Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rear Derailluer Adjustments- Pain

I have never been accused of being a mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but I am fairly mechanically inclined.  I have excellent eye hand coordination, and I understand simple mechanical concepts.  I don't always need to read instructions to build toys or furniture, and I know when to go to the diagrams!  I can change a tire,  the oil in my car, and even replace spark plugs!   As a youth, I even helped rebuild an engine!  I am excellent in math, and enjoy logic problems and puzzles.  I have more tools than any other guy in the neighborhood, and I actually know how to use them.   This being said, why is it so damn hard to adjust the rear derailluer on my bike?  I watch every you tube video I can find and yet nothing seems to work.  I understand the concept of what needs done, yet I cannot get it just right.  My current challenge is that the bike will not run smooth in granny gear, it keeps wanting to jump up towards the spokes .  Before you ask what the hell I am doing in granny gear, think Mohican and think Great Seal.   Big climbs and I suck at climbing! Big weekend of riding coming up, would appreciate any advice!  And don't say bike shop, they cannot get it right either!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Two Favorite Toys

Yes, I drive a truck, and yes, I always will!  I have always been a GM guy, but man this Toyota is awesome!

The Giant is pretty bad ass too!

Mud Ride

Wow, what a difference a little mud can make on a ride.   A simple ride, 6 miles or so, turned into a painful and grueling ride, as I had to fight the up and downhill battles with mud.   Many people shy away from the mud, which is actually a good thing, since it does rip up a trail pretty good; I just couldn't help my self yesterday.  The family was gone, the sun was out, and nothing to do until the hoops started.  So after an aggressive 2 hour game of basketball at 8 am, I returned home, geared up and hit the trails.

6 miles and an hour later, I was finished and completely exhausted.  The mud makes things completely different from what one is used too. I had to  work twice as hard with the pedals, and sliding all over the place on the side of hills is not very fun!  A ride that usually takes me a little over a half hour, was doubled simply by the conditions.  My goal of this ride was to take some awesome photos of the lake; however I was working to hard to even take the time to snap anything off.  Not sure if it was the ball in the morning, or the ride in the afternoon, but the legs are burning this morning and I feel like I did something productive towards my health (too bad i boozed it up after-words).

As I sit here this morning, typing this post, drinking a cup of coffee, and looking outside at the sun shining, there is only one thing going through my mind.   Hopefully, common sense will set in and I will remember how bad the conditions were, how much I cursed, and how important it is to let the trails heal!   Stay home and get some work done!   Yeah right!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Alum Creek P2 First lap 2011

Today I was able to finish off my weekend season opener with a 6 mile trip around Alum Creek (p2).  This little jaunt should normally take about 40 minutes, but I had some friends go with me today and it was their first time out for the year, so it took quite a bit longer.  That being said, things were pretty decent.  My legs held up, even though I did 9 miles on Friday morning followed by 24 yesterday.  I can't say the same for my friends, as they did struggle a bit.  Regardless we all had a good time and got some exercise in as well. We had a few crashes, we actually completed a few obstacles previously not attempted, and probably had the laugh of the year.  About 4 miles in, while waiting for friends to catch up, I found a ridge over looking the lake where some Kayaks were hanging out.  From my perch up high, I was able to see they were drinking some beer.  As I sat there, they drank some more, and finally my friends caught up.  Apparently they didn't know we were perched up there, or just didn't care because the blond in the Kayak paddled out to an island, and preceded to drop her drawers.  Although we may have seen the "super moon" last night, I think it is safe to say we saw a better moon today!  Of course, knowing me, I did get pictures, just trying to decide if I should share!    Oh the joys of mountain biking!
Wow, it's gonna be a long day

Back Coves

Rest, one of many

should have saved the energy
conquered first hill

no comment necessary

this bridge curves

Mohican Conquered

Finally, finally, we were able to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather today without worrying about the trail conditions.  Mid 50 degree weather (although it was in the 30's at the start);what an awesome day for a ride.  Sunny, no wind, dry conditions, and riders everywhere! Even the bikes held up fairly well, given the limited maintenance they had received so far.
In case you have never been, Mohican National State Park is a state park located half way between Columbus and Cleveland, and it has been consistently rated the best mountain bike trail in Ohio.  All in, there are 24 1/2 mile of unbelievable single track trail system that includes challenging climbs, fast down hills, and awesome ridge riding.  Oh, the scenery not to bad either!  If 24 miles are not for you, there are ways to ride this with 6 mile, 9 mile and 15 mile loops so you can get a taste of what Mohican has to offer. (up until today, this has been my option)
All that has changed, my friends, I can now say I conquered this madness.  Ok, maybe not conquered, but at least completed.  It only took a short 5 hours, but we knocked out the 24 miles with daylight to spare (love spring) and energy to kill.  Well, maybe not so much energy, but a man can dream, right.

In case you are wondering what exactly Mohican has to offer, below is just a few highlights.

  • 1  mile climb out of the gate
  • awesome pine forest ride
  • small but annoying rock gardens
  • long and technical climbs
  • quick downhills
  • technical downhills
  • awesome views (even a covered bridge)
  • 2 mile climb at the half way mark ( my nemesis)
  • more pine forests
  • steep but short climbs
  • animals
  • hunters (watch out in the fall)
  • well place jumps
  • more freaking hills
  • awesome flowing 1 mile and half finish

Some pics of the ride
Just getting started, blame it on the clips

Manny to the rescue

Crash site

back on the saddle

whats down there

no clue who she is, love the shirt

birds didn't show up

water is moving

water under the bridge

swim anyone

everybody enjoying the day

wasn't me this time
don't fall down the hill

Friday, March 18, 2011

Casey The Punisher - Bully Beat Down

Kuddo's to the big kid, hopefully he is not suspended to long!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Clean or Dirty?

Did I get your attention?  Did you expect some type of perverted or sexual post?  Sorry, just a simple question.  Should you keep your bike clean or dirty?  Do you show off your rides with a little mud, or do you polish your bike up like a military shoe shine?  Do you carry a rag with you everywhere you go and immediately wipe it down? Do you intentionally ride through puddles? Well, do you....

 I like mud, I am lazy, and I don't like being neat!  I guess I should  SHOW OFF THE MUD!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Training...Really...Do I have To

This week I realized that if I was going to hang with the boys this year, I really need to step up my training regiment.  And when I mean step up my training regiment, I actually mean start a training regiment.  Prior to this year, I haven't really done anything training wise for the last 10-15 years, but after being the tail end of the mountain bike train last year, I decided I needed to make a few changes.  The problem I have, is that I just suck at hills.  Up, down, across them, I just seem to burn energy!  To add to the problem, getting a full suspension ride this year is not going to help too much.  It will make the down hills a hell of a lot smoother, and therefore a lot less energy spent, but the "bob" is going to be a killer on the climbs.  The beauty of the hard tail was that there was straight power all the time on the hills.  

So training it is, and training has begun.  So far this week, if the gps is right, I have ridden 4 days, and put on roughly 36 miles, with another 6 on schedule for tomorrow morning.  I just need to be cautious, since we are going to ride this weekend and probably try to do 15 miles or so on the hills and mud!

If there is a secret that someone else has, please share.  Should I do longer rides on less days, or should I continue to pound a way everyday possible?  I love to ride so I am leaning towards greater frequency, but I just don't want to have any type of negative impact on endurance.   I guess one can never go wrong with a ride, no matter how long or frequent.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Halloween Costume -2011

For those of you who understand my fascination with Charlie Sheen right now, and understand my son...this is priceless....

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blowin' in the wind!

Unbelievable day so far; I think spring is officially here!  Started the day off with a 2 hour basketball run at 8 am with no subs which means no rest for 2 hours.  After ball, and nice breakfast with my son, took a mile bike ride with my son to the park for some fun on the slides!  The ride home should have been a sign for things to come, as we rode back into some brutal winds; the boy was struggling mightily just to go on the flat sidewalk against 30 mph winds!

Grabbed a couple peanut butter sandwiches and a banana, and my buddy showed up to take our "urban/cross country " ride.  This was the first time for me on the new Giant, and Mark was trying out a new saddle and clips for the first time so we thought we would put some miles on the bikes.  The first few miles weren't too bad, as it was mostly with the wind, as we traveled through a few neighborhoods on the way over to the Alum Creek Lake.  Made it to the lake and our attempt to ride the shoreline/beach was a wash out literally.  The lake was high and we had to make a route change through some fields.  Let's just say, mud mud mud!

Made it to the dam and rode the mile and half across the top with the wind.  Wind was blowing so hard, we could almost coast with the wind pushing us.  Made it to the intermediate trails at Alum Creek MTN bike trails and made the two mile loop.  Along the way, we stopped at the skills park and did a little technical work.  At least we were able to get a crash here, new clips can be painful if you are not used to them.  Finished loop and slogging through the mud,  and then realized we were screwed. 7 miles to go and all into the 30 mph winds!  We pushed on, took an alternate route back and staggered to the finish line.

All in all, a good ride.  Although we didn't change much in elevation, the wind definitely made it tough.  I guess until it dries out a bit and we can get on the trails, we will have to continue to make due with these types of rides!  See map below of the ride!

Click this link to check out the map of the ride!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

New Bike-Giant Yukon

Stopped by the local bike shop today to pick up a new tire for the old hardtail.  It seems I crumpled the last one on our ride a couple weeks ago.   While visiting the store, I noticed a bike on sale 40% off.  I thought what the hell, why not check it out.   Turns out, it was a 2010 Giant Yukon FX, full suspension mountain bike. I had previously done some research on this particular bike, and it was actually rated very high for a full suspension, entry to mid level mountain bike.  Outside of a few complaints about the front shock, it seems that everyone was in awe of the quality of bike that was available for slightly less than a grand.  When I saw this bike on sale for $600 bones, I could't resist.  Add in some Cranks Brothers Candy Mallet pedals, and I am in business.  Although I cannot really ride yet due to the fact that it raining like a monsoon and all of the trails are closed, I did get to ride a little around the neighborhood.  It is most definitely heavier than my hardtail, but I knew it was going to be.  However the ride was so smooth, it was awesome.  I did have to take the bike back to have the front Derailleur adjusted, as I have never been any good at adjusting the front. Nothing major and part of the deal.  Couple things I liked most about this bike..

  1. The price was awesome
  2. Bike shop is close
  3. Lifetime warranty (free)
  4. Crash warranty (free)
  5. 4 inches of travel on rear shock
  6. Rear AIR shock
  7. SRAM components (although not the top line
  8. Decent quality  mechanical disc brakes (will upgrade eventually)
I would say the one major flaw I could find so far is the front shock.  The Rox Shck Dart 2  might not be strong enough for my 220 lb frame.  However, so far, nothing major yet, but we will put it to the test soon enough.

So, here it is....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

...must ride soon

Weather turned again today, back in the high 40's.  Weatherman says it is going to be nice all week and most likely dry out by the weekend.  Problem is, I am still waiting for some replacement parts to come in to get out on the trails.  It also has rained like crazy the last few days, so we would need to ride somewhere with some excellent drainage.  Odds are, I will get my parts Friday, make some repairs, and be ready to rock by Saturday morning.  Trip to Lake Hope, and we should be in business.  Now if only I was in shape to actually pull it off and enjoy myself this weekend!  

I think I will handle it!