Thursday, September 25, 2008

Night Ride on the Shoreline Trail

Clear sky, light breeze, 69 degrees, short sleeve jersey, no people, excellent trail. Why am I so lucky? Have I died and gone to Heaven? Life is good...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

HiFi Pro, First Ride

My first ride was on the Shoreline Trail behind Research Park as the sun was setting last night, and I couldn't be more pleased.

The big tires on Stan's hoops with low pressure provides a very comfortable ride. I had no prior knowledge about the Rock Shox Monarch shock and am pleased to report it works very well. It has little bob in the open position and when locked out, it's bomber stiff. I bottomed it out a few times so I'll up the recommended pressure to address that issue. The Reba Team fork was smooth and stayed hooked up on the bumps. I love the handlebar mounted remote lockout and used it extensively. It is so much more convenient than taking my hands off the bars and reaching down to twist a knob, like in the past. I'll need to take it out in the daytime to get a real feel for the fork, but so-far-so-good. On the bottom end I had a few issues hitting a pedals on rocks, but that may have been because it was dark and not a low BB issue. Datime riding will answer that question.

Another thing I noticed was the stability going through small to medium size bumps. My Element was harsh and rocked back and forth, probably because I had it set up too stiff. With most of the Reba settings in the mid range, the HiFi just plows through the rough without trying to buck me off. Again, that may be because my speed was slow so I'll reassess this aspect when I get her up to speed. The longer wheel base and bigger tires may also play a role here.

So, I'm happy and can't wait to wringe her out more. This bike should be a good weapon on long rides and provide the comfort and stability (forgiveness) I've been looking for.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Bike - Gary Fisher HiFi Pro

"That's a beautiful bike Grandpa. Thanks for sharing your pictures with me" - Love Ralfee.

This is my new Gary Fisher HiFi Pro 29'er. Isn't she pretty! She's a mixed breed with parts that are old and new, just like me. I can't wait to test her out at the 24 Hours of Moab in 3 weeks and see if I can pull faster times than last year.

Parts-wise I went with an XTR front derailleur, X-9 rear, grip shifters, compression cables, 100 mm Reba Team Fork and 100 mm Rock Shox shock, Avid Juicy 7 brakes, Bontrager XXX carbon cranks and Stan's ZTR 355 rims with American Classic hubs. She weighed in at 25.9 pounds but that was with a tube in the rear tire and a heavy-ass SRAM cassette. I'm thinking closer to 25.5 when she goes on a diet.

I want to give a great big hug to Chris Holley for hooking me up with most of the parts for this bad ride. He's not a squishy bike dude so he sold me his Subarau/Gary Fisher team frame and fork, as well as other key parts that made this doable. He and KC have been my inspiration for going big, and I'm glad o have them as friends and advisors. Thanks also to MAD DOG CYCLES in Orem for their support with parts and advise. They're big on Gary Fisher, and I know why - he makes a great riding bike. Another big hug goes to Stan's for the incredible wheelset they make. I raced 4 seasons on my 26 inch set and never had to true the front rim! And get aload of this, my new rear 29'er wheel is only 10 grams heavier than my Stan's Olympic setup on my old Element! WOW!!! And that's with a steel skewer instead of Ti - another diet component.

Lastly I want to thank Chris and Jared at BINGHAM'S CYCLERY on Foothill Drive in SLC. Those guys are the best mechanics in the valley and I was lucky enough to get them to put all the pieces in the right place for me. I'm not kidding, these guys can get any bike running and keep it going forever. I owe a lot of my success to them because they kept my Element in prime racing shape for years, and they'll do the same for this one too. And, they're not bike snobs.

Well, now I'm totally 29 and itching to shake her down.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

12 Hours of Sundance

Now I know the answer. Duo is harder than solo. I teamed up with Mad Dog XC hotshot Tim Hodnet on Saturday for 14 exciting laps at beautiful Sundance Ski Resort in perfect weather. We finished 7th in the male duo category and called it quits early cuz we were just plain pooped. We left the race with enough time on the clock to put in 2 more laps, but neither one of us were that committed or excited to keep it going. And, by this time Chris and KC Holley were 3+ laps ahead of us! The powerful Holley's put in an unbelievable 19 laps on rigid single speeds and took top honors all around.

I raced my single spped for the 2nd weekend in a row, and it was tough. Each lap was 7 miles with 950 +\- feet of climbing on buff single track. The course was in excellent shape and well marked which made it fast, if you had the legs. John cut a new trail in the grass and rocks that proved to be quite a challenge early in the day. Seems like everybody was talking about the "grass" - that's so hard and slow! By the end of the race the trail was well defined and much more compacted and ready for the public.

My race went well with lap times between 43 and 48 minutes. It took a while getting into a rhythm since my rest time between laps was only about 40 minutes. I was being nice to Tim and rode slower so he could fully recover ;-) It's all about the team to me. About 10 minutes into lap 1 I got stung on the back of my thigh by a bee and that aggravation lasted all day. The bees bit a lot of people and made for fun chatter between laps. I rode real well on the 1st 3 laps with less than 1 minute difference in riding time between them. Lap 4 was a different story. The cramps I got last week came back, and stronger! I had all I could do to hold them off while I finished the last 5 minutes of climbing. Same thing on lap 5. I popped a bunch of e-lytes and ate some chips, a PB&J sandwich and all was well after that. Only now the engine was running out of gas. As is normal in long events like this, my perceived effort rose and my heart rate sank. I'd call the control room for more power, but there was no more to give. Damnit Scotty! Tim finished his 7th lap and convinced me we were done. It didn't take much effort on his part - I was an easy sale at this point. I went out on my 7th lap and rode with Karl Vizmig who was riding solo. I rode the entire lap with him and it was the most enjoyable lap of the day. Karl was riding strong and his spirits were high. I finished my lap and he went out for 2 more! I think he finshed in the top 5 for the solo category - way to go Karl.

This was a way fun event with many of my favorite biking buddies and buddettes in attendance. I like the team idea because it's fun visiting between laps. I don't like it because starting and stopping is hard. I'm not sure I'd do a dou again, although if I were on a gear bike it may be more enjoyable. Solo? I love solo because it is slower and easy to keep in the grove all day, but I would miss the visiting and exciting atmosphere in the pits. So which is it, team or solo? Well, both.

Next up is the 24 Hours of Moab, my favorite race. This will be my 6th time on the fabeled course and our Grand Masters team is up to the challenge. Hopefully well have some competition this year. Old dudes - where are you?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sundance SS Challenge

Action shot by Adam Lisonbee. Thanks Griz.

That's Chris showing me how big his calfs are. They're huge!!!

Yahoo, I did it and I met my goals. I finished 3 laps and was not last. I'm like a fine wine, I just get better with age. And the nice thing is I only got chicked once! Well, only KC showed up on the girl side, and you know how fast she is. Losing to her is an honor, and a given.

The thing that pleases me is all 3 of my laps were within a 1 minute spread, 34-35 minutes. I felt pretty smooth on the course, but the 29er wheel is different and is something I will grow into. Lifting the front wheel is harder and the hardtail is way different than I'm used to. Physically I was fit and felt strong, but both quads started to cramp at the same time on the last climb of the 3rd lap. Fortunately I was able to fight them off and finished in smiling fashion. Really, I didn't think I could do 3 laps!

This was a really fun, low keyed raced that has a real nice vibe to it. If you are into no-pressure, low key SS racing, give this one a try next year. I'll be there again with the same goals in mind.

Up next is the 12 hours of Sundance on Saturday. I wasn't going to do this race but Mad Dog temmate Tim Hodnet needed a partner, he was way desparate and I was his last hope, so I'm going to dou with him. Tim's way fast, and I'll be SS'ing it, so this should be quite interesting and fun. I've never raced duo before and am somewhat apprehensive. I hope I can recover adequately between laps and that my legs won't set up into concrete by mid-day.