Monday, November 28, 2011

More Hard Tail Fun

Spent another, albeit easier, day on the TransAM.  Well the whole day isn't accurate, more like a solid ride of my local loop.  Still fun though!

I decidedly took things easy today.  I was squeezed for time on my ride yesterday, so I hammered it out in near record time (despite the fact that I was on a bike that weighs about 10lbs more than my race bike!).  Today was just a pure "out for the fun of it" ride.  No time constraints, no "workout" attitude, just enjoy the 70 degree temps on an unseasonably beautiful late November day. 

In all I'm still impressed by the hard tail.  It's amazing how little things can change so much on a bike.  It's a good lesson in allowing yourself not to think that a bike can't feel faster if you just tweak things.  A week ago I had thought I made a mistake in getting this rig only to have it become one of the top two bikes in my quiver.  I'm really digging it and so stoked that I have it!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

AMHT (all mountain hard tail)

Sounds like some sort of thing you go and hunt...

Anyway, I picked up my bad ass Transition TransAM hardtail and ripped it today.  I was having a convo with a buddy last night about this bike.  Basically I was a little skeptical of it.  I bought it from a guy a couple weeks ago that had ridden it for about 6 hours total.  I couldn't believe the condition and the low price so I pulled the trigger.
Since getting into "big bikes" this summer, I'd wanted to build this exact bike up.  I figured it would be fun (especially on Long Island where there is absolutely NOTHING terribly technical), not to mention fast.  Something about a hardtail with a long travel fork just spoke to me.

After the first ride I was less than impressed.  It was sluggish, heavy, and not nearly as fast as my full sus bikes.  I wanted to give it another chance and swap some things, so I spent a little money to get what you see in the pic above (not too much mind you!).  I swapped out the heavy bashgaurd and little chain "nub" (the thingy you can attatch to the seatpost to avoid chainsuck) for a single 32 tooth ring and MRP Lopes chainguide.  Simple upgrade but got some weight off the bike for sure.  Next I got a new Saddle, a WTB Devo Thinline that was on sale at the local shop.  It was a test saddle that had never been installed.  Good score!  And finally I swapped out the WTB Weirwolf tires the seller had on it for my Kenda Navegal 2.35's.  A pretty aggressive and wide tire, but it roles well, and seems to compliment the hardtail nicely.  I had these tires already, and they were installed on another bike.  They sucked on the other bike, but roll pretty damn fast on this one...go figure!

Otherwise it's built up as follows:
Answer Pro Taper Handlbars 720mm
Truvative Stem 60mm
Thompson setback seatpost
Rock Shox Sektor Coil Sprung U-turn adjustable fork- 120mm to 150mm (I'm shocked with how much I love this!)
Transition TransAM Steel frame
Deore Hollowtech cranks w/32 tooth ring
Sram X7 9 speed rear derailliur and shifter
Easton Havoc Wheels
Avid Juicy 3 Brakes

Truly a badass bike and one that will make your handling skills all the better.  Riding full sus bikes is great, but if you wanna take your skill to the next level, try riding a good 'ole 26inch wheel'd hardtail on some chunky stuff.  You MUST get better...no doubt!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Plenty of Riding and a Vid from Yesterday

Got in some good riding the last couple days to fend off the "fatassness" associated with Thanksgiving.  Although I'm not formally training for anything at the moment, I do ride almost everyday and have even been hitting the weights again.  As I'm deciding to focus on mostly gravity related races next year (DH/Enduro with a little XC sprinkled in for good measure), I guess it's more important that I worry about bike handling and getting air instead of pure fitness.  Either way, it's fun to ride a bike and that's what I do.

Wednesday and Thursday saw me taking two days off the bike for the first time since I don't know when.  I can't remember the last day I didn't ride, much less the last time I didn't ride for two days in a row!  So yesterday it was back to business with a light and dark ride.  I rode one loop of the trail system in the light, finished up, got back to the car, mounted the lights on my helmet, and did the same loop again in the dark.  All told it was a good 3-3 1/2 hours.  I hate measuring time on the bike, and I don't like to think about training numbers or whatever, but yesterday I just wanted to at least hit 3 hours to burn off some energy and calories. 

Today was back at it again, riding with my buddy Nate.  Nate is a tri-guy, but recently bought one of my mountain bikes.  He's new, but the dude is picking it up quick.  Very fun riding with someone new and eager to learn as well as showing them a new trial they've never seen.

Below is a little clip from yesterday's "light" ride.  Camera angle was a bit low, but it's kinda cool to watch the ground... :)

video

Monday, November 21, 2011

Night Rider

 Always a good idea after a ride!
So I got out for my first proper night ride with the new light.  In a word, outstanding.  Riding at night brings out so many things that are great about riding.  It makes an old trail new, and sharpens your skills like nothing else.  All the stuff you forget to do (i.e. looking up through corners, looking ahead of you on the trail, etc.) are brought back.  You HAVE to do these things or else you'll crash.  It's like being super concentrated on one task and one task only.  I'm sure after I get used to it a bit more things will change, but for now, this is one of the coolest things I've done in a while.  Love my light and will have many more night time adventures to come!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Disappointment (Super Sarcasm)

Ok, I'm being a bit of a drama queen posting "Disappointment" as the title of this blog, but it's my blog so deal with it!:)  Anyway, since there is such little excitement in my life these days (more sarcasm), I got disappointed last night when I was suppossed to get out for a night ride with a friend on my mountain bike only to be ditched at the last minute and not be able to ride.

So the last few days I've gotten a few new toys (see pics).  One of those is a new, bright as balls (not really sure what that means but it sounds good) light.  It's a Nite Rider Pro 1500.  Since I've never ridden with a light before, I'm not sure how much better this light is than others, but I do know that from riding up and down my block it'll be just fine for my riding.

The other two toys are a couple new rides.  The first is my new Specialized Stump Jumper FSR.  Bad. Ass. Bike.  That's really all I can say.  This thing is tight-literally.  The suspension is super plush but not squishy, and every little detail was thought of.  There is not one thing I want to change on this bike-an amazing thing considering how I've never bought a stock bike and kept it stock.  Everything down to the tires, the fork, the saddle, the seatpost, etc. is just perfect and works well together.  Specialized really know what they're doing and put together an amazing product.  I'm such a Specialized guy now!!!  Best bikes in the world, hands down.



And the other toy I got is a Transition Trans AM.  This bike is sick!!!  Originally, I'd planned on buying a Trans AM frame, and building it up little by little as a little project over this coming winter.  Well, that was the plan until I found a ridiculous deal on Ebay for the complete bike you see in the pic.  It's a steel hardtail All-Mountain bike.  It's got a 110-150mm fork, Easton Havoc wheels, a 1X9 setup, Shimano crank, Answer Pro Taper bars, and I threw a Kenda Navegal tire up front with a WTB Weirwolf rear.  It's a little on the heavy side for a hardtail, but I'm not looking for it to be a race bike.  Rather, it's a bike I'm just gonna rip on, have fun, and enjoy.  The steel is super forgiving, even if it's not fast like an XC bike.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nada...

Wish I had more to write about, but there's really not a whole lot going on these days.  I'm riding everyday on my "big bikes", but it's definitely not training, more just riding for fun.  It's nice to just go out on a ride, go hard if you want to, or easy if you want to, and just generally chill, take pictures, and laugh about sections that made you clench your buttcheeks. 

I picked up a new bike after selling a couple of 29ers I used to race on this past season.  I usually sell all my stuff at the end of the season and get a new bike(s) for the coming season.  Anyway, I got a Stump Jumper FSR to rock and roll on.  It's unbelievable how much bike they packed into such a simple platform.  I got the Comp version, the "entry level" Stumpy FSR. I can say, though, that it's anything BUT "entry level".  The thing is dialed in with some of the best parts I've ever seen on a stock bike.  So much so, that I'm not going to upgrade a thing.  It's perfect for what I'm doing right now.  With 140mm of travel front and rear, it's got balls and legs at the same time.  Great bike and awesome fun.

As for a race bike for next year, I'm still not sure.  I've been thinking of a Specialized hard tail 29er, but there's a the Yeti Big Top that looks pretty nice too.  Looks like I've got the opportunity to get both bikes at a great deal, so it'll be a hard decision.  It also depends on what races I'm planning on doing.  More than likely I'm going to focus on Downhill, Super D, and some All Mountain/Enduro stuff, so my season will be gravity oriented, but for the XC stuff I'll need a weapon. Decisions, decisions...











Friday, November 11, 2011

Got passed...

Got passed on the trail by another rider today for the first time I can ever remember.  Kind of humbling.  I can't say that I'm really shocked, given the fact that I haven't "trained" in months, but it still stung a bit.  There was the fact, too, that I was riding an 8 inch travel bike with flat pedals and the dude who passed me was on a rigid 29er...but I'm not picking straws. :)

Anyway, I'm hitting the road again tomorrow for the third time this week-the most I've done on the road bike since August.  I think the "soft around the middle" feeling  is starting to get to me a bit.  I'm still super fit by "normal" person standards, but gettin' passed was a bit of a kick in the stomach.  Gotta get my mojo back! 


Also, looks like I'm picking up a new bike on Monday.  A friend of a friend (don't ask) hooked me up BIG TIME with a new Specialized Stump Jumper FSR.  Super excited to get this new beast and shred it out.  It's got 140mm of travel front and rear, which is a little less than what I'm used to riding, but I'm sure it'll be awesome.  The new Auto Sag technology that Specialized has is, I'm sure, gonna rock, not to mention that the bike is spec'd out!  Looking forward to rolling the Roval wheels and seeing what they're all about.  I'll have a review and some pics up sometime next week.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Flatty flat flats

Another post on flat pedals...Sorry to all of my 2 readers:)  Fact is, I'm pretty psyched about these things.  It's been a while since I've added something to my bike that made such a difference in my riding.

Today was the second time I've ridden the flats since I got them last Friday.  I was spectating the NYC marathon this weekend watchin' my new ladyfriend run, so I didn't get a chance to get out on the bike this weekend. Anyway, two more things seem apparent from my second ride.  For one, I'm amazed at how quickly I've adapted to them.  Riding today didn't seem at all awkward like it did the first time out last week.  I'm still getting used to getting my foot position just right, but still, didn't feel alien at all to be on flats today.  And secondly, I've heard people talk all the time about how riding clipless (clipped in for the lay person) makes them really feel a connection to their bikes.  While that might be true, I'm going to suggest the same goes for flat pedals.  You really have to use your feet quite a lot when jumping and pedaling, almost gripping the pedals with your toes at times.  Flat pedals bring in a lot more of the muscles of your ankle and foot than riding clipless.

When I bought the flat pedals I was worried I wasn't going to like it.  I was worried it would be too different, and not efficient enough.  I was completely wrong.  I love the way it feels, the freedom it gives you, and the skills you have to learn to ride effectively.  I certainly wouldn't race cx in 'em, but for everyday riding, I'm hooked!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Flats!!!

I'm sure most of the people (all 3 of you!) reading this are looking at the title and either thinking about running or about getting a flat tire.  Well, I'm not talking about either of them here.  As I mentioned yesterday, I got a pair of flat, platform pedals for my mountain bike.  Coming for more of a racing background, I was hesitant at first to try these things.  I mean, c'mon, most people think flat pedals and think of the days when they rode their bikes as a kid-before they became a "real" cyclist.  I'm even guilty of that.  Nevertheless I hooked them up last night and rode them today.  "Amazing" is the only word that I can think to describe the experience.

I was a little shaky at first, but once I got the hang of it, I realized how "freeing" it actually is.  My pedal stroke is very smooth (which I think helped me to transition easily), so I didn't loose much speed, even while climbing. I'm more of a finesse climber anyway, so I was able to just spin my way up the hills the same as I would if I were riding my clipless pedals.  Otherwise, the only other noticeable differences were in sprinting-lost a little power wearing flexible "skate" style shoes-and the fact that you can't cheat when jumping or bunny hopping.

There were a couple times where my feet came off the pedals in mid air, but I soon adjusted and got used to manauvering the bike differently so it wasn't an issue.  Also, being able to dab and powerslide into corners at speed going downhill really makes a huge difference.  It's an art in itself!

While I'm totally geeked out right now on how awesome it is to ride flats, and astonished at how fast and strong I can still ride with them, I'm not swearing off clipless forever.  There's a time and place for both, but I think I'll ride out this flat pedal thing for a while.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Officially NOT a racer right now

Put flat pedals on my mtb today because it helps me to ride more aggressively.  My brain is officially shut off from any time of riding other than just to have fun and challenge myself.  No racing even CLOSE on the horizon.

With that said, I'm going into the big city this weekend to watch my ladyfriend:) run the NYC marathon.  Maybe being around a race atmosphere will get my juices flowing again.  Maybe not.  Either way, I think I'll go for a run in Central Park if I get a chance.