Bit of a Sufferfest

Suffering on the 45 minute climb… I could see Dan enjoying taking this picture of me… watching me suffer

Went out with AV Dan on Saturday for a bit of a sufferfest at Chino Hills State Park. This one is a pretty common route I’ll ride if I’m short on time, but want to do more than the loop. I can normally get it done in under 2.5 hours which is about the amount of time it took for Dan & me that day.

It starts off with a long-ish 45 minute climb. The climb has very few breaks and is typical of Southern California, all fireroad. The kicker on the climb was that the last section from Sycamore to McDermott was not only steep, as usual, but also extremely sandy. If I had known it was that bad, I would have definitely opted out at Sycamore and rode directly to Four Corners from there.

Giant Trance & Niner Jet 9 at Four Corners

Ah, but ignorance is bliss, at least for a while. Then the sand hit and although I didn’t get off the bike, I was definitely in granny just keeping up a high cadence to climb through the sand pits. The sand looked to be the remnants from last fall’s fire that really did a number on Chino Hills.

Bovinian Delight’s singletrack is a a welcome change to the miles of fireroad we just finished

After our break at Four Corners we hit Bovinian Delight which is a singletrack treat after so much fireroad. The singletrack track was relatively clear and we stopped off to take a quick photo of Dan looking menacing on the trail.

Dan enjoying the cleared out singletrack

The return ride back to the car of about 7 miles is always fun. It’s rolling hills that can go pretty fast. Dan & I ended up trading bikes for a few minutes to discuss the merits of each other’s bikes. Dan rides a Giant Trance & I was on my Niner Jet 9. The Trance is 5” travel AM bike and my Niner is a 3” travel XC bike.

After trading rides and doing that for a very short stretch of trail, we were both certain that our own bike was the bike we preferred to be on.

Sea Otter 2009: Turner Sultan Quick Ride Review

The 2009 Turner Sultan

The longest but least technical ride of the weekend sadly belonged to the Turner Sultan. The “least technical” part was not by choice. Scissors and I started out thinking it would be great to get in a longer ride on Saturday morning before the crowds showed up. After looking around we saw a 10 mile tour ride. Sadly the “tour” part meant all fireroad. It ended up being about 4+ miles of fast downhill fireroad proceeded by a long, tough 5+ mile climb. We were able to, in the end, ride some fun singletrack, but that was short lived as we hit the pavement after less than a mile of singletrack and went back to the Sea Otter exhibition area.

The DW Link is new for the 2009 model year on the Sultan and, correct me if I’m wrong, all Turner bikes

My first thought on the Sultan was: 4.7 inches of travel on a 29er is going to be total overkill for my riding style. I was very concerned about the extra travel robbing me of the pedaling efficiency I experience with hardtails and 3″ full suspension 29ers. Pedaling efficiency was and is key for me because even though I’m more of a XC oriented rider, I’m still a clyde and pedal bob wreaks havoc on my mind.

The Sultan, though, blew me away when it came to climbing. It was extremely efficient even without having to “lock out” or turn on the propedal feature of the shock. I distinctly remember commenting to myself that even though I’m not a fan of long sustained climbs the Sultan’s efficiency made it sort of OK. The 50% more travel than I’m used to (from 3″ to 4.7″) wasn’t noticeable at all when climbing. I expected some bounce and for the shock to be using some travel, but nothing.

The Off Road 10 mile Tour’s saving grace was a rest stop at the bottom of the descent. Cookies, drinks, made to order sandwiches and a bike mechanic, all for free! You rock, Sea Otter!

On the wide fireroad downhill, the Sultan did great. I mean really, what bike would not have done well in that situation? Poor trail choice by the rider. The singletrack we finally did get to do was new to me but I did get a chance to open things up just a smidge when the coast was clear and I could see ahead down the singletrack a bit. The Turner Sultan did really well in those situations but even then the zip tie showed I wasn’t using all of the travel. I really wish I had some more time on more technical trails to get a good feel for this bike.

Ride Report: Turnbull Canyon – Guest Appearance

All of us lucky enough to go out and ride Turnbull Canyon on Saturday got to see one of the most elusive, stealthy animals on the planet… The Moe. The Moe is very similar to the mysterious cougar who prowls the bars of Orange County searching for the unsuspecting young buck. Wait, wait, wait… I’m thinking of the wrong cougar.

No, the mysterious cougar that The Moe resembles is the feline that is seldom viewed by the public. More often the mysterious cougar has probably seen a mountain biker 10 times before the mountain biker has seen the cougar once. The Moe, via the power of the internet probably has the same 10:1 ratio or seeing mountain bikers to being seen by mountain bikers.

Anyway, enough about The Moe and onto the Turnbull Canyon ride report! Turnbull Canyon claimed its first victim when, not even half-a-mile onto the trail, our friend Ryan got his chain stuck between the bottom bracket and the crankset. A twisted chain link later and Ryan was cruising back to his car. This was a great downer for all of us and the depressed mood pervaded the band of bikers for the next few miles or was that depressed mood more a result of the nasty climb? Either way, we were all bummed for Ryan.

Turnbull Canyon has lots of fun parts to it. We decided to take the 2 mile fireroad climb in. Yes, it is actually fun. We followed this by switchbacks going down and then switchbacks coming up. We capped off the great ride with a sweet singletrack descent that dropped us off on the streets below our car. I’m not much of a roadie but the last singeltrack, with its exposure, is worth having to grind out a half-mile road climb back to the car.

All in all, about 1500 feet of climbing in an 8 mile double loop. Lots of fun. Hopefully, we’ll have Ryan riding with us again soon. And for your viewing pleasure, never before published video of The Moe. The Moe is the biker wearing blue riding the silver bike. He sometimes looks like he is struggling on the trail… that’s because he is.