Riding with MTNBikeRiders.com racers

So I had the rare fortune to ride with a couple of local heros Monday afternoon. I got to ride with Mark “the Polish” Hammer and Dan “Super B” Burdett. Both Mark and Dan are great riders and all around good guys to hang with. I know that there is a certain “air” that comes with being a celebrity and a local hero but with these guys none of that is apparent on the surface, what you see is what you get; on our ride I even witnessed these guys speaking with the common trail user!

You can read more about:
Dan Super B HERE
The Polish Hammer HERE

We set out Monday afternoon at one of our favorite trails, Marshall canyon. With all the recent rain, we weren’t real sure what to expect but we had a hunch. Our hunch proved to be correct and the trail was pretty beat up but totally ridable. We were warned up front about a huge mud hole that would sink bike and rider up to 10 inches. We found the mud hole but there was a work around, no problem. We did however discover sections of the trail that were totally wiped out (just plain gone), down trees and more water flowing down the numerous water crossings than I have ever seen.

The Day was beautiful and it seems others shared the same sentiment as I. We ran in to numerous other trail users, horses, bike riders, hikers, basically the usual for Marshall Canyon. The trail was not crowded and everyone ended the day safe and no real mechanicals other than Mark losing a little air from his rear tire, a Specy S-Works Fast Trak 2Bliss set up. you guessed it, tubeless with Stan’s. These tires seem to be pretty vulnerable on the side walls as we have both experienced small tares that happen more easily than they should.

Mark @ Marshall
Here is Mark charging the last hill of our climb.

We decided to make this a Single Speed only ride and boy did I pay for it, Dan and I were on 29ers and Mark was on a 69er. For one, I have not been riding after having the “big V” in November and secondly, I chose to ride with 2 of the team racers from the site. They were accommodating to say the least but I could sense they were chomping at the bit to be set free of shackle they called me.

Dan Super B charging the last hill of the day.

Team riders were set free….
We worked our way up to a mid-point rest spot that includes a comfy old bench, plenty of tree cover and flowing water, lots of flowing water. From there, 3 options are available to ride not including turning around and heading down hill.
1) Climb to a fire road, back down single track to climb again and back down more single track, to the car
2) Climb to a fire road, turn around come back down, climb again and back down more single track, to the car
3) Climb to a fire road,down some single track and to the car

I chose #3 and waited at the top of the last descent while Mark and Dan chose #1, they were finally set free of their buddy and bike anchor! When they finally met up with me after climbing a ton in only a couple of miles, Dan says to us after resting a few seconds “the feeling like I’m gonna puke is starting to go away” — Ya, I’m not ready for that feeling just yet after being off any bike for 6 weeks.

Gotta LOVE Marshall Canyon….it’s absolutely beautiful

Dead Bird
This was me at the end of our ride….another victim of Marshall Canyon

We had a great time and ended up very muddy….but this was totally expected and this is why we ride…good times!

40 miles

With three children under 5 years old it has become exponentially more difficult to get out of the house for rides. Over the three day Valentine’s Day/Chinese New Year’s three day weekend, I was able to get out for about 40 miles which is quite a bit for me.

The weekend started when my office closed up a little early in celebration of Chinese New Year… the year of the Tiger, by the way. I was able to get in a short 4 mile ride by running a couple of errands my wife asked me to take care of. That half hour of riding was a little blessing as it was totally unexpected.

On Saturday morning, Dan and I met at 7th Avenue in Hacienda Heights to ride 7th Ave and Turnbull. The route I chose was 15 miles long with 3k feet of climbing. I printed out extensive directions (3 pages) for our ride but 4 miles in, I made a wrong turn and couldn’t back to the correct trail (mental note: keep eyes out for a gps system on the used market). Boo. I promptly started guessing how to get to the next section of singletrack, but to no avail.

After a mile or two of that Dan and I rerouted. We climbed up the wide fireroad leading in from the Whittier side of the trail and hit A-line. We then climbed back up that same fireroad to the colorful water tower and then returned back to the car on my favorite trail of 7th/Turnbull. This section consists of a sweet set of switchbacks under a beautiful canopy of trees. Its fast, flowy and a hoot to ride on. It turned out to be Dan’s favorite section as well. 12.5 miles with well nearly 2500 feet of climbing. Not a bad substitute for the original route.

Me and Dan up at the colorful water tower. Niner AIR9 & Giant Trance.

Sunday was a day of rest.

Monday was a bigger mileage ride. 23 total miles leaving from Mr. Scissor’s house to the Mills Loop and Marshall Canyon for about 2200 feet of climbing. My body was killing me on Monday as it usually is the 2nd day after experiencing cramps on a ride. But since the wife had approved of the ride (on Valentine’s Day no less!) I was there.

Me and Tim. Beautiful day of late afternoon riding with the setting sun and snow capped mountains in the background. Tim is rolling on the Trek Fuel EX

This ride lasted about 3 hours with a few much needed stops in between. Dan and I were pretty gassed for much of the ride but it was still a blast to hit Mills and Marshall Canyon especially since we were able to get up to the mid-30’s mph when coming back down Mills. The ride back to the house was an exercise in warding off cramps as we were at the three hour mark.

You can’t see it in either of the pictures but I am riding the Prologo Vertigo Nack. I find the saddle to be pretty comfortable, similar to the Rocket V in padding, and durable. A few days after Monday’s ride I got a chance to clean the bike and the Nack was still in pristine condition after over 100 miles of riding. I will keep you posted.

All pictures from Dan the Man

Marshall Canyon 2, Jer/Friends 0

JJ rocking the downhill doubletrack

I decided to get in a longer ride this weekend so a few of us went out to ride Marshall Canyon. Marshall Canyon is located in the foothills about 30 minutes north of where I live. It is a beautiful out and back that is basically a climb to the top, play on a loop or two then ride an exhilarating XC downhill. The recent rains left a ton of small little streams no more than 4 feet wide that we got to splash our bikes through. This water and dirt did wreak havoc on our drivetrains. By the end of the ride I was ghost shifting a lot while Tim snapped his derailleur hangar.

The Juicy 7’s did their job bringing me and the Redline to a stop on the downhills

One of the great things about the Marshall Canyon ride is that there are some great switchback ascents and descents. These switchbacks really challenge the rider as they are both steep, loose and (because of the rain) rutted. I was also pretty thankful that I had the Juicy 7’s on. There was one part when I didn’t think I’d braked early enough and a crash was imminent, but thankfully the brakes stopped me and I was able to maneuver around a size-able gap that I would have probably eaten it on.

Wayland climbed it all SS and Rigid… on a 29er, of course

So back to the snapped derailleur hangar: we were thankful it wasn’t anymore than that. The derailleur hangar snapped off sending the XTR cage into the rear wheel. Tim was able to stop immediately and no damage was done either to the XTR derailleur or the 29er wheel. After a minute of examination, it was determined that only the derailleur hangar broke and nothing expensive was damaged.

One thing I did learn from this ride is the importance of bringing along zip ties. Our friend JJ brought along a few zip ties and we were able to tie the rear derailleur to the rear triangle so that it’d be out of the way of the rear wheel. The rear brake caliper had squeezed together a little so the rear disc was not going to fit back in. With another zip tie we mounted the brake onto the bike and Tim rode the rest of the way without a rear brake and without a chain. But he did ride, rather than walk, his way out thanks to the zip ties.

Tim, before braking the derailleur hangar

Marshall Canyon rocked me the last time I was out there breaking my chainring. This time it got Tim and his derailleur hangar. One of these times we’re going to ride the canyon and get out without any mechanicals. Until then, Marshall Canyon 2, Jer & friends 0.