Sunday, March 18, 2012

breaking more stuff

First there was a plan, said plan included loading up the bikes, driving over to Dupont and riding the sh*t out of the awesome trails Dupont has to offer. The night before there was some debate about the weather forecast. Depending on which site you chose to look at you could get anywhere from a 30% chance of T-storms to a 60% chance. I always choose and for the most part it's pretty accurate. The plans remained in tact and we went to bed with early morning ride plans.

When my alarm went off the next morning I checked the forecast again, things had changed a bit, from 30 to 50% but not until later than afternoon. In my mind we were still good but not everyone was in the same mind frame as me. The more it was discussed the more people started to doubt. Within an hour all plans were cancelled and a new plan was hatched to ride local at Bays Mountain.

The weather stayed dry all day, meh

I had been going back and forth prior to the Dupont cancellation on which bike to take, the JET or the frog. I knew the JET would be more fun but I'm super stoked on the frog right now. With a change of plans to Bays Mountain I knew the frog was a fine choice. My last ride on the frog I noticed my rear tire had gone a wee bit soft but not enough to fret over during the ride and I forgot about it until I went to load up the bikes and it only had about 3 psi in it. I had this same issue with the front about a month ago and once I re-Stans'd it everything was fine. I didn't have time for that so I pumped it up and hoped for the best. A half mile into the ride I knew it wasn't going to last. I threw a tube in, shot it with some CO2 and stomped on the pedals to play catch-up.

There really wasn't much of a ride plan so we pretty much made it up as we went along and somehow we ended up riding down all the fun downhills, turning around and riding back up them death march style in my case. Surprisingly I cleaned a majority only walking a few sections. The frog was wearing me out, it was the most climbing I'd done on it yet.

 Remember the broken white WTB Silverado from my last post? I replaced it with a brand spanking new black one. Well, it didn't make it through the first ride unscathed. I've never had an issue with WTB saddles then bam, I break 2 in less than a week, back to back rides.

Really I didn't break this one, I just managed to rip it off the seat rails. The problem is, it's such a tight fit I've yet to get it back on.

How it went down, I was riding up a hill and I was pretty beat so my line was getting sloppy. I clipped a tree with my handlebar and down I went. The only thing I can figure is that when I landed my leg must have clipped the nose of the saddle pulling it off. After multiple attempts to pop it back in place I ended up zip-tieing the nose on and rode standing up the rest of the way out yet again.

When I crashed I scraped up both of my legs pretty good, I had no idea until I saw the blood running down my shin.

Sneaky Pete returns! This little guy isn't porcelain, I think he's made of plaster or something so if a herd of rowdy dogs run through and knock him over he should survive.

Friday, March 16, 2012

breaking stuff

Well I think I've just about gotten the frog broken in properly, I'm not sure if I've got it dialed in where it fits like a glove just yet, that may take some more time in the saddle. Yesterday I planned to squeeze in 2 separate rides, the first one was plagued by a mechanical, the second one Mother Nature said I'd ridden enough.

Halfway through my first ride I came to the realization that I'd broke one of the rails on my saddle. It's been a while since I've done this, especially since I made the decision to ride WTB saddle only. They make great stuff and they're very comfy on my behind but I guess every once in a while things break. Thankfully I was riding the frog and it being a singlespeed, saddles are not something that get used much. The words sit and spin up the hill do not exist in a singlespeeders vocabulary.

After taking this picture it has dawned on me that I don't wash the underside of my saddles properly. I mean look how disgusting it is under there! Oh the horror!

Once home I promptly paid a visit to the receipt drawer to see if I still had the receipt for the broken saddle and I did! Thankfully I purchased it the same day I purchased the AIR9 and to my surprise it was still under warranty.

The black Silverado saddle that I had previously thought about attaching to the frog was bolted in place and the white one was removed. It just so happened that I needed to make a trip over to my LBS to pick up his and her JET9's from getting the brake lines trimmed so with broken saddle in hand I ran out the door.

I got to the shop a bit early and was able to see the entire process of cutting and bleeding the new Shimano XT's, a very simple process indeed, once I procure the proper tools I feel confident I can perform myself. Actually there was no real need to bleed the brakes as the trimming process went flawlessly.

This week is NASCAR week in my town, the circus has officially rolled in. Normally I pay a visit to my local Wal-Mart to ogle at the cars, normally they consist of mostly cars of the less famous drivers but yesterday it was different. There were several big name rides in attendance including Dale Jr's car. Of course I snapped a few pics but oddly Dale Jr. was no where to be found.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

throwing caution to the wind

With two rides in on the temporarily named singlespeed, "the frog" I'm definitely feeling the effects. I don't know if it's the usual lack of fitness left over from the winter season or just the fact that I've not been on a singlespeed in over a year but I'm definitely enjoying myself. I hit Warriors full bore yesterday, throwing caution to the wind and rode a full lap minus Rock City. Why did I skip Rock City? I'm not sure, part of me wasn't fully in tune with the singlespeed skills I think. There is more than just being able to stand up and mash a big gear over and over. Cleaning obstacles smoothly is different especially when you're used to doing so in a higher gear. With a singlespeed you have to mash your way through and sometimes do a bit of the half pedal dance. My norm is to stop at the intersections but yesterday I found myself stopping a little more, usually after a climb or somewhere halfway through the trail and then again at the end.

For the most part I cleaned everything except the sketchy rock section that dumps you into more rocks just at the base of the Boneyard climb. This one can be difficult on any bike and yesterday I just couldn't pull it off. I know I had the power to make the climb but I didn't pull off the funky transition to even start the climb so I walked it. The JET9 has definitely made me soft with all the squish. I've had so much fun on the FS that the last couple of months saw the AIR9 staying home even when I headed towards Bays Mtn. I think the last time I even rode it at Warriors was a couple of months ago when the JET was having some kind of issue. My usual, just plow through the rock garden mentality was caught off guard yesterday when I quickly realized I was riding a hardtail and needed to pick cleaner lines. I was bouncing all over the trail like drunkard.

Even with the tough start I'm feeling good and excited about the new ride. Something about a singlespeed and a steel frame puts an evil smile on my face. I hope I can refrain myself from calling other riders with gears, a bunch of sissies, especially when I have a bunch of gears and squishiness sitting at the house begging to be unleashed.

Earlier in the year I said I was going to put more focus in overall fitness and running but I'm afraid today will be another bike day. In fact if everything goes as planned I might squeeze in 2 rides.

Maybe I'll find the time to run next week.

One thing I did notice was my brakes, I moved the trusty Avid Juicy 7's to the frog and put the new Shimano XT's on the JET. Now my Juicy's are 6 years old so I'm not sure if this is a fair comparison but the Shimanos definitely have more stopping power and of course are quieter. The only downside I can find on the Shimanos is the length of hydraulic hoses, I had a rat's nest of extra hose winding around my handlebars, just to look at it made me cringe. I'm not sure why the extra length, I've never had to cut the lines down before and I lack the necessary bleed kit so I had to let the professionals at my LBS handle this one.

One other thing, the pad adjustment screw, while easy to adjust, I can't seem to tell any difference in the adjustment, the Avid's you could tell a small difference but the Shimanos, nada.

I must not be holding my mouth right when I turn the knob.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

the frog

Ahh the feel of steel, it's like none other, well I guess I shouldn't say that since I've never owned a titanium or carbon bike. Hopefully one of these days I've have something in carbon but it's not really that high on my list of must have bikes. I've always liked riding a steel frame and I knew I would regret selling the Karate Monkey and I did. I do like the geometry of the SIR9 much better, I don't feel as stretched out and they're both large frames.

When I first started piecing this bike together in my head I wasn't too keen on the white fork and seat but not really wanting to blow the already blown budget even more I decided to keep the fork until my bank account said otherwise. I have a brand new WTB Silverado saddle that came with Mel's JET in black that I planned to put on it but once the white Reba was in place I realized the white saddle pulled it all together. I left the white stem off figuring that would be over kill. For now it resides on the JET until I come up with another plan.


Most of the parts on this build come from the AIR9, the wheelset dates back to the Karate Monkey. I did splurge and bought a new Niner Seatpost and seatcollar, they were just too cool. I would love to have one of those new RDO carbon bars in the matching green but it ain't gonna happen anytime soon.


Yesterday I had an important run to make to the LBS and I also wanted to get in a shake down ride before the sun went down so I killed 2 birds and hit a couple laps on the Hampton Watershed trails. The singlespeed felt great, I opted for a 20 tooth cog in the Surly flavor to get my feet wet with, it's been a year since I last ran without the derailleur and I didn't want to feel beat down after the first ride.

This is my first ride with an EBB, this one, Niner's brand is a bit different than the others. With no set screws in the bottom of the BB shell there is less chance for the elements to work their way into the BB area and less chance of noise, that and no set screws pushing on the bottom of the EBB to dig in and squeak.

Originally I wanted a Moondust grey frame but I know of 2 peeps with that color scheme already, one of whom, B-Rad, I ride and race with regularly. The kermit green is bold, beautiful and funky all at the same time. The only downside is the lack of color coordinating accents available. There is not much that goes with the kermit green other than black and a wee bit of white.

I'm thinking this bike is deserving of a cool name, my list currently is : "Kermit", "SIR Kermit" and "the frog". I'm leaning heavily on "the frog". It doesn't hurt that there are little green frogs on my wheels, it's almost as if it was supposed to be.

Speaking of the Watershed trails, they were in awesome shape yesterday, the surrounding scenery is awesome and there are plenty of sweet rock gardens to keep you on your toes. I need to get out there more often, I just wish it were a closer drive and a longer trail.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

back to the SS

This weekend I sent the AIR9 to be with another, I found it a good home, one that hopefully will see plenty of good singletrack time. We shared a good couple of years together and this frame made me the Ninerd that I am today. It was my first Niner frame, one that caused me to fall in love with the brand and want no other but it was also the gateway drug that has caused my bank account to suffer many losses. I will miss that frame.

It's replacement is in and currently residing at my LBS. The replacement is none other than the long awaited SIR9 in kermit green. I've always had a soft place in my heart for steel frames and singlespeeding and with this frame I can have my cake and smash it in someone else's face if I want. I can also run gears if I think it's necessary but for now it will be a singlespeed. I just hope my body can handle the abuse. I'm not sure when I'll get by the shop to pick it up, I'm stll waiting on a couple of key parts before I can begin the build. A new matchy matchy Niner carbon seatpost and a Niner seat collar were supposed to be ordered but got lost somewhere in the lines of communications so I'll have to wait a little longer.

No I didn't go for the RDO post it's waaay out of my price range. I was hesitant on going carbon all together, I've ran Thompson seatposts exclusively for years but I figure I'm due for a change.

Pretty aren't they.

Saturday I was cooking some pancakes in the kitchen when I noticed movement out my back door. Three large dogs were standing on our back deck having their own little private party. Melinda and I immediately went outside to say hello to our guests. Moonshine and Jackson just stayed inside and barked. They were very friendly and seemed to be enjoying themselves but didn't look familiar. Only two had collars but no identification so we had no one to contact.

In the commotion Sneaky Pete lost his head and had to be buried, poor guy we're gonna miss him. Good thing for us Gnomes are on the shelves everywhere so Sneaky Pete will return re-incarnated!

Have you ever heard of March Madness? Probably, I'm not talking basketball. March trail madness, it's all the local rage. I'm putting up a growler of beer to the person who puts in the most local trailwork hours for the month of March. Not to mention anyone who puts in 15 local trailwork hours gets a free trail gnome t-shirt. With all these great incentives why wouldn't you want to build some trail? Check here for more details and workdates.