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Underneath the robe you find a man. Underneath the man you find his nucleus.

A few weeks ago my family and I all jumped in our van and drove up to New England to visit family in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since I’d only gotten my Niner EMD9 a couple weeks previously, I had to take it along. I got to ride some of the trails I grew up riding in Massachusetts, then went up to New Hampshire (where my parents now live). Since I haven’t done much riding there, I hit up Google to see what was in the area, and discovered Fort Rock.

Yes, there is a trail here

Fort Rock is actually two different town forests in Exeter, NH connected by a trail tunnel under route 101 – Henderson-Swasey and Oaklands (check the link for some good maps). They’ve been given some good attention by the New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA)- there are multiple areas with nicely-laid planks over swampy (and just plain pond-y) areas, which is great because otherwise the trails wouldn’t be rideable (or would just get torn up). There are also some less-noticed touches in certain areas to help with drainage and prevent erosion – but mostly the trails are left pretty natural – which is a very good thing!

Trail tunnel!

Overall the entire system is both a blast and a challenge – and like many New England trails rocks and roots are more common than, well… dirt. Some suspension is pretty much required here unless you’re just begging for a beating. These trails were a little rockier than most though… not many New England trails get a branch named “Kill-Zilla” (according to some forum research, it’s also known as the “Demoralizer”). The name is fitting… I’m sure with some practice I could clean it, but the two times I rode it (once from either direction, once on purpose and once by accident!) I definitely had several foot dabs and a couple walks up hills when I couldn’t get going again on the slope. The rocks aren’t just around the trail – in many places the best way to go is OVER a bunch of rocks (and I’m not talking small ones), and there are lots of ways to kill your momentum – especially going up the steep hills that make up pretty much the entire trail. I spent much more time in my granny gear than I think I ever have before (boy was I glad I wasn’t on my singlespeed!).

This is definitely singletrack!

My one gripe with the trail system is that I’d read it was signed, and that was true – but only barely. It has blazes – but one of the major trail sections runs in a circle, and actually branches a couple times – so even with the blazes it’s not always that easy to figure out where you are. I’m sure after a couple rides it becomes easier (I was starting to figure it out by the time I left), but for a first time rider bringing the maps along would be a good idea. I figured that out after my 1 1/2 hour ride turned into a 3 hour ride… I kept finding myself looping back around to where I didn’t want to be anymore! I was on my bike and having fun though, so it was all good (well, up until the point my water ran out!).

The trails loop through the powerlines several times… as I found out when I kept ending up there!

I didn’t get to ride anything like all the trails in this system despite the time I spent in it, so I’ll definitely be back there next time I’m in the area. I do want to thank the town of Exeter for letting mountain bikers use the trails in this way though – and NEMBA for helping make it into a more sustainable (and fun!) system. My introduction was exhausting and challenging, but incredibly satisfying.

The threat of falling in this water made me pay close attention to staying on the boards!

If It’s Too Loud You’re Too Old!

Posted by Albacore On August - 10 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

So a few months ago I heard Iron Maiden was going to be playing in Irvine August 9th and 10th. I told fellow rocker and cyclist from work about it and he said, “We’re in!” Fast forward to two weeks ago [paradox?]  and we begin to plan our yearly Chargers preseason tailgate festivities. What started as our usual 4 tickets turned to 8, then 18. The festivities were going to be epic; we probably won’t remember the game. But who cares, it’s preseason football. Somewhere along the line Roadie says, “Hey, you know Maiden is the same day as the Chargers game!” Notice the lack of question mark at the end of that line? It was a statement that clearly laid out our plans for a rad night in the OC.

One thing about Roadie — even if the event is your idea he will plan it and execute it 10 times grander.  You want to see Metallica? He’ll get you on stage tuning Lars’ drum kit. You want to see the Chargers play the Raiders? He’ll have you in the middle of  The Black Hole the first half, then having drinks with a Raiderette at half-time. Of course the details of said events are a bit fuzzy but that is the best as I can recall what happened. Obviously I left the planning up to him. Heat be damned we wanted to get a ride in, surely get a drink in, then go to the show. We meetup at Aliso with 2 friends of Roadie whose legs possess an insane amount of wattage. After getting my dick pounded into the dirt and running on the verge of dehydration/heat exhaustion/metabolic acidosis we figure the best way to rehab is at the Yardhouse with some IPAs.  We grab a bite at Tommy’s Pastrami, which I recommend, then we walk across the street to the venue. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, we need to get tickets.

Yeah, we were just out for a quick little ride. Sorry you lost kidney function.

Roadie didn’t deliver to his usual standards but he still came through. We got seats 15 rows back from the stage and no favors were performed, souls relinquished, nor first-born sacrificed. Iron Maiden came out with all the usual fervor. I’m watching Bruce Dickinson run around the stage, jumping over amps, and I think, “This guy just turned 54 a few days ago.” Then he came out. The one you can’t wait to see at every Maiden show — Eddie. He appeared in many forms as Maiden played all their best from over 30 years of rocking.

 

It’s blurry cause it’s rockin that hard.

Fat Guys and Tank Tops Do Not Go Well Together.

Posted by RL Policar On August - 9 - 20121 COMMENT

For some odd reason fat people love to wear tank tops, especially when they’re out riding. I’m not really sure why? Perhaps they are disillusioned that they look buff rather than fat therefore showing off their “guns.”

If you’re a big guy and you don’t think you’re fat, here’s are some simple steps to verify if you are fat or not.

1.) Stand in front of a mirror.
2.) Jog in place.
3.) Stop jogging.
4.) If any body part is involuntarily moving after 10 sec, that means you’re FAT and DO NOT WEAR A TANK TOP!

Let’s take for example Chaz Bono. Technically, Chaz isn’t a dude, s-he’ more like an IT. But still, check IT out and see how big s-he is? Somehow Chaz woke up that morning and said, “I bet I’d look good in a tank top!” However, no one loved him-her enough to let he-r know that s-he was too fat for it.
chaz-bono-gsi-credit
Another thing with fat dues and tank tops, we don’t want to see SIDE BOOBIES.
fat tnak

So if you’re over 300lbs or your body jiggles after you jump up and down, please don’t wear tank tops.

Patches? We don’t need no stinkin’ Patches!

Posted by RL Policar On August - 8 - 2012ADD COMMENTS


If you’re anything like me you are super handsome and very frugal. The cost of tubes are shockingly high, some range from $6-$10! So rather than just throwing away a tube that got a flat, I decided to buy a large patch kit. Large as in 48 patches and a big tube of rubber cement. It cost me about $5 from Ebay.
patches

The funny thing about this is I’ve found it satisfying to patch old tubes that were destined for repurposing as a new wallet, necklace, bracelet or as trash in the local landfill.

So the question of the day, do you PATCH or just replace? If you say “GO TUBELESS BRO!” Just shut up, cuz you and I both know that if your Stan’s sealant doesn’t work, you’re busting out that extra tube you have in your hydration pack or seat bag.

CST BFT (Big Fat Tire) Review by Jerry Hazard

Posted by RL Policar On August - 7 - 20121 COMMENT

We’ve asked Team Racer-Jerry “Dukes of” Hazard to provide us a review on some tires that he had been using on his Airborne Taka and Maurauder. You’ll be surprised to learn on how much they cost in relation to how well they perform.

As always, its too slow to get here, and too soon to pass. The summer riding season is just about past full swing. I’ve finally gotten to that point with my riding where I’m super comfortable with where I’m at skill-wise, enough so that I now can push myself comfortably beyond the edge – take those curves a little faster, let off the brakes more, and boost just a little harder over the gaps. But with all this riding and progression comes a price. Not only bumps and bruises associated with each “next step” , but also wear and tear on our rigs. Consumables are getting near or past the point where safety is now an issue. Time to change out those chains, cables, bleed the brakes, service the forks and bearings, and replace the treads.

Nice that most consumables are relatively inexpensive; grips, cables/housings and all. Thrifty riders can change out most everything important under $50. But there’s always a couple parts I will ride until they fail completely – tires being the chief culprit. Good tires, my favorite tires – the Minion DH F (front and rear, please) are simply just not affordable. I can’t really afford to replace them more than once a season. In fact, most of the decent, popular meats cost as much or more per tire than what I pay for my cars’ tires.

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Enter CST Tires. Frequently available for around $15 each via Cambria bike, the CST BFT (Big Fat Tire) offers up an affordable option in the traction department. It may or may not be widely known, but CST is actually the parent company that also runs Maxxis. CST has this to say about the BFT:
Meaty center and side knobs combined with a high-volume casing create the ultimate aggressive all-mountain / freeride tire. The BFT offers predictable cornering and excellent braking traction, just what you need when the trail gets dicey. The BFT is available with a wire or folding bead with EPS puncture protection.

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The photo shows the BFT on the left, and the Holy Roller on the right.

Early this spring, I equipped both my Freeride/AM bike and my DH rig with a pair of BFTs. Up close, the tread pattern has an uncanny resemblance to the Maxxis Holy Roller, though not quite as aggressive with the treads, especially on the edges. The rubber compound feels pretty tough, and though they state there is “EPS puncture protection” included – there is no mention whether the tires are single or dual-ply. I am guessing single. I don’t have an accurate weight at the moment, but they don’t feel overly heavy, again – similar to the Minions. CST calls the BFT out at 2.4, but I feel they err on the side of large, closer to 2.5, are rated up to 65psi.

The beads are tight, but not impossible to mount. They slide over my WTB laser disc DH rims, Velocity Blunts and my Sun MTX 33s with a little effort, if you use your man hands, you can probably get them over the rim without tire levers. I air mine up to about 40psi or so on both my AM and DH rigs.

Trails around here are pretty seasonal – in the colder weather, it’s usually going to be rocky terrain where there is little snow, and well, little dirt. Places like Dave’s trail in Moab and Medicine Trail in Durango are keen because they are exposed and dry when everywhere else is snow or muddy. So the rocks are where I first tried out the BFTs.

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5 (2)

First time out on the BFTs – high desert winter slickrock. Mix of mud, muck, ice, stone and dirt – the BFTs held their own in this wintery mix. Aired down a bit (35psi for me), the tires gave superb traction on New Mexico sandstone.

5 (1)

Lots of off camber pokey rocks in the deserts around ABQ (favorite winter getaway for riding). Short, steep climbs and slow, controlled techy descents were no problem. The compound on the CST is not too stiff, not too soft allowing to get grabby in a variety of situations.

Running from the mud, Sand Canyon

Stair-stepped sandstone and redrock/dirt didn’t fool the BFTs. Tagged quite a few rocks along the way, but no rips or punctures
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Brakeless through the rough – CSTs held the line with confidence..
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Pushed to the limits of AM to light DH riding, the 2.4 diamter of the BFTs provided enough traction and just a little bit of shock absorption.
9 (2)

In a true all-mountain setting, the BFTs did not disappoint. Rocks, bumps, stumps and high-desert dirt, the BFT offered up traction one can trust. This turn is a keen example.

The CST BFTs in 2.4 size really held their own in my mixed up all-mountain all terrain world. Rocks, hardpack, and moon dust they did their job well, and were quite durable. They still reside aboard my Airborne Marauder, and unless there’s some drastic changes in tire pricing, they’ll be the replacements when the time comes.
Well that covers about half of what I bought the tires for, but how do they compare when trail goes only downwards, fast and furious like?
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Early seasons Durango loose sand posed no issues on the DH rig with the BFTs. They cut in nicely and held their bite. A bit on the skinny side for a DH tire, they held surprisingly well.
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In dry hardpack, the BFT does its job as well as anything. Fully committed in this berm shot, tires were the last thing on my mind.
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Moab is not the first place that jumps to mind when you think gravity/dh riding, but it’s a little known secret to those in the four corners area that it’s a great winter getaway to get some quick dh shuttles in. Dave’s trail is almost as rocky as it gets, and with a fresh set of BFTs, I had no worries. In fact, I had a fresh pair mounted on a brand-new set of Sun MTX 33 wheels – I actually put a couple dents to the rim, but the tire didn’t pinch flat or puncture.
12

End of the line. In Keystone, Colorado I found the outer limit of the BFTs – serious rock gardens. A bit more than the tire is made for in my opinion. I pinch flatted both runs through, and ended up swapping out to Minion DHFs in the super tacky dual ply version.
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On the left is the BFT, and the right we have a Minion DHF. At first, I was a bit bummed but failed to recognize that I’ve been running the BFTs all season (since February) and it was really time to change them out anyhow.

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This rider’s conclusion is that the CST BFT is a great tire for all-moutnain/enduro use, even some light downhill. It is a single ply tire, so you get a bit lighter weight, but a bit less durability. I think for the intended use, that’s a fair trade-off. It offers great traction in a wide variety of conditions, and even though it is single-ply, I never pinch flatted in a “AM” situations.

For downhill, I would have to stress the phrase “right tool for the job” – meaning the BFT is probably not the right tool for DH riding. Which is okay, as they’re not really marketed as such. I just like to push things sometimes. While they were fresh, in the first 2 months of riding, I had zero complaints. The BFT was quite resilient in some very harsh circumstances, and their traction was very good on hardpack and rocky situations. However, when the trail became more “dirt orientated”, with a large presence of moist, thick dirt and loam, they failed to hook up as well as proven tire like the Minion or Holy Roller. And once worn in, the performance fades away fast. I was quite surprised to pinch flat twice at Keystone, since I did three trips to Moab for shuttles and had no issue.

So, all Mountain? YES, without hesitations. But CST BFT for DH? Going to have recommend against. The BFT offers incredible value and performance, if you keep them in the terrain/usage they are intended.

The BFT was previously available via Cambria Bike, however they seem to be out of stock. I have found them available on Amazon for about $25, so they’re still a great deal.

FTC Disclaimer

Here’s what I saw and did this weekend

Posted by RL Policar On August - 6 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

IMAG0715 - Sophia
The first thing I did was go on a ride to Aliso Woods with Lady P, Single K and Nick D. Since I was out of shape, right after climbing up Cholla, I decided to head a different direction than the rest of the group. I went through Rockit (my favorite) and met them down by the bottom of their destination, Meadows. In the photo above you can see that I’m still using the KORE OCD bar. Yes I know it’s pretty wide and throughout the time I was at Aliso, I kept getting asked, “bro, how wide are those bars?”

As I was sitting waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, I noticed this chart that was posted on the trail. It’s some sort of circle of life thing. Aren’t those squirrels cute! But it’s sad how the Coyote is about to pounce on them. Then the bunny next to it just doesn’t have a chance since the rattler is right behind him.
IMAG0714

Once I got home, I noticed something on my rear derailleur. Can you see it? All morning I kept mishitting and I thought that I either wore out my drive train or the hanger was bent. Well, I’m glad that it was just this issue in which I could easily fix.
IMAG0716

Later that day I walked my dog, Cowboy.
IMAG0721

I then went to Wal-Mart. Not sure if you do this, but I ALWAYS go by the bicycles and make fun of the assembly jobs. Here’s a great example of how their bicycle assembly people don’t really know much about putting bikes together. I was first drawn to this bike because it’s a 29er beach cruiser, but I noticed the bars.
IMAG0724

I thought that this might have just been an isolated incident, nope. Check out this other 29er cruiser.All the other cruisers and bikes had proper handle bar positioning, but for some odd reason, those guys made the 29ers look like this.
IMAG0723

Last but certainly not least. The bitter/sweet moment of my weekend. I just about screamed like a little girl at Justin Bieber concert when I saw this…a Unicorn helmet! But I was saddened that they only had children’s sizing…
IMAG0722

After realizing that I probably would never come across an adult sized Unicorn helmet, I drank my sorrows away and went to bed in the sporting goods aisle. But I was rudely interrupted by an employee saying I had to go home. As sad as I was, that helmet gave me inspiration for a NEW MtnBikeRiders.com jersey…you ready? Unicorns! I’m already working with our artist to see if we can come up with a long sleeve DH style jersey. Ya I know it’s summer right now and it’s going to be 90 degrees today…but it’s my jersey so there!
angry_unicorn

Happy IPA Day

Posted by Albacore On August - 2 - 20124 COMMENTS

If you are a real man and like a true beer full of hoppy goodness then today is our day. It is National IPA day. What is an IPA you ask? Only the best thing to float past your lips. Learn more about it at ipaday.org. Grab your MtnBikeRiders.com beer koozie (or buy one if you haven’t already you cheapskate) and celebrate today. These koozies are bitchin. The best part is they fit 22.5oz bottles. Cheers!

 

Apparently I’m a Hoarder

Posted by RL Policar On August - 1 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

I kinda, sorta knew this because when you go into my garage I’ve got about 19-23(give or take 5) bicycles and frames as well as various parts that could easily build up a new bike for a family of 6. My garage is a tandem-2 car garage. That means it’s 1 car wide, but 2 car deep. So the inside half of my garage is what I call my “Shop.” But Lady P just calls it a “mess.” Most of the folks who have been in my garage kinda just freak out on just how much stuff I have there. Funny thing about that, when I was growing up my brother, SSGT. Randy was one of the messiest guys I have ever met. His room would have old dishes that had stuff growing all over it and his junk was all over the place. But somehow being in the Army for over 18 years beat all that mess out of him. Now his garage is super organized, heck even his boat has special compartments where things belong. So when he comes into my garage, he just kinda wigs out because he can’t handle the mess. But if you’re anything like me, then you’ll know where everything is, no matter how messy it is.

This is what I consider “clean.” But it doesn’t fly with the Mrs.

Often times Lady P has made comments that she’ll just go in there and throw everything out or that she’ll do some sort of intervention with me and have some of my closest friends come in and throwing things out. Bleh, what she as well as the rest of the world doesn’t understand is that, “I’ll use those parts later.” Or that they have some sort of purpose set aside, but because I’m so busy I just haven’t gotten around to those projects.

Rather than ending up on the Hoarders show with ACTUAL hoarders (animal hoarders), I’ve devised a plan to help me cut through the junk. Not sure if I’ll ever follow through, but it’s a great start! Ok so here it goes.

1. Check my inventory of parts and junk
2. Have I used it in the last 2 years? Yes-Keep. No-Trash
3. Don’t save any cable housing that is less than 1 foot.
4. Pass out extra bikes that I do not use to friends and family.
5. Sell items that are of value that I won’t use. I currently have a ton of stuff listed on Craigslist! Gotta pay down those student loans!
6. Give things away? Crazy idea, but I’ve got stuff I will never use such as 7-8 speed parts that could be useful to someone.
7. Consistently sell stuff. I’ve got 15, new children’s helmets that I have to get rid off! If I can’t sell them by the end of summer, I can use them as give-aways for the next Career Day.

Ok, now that I have that on my To-Do list, execution is the next step. There’s going to be a bicycle swap meet at the Fullerton Loop on Saturday, August 11, 2012 from 7am-12noon. I plan on lugging what ever can fit in the Limo down to the venue and sell this stuff at super cheap prices. I’ll probably have $1.00 bins just so I can move these items. Hopefully I won’t be bringing back that stuff I brought down. Besides, I wanted to go to Sizzler that same night and if I don’t sell my junk, then no All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp for me!

Up to 94% off? Dang, how do they stay in business?

Posted by RL Policar On August - 1 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

If you haven’t heard, Pricepoint.com is having a pretty good sale. They’ve got pretty much everything on discount. They even have tubes, 5 for $11.98. That comes out to $2.40 per tube, which is just about wholesale cost for those things if you were a shop!
PP sale

That’s no thorn…

Posted by RL Policar On July - 31 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

On my ride yesterday, I recall running over something, then hearing a click click click sound. I pull over and by the time I come to a stop, my tire is flat. Check out what I got in my tire.
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The hole in my tire was about the size of a pencil.
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Flats suck, and I’m showing my disapproval for them, and yes I do wear pink gloves. Flats suck so bad that I’ve come up with a new word to describe them…FLUCK! So now when you get a flat, you can say, AW FLUCK!
IMAG0695

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