Interbike 2008: Turner bikes now with DW link

Turner bikes sports new linkage…DW link.  One of the buzz I heard frequently at Interbike is how well the new Turner bikes rode.  MtnBikeRiders didn’t make it to the dirt demo however I ran into several LBS mechanics as well as other acquaintances in the industry at the show.  They raved about the new partnership (Turner & DW) and the difference from the previous models.  Hopefully we’ll have a chance to ride it soon so we can experience the buzz.  Here are some pictures of their new bikes.  Same models with the new linkage. 

For more information on Turner’s complete line, visit


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Interbike 2008: Commencal Team

Commencal riders were out in force at Interbike.  The Athertons along with Cedric Gracia were signing autographs for fans.  Here are a few pictures.IMG_1031 copy by bicyclebloggers.        Cedric Gracia, Dan and Gee Atherton signing a t-shirt for a fan.

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-triple crown fork

-8″ travel

-3″ shock stroke 

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-Supreme Racing

-single crown fork

-6.3″ rear travel

-2.25″shock stroke

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the new Furios

-7″ rear travel

-ideal for Slope Style 

For more information on Commencal’s complete line, log onto

Weekend Ride Report: Top of Coal Canyon – Slick Rocks aka “Mini Moab”

This past Sunday my friend Val and I set our sights on reaching the top of Coal Canyon.  We ride this trail often but rarely go all the way to the top.  On this ride we were determined to do so.  Our trek was planned to start at 6:00 am, however, looking outside my window at 5:30 am, it was still dark and I was not willing to head-up the trail in darkness… wild animals 🙂 We pushed back for 7:00 am.

For our regular readers, you may recall an introduction of Val, back in June 2008 when he took on our sport of mountain biking.  In the start he had difficulties and several mishaps, as we all do. 

          Val three months ago, walking the beginning of Coal.

                    Crashing on his solo ride.

Three months later Val rode like a seasoned rider!  He climbed to the top with energy that I haven’t seen before.  Often times I was behind him trying to keep up.  The only time we stopped was when we were stuck in sand pits and for a few pictures.

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Reaching the top, approximately 4 miles from the trailhead, the morning fog was still lingering.   We headed for the huge boulders also known as “Mini Moab”.  We rested on top of a boulder and played around for a bit before heading back down.

ToPoCoal by you.     Topo of Coal Canyon

In the video below, you will notice sporadic clips of our descent.  I have a make shift housing for the Flip Mino that I am testing out.  As you will see, I haven’t figured out a way to stabilize it therefore majority of our descent was not captured.  It would often slide down were it was only focused on my handlebars.  Enjoy!


Weekday Ride Report: Coal Canyon and the Rattlesnake

Yesterday I wasn’t feeling well so I left work early. After taking a brief nap when I got home, I decided to go for a ride in hopes that I’ll sweat out whatever was making me feel under the weather.

Closest trail to my house was Coal Canyon. As I mentioned on previous articles, Coal Canyon is a ride in, ride out type of ride. It’s a long grind up with a rewarding descent on a fire road. The ride up is usually uneventful. You either listen to music or enjoy the surroundings to get your mind off the constant climb.

Reaching the 3 mile marker, I see a rattlesnake on the middle of the road. This one had a real pretty color approximately 4ft long. Off course I had to stop and take a short video. The last time I ran into a rattler on the trail was when I rode at San Clemente Single Tracks (SCST), May of this year. Then I was only able to take a picture of the snake coil up as I ran out of space in my memory card for a video clip. With the Flip Mino in hand, I recorded the rattler move to the side of the road. Always at a safe distance, I gave it some assistance by throwing little pebbles at it.

After the entertainment, I continued to climb for another half mile then I decided to turn back. Bombing to the bottom was fun as usual however there were plenty of sandy patches that slowed me down. By now, the sun was setting thus getting darker in some areas of the trail. As I turned one of the corners, there was a buck that I startled. I was able to get the Flip Mino out to record however, the buck was too far and was just a speck on the clip. Good times, even when solo!

First Impression: ZER0GOO Hydration Bladder Dryer

Have you ever taken a sip of your water as you are riding and it just tasted NASTY?!?!?!  Many of us have.  This is a result of not completely drying your hydration bladder after use and the build up of “gunk” in the bladder and hose.  The most conventional way of drying is using a specific hanger where it opens up the bladder to air dry.  However for many who ride frequently, the bladder never really has a chance to fully dry.  Now there is a solution…

New from ZER0GOO is the Hydration Bladder Dryer.  It is a compact fan built to fit in the mouth/opening of your bladder.  It is made from plastic and requires an electric power source (included).  The dryers do not emit heat, just the air with the room temperature to dry.

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Here are simple steps:

    –       Remove the mouthpiece from your tube/hose so the air can have a clear path.
    –       For faster drying, drain the excess water/liquid from the bladder before attaching the unit
    –       Insert the fan into the opening of the bladder
    –       Attached/plug the power source

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Drying time can vary.  Depending on your location geographically, humidity can be a factor. For example in Denver it takes approximately 40 minutes while in Miami it can take upto 2 1/2 hours.  Drying time is also dependant on the size of your bladder.  Since receiving the unit for review, I’ve only used my small Camelbak bladder, 45oz., made to fit the fanny type bags.  Although I haven’t timed it yet, I am confident that it was dry with in an hour’s time.

I’ll be putting this unit to the test.  I have several bladders that I use, different in size.  Look for a complete review in the next few months.  Drying and having the taste of fresh water during your ride has never been made easier! 

For more information log onto

First Impressions: Flip Video Mino

As you peruse through our site on a daily basis, from time to time you may have noticed that we post videos.  From Tech tips, races, events and to our weekend rides.  We like to offer a first hand visual of our topics, if possible.  With that said recording devices are a big part for us.

We recently received the Flip Video Mino for review.  At first glance the Flip Mino mirrored the likes of an MP3 player, specifically an iPod.  Yes, it’s that small.  It’s hard to believe that a recording device can be this little.    

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The unit has simplistic controls.  It has an On/Off button on the side, and on the face of the device has the Play/Pause, Delete, Forward, Reverse, +/- for volume control and a big red button for on/off recording.  All these buttons positioned beneath the 1.5” viewing screen.  The unit also has a built in, retractable USB plug.  You can plug it straight into your PC/Mac or Laptop and upload.  The USB also doubles as your battery charging plug.    

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Here are the details from Flip:
• Dimensions 4” x 2” x 0.6”
• Weight 3.3 oz.
• 2GB on-board flash memory records upto 60 minutes of video
• Sealed, internal rechargeable lithium ion battery that recharges through built-in USB arm
• Flat back-panel with touch-sensitive buttons
• No-glare display screen (1.5”)
• TV quality video
• Instant playback, pause, fast forward/rewind, and delete features
• Available in black and white models
• Connects to TV for instant viewing
• Built-in high-speed software enables instant video sharing from any PC or MAC:
o Save and organize videos on computer
o Email videos and video greeting cards
o Publish videos instantly on video sharing sites like MySpace, YouTube, and AOL
o Capture still photos from video clips
o Create custom movies with your own music
o Make your own DVDs and have them shipped anywhere in the world
• MSRP: $179.99

This past Sunday I took the Flip Mino on a ride with some friends, Rommel and Art.  We headed to Santiago Oaks.  Check out the video, it looks pretty clean with exception of the footage taken from a distance.  I was wearing my gloves and wasn’t quite familiar with the controls so I was fumbling with it.  Also some of the footage were out of focus; this may have been due to the user (me).  I will be taking more videos in the coming months.  Check back for an update.

Sette Impact Padded Shorts

Last month we featured the Sette Impact Protective Suit.  Along with the suit, we received the Sette Impact Padded Under Shorts.  “Under shorts” meaning you would wear these under your moto style, baggy cycling or just plain shorts.  These are specific for downhill with pad placement or areas such as your tailbone, hips and thighs.  It does not come with a chamois.

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PricePoint description:

Sette Impact Padded Under Shorts feature strategically-placed molded polyester foam padding attached to Lycra mesh for the ultimate in protection and comfort. Padded tailbone protector. Drawstring waist. Wear underneath pants or riding shorts. For the ultimate protection wear Sette Impact Padded Under Shorts.

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Sette Impact Under Shorts worn under regular shorts.  Front and rear view; as you can see, it doesn’t appear bulky.

The Sette Protective Gear line is quite impressive. They have protective gear for all the areas where a full-body pressure suit would cover. The quality of their products is up to par with similar items found in the market. You certainly will get the bang for you buck! These are available at from $29.98 – $34.98 (depending on size). You can also save by buying two for $59.98.

For the rest of the 2008 season, I’ll be putting this pair to the test. Hopefully I will not I will not have to find out how good they work or how much impact it can absorb.

Labor Day weekend Ride Report: Water Dog Lake Park in NorCal

This past weekend my family and I headed up to the Bay area for a mini vacation.  Since we planned the trip last minute, we were unable to find a good rate for a hotel within the City.  We ended up finding one in Redwood City on the outskirts of San Francisco.  Knowing that there is a huge mountain biking community up north I looked for trails near our hotel.  I planned on riding early Sunday and Monday morning while everyone was still sleeping.

I consulted with my riding buddies from the Bay area and also posted on a few forums.  All recommended Water Dog trail in Belmont, which is the next city to my location.  One response from the forum was to check with the Passion Trail Bikes, a local bike shop.  After doing my research, turns out the trail and the LBS were only a few miles from my hotel – perfect!

We arrived at our hotel early Saturday morning.  After we settled in, we headed to SF City.  On the way we stopped by Passion Trail Bikes.  I wanted to get a trail map as well as route recommendations first hand from the locals.  I have to say this was a top notch store on the customer service side.  (I wasn’t really looking at the products for sale or the type of bikes they carried.)  Unfortunately I cannot recall the names of the guys that were assisting me.  However they gave me clear directions, turn-by-turn, for the trail…  I also regret that I didn’t take a picture of the store front.  It had one of the most friendliest atmosphere I have ever experienced.  There were many riders hanging out – coming from or going to a ride.   Seeing this made me anxious about my ride the following day.

The Trail:  Water Dog contains approx 8 miles of trails, the majority being singletrack.  There are several sets of switchbacks which can be ridden either way – up/down.  There are quite a few ladder bridges built over gaps, turns and other rutted out areas.  There were also jumps but I did not see these.

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The Ride:  Following the directions given to me and with my trusty GPS, I started on a gradual singletrack climb.  This skirted the southeast corner of the park heading clockwise.  While on this trail there were many cutoffs to the right (not on the map) which led to the bottom.  From the looks of them, one could have a real blast heading to the lower part of the trail.  Not before long I was already at a higher elevation. 

Along the way, I met John – a local rider.  We stopped and talked for a bit.  He gave me pointers on other segments of Water Dog.  He was also kind enough to let me tag along for portions of his ride.  We climbed parts of the park and one set of the switchbacks together.  These switchbacks were reminiscent of San Juan trail in So Cal.  Once at the top, he led me to a split where there were several choices for a technical descent.  From here we parted ways.  I wished that I had more time as it would have been a better ride following someone that was familiar with the trail rather than reading a map.  (Although I’m not opposed to it as I’d like to be adventurous, however time was not on my side.)  Shortly after John left, I ran into another local hiker.  I didn’t catch his name but he recommended other routes that were slightly different from John’s.  Never the less, both recommendations sounded like it had plenty to offer.

IMG_1674 by you.     View of the trailhead from the top.

I followed some of their suggested routes without diverting too much from the map.  The trails were fairly easy to find as they were well marked.  After about an hour of riding it was time to head back to the car.  I made my way back to a segment that led to a long singletrack descent to the bottom of the trail.  It was a super fun as it crossed several ladder bridges (one utilized the top of a wrecked car; not sure how they got it up there), skirted a hillside, and through a creek bed.  I wish I had my helmet cam to record the trip to the bottom.  I was not able to ride some of the recommended trails but my experience here at Water Dog was a good one.  The trail itself was in excellent shape, the weather was awesome, the people were friendly and most of all the singletrack was well worth hauling my bike to the Bay area.

IMG_1675 by you.     Look closely, it’s a cockpit of a car.

On Monday, we left for home earlier than scheduled therefore I didn’t not have a chance to ride again.  I do look forward to another trip to NorCal.  For those visiting the Bay area, definitely look into rides.  There are tons of trails up there and many LBS offer bike rentals. Below is a short video of my ride.

Lance Armstrong, 2nd at the 2008 Leadville 100

The 7 time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, placed 2nd in one of the most grueling mountain bike race.  The Leadville 100 which took place earlier this month showcased a head to head battle between Armstrong and the 5 time Leadville 100 winner, Dave Weins.  (in 2007 Weins also took 1st place beating ex-Tour de France winner Floyd Landis)

I say grueling because this is a 100 mile race (50 miles out and back).  Brief description of the ride – the race starts at 10,200’, 90 percent dirt. There are steep climbs which becomes steep descents… There is a seven mile climb to the 50 mile marker at 12600 ft (approx 14,000 ft elevation gain).

main-1 by you.    Lance Armstrong on the heels of Dave Weins.

Click on this link where you can see pictures and video of the race.  You’ll see the head to head racing between Armstrong and Weins. Back and forth they battled for the lead.  One climb appeared steep for the two where they dismounted their bikes and walked up the hill.  On the last dirt run, Lance had no more and Dave Weins broke away finishing by two minutes. 

Local racer Manuel Prado of Lake Forest took third place.

Finishing times for the top three were:

1. Dave Weins 6:45:45
2. Lance Armstrong 6:47:41
3. Manuel Prado 7:20:52

Look for Lance Armstrong to return in 2009!

Santiago Oaks with The Moe

While RL and Priscilla were enjoying their weekend getaway and Jeremy and Khoa were reminiscing about their Big Bear trip, I had the pleasure of riding with “The Moe“. Saturday we met at the Albertson’s parking lot on the corner of Jamboree and Chapman. Moe has never ridden Santiago Oaks therefore I was looking forward to giving him a tour.

Knowing what I knew about The Moe, I had no doubt in my mind that he’ll be able to handle what S. Oaks has to offer. His weapon of choice for this ride was the new KHS Flagstaff 29er.

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After passing through the park, we approached the dreadful 3 “Bs” (B = female K9). On the 1st B, which is the steeper of the three, we both climbed until about mid-point. I was the first to lose traction, then Moe. We dismounted off our bikes and hiked to the top. We then immediately got on our bikes and started on the 2nd B. A quarter way up, there is a cut-off on the right hand side. This is a singletrack that runs parallel to the 2nd B. Moe and I took this route which is slightly easier than the fireroad. The 3rd B was uneventful as well with the exception of my chain dropping. It was a long grind up but well worth with what the descent has to offer.

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Reaching the top, Moe strapped on his armor and we were off. You can see from the video that the descent was pretty fun. It was long and flowing until we got closer to the bottom. The Moe did have a mishap towards the end. Not quite sure what happened as it appeared he was on the right line. He took a tumble but fortunately it was a minor one. He got back on his 29er and rode on.

Overall it was a blast. Always a good ride when you make it back to the car in one piece. I did notice that The Moe maybe directionally challenged 😉 Several times during the ride, as we approached a turn or a split, I would yell out either “left, left” or “right, right”…yet The Moe would go the opposite way 🙂 … hmmm, we’ll have to keep an eye on that one…

Below is a video of our ride. I had system issues saving the file so I had to slice n dice some of the clips to shorten it.