Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Occasionally when riding I have profound thoughts.  Usually I forget what they are because I'm having so much fun riding, but sometimes I remember something, but usually it wasn't the absolute most profound thought.  So, whilst out on my mountain bike today, I thought a lot about tires and how they work. 

There's a lot of fuss about mountain bike tires.  People swear by a certain brand, design, pattern...whatever.  The important thing is once your set, you're set.  Maybe.  During a race this past season, one of the guys I was riding with (who's been racing as a pro since forever) told me tires are tires, once you get good you can ride anything.  I think he's right for the most part.  Once you learn the way to handle your bike, be it a road bike, mountain bike, 'cross bike-whatever, you get a certain feel of the "edge of your tires.  That is, the very point at which they break their connection with the trail/grass/road. 

As I ride more aggressively and progress into more downhill and gravity based riding, tire adhesion becomes all the more important.  Now, I look for a tire that rolls well, but bites in the corners while also allowing for the  absorbing of rocks and roots.  Generally, I've found that a square-ish profiled, high volume tire fits my riding style best.  I'm having a lot of success and comfort in riding a 2.3 front tire and a 2.2 rear tire.  Both pretty aggressive and definitely not speedy, light cross country tires.

One more interesting thing I've found is just how much rear tires influence turning when you're really pushing the corners.  When I raced XC this past season, I stuck with matching front and rear tire patterns, and saw that the guys that didn't only opted for an aggressive front tire with a much less aggressive rear tire.  With speedier entrances and exits of corners though, the rear wheel bites down that much more.  More times than not, if it isn't an aggressive enough tire you'll find yourself "power sliding" around the corner instead of sticking it. 

I'm not sure entirely where I mean for this post to go, but this is what I was thinking at some point in my ride today.  As I experiment more with tires and tire combinations I'll post more.  My suggestion to anyone would be to try, try, and try some more.  If the budget allows, get on and feel the difference between all the different tires there are.  A fast bike can be made slow with the wrong tire combo just as a slow bike can be made fast with a solid tire combo.  It's all in the choice, and whether or not it's good for what you ride.  Have fun!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Christmas!

Happy/Merry Christmas to everyone!  I'm not the biggest fan of this holiday (not the actual meaning of it, but rather all the fluff that goes on with it!), but it is a special day to be with family and loved ones.  Now that it's here, let start getting ready for the 2012 that's going to be lots of fun!

Friday, December 23, 2011


So the calendar says December but I really think it's lying.  The last two days have been spring-like.  Warm temps, and almost muggy most of the time.  If things stay like this for the rest of the winter I'll be a happy fellow. 

Christmas is in a couple days and I could not be happier for it to be over.  I've never been the "bah-humbug" type, but for some reasonn this year just ain't makin' it in the Christmas department.  Maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy...

Anyway, looking forward to spending some more time up at Sprain ridge this coming week, along with a cool little excursion "somewhere" to ride the skinny wheels this coming Tuesday (more on that in another post!).  Looking to be a pretty cool last week of the year on two wheels.  Fun, with unseasonable temps.  Can't seem to go wrong with that!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

MTB Love

There are several reasons I love mountain biking.  Solitude.  Challenge.  Fun.  Shredding.  Focus.  There are many more words, but I think the biggest thing that draws me to mountain biking is the never ending skill set you aquire from every ride.  There are so many things you can work on as you ride, whether you are an XC guy, a Downhill guy, All Mountain guy, or a Freeride guy.  For me, it's just amazing to find something about your skills on each ride.  Something magical happens that second you clear an obstacle you didn't "quite" think you could when you rolled up on it the first time.

Interestingly, when I started riding bikes seriously when I was racing triathlons a few years ago, I NEVER thought I'd ride a mountain bike.  In fact, I was terrified to do so.  I denounced everything dirt, stuck to the road, and that was that.  I'm not sure when it all changed, but one day I just "got" it.  It might have been that first shred in the corner, or maybe it was the first rockgarden I cleared.  Whatever it was, I was hooked big time.  There hasn't been more than a few consecutive days passed in the last 2 years that I haven't hit the trail.  I'm drawn to the trails; to the excitement that gives me a smile every time I ride.

The feeling I get when I ride is something I can't put into words.  Getting better, more skilled, and pushing the envelope is something that drives me.  I guess it's the never ending progression of what my body and mind are capable of.  Like I said, I NEVER thought I'd be riding a mountain bike, much less doing and riding the things I am now.  Never say never and ride on the dirt, it'll change you life.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sprain Ridge

Hit up the trails at Sprain Ridge about 30 mins outside of NYC today and I'm totally stoked!!! It's amazing how much good riding can be had within an hour of downtown Manhattan.  While it's not quite north enough to get into the mountains, it does have quite a bit of elevation change (for what it is), and a good bit of rocks, rollers, and drops from 2-6 feet.  To me, it's a perfect "All-Mountain" trail.  Not quite fast enough to be a cross country trail, but plenty technical-enough so to even have some good Freeride potential if one is so inclined.

I rode one of my smaller "big bikes" there today.  Last time was a 7 inch travel AM bike, but today I stuck with the 5 inch Stumpy FSR.  I'm shocked with how much this bike can handle.  It doesn't plow over everything like my Specialized Enduro does (the 7inch bike), but if the right lines are taken, it competes.  Add to that the lighter weight and therefore better climbing ability, and you have just about the perfect bike for these trails.  The only mistake I made was going a little too firm on the air pressure up front.  My Fork was probably at about 90 psi which works well for the smooth trails around here, but I would have rather had it around 80 psi for some of the big bastards I was rollin' over today!

All in all, great day today.  Probably going to try and hit these trails a couple more times before Christmas. After that, there's no telling what the weather is going to do.  Hopefully the snow will hold out until forever!  This place is like Heaven on Earth!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Big Bikes

So if you've been reading this blog (and I know all 2 of you have!), you'll know that over the course of the past few months I've changed my direction quite a bit in relation to my competitive goals.  I last raced in August, very disappointed with my race, and decided to take some time off.  Well that, mixed in with some health issues as a result of the race forced me to just relax and take it easy.  Of course that meant still riding my bikes everyday, but without much of a focus.  Ok, well the focus was actually to have FUN and not to TRAIN.  Fun, I've certainly had...

So in all this time, I've grown quite fond of all things long travel and gravity based in mountain biking.  Any time the trial gets gnarly and points down, I get more and more excited!  I don't mind the pedal up, as long as it's followed by some reward in the form of flowing, break-neck speed singletrack with some rocks and drops mixed in for good measure. 

Of course with all this new "fun" comes a change in equipment.  Gone are my super light, carbon, short travel suspension xc bikes.  They've all been replaced with long legged, trail and All Mountain bikes.  I do still have a hard tail, but it has a 150mm fork on it, big fat tires, and a low seatpost.  I haven't bought a race-oriented mag in months, but rather magazines like Decline, Dirt, and Bike; the mags that deal more with guys dressed like teenagers jumping off rocks with endless goofy grins on their faces.

Maybe all this is just me rebelling against the 'structure' that is training.  Maybe playing competitve sports my whole life has finally caught up with me.  Maybe I just want to be a kid again.  Whatever it is, I'm all about FUN.  Triathlon can be fun.  Running can be fun. Cycling can be fun.  (Swimming still sucks though!).  And right now, riding big bikes over rocks, roots, and down steep descents is fun for me.  That's all there is to it, and that's where I'm going to focus my energy right now.  Will I race again?  Who knows, but only if it's fun.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More on the Enduro EVO

The Enduro EVO arrived from Cali on Friday.  I put it together and got to looking forward to ripping it up this weekend.  Man this thing shreds!  Easily the most "all around" bike I've ridden.  It's got 170mm of travel in the front, with 160mm in the rear.  It's all coil sprung (which is seriously underrated on All Mountain Bikes.  The plushness of coil springs is amazing.  They might not be the most efficient way to get up the mountain, but man, they definitely don't disappoint when things get rocky and gnarly. 

The way this thing pedals is simply mind boggling.  For a bike with such long legs, it is just as efficient as my 5 inch trail bike.  Even out of the saddle there is very little pedal bob, and the 160mm of travel must hide somewhere because it feels an awful lot like my Stumpjumper FSR.  All said, I'm a very happy dude.  I can't say enough about how well Specialized does mountain bikes.  They're just the total package.  Most companies put together a good frame, but leave a lot to be desired with components.  Specialized really makes the not only a good frame, but a real solid complete bike.  Props to Specialized!!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Specialized Enduro EVO

So I probably shouldn't write anything about this yet because I haven't received the bike above yet (and who knows what could happen to it between now and the time it arrives at my door-it IS coming from California), but I'm so excited to be getting this thing I can't even manage my excitement! 

I've only ever bought one other used bike in my life, and though I've sold many over the last couple years and months, I was still a bit skeptical sending a large amount of money to someone I've never met for a bike I've never even ridden and/or seen.  But (and that's a big BUT!), this was just too good of a deal to pass on.  It's a 2011 Specialized Enduro EVO I bought from a seller on  I won't say his name here, but he turned out to be a really cool dude that does some big work in his industry.  Needless to say, I feel comfortable with the sale.

I'm hoping the weather will hold out for this weekend so I can have some fun on it! I'll update when I get it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Power Outage

On my ride tonight the lights went out.  Literally.  My dumbass didn't make sure my battery was fully charged so I was treated to a beautiful mile and a half hike back to the trail head in the pitch black.  Luckily I wasn't too far, but it still isn't always ideal to walk out using your feet rather than pedal out using your bike.  Either way, it was a beautiful night and I'm not complaining.  I wouldn't want to do it again anytime soon, but one time is okeydokey.