Another Weekend of Great Riding!!!

This past weekend was another fun filled weekend of riding. As you have read some of the previous posts from the other MtnBikeRiders’ staff, we’ve all had a fun filled weekend on two wheels. This past Saturday I took my friends, who I have been riding with on most of my Saturdays, to my backyard trail called Skyline trail. I’ve written a ride report in the past describing Skyline. It’s a six mile grind to the top, where we will branch off to another trailhead where we will descend back to our car. This downhill trail is called Skinsuit, which is 2.5 miles of steep and flowy downhill run. It’s has nothing technical…just steep. Imagine taking 6 miles to get up, then descending back to the car in just 2.5 miles – that’s a quick way to get down!

The group met at JensonsUSA’s parking lot in Corona as 14 of the 16 guys riding haven’t been to Skyline. From here we caravanned to the trailhead.
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one of the easier parts of our cimb

Going up Skyline was a tough climb. Majority of us, if not all, had 6” travel bikes. Climbing up to 1300 feet was no easy task on a long travel fork. Along the way up, we took several breaks to regroup and take a little breather. We also passed another popular DH run where many Pro riders frequent. As a matter of fact, there were quite a few of them getting dropped off on our way up.
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Getting closer to the top

Just a little over six miles later we reached the trailhead for Skinsuit. We took a few minutes to gather ourselves and strapped on the minimal armor we carried. After a brutal climb, now the fun begins!!
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Just before the trailhead, we stopped at our landmark – the giant golf ball

FAST – is the best way to describe it. The trail snakes down the mountain through solid dirt with some small loose gravel in certain areas. Now the last two times I’ve ridden down Skinsuit, I crashed, which one was an OTB (over the bars). I was a little timid coming down, but could not pass up the good pace we were riding. We regrouped a few times to let the others catch-up or if when a steep section was just ahead. We did this to warn the others guys who haven’t been here before. One of my friends was also riding a singlespeed and had the least travel on his bike. Although slow on the descent, he was riding most of the steep sections.
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Some of the guys looking back at a section we just came down on

Somewhere towards the middle of the descent, we approached another section where we needed to slow down. There were four of us upfront that were leading the pack. The first three started slowing down. It appeared that they started to bunch up; not wanting to stack-up behind Myles (3rd guy), I veered to the left a little bit. At this point, I must have hit something because OTB I went! As I was going over my bike I heard my front tire lose air. Fortunately I landed on some shrubs but I rolled on my left arm/elbow which pressed onto my ribs. I laid there for a few minutes to gather myself. I checked myself and my bike… all was good. Added air to my front tire with CO2 cartridge and off we went to finish the ride. Below is a video of my crash. All in all, it was an epic ride. There were two of us that went OTB, but we finished the run to laugh and talk about it. The long ride was rewarded with an awesome lunch at a buffet!
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Steep section towards the end of Skinsuit where most of us walked

On Sunday, Val and I headed back to one our favorite downhill spots. For about a month we’ve heard that it has been closed down… well we wanted to see for ourselves. Sure enough it was still open; no indication of the contrary. One thing that I wanted to do was look for the 3ft ladder drop on one of the runs. On our first run down we took a wrong turn and missed it, but were still on a cool run. This particular run ended at a playground at the bottom where there were jumps, doubles and berms. Sweet! Too bad I don’t know how to ride them yet 🙂
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one of the practice runs

On our second run we found the ladder. We stopped and examined it for a few minutes, trying to motivate ourselves. In reality, it was nothing, but there’s something about leaving the ground with both tires… yikes. Also if you’re like us who don’t normally jump things – 3ft is pretty high! Apprehensive but driven at the same time, we decided to make a go at it. Val went first and I wasn’t too far behind him. Having the video camera rolling, we were now committed… gotta do it! In total we hit it 4x. To tell you the truth, after going over it the 1st time, my fear quickly went away. The FUN-factor kicked in!

On our last run, Val and I went through the same section but hit every single jump along the way. Approaching the ladder, we flew over it as if it wasn’t there 🙂 During this ride, I was was using my Intense Socom DH bike where the two tires were the DIY ghetto tubeless. Safe to say it works!!! These last two days of riding were totally awesome!!! I can’t wait to go back to either of the trails.

DIY Ghetto Tubeless Tires – It Works!!!

A few weeks ago RL and I hit one of the secret DH trails in LA. RL’s bike, the KHS Lucky 7, was equipped with his Do It Yourself (DIY) tubeless tires, aka ghetto tubeless.
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Having a set of UST on one of my bikes, I am a true fan of the tubeless system. In our last two trips to Mammoth Mountain, several of the guys pinch flatted as we hit the rocky sections of the mountain.

Always willing to try something new, I decided to give RL’s DIY tubeless a shot. His “How To” video, located at the right of this page, walks you step by step on what to do and what you need. Already having some tubeless sealant leftovers from my UST tires, all I needed was a pair of smaller tubes to use as rim strips / liners. So one day after work I stopped by my LBS and picked up a pair of 20” tubes.

Installation was a breeze. It took me literally less than 15 minutes for each tire. On one I had difficulties getting the bead to sit on the rim but with patience and the air compressor 🙂 all worked out well.

First ride on the DIY Tubeless Tires was a pretty mellow ride. My son and I rode around the Back Bay in Orange County. Relatively flat as this place is more of an extension for roadies from the river beds and also utilized by hikers. First true ride was this past Wednesday at the Fullerton Loop.
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Night ride at the Loop. Kenda Small Block 8 on the rear.

How did it work – perfect! I have them mounted on Easton Havoc wheelset. Front tire is a Panaracer Fire 2.4” and the rear is a Kenda Small Block 8 2.35”. They are currently mounted on my Intense 6.6 but I’m planning to use them on a more aggressive bike such as my Intense Uzzi. Yesterday I rode at Whiting Ranch which hosts a more rugged terrain than the Fullerton Loop. I mounted a camera on my downtube to see the front tire in action. In the video you’ll see the excess of 20” tube I used as a rim strip/liner sticking out between the tire and rim. It’s ugly, but I didn’t want to trim it down yet until I knew for a fact that the tire was holding air.
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Panacers FR 2.4s + Easton Havoc… DIY Tubeless System

Interbike 2008: Yess Pro ETR-D Chain Tensioner

At Interbike we met with YESS.  Other than the unit RL featured last month, the ETR-B, they also provided us with their new ETR-D tensioner for full suspension bikes.

IMG_9024 copy by you.                               ETR-D, outside view               

February of this year I converted my Intense Tracer into a full suspension single speed bike.  A Key part of my conversion was the YESS chain tensioner, model ETR-V. Since then I’ve had many rides and racked up many miles on this unit.

IMG_9385 by you.                                  Singlespeed Intense Tracer with ETR-V tensioner.

The ETR-V has worked perfectly (as it’s supposed to) and held up well. One flaw I thought was the ETR-V was not truly compatible with the older Horst-link design.  I recall during my conversion having one difficulty with the installation.  The arm on the ETR-V was hitting the Horst-link & chainstay of my Tracer.  This posed to be a problem until I made several adjustments.  I moved the arm down into several holes (of the joint) until it was no longer hitting the chainstay.  Although it appeared clearance free, often times under compression I would find that the small nut would get stuck or lodged into the Horst link.  This eventually created a dent into the chainstay where it no longer gets stuck.

IMG_9100 by you.                                 You can see the dent on the inner arm of the chainstay where the nut would make contact.

This new model, ETR-D, will replace the one that I had installed.  Main difference is the original attached through the axle where this new model will attach onto the derailleur hanger.  Much better I think, dropping the arm lower where it will have enough clearance to avoid contact into the Horst link.

 

IMG_9022 copy by you.                                   ETR-D, inside view.

Description from Yess:

Designed for Full Suspension Mountain bikes using various Axle sizes. This tensioner will also allow removal of wheel without interrupting the tensioner mount. Installed onto the derailleur hanger and locked into place with two setscrews, this is all you need to convert your full suspension frame into singlespeed.

I’ll be posting a follow-up report soon after I have installed the new ETR-D. Stay tuned. For more information, log onto www.yesspro.com

 

Southern California: Best Mountain Biking Locale in the World?

A recent press release by the Bicycle Retailer and Industry News website mentioned that Bicycling Mag has decided to move its offices from Burbank to Valencia, California. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Southern California, Burbank is a city just north of downtown Los Angeles while Valencia is a little farther northwest of Burbank, another 25 miles.


Riding next to the beach… +1 for So. Cal riding

Bicycling Mag’s Steve Madden (I thought he made women’s shoes) stated that their reasons for keeping an office in Southern California is because its “important to have a place with access to sunshine.”


Jumping the gap on a So. California trail

That got me thinking: yeah, Southern California is a great mountain biking locale but could it be one of the Best Mountain Biking locales in the world? Could it be THE best Mountain Biking Locale?


Off chamber singletrack with some nice exposure to boot! yum

Here are my thoughts:

1. Diverse trails: You can’t start off any list of best mountain biking spots in the world without a list of what that location has to offer. I live in north Orange County and within one hour of me I have access to literally hundreds of trails. The Santa Monica mountains northwest of me are world renown for their challenging yet beautiful trails. The San Bernardino mountains to the northeast is home to what is widely considered the best singletrack in So. Cal.: San Ana River Trail (SART). To the east are two major race courses in Fontana’s Southridge which runs Cross Country, Downhill and Super D races as well as Temecula known for its Endurance racing. To the south, within an hour and a half drive, there are a ton of trails. I would not be exaggerating if I said that I could ride every Saturday for a year without riding the same trail twice.


Riding SART in the middle of December

The sheer variety of all that is available can make choosing a weekend ride particularly difficult. Want to ride in the mountains? Want to ride in the hills along the beach? Want to do a 100 mile epic? You can find them all in Southern California.


Lance ready to race in early November… notice the beautiful skies

2. Spectacular weather year round:
You can not qualify your locale as the best mountain biking spot in the world if you can not ride on dirt at least 3 seasons of the year. Year round riding gives you another point. Sure there are a ton of great spots in Colorado and Utah to ride but if they’re closed down 6 months of the year for the white stuff then you can’t really stake a claim to being the best. Maybe we’ll give you the title of best mountain biking locale 6 months of the year. 🙂

Think of it this way: I’ve been mountain biking through the last few winters and the coldest its ever been is the high 30s. What did I wear? For my legs: leg warmers & shorts. For my upper body: wicking base layer, long sleeve t-shirt & windbreaker pull over. No parkas, no snow boots, no ear muffs. On the other side of the coin I’ve ridden into the dead of summer with just shorts and tank-top type wicking shirt, no problem. Some guys even ride shirtless… although I’m not sure if that’s a plus or not.

Just an aside but why would you send products to test in places that are packed down by snow 6 months of the year? Unless you’ve got a mountain biking product made for extremely cold weather most products sent in the fall/winter can’t or shouldn’t be tested until spring/summer in those areas. Do you want your mountain bike getting ridden in conditions most mountain bikers wouldn’t venture out in? OK, now I’m just being selfish. 😉


Early MARCH race at Bonelli with temps in the low 70s

3. Tons of Local Bike Shops: If having choices are good then having a ton of choices is even better right? A few weeks ago, I visited 4 different bikes shops to check out there 29er collections. These four shops were within 5 miles of each other, not “as the crow flies” but actual driving miles. In Southern California you are not limited to the one LBS in town. Don’t like one place’s service or bikes? Stroll down the street and see if the next LBS doesn’t do better.

Not only are there a ton of LBS’s but some great big name e-tailers such as pricepoint.com & jensonusa.com are located in Southern California. Why is that good? Because if you buy something from them and select ground shipping, many times you can get your purchase the next day! No need to pay for expensive overnight shipping if you live here.


Pricepoint is almost down the street in Gardena, CA.

Jensonusa not only has quick shipping to So. California residents it also has two brick & mortar stores. Can’t wait until tomorrow to pick up your order? Roll on over to their store and pick up orders that you make from their online store.

4. Huge mountain biking community. I’m not a fan of riding solo, but that’s usually not a problem with such a large mountain biking community. The strengths of this is not just meeting friends and riding together, it also has fringe benefits. Having a large mountain biking community means demos are always swinging by. Just last week Specialized, Pivot and Rocky Mtn had demos going. This weekend Giant will be doing demos in So. Cal.


Demoing the KHS Flagstaff

Another fringe benefit to having a huge mountain biking community is that there are a lot of bike companies who have offices in Southern California. How is this a plus? Well, you can’t spend 24/7 mountain biking, right? You’re going to have to work sometime to pay the bills and what better place to work, for the mountain biker, than for a bike company? Niner, Intense, KHS, Felt, Shimano, Giant, Turner, etc. all have offices or are headquartered in So. Cal.

OK, enough bragging. Now I want to hear your arguments. Why do you think your location should be considered the best mountain biking locale in the world?