It sure beats the heck out of riding the trail nearest my home, but sometimes you have to ride the lesser trail just to ride, and that is just what The Manimal and I did - last night.

The Manimal arrived at my house for an 8 p.m. departure on the Home Loop. It was dark and the air was cool. We headed into the woods with lights on rough trail an immediately did the first creek crossing and got our feet wet, literally. It was great to get out and see trail conditions at SMP, which ended up being superb. The trails here too wee ripping good. About half way through the ride we could hear thunder rumbling in the distance. We'd see lighting too but could never figure out in which directions is was coming from. Soon the storm was upon us and we had miles to ride to get back home. Temps dropped into the 30's and what we feared to be rain ended up being sleet. Awesome! We were stoked and stayed dry all the way home. The second we got off our bikes it stopped sleeting. Three minutes later it was raining hard. Luck I tell ya. Good ride with a good bro. Life is grand!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Has Sprung...

Get out and RIDE!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

How To Die (Fixed Downhill)

I'm trying to commute to work. The ride is a good 18 miles round-trip, full of hills and car-driving-idiots. I headed off today on the 29er only to realize she needed some adjustments. I returned home, grabbed another bike and headed out again; the fixed gear. In case you were wondering how I go down steep hills on my Fixed Gear mountain bike way faster than I can you go. Yeah, I know its upside down...but so is riding a fixie.
If you're wondering what the hell you're looking at, it's my feet up on top of my fork, and the cranks are spinning like egg-beaters wildly beyond (way faster than i can spin). It's looks flippin' retarded, but it gets you down fast and easy. Just don't screw-up the pedal re-connect or you might eat major s#%t...
On a side note; I got to spend another perfect weekend in Arkansas climbing rocks and camping with my family and friends. Can't wait to get my bike down there again. I guess that will be sooner than later when Syllamo's Revenge comes about, can't wait!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Quadzilla (Arkansassy or Bust)...

The weekend conspired to be yet another adventure back to my roots of Rock Climbing. Yes I love to ride bikes, but I have to tell ya; the view from the saddle vs. the view from a summit obtained by ascending vertical rock is a little bit different - in a big way.

With our freakishly random Kansas City weather dampening any hopes of dry trail, I was psyched to get out with the old crew and head down to one of the many awesome sandstone crags that Arkansas has to offer. Friday night after work was our planned departure time. Beej, Silent Killer, Jimbo and I met at Tall Bitch’s house to load up the Camp Mobile van, which we officially dubbed Quadzilla. [The] rig is a beast, fully equipped for a 4x4 Moab Expedition and more. We rolled in style with a large screen DVD player, surround sound, leather and a surprisingly smooth ride. Five hours and one drug/alcohol checkpoint later, we were at the trailhead to Stack Rock.
None of us had ever been to Stack before. We gathered info from guidebooks, the inter-web and friends alike. We caught word of a nice bivy cave and a short but ‘slightly uphill’ approach and went for it. We arrived at camp at 12:30 p.m., stoked the fire and kicked back for a few beers. After relaxing a bit Beej decides that we need to summit this rock formation before we crawl into our sleeping bags for the night. Jimbo and I oblige. Stack is a band of sandstone bluff that wraps around the top of an Ozark-sized mountain-top. We circumnavigate the bluff line to find an easy way to the summit and succeed. Then we decide to hike around and check out the place. There had been an ice storm recently that had destroyed the forest. Trees were down and broken everywhere; it looked like a war-zone or a tornado had hit. A total mess which made hiking more of a bush-whacking experience, thwarted often by relentless thorns or a large hole where trees roots once grasped the earth. By the time we stroll back to camp it’s 4:30 a.m. – we are more than ready for a few hours of hard sleep.
Saturday we awoke to perfectly clear skies and 50+ degree temps. Perfect Arkansassy climbing conditions. Our group heads out for a quality day of cragging. We climbed a good half dozen classics, taking turns on lead or top-rope and called it a day late afternoon. The solitude of Stack made for a pleasurable time relaxing, tossing back a few cold ones, and of course one of my favorite past times; slacklining. Slacklining is a great way to train your mind and body, build core strength and to kill some time. Simply put, it’s like tightrope walking but rather than on a taught cable, we use a slack piece of 1” wide nylon webbing tied between two trees. Just a freaking blast and very difficult to do well! At dusk we all cooked-up some grub, did some gribblin’ and kicked back by a perfect fire in our bivy cave until our eyelids failed.
Sunday we slept in. After awaking to yet another perfect day, a pot of fine coffee (roasted by my pal Andre) and some breakfast – we head out to summit a rock formation called the Slackline Pillar. The pillar is a 70’ tall sandstone tower that can be climbed one of three ways. We of course chose the most challenging of the three, a route called Sanctified (5.10c). What a classic and exposed steep climb this turned out to be. WOW! Beej and I summit the tower and took in the awesome views of rolling hills and valleys. The Ozark Mountains are a wonder to see.

Here are a few photos and video clips of Beej climbing Sactified on the Slackline Pillar which do the route no justice. The route is so steep you end up a good 20+ feet from the base when you lower back to the ground. Freggin' Steep!

Other than watching Super Troopers during our drive back to KC, that pretty much sums up our trip. I re-dubbed ‘Quadzilla’ and now call her ‘The Church Van’. I call her this because every time I ride in that beast we are headed out on some grand outdoor adventure. The outdoors is my church, so the name seems appropriate.
Now it’s back to the grind. Awoke to snow again this morning, and the long wait for dry trail yet again…

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Monster Cross (SOLD)...

 I'm posting this machine for my bro 'The Manimal'. He needs some cash to feed his *1,287 children.

19" Kona Unit 29er steel frame in emmaculate condition, sliding dropouts, less than 100 miles 
Shimano 105 shifters (brand new) 
Shimano XT rear Derailleur (brand new) 
Avid BB7 disc brakes (brand new) 
WTB Mountain Road drop bar (brand new) 
Shimano LX crank (brand new) 
Bontrager SL Rhythm All Mountain wheelset (less than 50 miles) 
Bontrager Jones AC tires 
Bontrager Stem. 

This bike will do gravel roads, gnarly single track, commute, drops, cyclocross you name it. 

$700 or best offer. This Beast will fit someone 5'-11" to 6'-3"

Email me and I'll get you in touch with the Manimal if your interested.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Squish-DOWN, Lock-UP...

I'm still not sold on the whole 29er thing. I do like the fit of my big-wheeled machine, however it still feels sluggish on technical trail, and getting her up and running from a stop is a bit more difficult than a 26er. I'm not one to be super fast and just scream down the single track ignoring the scenery. I like to dabble in the rocks, ride the skinnies, you know: have fun and play like I'm a grade school kid. I do however like to at least keep-up with my riding pals, and I don't think that i can do that on this bike. I've been trying, to no avail, to get out and ride this Reba fork to see if I can start blasting through the rock gardens with a bit more prowess, to float through like a monster truck over junk cars. Maybe this is the missing link in my 29er build that will convince me to make the leap. I think it will be, at a minimum, a confidence booster. At worst just additional  and unnecessary weight.

I am pretty excited to use a suspension fork with a lock-out mechanism. The Fox Fork I run on my 26er does not have this feature, and being a single speed only type of guy, I really need to kill the bob when climbing and then allow the plush absorption on the descents. I used to run a White Brothers Magic Fork until it was destroyed in your classic 'drive into the garage with your bike on top of the car' scenario. The Magic was the perfect single speed suspension fork. It was not as squishy as the Reba or Fox which I liked, and at the same time it did not bob on climbs and there was no additional gizmo to make it 'lock-out'. Too bad I can't find one of [those] beauties for an honest price. I find the price of a good suspension fork to be out-of-the-question for one with meager wages like myself. Maybe a lottery ticket is in order?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

South Mountain...

Get me on that plane and outta this crap weather!
I had the opportunity to do a half day of riding in the Phoenix area over the weekend. I was flying out to the area for work and I thought I’d squeeze in some Desert single track; a welcome change from this cold, snowy and wet Midwestern crap weather we’ve been having. After some research and considering my short window of time (daylight anyway), I chose to ride at South Mountain - per the recommendation of Fish (a local bike wrench known for his backyard pump track). Fish works at LBS Cactus Bikes. When I had called the shop for trail beta, he had giving me some great info and seemed psyched to help.
Desert Heaven
On a side note: I have to give some mad props to Pete of the Earthriders Mountain Bike Club here in KC. I was desperate in my last-minute search for a bike travel case. With only about a day notice Pete coordinated getting me hooked up with a case for my trip, taking the extra ‘above and beyond’ time to make it happen for me. THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!! The case worked out perfectly!

I land in Phoenix, grab my bike and a rental car and head down to Cactus Bikes to meet up with Fish for some additional, last minute trail info. He busts open Google Earth on the computer and shows me the trail system at South Mountain. This place looks pretty cool and I am getting more psyche by the minute. Fish even hooked me up with a bike stand to get my ride put back together. I also used the shop to change clothes, fill my water bottles and get ready to ride. I was informed that I could hit the trail, riding from the shop and just leave my car in the lot. Sweet.
Fish & Cactus Bikes
After a quick lunch consisting of beans, rice and three fish tacos, I hit the trail. The weather is perfect (cool by Phoenix standards) with temps in the high fifties and a sunny sky. I now start my out-and-back ride on a trail named Desert Classic; truly where I should be. Anytime the word classic is used in a description, I’m game.

With a handful of flowing and fun miles under my belt, I am ready for a quick break to grab some grub and refuel. I stop and join three other riders who appear to be doing the same. After overhearing a brief conversation, I ask the fellas if they are locals. Ends up they are all old high school buddies that have taken about five days to do some riding together. Mone is local, Chad’s from Denver and Rick’s from Chicago. We hit it off pretty well and they ask If I want to join them. I graciously accept.
I follow as we detour from Desert Classic onto a steep climb up to a saddle between two peaks. This is a helluva climb with many step-ups designed more for hikers than mountain bikes; We had to carry our bikes a good hundred yards or so to gain the saddle. Once at the saddle we end up on an incredible stretch of road that winds its way to higher elevations. This is the kind of road you’d see downhill skateboarders flying down at ludacris speed. As we gain the summit we take a right to regain single track; a more technical trail, I think this ones called National or Mormon? Pretty sweet and flowy, ups and downs, lots of drops, rocks and potential for big crashes. I remember a pretty sick area called the waterfall, which I lacked the huevos to do on two-wheels. Awesome. Still a bit of climbing here and there but for the most part just a freaking enjoyable pleasure ride in the desert.
Our Route...Approx. 16 miles

Elevation of our route
We end the ride back at Mone’s truck and pop open a few beers to quench our thirst, talk about the ride and chill. At this point we all decide that the $20 all-u-can-eat Sushi place that Mone recommends is our next destination. A solid hour later, we have downed over $200 of fine sushi and are stuffed beyond belief. What a great day!

One of the many plates we devoured

My new friends and I shake hands and part ways. I head back to the hotel room, take my bike apart and stuff it back into it’s case, toss back a couple beers, shower and fall into a deep and restful sleep.

It was a lot of work to take my bike with me on this super short trip, but it was SO worth it! I am looking forward to riding with these fellas again sometime soon and will always be open to hauling my bike around on an airplane for a few hours of pure bliss. Do it!