Friday, October 4, 2013

Gone Squatchin!!!!

Squatch ride: Any ride that has a high chance of completely getting lost on unfamiliar trails due to the exploratory nature of the ride. These trails may and often include sections of hike-a-bike, pipeline, swamps and many other potential pitfalls. Heart rate monitors and power taps are swapped for extensive mapping programs and security flares... Leave the flimsy race tires at home. Durability is paramount because a breakdown when your lost can leave you stranded on the mountain overnight or worse. A high level of fitness is not a prerequisite but helps at hour 5 with fading daylight and little idea where you are. These rides are not for everyone but for the chosen few eventual salvation awaits...-M

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do you know what time it is? It's 6:50 my friend....

I've not been blogging much, or using facebook for that matter either. It's not that I'm in hiding, or retired from racing, or what ever you may imagine. It's I've just had not much of anything to say. Or at least anything you would want to know about. Until now.....

34x19 (29) - 34x18 (650b)
Guess what one is faster?
Now many of you will say "oh I've heard this before" but I'm going to say something controversial.

I hate 29ers!!!

Actually it's a love-hate thing.
I love the idea of being able to roll over things more comfortably but I hate the sluggish handling. I hate the extremely flimsy tires and the ever increasing flimsy components to make the 29er a competitive weight. At what point did a 21lb bike become a porker? I hate my handlebars being even with my saddle. Even with a negative stem and a flat bar. I don't even like the way the 29er looks in the medium size I ride.

I really HATE the low bottom bracket!!!!!

Combined with a stretched out wheelbase a 11.8 in bb becomes nearly unridable in technical terrain. That is if you want to pedal anything that resembles a circle. Yeah, I know, "You get used to it". I don't want to get used to it. If I have to make adjustments to ride well, whats gonna happen when I'm tired? I'll probably run into something I shouldn't, puncturing one of those 535 gram paper thin tires. Or worse, I'll strike a pedal and be thrown. The bike should feel instinctive. It has nerves in it. It should be a extension of your body. It shouldn't require you to jack the cranks and pedal to get the front wheel over a 6inch log.
Okay, I'm exaggerating, maybe it's a 8in log.

I don't want this to be a negative post. I'm working hard at seeing the positive side of things lately. So here you go.

If you're over 6ft.... You may like a 29er.

I have many friends that are tall and they look really normal on those bikes. I actually don't know how someone who is 6'4" rode a mountain bike 10 years ago, before the 29er craze.....

I'm 5'10", on a good day.....

Now I'm gonna tell you something that I'm not proud of.

In the fall I started to mess around with a 650b. I loved it as a trail bike. The higher BB and short wheelbase was great on my local trails (Ringwood and Wawayanda). I was clearing stuff I've never cleared on any bike and riding fast. Ultimately my head got the best of me and I decided I needed a 29er to keep up with the big boys in the race game. I may have a year or two of this racing shit left in me so I purchased a 29er frame in January and built it up just in time to take it to Tucson for a 10day training camp at casa-de-mom. That trip went well. I got some crazy hours in on my timed loops in Southern Arizona and enjoyed the bike. It was fine.
Not blow your doors off fine. Just fine. This was to be my race bike.

Until I came back here a few days ago.

I brought the 650 to Tucson this time. I figured what the hell. I plan on riding it occasionally anyway, we're still a way off from race season. Riding a different bike couldn't hurt.

Holy difference Batman!!!

I'm now bouncing off stuff and hitting lines that were a passing thought on the 29er. I'm having a ball. The bike corners well too. Dare I say, at least as good as the 29er. Po Po to you and your contact patch.

"I can climb about the same but the descending and my single track skills seem to come so much easier. I'm riding faster, with the same effort."

I rode at South Mountain (Phoenix) on Saturday and 650b was amazing. I made shit that I never thought I would. I always try to clear everything but often have to bail midway. I was riding up (and down) stuff way above my pay grade.
To confirm or debunk my good feelings, I went to ride the SSUSA course from 2010 (I did on 29er in Jan too). This course starts with a 9mile dirt road climb up Redington Rd. and hits High Chiva, sections of the Arizona trail and finishes up on the super technical La Milagrosa trail. 48miles and 7500ft vertical. I ride from home so it adds about 20 more miles too.

The verdict is....I was 25min faster than my 29er jaunts just a month ago and in striking distance of my race time in 2010. I put no extra effort in and even got turned around at one point so I lost a few minutes there. I was just able to flow so much better. I noticed I was off the brakes much more and was able to ride drops and roll offs that I never could on a 29er or even the full suspension I had out here last year. How is this super high bottom bracketed bike so stable but delightfully twitchy at the same time? I have no frigging clue. I will tell you though.

I never hit my cranks.... Not once....And

I think I wasted a bunch of coin on a 29er!!!

Next time..... I'll review the Voodoo Bokor 650B I'm riding now. -M

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Make Lemonade!!!!

It's been a great winter thus far. I'm back riding my single speed and having a great time doing it. I seem to have wonderful people around me who are interested in doing the same. The days are ticking by and dare I say the sub 20deg temps don't even seem that bad. I'm not even in a rush to race this year, probably because it's been so much fun training again.

So what has changed????

Only my mindset... I'm not thinking about training for racing now. I'm training to be healthy and athletic. Happy and fast seems to be following close behind. I know I'll be fast because of what I've been doing, and if I'm not, than so be it. This season I'm not committing to sponsors or any series or anything else. I'm committed to having fun! I'm committing to being in the best shape I can possibly be in! I'm really looking forward to enjoing it. It's not a job and it shouldn't be a huge struggle to ride. Who wants to win 10 races and be miserable to place 2nd somewhere? A total failure!! I've been there....

 I don't follow Facebook anymore. Never been a big fan of Strava either. Don't care much to see if you're doing less, or more. Either way it could potentially bum me out. I'm doing what I'm capable of, and if it's not enough than so be it. I don't watch the weather either. I have all the tools to get a great workout no matter what happens in the world. I will use them to the best of my ability.

 In other words.. "When given lemons, I'm gonna make lemonade"     -M

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Choosing your battles...

Whats the chance these will still look good come April?
I've gone and registered for  the Cohutta 100 again.
After last year, I swore this race off. A definite no!!!
I even have stated that I'm not doing any 100's this year.

So what made me change my mind?

Cycling Dirt.

I started to watch the videos of the interviews from last years races and the memories of pain went away. Afterward I was left with only accomplishments. True, I didn't see all the hundreds thru. I bailed on the W101 and everything after it. I burned out. I guess that happens sometimes, but what I'm left with is a hunger to go back. I miss the camaraderie. I miss the 80 miles of pleasantries and 20 miles of cut throat all the hell out racing. I miss the sprint for the line at mile 99.9. I miss the hugs and the crying.

I've been riding my single speed again and loving it. I don't feel very fast but I've been having no trouble logging heavy hours. This made the decision to do Cohutta again easy. How could I not go back? That course handed me my ass last year. I can tell you one thing for shit sure. I'm gonna enjoy it this time.
I'm not saying I'm doing all 100's. Just Cohutta. For now.

I've also made the decision not to race every single weekend this summer like I've done before. I'm looking at every other. This gives me some time to work on my fitness and hopefully have a better summer and fall. I tend to get into a race and recover mode when I do almost no training at all and the fitness suffers. Plus I think I'll look forward to the races more. I'm gonna be missing some races because of this. I'm okay with that. So maybe 15 really good races instead of 25 or so.

I plan on XC Nat's at Bear Creek too. Gonna race the SS there too. Sounds like a plan??? -M

Rigid baby!!!