Sunday, December 28, 2008

trail options are slim nowadays

It's that time of year again. It's either raining and 60 degrees or 15 degrees overnight and 40 during the day. The sun pokes out enough to thaw the ground from the overnight freeze and the trails just get muddier and muddier. Montgomery Bell is the one trail that remains in great shape during this time of year.

Jamie (Lynskey celeb) and Jut were in town for the holidays last week so they got the Yazoo Brew Crew together for a big ride at Montgomery Bell. Many people wanted to ride Hammy and I also would of loved to, but not right now. I haven't been there in months but I can only imagine what it's like right now with all the rain we've had this past month.

A group of 12 or so all met up at Monty Bell on a dreary afternoon. It misted slightly as we all got our stuff together and headed into the woods, but never full-on rained. We had about 9 singlespeeders and 3 geared riders... bikes ranged the full spectrum from 5" travel all mountain Ellsworths to Surly singlespeeds and a few Ti 29ers in there as well. We started together but the front few quickly pushed the pace and everyone found their place. Thad suffered a flat early on and told the group to continue on. (his first of 2 flats, Mr. I rarely flat and carry tubes for a year, that go flat in my fanny pack) I waited with him to provide conversation but not much other help. I did figure it'd be more enjoyable for him to catch up with the group with a partner, especially if it took a while to find the other riders (and of course it did.) We ended up skipping out to the road and swinging back by the parking lot since one of Thad's spare tubes also had a hole. (the one he's been carrying for a year) So the two of us went back into the woods and tried a more direct route to where we thought the group would be heading.

We rode many sections of the trail backwards in our trek back to the group. Monty Bell is a great trail to change up the direction. Most of the sections flow great anyway you go and it places the challenging sections in different spots than you're used to. We rode a lot of the Yellow trail that I hadn't ridden since the race loop was marked. The race loop really takes you on some of the more flowy sections of the yellow trail. The yellow is a tough trail and most of the hardest parts aren't on the race loop. We were riding most of it backwards so there were a few hills that were just straight up, though thankfully really short. Thad got to witness some (better than 26er) 29er traction on one climb where he spun out. I only made it about 15 feet farther than he did, but it wasn't really from a lack of traction, but more of a lack of leg strength and fatigue from keeping the bike pointed uphill and not sideways off the trail.

After seeing the group on a distant trail and thinking they would cross our path and being wrong, we finally caught up with them. There aren't many leaves left on the trees so you can see riders as they zig zag through the trail, but you can't tell if they are truly that close to you or just on a trail that weaves close by. The group continued riding as before with a few motivated folks off the front and everyone else falling into their own rhythm.

I had made a couple minor changes to the cockpit of my new Quiring. Pushed my seat a bit farther back on the rails and lowered my stem 10mm. Both changes made the bike fit better. Last time I rode I had some knee pain. I never found out if it was from the cold weather and my lack of knee protection or from a poorly placed saddle. This time I rode with knee warmers even though the temperature was at least 15 degrees warmer and I had no knee pain at all. My saddle was a little to far forward before so I'm sure that helped. The new lower bar height felt better and the bike rode great this time out! I also ran lower tire pressure which I also liked. I was more comfortable on the bike, it handled better and I bounced around less with the lower tire pressure
and I enjoyed the rigid fork more. My hands were quite sore last ride where this time I barely noticed any soreness. My Oury grips finally settled in and the adhesive (hair spray) dried so they weren't spinning on me like my last ride. I think this helped a lot with my hand fatigue since it let me use a looser grip on the bars.

So far after two rides I am loving this new bike! It fits me like a glove and handles like I want a bike to handle. Thad (29er wanna be) keeps asking detailed questions about how it rides and how the geometry feels in different trail sections. So far I haven't had any great answers other than..."handles great! I love it!" The bike feels stable which is one of the few words I've come up with that describe it. It has a 71.5 head angle with a 475mm rigid fork and a 46mm fork offset so I think this leads to a very stable handling on the flats and downhills. It probably makes the bike a bit hard to steer on the steep uphills but all my past bikes have had a tendency to wander on the really tough climbs. The Quiring wanders less than my Soma though. I really got used to a kind of slack head angle from riding my Ventana which had a 70 degree head angle and I always loved the confidence it gave me on the downhills. This bike is crazy light too. I've never had a bike this light before. The gearing feels easier than it should. I have it geared 32x20 right now which should equate to 32x18 on a 26" bike. I've been riding that gearing for the past 6 months on my Soma so I'm pretty used to it and it feels noticably easier on the Quiring. No complaints here, but it does have me wanting to pick up a 19t cog for trails like Lock4.

After we all had our fill of the trail we made our way over to the Yazoo tap room to rehydrate. Unfortunately Jut was feeling sick so he had to miss the ride but he met up later for a few beers. It was a lot of fun hanging with the guys on the team that I don't see much. All in all, another great day of biking and hanging with friends on another dreary Nashville day.

Thad's second flat right at the end of the trail. Who's nailing something on a bike trail anyways?


freshie (and zero) said...

That's awesome to hear how much you like your new bike! It looks nice in our dining room, too. :) I like the new top photo of the blot - nice use of font...

freshie (and zero) said...

blot = blog

oops. i am drinking yazoo as i type.

Chewieez said...

"oops. i am drinking yazoo as i type."

as a good wife should be...

cornfed said...

Still waiting on precise, detailed answers to my well thought out and specific questions.

You looked more comfortable on the bike this go around. And, as Jeff pointed out, faster. Dammit.

Thanks for hangin' with me during my first double flat single flat.

word verification: firglie

Is that fugly's sister?

Adam said...

Looks like y'all had a good time. wish i could have made it. Christmas plans had me riding Tower of Terror and Screaming Over California with nephews. Who goes to Disneyland for Christmas anyway?

Nice bike!


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