It took you long enough…

Those words were said to me the other day as I had a conversation with who I consider to be one of the most highly informed 29er guys I’ve ever met in this whole universe. That person is none other than Jeremy Yang. For as long as I’ve known Jeremy, he’s been riding 29ers and never saw the appeal of 26er bikes. In fact he and I, along with The Moe would go back and forth (in a fun and loving way) about why one is better than the other. But in all honesty, I never really saw a benefit to 29ers until about 6 months ago. That’s when I first got a hold of the Airborne Goblin 29er. Just read the review and you’ll learn why I love it so much.

We fast forward to last Friday where Jeremy mentioned something to me that he’s noticed I’ve been riding 29ers more lately. I had to agree with him and even went on explaining why I suddenly love them. Then he said it in a joking, yet in the tone of “I told you so.” “It took you long enough!”

This photo was taken the day after I spoke with Jeremy.
29er mountain bikes

Yep, he was right, it did take me long enough. But I have to tell you, I’m not quite like (and there’s nothing wrong with it) Jeremy, I still own and love to ride my 26er bikes. In fact Jeremy is so hardcore/sold out(which is cool) for 29ers that I think the only smaller wheeled bikes he has in his stable would be his children’s bikes. Other than that, he doesn’t personally own a 26er, he thinks they have cooties. 🙂

So there you have you have it, I’m riding 29ers for XC purposes, but if I really want to get down and dirty, I’ll bust out my 26er AM bikes. I am rather curious to see how an AM and DH 29er would feel.

The idea that actually happened

As you may recall I talked about Burt Reynolds getting a facelift. So after giving it some more thought and double checking with LadyP to make sure I can part out her old bike, I went to town on Burt the following morning.

After spending some time to strip the KHS XC604 of its parts, I started doing the same for Burt. I removed all of his single speed parts. The process was pretty seamless. The KHS had the same cable stops as Burt. So that means when I installed the cables, it went in easily. I did have to trim some excess housing to make a perfect fit.

I took me less than an hour to do the whole conversion. To my surprise, the bike came in at 26.5lbs with my DH pedals.
Redline d600

Here he is looking all sharp and stuff with his new drive train and brakes. I guess I lucked out that the color scheme that LadyP picked for her bike ended up working for Burt.
redline d600 27speed

The white and black really go well together with bits of red to accent the whole bike. Burt also got a set of Avid ElixirR brakes, way better than the mechanical brakes that he came with.
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LadyP was pretty good to her drive train. It just needed to be lubed and it was ready to go!
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Later that afternoon Burt and I headed out at the world famous Fullerton Loop. First thing I noticed with Burt and his new drive train, rides nothing like the 2×10 that’s on the Airborne Goblin. One thing I’ve come to love on the Goblin was the 2×10, it just feels more efficient on the flats. But one thing Burt did well in was climbing, thanks to his granny gears of 22t/34t.
redline d600 on mtnbikeriders.com
I found that on Burt, I was on my big ring quite a bit and noticed that I was cross chaining by using the 28t-32t. I am assuming I was doing this because it’s what my legs have grown accustomed to while riding the Goblin. Just like with any bike I test or have ridden, it will take some time for me to get used to everything about Burt. When I converted him over to a single speed. It took me at least 5 rides to finally like how everything was. From cock pit to gearing, it all took some time to get dialed in. I figured it’s going to be the same story with Burt this time around. One thing I did change, and will probably change again by the end of the week is the handle bar. I’ll need something wider since I like my bikes to have short stems and wide bars.

Though Burt Reynolds isn’t a new bike to me, having this new configuration sure feels new and it’s got me all excited! I’m working on procuring some better parts for him, so who knows what he’ll end up with in the next few weeks.

The “Who’s idea was this” Race Report

Before we get on with my race report, I’d like to give you some background on how I got into this mess. You see a few months ago I started doing really well at XC. Allot of it had to do with the fact that I was riding a really fast bike, the Airborne Goblin 29er. With my new found confidence on two wheels I some how convinced myself that I should give XC racing a try. My racing background has primarily been in DH and I figured racing XC would take me out of my comfort zone as well as make it a challenge. Good attitude to have, right?
Airborne Goblin
Fast forward to 02/23/2013, I somehow convinced team racer, Art Aguilar to join me on the condition MtnBikeRiders.com sponsors his race fee. He was riding LadyP’s Airborne Hobgoblin for the event.
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Oh and guess who else I was able to convince to race with us. Our very own Albacore!
Albacore of MtnBikeRiders.com
I almost forgot, Super Dan was there too! But he was going to tackle the Super D event. Don’t you just love how he color coordinate’s his jersey with everything on his bike…and his cell phone case!
Super Dan
Now I don’t have any actual race photos of any of us since we were…racing. But I managed to snap a picture of my results as well as Art’s. By the way we both entered as Beginners.
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Low and behold we got medals! I took 4th in my category and Art took 3rd!
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Did you all notice that Art and I matched our outfits! We certainly got compliments from people who could appreciate a sweet looking jersey.
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Here’s our rigs that we used to get to our medals. The Airborne Goblin and the Airborne Hobgoblin.
Airborne 29ers
While we were waiting for the awards ceremony, we met up with Olympic BMXer and Airborne Bicycles Racer, Barry Nobles. He was on the new Airborne Toxin 7″ bike.
Airborne Toxin
Barry was kind enough to let Art check it out.
Airborne Toxin
Here’s a shot of the rear linkage. I probably should taken it from the other side to get a better view.
Airborne Toxin
So there you have it my XC ride report. I guess you can say it was my idea to do it. As tough as it was, both Art and I agreed it was pretty rewarding to race. We felt great after and heck you never know, this XC racing thing could grow on me. As I headed home, Art was pulling double duty and went out to go practice the DH course on his Taka.
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A new to me trail

This past Saturday Animal showed up to our ride at Whiting Ranch. He rolls up and tells us he had just finished a lap and was looking to add more miles that morning. One of our other buddies J-Kewl joined us for this ride. By the way, all the photos were courtesy of Lady P and Animal.
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Animal tells us about a section of Whiting Ranch that not many riders dare to climb. In fact while we were there we only saw one other guy on a bike. Check out the this photo that Lady P took of Animal, J-Kewl and yours truly. She was pretty fierce that day and was mashing up all the climbs.
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Here’s one of the look out points that Lady P found. Click on the image to make it bigger.
whiting ranch with mtnbikeriders.com
Once we got to the top we were greeted with a picnic bench where we could relax and take in the scenery.
whiting ranch
Animal was riding his Airborne Goblin.
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I took a little video of our ride with the GoPro while it was mounted on my handle bar via Trail Rail Mount.

As tough that new trail was, it certainly was rewarding. It’s funny, I’ve ridden Whiting Ranch for years and I never even knew that part was there. I guess it pays off to go exploring once in a while.

2013 Airborne Goblin Review

During Interbike 2012, we had a meeting with Airborne Bikes Brand Manager, Jeremy Mudd about all the great things that are being planned for 2013. One of the things he mentioned was the new Goblin and he had gladly offered us a bike to test out. Fast forward to the Fall, we received this…
airborne goblin small
The New 2013 Airborne Goblin, Small. No doubt it’s a handsome bike and we liked that the small frame has a sloping top tube to allow stand over height for shorter folks like us at MtnBikeRiders.com

Specs:

FRAME: Tapered HT with increased rear wheel mud clearance, increased stand-over clearance on the 16″ frame-size.

Tapered Reba RL fork with increased 100mm travel

Larger 180mm rotor up front for increased stopping power and fade resistance

New 38/24 gearing on the all new SRAM X7 crankset that offers a better gear range for climbing paired to an 11-36 cassette.

Geax AKA 2.2 tires that roll fast on hardpack and offer outstanding grip on loose and rocky terrain

New Selle San Marco Ponza Power Saddle

Finally, the most important thing: we managed to do this all for a price of $1199. That’s only $50 more than the past Goblin in spite of rising industry costs!
Price: $1,199.95

We did make a few changes to the Goblin due to personal preferences and short arms like a T-Rex. First thing we did was install a 40mm stem and then we also swapped out the Selle San Marco Power Saddle with a Serfas Tegu saddle. Why? Because my butt, it’s just so big...

Before we get on with the review, we wanted to do something different with this bike than any other bikes we’ve tested before. We figured we’d give 3 different perspective of 3 different riders who have different riding styles and prowess. We’ve recruited Team Racers, Lady P, Art Aguilar and yours truly, RL Policar. Just to give you a brief background on each rider, LadyP is a Sport level XC racer, Art Aguilar is an Expert Downhill Racer and I am a Beginner XC Racer and Sport Downhiller. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s hear from each person.
airborne goblin
First up is Lady P

I had the opportunity to give the Goblin a few test rides on a couple of different trails. My interest in the 29er was recently peaked again when I test rode a couple of 29er bikes at Interbike/Outdoor Demo this past September, so I was eager to see what this Goblin offered in comparison. I have to say overall I was really impressed. At 5’5 I’ve always been a little intimidated by the larger wheels as I thought it may just be too big for my size. The Goblin proved me wrong. As a cross country rider/racer there are two aspects of performance that are most important to me: speed and climbing ability.

There is no doubt that the Goblin improved my speed on the trails. What was most surprising to me was how effortless it was. My output of energy was noticeably less than I am accustomed to. I rode trails that I’ve ridden for years with improvement on time and felt less tired. Increased speed and more energy is a winning combination for any rider. My performance on climbs was equally impressive.
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I thought it would be more difficult to climb but that wasn’t the case. The bike handled nicely on the steep inclines and it proved to make the climbs very efficient. The Goblin definitely added a different element of fun to my riding and the price point is excellent as well for those who are looking to purchase a 29er.

Words from Art Aguilar

Well my good buddy RL Policar and I finally got together so he could hand over the new AIRBORNE GOBLIN 29er hard tail could give it a little test ride. I say an expert’s view because well I’m a expert downhill racer, come on I can put this baby through the ringer, besides I want to know what all the hoopla’s about with these 29er’s. OK this is going to be my second ride in a 29er, my first was at InterBike on the new Giant Trance X 29er full suspension bike and I know all you AIRBORNE fans out there already know about the HOBGOBLIN Full Suspension by AIRBORNE and if you don’t check out their website “NOW” ( in my best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice).

THE QUICK, THE DIRTY, and THE GOOD LOOKING

Again they hit it on the spot with cost, layout, parts spec, and a cool look. Layout, climbing, descending, speeds, breaking, and handling. I really wanted to see if it’s all they say it is, this 29er thing. The one thing that’s kept me away from 29er’s is the size, no size for a little guy(height wise) like me (RL knows what I’m talking about), well AIRBORNE delivered. The small frame has a sloped bent down tube which offered a great stand over height and that fit me just right, of course the stem change that RL made was perfect for me as well, which made the GOBLIN’s layout or what we call ergonomics,great too!

I found the bike easy to pedal. The full SRAM X7 2×10 drive-train worked awesome along with that big WTB wheel-set, the GOBLIN allowed me to go up as well as down fast and they kept me in control the whole time.
airborne goblin
The ELIXIR 7 hydraulics stopped me quick and without issue. Now if you have never been on a 29er I do have to warn these bikes do pick up speed faster than a 26 inch wheeled bike, so be prepared to get on the brakes a little sooner than usual. The RockShox Reba RL lockout fork worked super at taking the bumps. Handling in the single track was good when you were in the wide open, but in the tight technical single track turning could be a little tough. This is all in your approach and I have to say that you’ll need to adjust your riding style a little being on a bigger wheeled bike, that being said you do have the advantage going over stuff easier.
airborne goblin
I was having so much fun on the GOBLIN I hardly noticed I was on a hard-tail. I just have to say I really liked my time on this bike. I can’t wait to some time on the new full suspension HOBGOBLIN (ahh,AIRBORNE buddies small please)

Now it’s time to hear from RL Policar, hey! That’s me!

If you’re anything like me, you may have voiced opinions that the whole 29er thing was just a bunch of horse pocky. Well now I’m eating crow. Here’s what I mean, and bear with me as I go about the long way of explaining my point. When I started riding the Airborne Goblin I first had to adjust to the 2×10 gearing then I had to get re-accustomed to the notion that I’m riding a hard-tail. Once I got dialed into the bike I started having some of my best XC rides ever. I’m sure it was the combination of the larger 29er wheels and the 2×10 drive train that helped me ride fast and faster.
airborne goblin
Ladyp as well as my other riding friends pretty much know me as the slower guy. For years I had always been the guy in the back. But once I started riding the Goblin things changed. With it I was able to start shaving time off my laps at the local trail. 1hour 15mins would be something I used to consider a fast lap. On the Goblin, I started chopping away at that time. I started logging in 1h, 5min laps, then I broke the hour with 59mins. While I was setting personal best records with the Goblin, my own wife and my dear friend Khoala Bear were both skeptical of what I was doing. They said that if there’s no GPS proof, then it never happened.

After work on a Friday, we decided to head out to the trail head. With a Garmin EDGE 205 in my hydration pack, we set out. I was riding so fast that Lady P and Khoala Bear couldn’t keep up! When the ride ended I logged in a 56 minute lap! Mind you, I’ve NEVER and I mean NEVER EVER been able to come near 1 hour on ANY XC bike I’ve ever had. But it wasn’t until I started riding the Goblin that I was able to smash some personal bests.

To the credit of the Airborne Goblin, I am convinced that the combination of larger wheels, 2×10 drive train and XC geometry, and fast rolling XC tires helped me ride faster. The bike really does such a great job on out pacing other bikes on flats. The best way to describe on how fast the Goblin is to picture yourself riding a road bike on dirt. Just think how fast efficient a road bike is on the flats, they can really fly. The Goblin does that exact thing, but on dirt. Climbing is pretty easy with the 24t granny and the large 36t rear cog. You can even make your climbs even more efficient by locking out the Rockshox Reba RL and since it’s a hard tail, you’re not giving up power to your suspension.
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Two of my favorite things about the Goblin are the tires Airborne decided to wrap the wheels with. The Geax AKA29 has similar riding characteristics to a Kenda Small Block Eight, but in my opinion with more bite. These tires roll fast, climb great and when it comes to braking they’ll stop you without any issues. I can’t forget the Avid Elixir brakes that it comes with. Not only were they fantastic at stopping me, but I love that the levers can be easily adjusted for reach just by turning a small, easily accessible dial.
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From reading the testimonials above, you’ll see that all 3 of us really enjoyed the Airborne Goblin. It will make the average Joe Mountain Biker faster without spending too much on a bike. If you compare the Airborne Goblin to other bikes within it’s price range, you’ll find the Trek Mamba and the BMC Team Elite. Both bikes are name brands, but the parts that come on it are basically entry level. For about the same price as these two brands are selling their bikes for, you can get an Airborne Goblin with 2×10 drive train, Alix Elixir Brakes, WTB wheels, Rock Shox Reba RL fork and overall, a far more superior bike.It’s almost a no brainer if you ask me.
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So to summarize what we’ve said, We like the Airborne Goblin and we think you will too. Great bike for the price, you’ll ride faster and your riding buddies won’t be able to keep up!

Our Review Disclaimer.

There on the trail…I found him.

Today marked the first day of the year where The Moe and I rode together. What better way to tell this story than with pictures! We all know if there’s no pictures or if it’s not on Facebook, it didn’t happen!

So here we go! The Moe showed up to the trail wearing the EXACT SAME jersey as I was! We’re like Twinsies!
twinsies

The Moe and I actually hadn’t seen each other since Thanksgiving or something like that. So this was our time to exchange presents. I gave him his gift, then he turned around and said in a sultry voice, “Hey big boy, I’ve got your present right here!” Immediately I asked if I could get the gift receipt…haha.
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This was The Moe’s first time on the bike since…October. So here I am doing my best impression on how he was feeling.
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We saw some goats! The Moe kept saying to one of them, “Damn. DAMN! OH DAMN!Ok, ok, ok. Ahem.‘Scume ca’I talk to yo fo a minute? ESCUME ca’I TALK TO YOU FO A MINUTE? Uhh, yeah, whats up?”
goats

As we rode the trail, The Moe was telling the proper techniques of looking good on a bike even though its been months since he last rode one. He told me to go ahead of him and take a picture so we can document his prowess. Wow, he wasn’t kidding! The Moe looks great!
the moe

When we got a certain part of the trail…there he was in all his glory…JESUS! I had found Jesus on the trail!
Jesus

It was great to ride with my old friend The Moe. It’s always fun and magical! Yes it’s magical. If you ever get a chance to ride with him, you’ll understand.
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Last but not least, check out these big nuts! Wow! Those are some big nuts!
big nuts!

AIRBORNE RANGER’S AND THEIR AIRBORNE Bicycles

Well the year is at a close and our racing is also at a close, so I took the time to go on line and check out my fellow  MtnBikeRiders.com teammate’s finishes on Southridgeusa.com and well I was quite amazed at our amount of top ten finishes. We also back those up with great overalls for the end of the year.

AIRBORNE TAKA
cane creek angleset

Now first and for most,  I want to say thanks to AIRBORNE BICYCLES for sponsoring our team and thanks to RL Policar for getting this together for us earlier this year, also a shout out to the guys at Marzocchifor helping us set up our suspension. “Thanks Ronny!”

Our team did do some upgrades to our TAKA’S, but not much, if anything the main upgrade we did was the CaneCreek Angle headset which gave the TAKA way better handling, some did suspension while others kept it simple and all mods worked great. Something I plan on talking about on TAKA REVISITED later.

PODIUMS GALORE
Our team has nine of us that raced for most of the season. The DH department has five racers consisting of yours truly, Art Aguilar, Corey Pond, RL Policar, Wes Castro, and Moe Ramirez.
airborne

In the XC/ Super- D department we have Dan Burdett, Nick Diblasi.Late in the season we pick up Stacey Stone for 4X and as you can see we have a well-rounded team that covers all disciplines.

Now looking at what we did as a team this year really amazed me I sat down on the SRC website and counted all our top ten finishes and found that I was VERY surprised, we landed 36 top ten finishes as a team and out of those 28 of them were top five podiums, 7 were series overalls, and 5 were SRC top year end season overalls with our own Wes Castro taking top honors with the number 1 plate in his class, “Way to go WES!!”
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With Wes Castro taking the number one plate home in the beginner 35-42 DH class for the year,  Art Aguilar took 5th overall in 43-50 expert Dh class.
RL Policar took 3rd overall in the beginner 27-34 Dh class.
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Stacy Stone took 5th overall in 4X, and Dan Burdett took  2nd overall in single Speed 34 under.
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All I could say is this was one kick butt year for us.

THINKING BACK FOR A YEAR
Corey Pond had some injuries this year that kept him out on and off for the year, but he’s planning to have a great 2012 year.

As a whole we did quite a bit for our sponsors and I feel we succeeded. In a whole, we had a great time hanging out, talking bicycles and racing. We added some new faces to the team mid-year,  Stacy Stone raced 4X and some Super-D, also we have Nick Diblasi who is racing Super-D. We added another rider to the DH roster, young gun Bryan Doney for 16-18 DH beginners. So next year will be fun to see what’s around the corner.

A SPECIAL THANKS TO AIRBORNE

AIRBORNE BICYCLE’s was our bike sponsored for our team. They provided TAKA DH and 29er GOBIiN bikes for us and I think I can speak for the team when I say that in a market saturated with $4000 race bikes, we proved you don’t need to have the most expensive bike out there to get the job done, so a big hats off to the AIRBORNE crew, Rick, Jeremy, Eric.

I look forward to a race filled season with a great team for 2012.

Lower priced Airborne Bicycles for 2012? Hells Yeah!

Got some news from our team sponsor, Airborne Bicycles.

Consumer-direct brand Airborne Bicycles announced its 2012 pricing today, according to the company’s website. And while prices across the industry are going up, Airborne is proud to offer lower retail prices than ever for 2012, with no reduction in spec.

At $1299.95, for instance, the best-selling 2011 Airborne Goblin 29er is already rated “equal to or better than bikes costing hundreds of dollars more” by Dirt Rag magazine. The 2012 Goblin keeps the same spec but drops an additional $150, to just $1149.95

Or consider the Airborne Taka DH machine, which Mountain Bike Action calls “(the) best deal on a downhill bike we’ve ever tested” at its original price of $1499.95. For 2012, Airborne takes that “best deal ever” pricing down even further, to just $1299.95.

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“It’s not about making bikes cheaper,” says Airborne Director Rick Vosper. “It’s about distributing bikes smarter. Bottom line is, it costs Airborne the same to make a good bike as anyone else. But we can deliver it to the cyclist at a much lower price because direct-to-consumer distribution is so much more efficient.”

Since Airborne doesn’t use model years, the new pricing is effective immediately on existing products, and is anticipated to continue throughout 2012 as inventory is refreshed and new models are introduced.

Complete pricing information is available at www.airbornebicycles.com.

Maple Springs to Motorway


Up above the clouds. We think the mountain seen on the top left of the picture is Catalina

Wow, what a beautiful Saturday it was above the clouds. As it is many times in Southern California in June, we were experiencing a bit of June gloom. I woke up on Saturday morning and left the house to a very slight drizzle. When I arrived at the trailhead, the drizzle had passed but the clouds were still present. Dan and I readied ourselves in the empty parking lot as we knew this would be a strenuous ride.


Heading into the canyon on the Jet9. This portion of the climb up Maple Springs is on pavement.

This would be my first time doing this route: up Maple Springs, connect to Main Divide then down Motorway back to the car. Frankly, I was a bit concerned but also excited. I wish all rides would have me feeling this way! The proposed route would cover almost 3,800 ft in climbing in a total of 16 miles. Maple Spring would cover 7 miles and steadily climb about 2800 feet. The next 6 miles would be a beautiful undulating ride along the Main Divide. The last 2 miles, Motorway, would be a fast singletrack fest back to the car.

Maple Springs was not too bad. Yes, there was a lot of climbing but we got to Four Corners, the start of the Main Divide portion of the trail, in 1:37 which means we were moving at about 4.3 mph. The climb was 3 miles of asphault and 4 miles of fireroad and not particularly steep at any time. It was really a grind though.


Amazing views along the Main Divide. The trail snaking its way up the mountain is Maple Springs. Its always nice to see where you came from.

The next portion, Main Divide, went longer than I thought. It was not until I got back home and examined my GPS did I realize that the MD was 6 miles long. I thought it was about 4 miles and this led to both Dan and I searching around for the turnoff to Motorway a couple of miles early. What hurt though, was the last two climbs on the Main Divide. After blasting out the first 2800ft on Maple Springs and another 200ft along the rolling Main Divide, the last two miles had two short climbs of about 400ft each. OUCH.


Dan, Airborne Goblin and the Main Divide sign. The green on the Goblin is SHARP. I likey. The pricepoint for the parts is impeccable. It reminds me of 2007 when I bought my X-Caliber for nearly the same price but the Goblin has better brakes and a nicer paint job.

Motorway was a great reward. Mildly technical due to some exposure and kitty litter over hardpacked with some smaller-than-babyhead rocks. Dan & I cruised back to the cars enjoying the flowy fast descent. But our cruise was curtailed by a tear of my new rear Specialized Fastrack Control. Thankfully I didn’t lose control and we were able to boot and tube it.


Almost all the way down Motorway. This part wasn’t even all that. I was really hauling through here when the slice occurred. Somewhere, a rock is grinning mischievously.

Quick update on the Niner Jet 9: The Jet9 did very well on this voyage, its third since being returned. She was waiting on a new cassette which held it out of service for a couple of weeks but I’ve put nearly 50 miles and over 7,000ft climbing in the week she has been back in service. I am really enjoying her 80mm of CVA suspension which has been efficient and comfortable although not as plush as the Voodoo Canzo’s 100mm it replaced. I have not noticed any lack of stiffness as compared to the Canzo, either.

Up next, as part of the agreement with the insurance company, the Jet 9 will be receiving new wheels (current wheels are from another bike) and new lowers on the Fox F29 fork to go from QR to 15mm T/A paid for by me.

Race Report: Over the Hump Series

This summer here in Orange County at Irvine lake is a local mountain bike races series on Tuesday nights. The Over the Hump series spans about three months and is twelve races long. This past Tuesday concluded the second installment of the series.

Riders gathering before the race.
Riders gathering before the race.

The first race had around 600 hundred riders participate and there were 77 riders in my class alone. The course is a fairly simple one with no major technical sections, and only two longer extended climbs. The starting line is a fire-road type section overlooking a nice view across Irvine Lake. From the starting line the road makes a generally straight shot to the first climb, but it is subject to two way traffic from the riders (mainly expert/pros on the first lap) ahead returning from the first loop. The course takes a hard right hand turn up the first climb of the lap.

Waiting for the race to begin.
Waiting for the race to begin.

The climb starts the first part of the loop and at the top it levels off hits a added section that differed from the first week’s course. It went through a few turns and and headed down the other side of the hill from what we climbed and then back around and up to where we dropped down and back down the way we came up. After this descent was the fireroad that led back to the starting line.

Down the first descent of the course.
Down the first descent of the course.

Just past the starting line the course makes a left across the lake. After a short rise and matching decline the course leads into another flat. The flat leads around the back of the back the hill which holds the final big (relatively to this course) climb of the lap. From there a short descent leads to the the longest section of mainly single-track with some quick turns. The first week this area ended in a big very muddy section through the brush, but for the second race was a reroute through the sand. Once out of the brush a short fire-road leads to the finish line.

Finishing up the first lap.
Finishing up the first lap.

The first week I was in a rather large class, as I mentioned before, and I started near the back of the group. So for the second race I made sure to try and start closer to the front of the pack. Once off the line the leaders where in a full-out sprint. I sat and spun at a good clip and tried to keep the leaders in site. By my count there were about 7 riders ahead of me at this point and I was trailing the lead pack. We hit the first climb and I thought I passed about 5 riders on the climb. I stood the whole way through the climb hoping to put the other two riders back in sight, but to no avail. The first lap continued uneventful I didn’t see any other riders from my class.

As I exited the brush at the end of the first lap a I finally saw another rider from my class as he passed me. I made sure to stay tight on him through the flats to the first climb where I return the favor and passed him. I pushed hard up the hill to put as much ground as I could between us. Down and back up the back side of the hill I pushed hard before heading down and out of that section. As I crossed the lake the other rider in may class was able to pass me again. After leading through that section of flats I didn’t have enough to fend him off. I made sure to keep him in sight and thought I should be able to gain some ground back on the final climb. I did gain ground, but only cut the distance in half and it was not enough to pass him again. Only twenty yards or so separated us as we zipped through the remaining single-track. As we hit the sand he was able to get around a sport rider who was keeping a good pace. He was going fast enough that I didn’t have enough left to pass him through the sand. As I hit solid ground again it was a hammer-fest to the finish line I was stood the last quarter mile in a full sprint to the finish line.

Clearing the top of the final climb.
Clearing the top of the final climb.

I finish 14 seconds behind the other rider in my class, thinking we were probably about 4th & 5th respectively. Once the results were in to my surprise, I was way off. It turns out I finished 2nd, and once the results were finalized, after the first two races I am leading the series as well.