Monday, November 28, 2011

Props!

Mad props goes to my friend, Kevin Lutgen, for all his work on editing through a TON of footage and making a sweet memoir of a cold but epic ride at the beginning of November in Bozeman. Awesome stills, transitions and text make this far better than anything I have attempted to put together or regularly see posted. Thank you, again, Kevin! You rock!

The speeds are the actual speeds. This means nothing has been sped up in the editing process, thus giving an indication of how fast this ride is in places. So check out the final HD version (not on mediafire this time) of my

Bangtail Bonanza

Then compare it to this guy's interpretation of the same ride. Ha, notice the 180 degree separation in music choice?

Intense? Me? Naaaaaah!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The World According to Phil (aka Phil's World Trail)


I am always thankful for any opportunity to ride new trail. And yeah, today, my gratitude was off the charts. I ventured into the World of some guy named Phil in Cortez, CO this morning and was pleasantly surprised with his style of trails. Hardpacked singletrack curving through rocks and twisting around trees, this system of trails is SO DAMN FAST. Whew! What a thrill to scream along the ledges overlooking Cortez with views of snowcapped mountains jetting out of the landscape. Short, semi-steep climbs preceded blazing fast flats and downhills. I built so much momentum and speed I felt like I was cheating as the bike went up effortlessly. This ride was so much fun that I barely noticed I was working at all. I did find myself wishing I was singlespeeding it, however.


Here are some pictures that give a small look at some of the terrain. Ha! I have no idea of the last time I rode trails this fast. Check out the hardpack. Yummmmmmy! Far tastier than pumpkin pie and stuffing!






Really not much of a technical challenge on any of the trails in the system, but the rocks that did exist were fun to ride and were usually followed by some sweet banked turns that sent you rocketing out of them.






Views of epic peaks from the open areas along the ledges:










Toward the end of the ride is a crazy fun section called Rib Cage, dubbed the "center of the mountain biking universe." A rollercoaster of table top-like ups and downs, I will definitely be back with the helmet cam to get some fun footage. I never stopped to take any pictures, so you will have to venture into Phil's World and experience it for yourself!


More pictures. Look at this hard pack! Too much of Phil's World will spoil anyone who doesn't crave a good technical challenge, a grueling hike-a-bike or a long climbing sufferfest...






The clouds began to roll in and the sun disappeared just as I crossed the road and entered the parking area. A great day and an exhilarating ride in SW Colorado! 


I saw this guy on my way back to Durango: (sorry for the crappy pic, but he was a monster)








And finally, before I start on the outline of the fatbike plan and beg you all for some advice:


Reflecting for a moment on all I have to be thankful for in my life
Happy Thanksgiving! 


Do something, ANYTHING other than stand in line to buy cheap crap tomorrow. I got sucked into a Black Friday sale at the Trek Store for the first time ever last year. And, yeah, I now have this pesky biking habit..and a lot less money.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fat Bike Insanity

"I don't believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are the experience of being alive."
   -Joseph Campbell

The experience of being alive. Stop and think about that. Can you? Can you direct your attention and focus on that (or anything) for a minute without being distracted by something with a keypad? About a year ago, I could not. I found myself so wrapped up in the maze of rushing to do everything, planning, working, saving, budgeting and trying to accommodate everyone, that time (aka MY life) was whizzing by without my awareness. My interactions with friends and family as well as my experiences were dull and mediocre. I always felt I needed more when what I really needed was LESS. Less shit to clutter my house, maintain, pay for....yeah, you get the picture.

So that is a small snippet of why I am LOVING the slow pace of Durango. Loving the two lane highways. Loving the fact that my conversations and relationships now have some substance and are not just convenient and routine.Loving being able to find the time and focus for things that I am truly passionate about. And, ok, maybe the trails and mountains around here are kinda cool. Wink. Wink.

But...what the hell does this have to do with a fat/snow bike that is the title of this post?

Yep. The experience. Of life. Of something I haven't ever felt. Snow beneath fat tires with low pressure.....

*Grin*

And here is my plan....

I ultimately want and will have a Moonlander someday, but I have to start cheap (real cheap) and simple. I don't need the nicest, newest and coolest. I can't afford it anyway.

It needs to be a single speed. Why? Because I don't want to shift. My hands get so stupid cold that I have trouble shifting my Superfly from time to time in 30F weather. And in a sick and twisted way, I want the simplicity. Ok, ok... and (true to my nature) the challenge.

I know very little about building a bike and suck at wrenching on things. But I can Google and have learned a lot from forums and the Surly Information Hole. And here is what I have come up with in the past couple months:

The bike I bought stupid cheap:



Thinking of something loosely similar to this when all said and done (but no gears and slightly different specs). And I like the idea of the Poor Man's (Woman's) Pug. For now anyway.

http://fattiremn.blogspot.com/p/project-poor-mans-pug.html


To start: Wheels and tires go, seat goes, stem goes, handle bars go, cantilevers go...all (except wheels and tires) to be replaced with better parts I already have.

FORK:

I bought The Enabler fork brand new, right out of the box  for far less than retail. Check it out. Kinda cool, no?

WHEELS AND TIRES:

Still researching. Wow. A lot here. I could throw down the equivalent of a car payment on the biggest, fattest, widest combo money can buy. Yeah, that's not happening. Sure, it would look totally badass, but I would learn absolutely nothing, it wouldn't work on the back and I don't have the car payment to spare anyway. So I am spending a lot of free time cruising through forums like this:

http://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/surly-1x1-widest-tire-rim-sizes-587150.html

Its looking like a 26x3.0 is going on the back with a Large Marge rim. Any 3.0 tire suggestions?

The front is going to be a Large Marge rim as well and I am trying to convince myself (unsuccessfully at this point) not to go with the Big Fat Larry. Note humorous sarcasm.

Seeing this isn't helping either:

http://forums.mtbr.com/fat-bikes/big-fat-larry-fit-enabler-fork-753040.html

Tempting.

BRAKES:

Yeah. I know. I screwed up and got the old frame that is not disc brake friendly. I planned on using my Hayes brakes on the front but it never crossed my mind that the cantis wouldn't work on the back. Duh! No experience, insufficient research. So, I was definitely stressing a little thinking I had to start completely over.

Until I found this:

http://www.highintensitybikeshop.com/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=22

Will that work? It seems as though it solves my problem as long as all the measurements are correct.

GEARING:

The 1x1 came as 36x18. That will crush me on snow and I would imagine a lot of HABing in my future.

Soooooo........34x20? 32x20?


Alright. That's what I have. Frankenbike. An adventure in building that may rival the adventures of riding that lie ahead....

Ummmm....help?





Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ramblings of a Nomadic Dirtbag

Next stop on, uhhhh, "tour" was Ouray, CO last week for some high altitude snowshoeing. Leaving the bike home and meeting up with my awesome friend and kindred soul, Scatman, we tackled the Horsethief Trail which climbs high above this sleepy little mountain town. A long time cyclist, epic adventurer, badass thru-hiker and an all around great person, my compadre in crime from the rainy northwest came to check out my favorite corner of the earth for a few days. Hot chocolate and bagels from Ouray's Backstreet Bistro started the day and the views on this 9 mile round trip effort were nothing short of impressive.








We climbed just short of 3000' in approximately 3.5 miles. There really wasn't much snow for the first part of the climb as you can see here:

video

It became a considerable effort, however, as the snow got deeper and the altitude increased. Quite the cross-training workout!



We had to stop short of our Bridge of Heaven destination due to darkness and sketchy trail conditions, but any time spent anywhere in these mountains adds meaning, happiness and years to one's existence as evidenced by the following:








After a night in Ouray, a day in the town of Durango and a night with friends in Bayfield, we found ourselves at the West Fork of the San Juan River ready to do some more shoeing, camping and remote hot springing.


We went in about 5.5 miles to some unnamed hot springs on the river and set up camp.







After cooking dinner, a warm campfire kept us from getting in the hot water below the bluff on which we were camped.


The sub 100 degree water and an ambient temperature in the mid 20's (F) made a morning soak much more appealing. Hours of campfire time under a huge sky filled with stars put the world right again and I crashed out in a warm down bag for the night.

The next morning we hiked down to the river, towels strewn around our necks with honest intentions of getting in the pools.





But after some childlike rock hopping and exploring, we decided that the water temperatures and depth were a little less than desired for the cold November air. Translation: We are whiny wimps!

So, we broke camp and headed out to the road all the while savoring views like this of the Weminuche Wilderness:



The drive north to get Scatman on a plane back to the rain of the Pacific Northwest humbled us with views of the Sangre de Cristos in the early evening light of winter.


A few more random pics from the journey:





And I leave you with this...


So...Go do epic shit. Don't Sit Around. Life is too wild and precious!

Up next...the fatbike plan. I have all the pieces here except the rims and tires.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Chasing the Call

It's been almost a month since I have posted anything. Oh, and what a month it has been. I finally pulled the plug and decided another winter in Denver spent wishing I was in the San Juans was not happening this year. So November 1 started my Winter 2011 Tour with a trip north to Montana for ten days to ride and work for some friends. Bozeman was the first stop to hit up Bangtail Divide and soak in Upper Potosi hot springs. The next day was on to Helena where I stayed and rode some local trails including a cold trip up to the Continental Divide Trail near MacDonald Pass.





video

My days in Helena consisted of gym time, yoga, work and bike. A small town, a  slow pace and good people. Perhaps the strangest sandwich I have ever come across was found at The Staggering Ox. Strange, but very tasty. An experience in and of itself.


Leaving Helena, I  then headed south through Idaho, Salt Lake City and on to Moab. I completely lucked out staying one day ahead of the storm both driving and when I got to Moab, the weather was as close to perfect as it gets. I pulled into the Sovereign TH about midmorning and rode through the afternoon into early evening. A few bikers were out, including some pretty enthusiastic guys from Canada who shared their stories of many epic rides including La Ruta de Los Conquistadores which is on my list for 2013.

Moab was a phenomenal day as always and I left that night after dinner wishing I had another day to ride more trails I had never been on before.






From Moab, I was then Durango bound. My ongoing love affair with this town (actually the mountains and wilderness surrounding it) will become evident in future (in progress) posts...