The Man in the Rear – Tandem Mt. SAC Race report

Two weeks ago, RL and I raced at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Classic on a tandem bike. What was interesting about this race is we were the only ones in our CAT with a tandem bike. Traditionally Mt SAC has had a class for tandems however since they are now aligning with the other races of the Triple Crown, they did away with the tandem class. Without knowing this, RL purchased a used tandem bike just a few weeks before the race. In total we had a whopping ONE ride to practice which was just a few days prior to the race.

Unsure if we were even allowed to race the tandem, RL and I fired off several emails to the powers that be at Mt SAC. Closer to the race day we received a response that we can however we’ll have to race in our age group. Being that RL registered us, we raced in this group which was Beginners 27-34… bunch of fast-er guys.

At the line-up we were greeted with cheers from both racers and spectators. Many of our friends from the racing circuit cheered us onto the starting line! Man, we were like mountain biking celebrities!!! :). Not wanting to impede the other racers in our CAT, we lined up in the back. Off the bat we knew what our chances were, we didn’t have high expectations on placing. Our goal was NOT to finish last!

IMG_1020

DSC_0092
RL and I walking our bike towards the back of the pack.
Below is a video from the Stoker’s POV. You’ll see us doing really well in the first lap. As a matter of fact we passed or kept up with many racers on the flats. Up the first hill wasn’t bad, we made it up with out any problems. Approaching the switchback climbs we started encountering problems within the singletrack. We had a hard time maneuvering through this. On the other side of the switchbacks I got off the bike and ran to the bottom where it flattened. You’ll see me in the video (fast forwarded) running through the trail waiting for RL at the bottom. I’m glad we didn’t ride through here as there were at least three different people that went down. RL however managed to ride through here smoothly.

IMG_1030

Onto the third hill we grinded – Energy level was still good…. At the bottom on the other side, we were cheered on by our families and friends. Shortly after this descent we made our way towards probably the third toughest climb. Fortunately the switchbacks were fire-road wide. Mash, mash, mash – we made it up! All through out the Captain and the Stoker are in constant communication.

IMG_1044

Much of the same for the second lap however fatigue kicked in and we were a lot slower. Even walking up some of the hills were harder second time around :(. Somewhere in between the second lap, as we grinded through, we became more aware of our placement within the race. Our goal was not to be last however, we were seeing less and less racers… only a few passed us on the last climb by the stables. Could we have been that far behind??? Apparently not… RL and I continued to pedal, descended the big (last) downhill section with more confidence than the first lap.

IMG_1053

As we motored through the Finish Line we were greeted by the same cheers that were there at the Start. Shortly after, another racer in our CAT came in. We did it – we were not last!!!. Out of 25, we were the 24th 🙂

IMG_1039

What a great experience. It was my first ever tandem race and it was such a blast!!! I’m hoping they will open this Class next year in the Triple Crown series as we are looking forward to racing it again, with even more training!

Triple Crown – Mt Sac Fat Tire Classic by Mark “The Hammer” Tomas

Editorial-RL Policar. Before you read this race report from The Hammer. Let me give you a brief summary of what happened to the Hammer just days prior to the race. One morning, he went to go get their new born, Lil’ Hammer, and as he bent down over the crib to reach the baby, his back went out! The next few days The Hammer was bed ridden with radiating pain from his back. He couldn’t even go back to work due to the severity of the pain. I had emailed him to ask him if he was doing ok and to tell him that he should get some much needed rest. I assumed Mark was not going to race because of his injury. But on race day, I was talking to someone and when I turned around, Mark was right there, all suited up and ready to rock! Not sure if the Hammer was just being stubborn, or he’s really dedicated…either way we were stoked to see him race and considering his messed up back, he did pretty well.

Sunday Nov 7th, we headed out to Mt Sac for the second of thee races in the So Cal Triple Crown Series. Stop one was at Bonelli park, where it was raining and wet. Stop two had perfect weather, and sunny skies. After a quick registration, and leg marking, I hit the course with my friend Justin V, to see if anything had changed since last year. About 1/4 in to the route, we noticed they added a new section of singletrack cut into the side of the hill, with a super loose decent down the other side. With not much time till the start, we headed back to get ready.
IMG_0997
After the pros and experts took off, we staged for our start. When the horn sounded, it was a mass of guys charging for the first climb. Once we hit the singletrack, it was no passing for a while. Toward the end of the first lap, I wasn’t feeling too good, I thought about throwing in the towel, but decided to just back off a little and try to finish. Second lap I was just trying not to get dropped too bad, toward the end of lap three I pushed hard to see if I could pick up at least one position before the finish.
IMG_0998
I end up closing in on two riders in my class and making the passes before the finish. Once the results were in I placed 6th out of 11 in my class. Mt Sac is always a great event. I’m glad I was able to make it out, and race with the team. Next stop Fontana!

Check out my new-to-me tandem

I recently picked up this Diamondback Wildwood Tandem off an ad from Craigslist on Tuesday. Team Racer, Joe Solancho and I had discussed entering the Mt Sac Fat Tire Classic XC Race in the Tandem Category. Only problem was we didn’t have a tandem on hand to do the race. So when this Diamondback became available, I jumped on it!

Stock, the tandem came with a rigid fork. But it has a 1 1/8″ head tube, so that meant I could easily swap out the rigid fork for a suspension fork to make our ride a bit more comfy during training and the race.

One of our friends, Arnie Alvarado, provided a Rockshox Pilot fork to use until the fork I had placed on order arrives sometime next week.
tandem

After I installed the fork, one of my buddies, Ben, came over to hang out. After a couple beers, we decided to test ride the tandem to make sure everything was in working order. As we’re riding around, we decided to race Ben’s son, Joey, he rode an Electric Bike. Ben and I were mashing hard and was leading the race, then as he was applying the front brakes, Ben hears a big snapping sound (he was the captain, and I was the stoker). He was able to stop the bike. But upon inspection, we found a mechanical…can you see what it is?
tandem

If you haven’t figured it out yet, here’s a hint…See the green arrows? Well apparently, when I was swapping forks, I had installed the v-brakes, but I forgot one major item…I forgot to install the bolts that hold the brakes to the bosses…big duh on my part…
tandem
Lucky for us the rear brakes had enough power to stop us before we hit Ben’s wife’s car…

So if you are going to be @ the Mt. Sac Fat Tire Classic next week, you may just see us! Right now they don’t have a tandem class, if anything, Joe and I will enter as Beginner Men. But we’re not sure if we should do 27-34(RL-33) or 35-42(Joe-40?)…either way we’ll have fun while mashing the competition.

Eric Hunner’s Mt Sac Race Report

From “THE ANIMAL” Eric Hunner…

Race day I was up really early as usual checking the weather, light rain. Rain was a good thing, we rode MT. SAC the day before and it was dry and dusty, transitioning into cracked dirt and rock hard singletrack. Mix the two together with a little rain and we some nice dirt to race on.

I owe a Big Thanks to Ergon USA, this was my first competitive event that I used Ergon Grips. This also happens to be the first race where I did not focus on my hands going to sleep. In the past I have had to slow down after a rough downhill section due to the fact I could not feel my hands on the grips during a race.

This was not the case during my Race at MT. SAC. I had received the grips the day before the race. Installing the grips is simple and straight forward, very little tweaking needed. I put 15 miles on the new grips before the race, I was already hooked. The adjustable Bar Ends built into the end of the grips are Awesome. The Bar Ends provided multiple hand placements, which was needed for the MT. SAC race because on the course there really isn’t a place to rest.

MT. SAC has a little bit of everything dry pavement, muddy pavement, lots of hill climbs, single track, slippery grass transitions, hike a bike, tunnel crossing, gravel, and a farm crossing. Having the new Ergon grips made the difference for my race; I could concentrate on the race and not tend to my hands. At the start line I had my toughest competitor Mark Mumea next to me and he had the same Ergon grips I had. I asked Mark if he liked the grips? I believe he said, “They are great”. He kept it short as the race was about to start.

The race started and I had a nice start. I stayed on the left side of the start line so I would not get bumped by the multi-speeders running hard to the first turn. It worked No accidents at the start. I lost
sight of Mark at the first bottleneck I had another Single Speeder in my group one of Mark’s teammates Rod Leueque. Rod and I were going back and forth the first two laps. On the first mile of the last lap Rod threw his chain on some rough single track. Rod recovered and still put up a good fight, but I didn’t let him catch me this time. From that point on I was going like mad. I made it to the podium in 5th place.

I owe another Big Thank You to our Team for all the suport and the great food, Evomo, Hoss, & Ergon.

RL the “Team Manager’s” Race Report: Mt Sac Fat Tire Classic

The Mt Sac Fat Tire Classic has to be one of the most fun races here in SoCal. It literally brings riders from all over the place in all riding levels the opportunity to try mountain bike racing.

The first race of the day for our riders was at 8:45 am. The next race wasn’t due to start until 11:45am. So that meant that I had to make sure that we had everything we needed such as food, canopy, gels, and family packed and ready to go just so we can be at the venue bright and early to cheer on Eric and Joe.

What made this race interesting was the rain that came down the night before. That morning Eric had called me from the venue, while I was still at home getting ready, to let me know that it was “misting hard.” When we got there, the rain was starting to come down a bit harder but it eventually cleared by the first race.

We set up our RAD Redline Bicycles Tent (thanks gOrK!) and got things ready for the day. We wanted to make sure our racers and family members were taken care of, so we had a BBQ for them. Our menu included flame broiled hamburgers and hot dogs, Salmon, and Mahi Mahi. We also had cup cakes and a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert.

Around 8:40am the racers lined up and at exactly 8:45am, they all took off. Eric had a great start and showed his strength when he started mashing up the first hill. Joe, the Ninja that he is, easily snuck by and with his cat like reflexes, clawed his way through the other riders.

Here’s Eric and Joe coming by the Feed Zone. The feed transitions were almost perfect with the guys…except one time when I handed off the bottle to Joe and it either slipped out of his hands or his cage. But luckily one of the other feeders from another team grabbed his water bottle and ran it over to Joe…nice guy eh!

Ok I’m going to move on to the next race. I’ll go back and talk about Joe and Eric’s race results along with the rest of the team.

So now we move onto the next race in which Priscilla, Kim, Moe and our friends Val and Ner participating in. The beginner’s group is a large one…the organizers said that they must have had at least 100 racers in there.

In Priscilla’s category, Beginner Women, 34 and under she had about 6 in her field. Kim also had about 6 in her field of Beginner Women, 34 and over. The girls did a phenomenal job during this race and you can see them methodically planning their attacks through out the course. In one instance, after a big climb, the girl that was currently in 2nd place (Priscilla’s group) slowed down after the descent and decided to relax, but it was at this time Priscilla took advantage of the situation and hammered it.

Here’s what I was talking about, the girl in the red took it easy as soon as she got down. Priscilla went wide and passed her.

Kim used what she knows from years of riding XC into practice on the competition. She held her position during the race and never let anyone in her group pass her.

Then there was Ner and Val. We’ve ridden with these guys so many times and we knew that Val has the ability to mash it, but what we were all blown away with was Ner’s ability to ride. In all of our group rides, Ner sand bags it…He literally is a humble rider and doesn’t let on that he can mash. At the race, he held a good position and finished strong.
Ner and Val

Then there was THE MOE. You have to understand his mentality on this race. TM had no plans on winning the Beginner 35 and up class, nope. He had a personal vendetta he had to settle. This race was to redeem himself from the Bonelli Race in which he had mechanical problems that caused him to stop. This time he took care of all the bike problems, trained hard and rode with heart.

TM wasn’t concerned about other riders, all he did was “RIDE HIS RIDE.”

TM was pretty determined and only took a shot of MotoTabs during the feed station, the first time he passed by, he simply said, “no thanks…” TM had this calm but eerie confidence during the ride. He wasn’t loud, he wasn’t screaming, he just rode…by the way, Nice Jersey!

Ok now for the results…The girls did an AWESOME Job in bringing home the goods! Kim placed 3rd and Priscilla 2nd!

Eric came in at a respectable 5th place. Good Job Animal! Is that a Coke and Rum in your hands?

For the rest of the fellas, though they didn’t place. They all had a level of satisfaction being able to finish strong and having a great time. I’d like to thank all of the racers for making it out, and a big thanks to Redline Bicycles for the tent, KHS Bicycles for the Hammer Gels and Water Bottles, to Evomo Clothing for your stylish clothes, Hoss MTB for the awesome gear you guys make, ERGON USA for the fantastic grips!

I’ve compiled a small video of the race. The other riders will be posting their own reports, but in the mean time enjoy!

Training Day-Mt Sac Pre-Ride

This morning the MtnBikeRiders.com crew headed out to the Mt Sac trail to pre-ride the course for tomorrow’s race. When we got there the trail wasn’t marked and since this venue is actually at a college, most of the access to the rest of the trails were closed.

We eventually caught up with the SC Velo guys who were marking up the path. We followed them like a shadow to get a feel for what the racers will have to deal with tomorrow. As usual, I brought out the camera to take shots of our riders.

We also just got our gear from Ergon USA. They provided the Team a set of BD-1 Team back packs and grips. Here’s Eric (single speed phenom) and Priscilla with their new goods.

Here’s Priscilla’s new GX1 Ergon Grips.

Here’s the first climb.

It was kinda frustrating dealing with some of the ungroomed single track…

Eric, Joe and Ner.

Check out this picture that was next to the trail…

Tomorrow should be a great race, the whole team will be there. We’ll post our race reports soon enough, wish us luck!

Mt. SAC FFTC– one year later…

This Sunday is the 2008 Mt. SAC Fall Fat Tire Classic.  It will mark my one year anniversary in racing.  This time last year I entered my first XC race.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an avid mountain biker, the Friday before the 2007 Mt. SAC FFTC I decided to enter the race.  I was with my age group, Men’s Beginner 35-39 class, which was a pretty big group.  Not having prepped for the race, I thought I would fair well against my competitors.  Not even close – as a matter of fact I got smoked!  One thing that I was pleased with is I finished!  

The 2007 Mt. SAC FFTC was a motivation for me.  I couldn’t wait for the 2008 season to come so I can enter more races.  Competitive by nature, but realistic that the dream has long passed… my goal was simple – to do better than the last race and have fun!

This year I have done that and have done fairly well.  Sometimes I placed and sometimes I didn’t.  And sometimes I got hurt in the process… most of all I had FUN doing it!

This Sunday I’m looking forward to the Mt. SAC race.  Along with the MtnBikeRiders Team, we are going to have fun!  It will also be an interesting day as our forecast is predicting rain.  Check back next week for race reports and pictures.

Review: Redline Mono 9

Redline Mono 9
Redline Mono 9 ready for a morning ride

Who:
Redline Bikes

Product Tested:
Redline Mono 9

Redline Mono 9, Powder Canyon
Riding rigid takes some getting used to

Website’s MSRP:
$ 999.99

Specs:
Frame: Flight Double Butted Sanko Chromoly Tubing with fixed rear droputs.
Fork: Sanko Chromoly Taper Legs
Wheel set: WTB laser Disc Rims, Redline SB QR Hubs, Maxxis Ignitor 29 x 2.1 Tires
Drive: FSA Alpha 32T w Alloy Guard, Isis BB Sram X9 Short Cage Derailluer w X9 Trigger 12-32 9speed, PC 951 Chain.
Brake: Avid BB5 w 160mm Rotor.
Control: Ritchey Pro Bar, Stem, and Seat Post, WTB Rocket V SLT Saddle
Color: Warm Mineral Grey
Sizes: 15,17,19,21
Tested size 19 – Large

Redline Mono 9, Handlebar
Rithcey Pro stem/handlebar + Avid brakes + X-9 shifter. One less shifter cleans up the handlebar

About Me:
6’0? 210lbs, 28 year old male. I’m a mountain biking enthusiast who enjoys rocking the big 29er wheels.

Testing Grounds:
Fullerton Loop, Chino Hills State Park, Powder Canyon, Santiago Oaks, Mt. SAC race… basically lots of So. Cal trails as well as the streets of Placentia, Fullerton and other N. Orange County cities.

First Impression:
A little apprehensive. Rigid? 9 gears? How was I going to make it up 5 miles of climbing in Chino Hills State Park with only 9 gears? How was I going to get through the rocky sections of Santiago Oaks? To say I was a little apprehensive about testing a rigid 9-speed was an understatement.

Once I got it out on my favorite trail though I was hooked. There’s just something about riding with less gears and a rigid bike. The feel is painful yet satisfying. I like it.

Redline Mono9
Mono 9 on her first group ride at Powder Canyon

Strengths:
The first thing about the bike is that it is aesthetically pleasing. The paint job is super nice while the gray decals and graphics against the metallic black are clean. The black background color is especially cool because it is a metallic (it has glitter in it, but not in the girly nail polish way) black. In fact the black metallic is so subtle that RL, someone who has seen the bike a ton of times since we got it in for testing, just noticed the metallic paint last week. Subtle, but really cool.

The Sanko steel frame makes for smaller diameter tubing than aluminum which looks sleek. The steel has a good feel to it that is different than the aluminum bikes I’ve ridden. The steel isn’t quite as harsh as aluminum, but still plenty harsh since it is fully rigid. Speaking of the frame, the frame geometry of the bike fits me very well. I’m 6 foot tall and have pretty average length arms/legs/torso. At my height the 19 inch Large fit perfectly and I haven’t had to change any of the cockpit items.

Redline Mono 9
Metallic black, digging the sparkle

The components group is especially good for this price. The Laserdisc wheelset are of average weight but can take some abuse. These wheels are 32 hole versus the more commonly found 28 hole Laserdisc wheelset. At my size and weight the wheels have held up nicely especially considering some of the technical trails I’ve rode them through.

The cockpit is good with Ritchey Pro parts which is just under Ritchey’s top of the line WCS. The Avid BB5 is a sweet set of mech brakes that happened to be very easy to dial in. The X.9 trigger and derailleur is also one step below SRAM’s top of the line X.0. Only the Redline grips have shown some wear over the months, but after initially taking some getting used to (my previous bike had Ergons), I’ve found them to be comfortable and quite grippy even without gloves.

I’ve been so impressed with the Mono 9 that I decided to race it at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Classic this past weekend. I chose this bike mainly because I felt the geometry to fit me well, the parts were pretty good and it would be a great way to end my testing of the bike. Let me just say that the bike performed up to expectations and then some.

During one part of my race, I blinked and both of my hard contact lenses shifted in my eyes to a place where they were of no use. I have VERY bad eyesight. They’re so bad that without my contacts everything past 6 inches is fuzzy. I stubbornly continued riding for another half mile without my contacts in my eye before I finally relented and asked for some help from a volunteer. What is interesting about this is that during that half mile, I rode a sandy/rutty descent that lots of people washed out in. I was able to negotiate that difficult section without seeing partially because the Mono 9 is so easy to ride. The steering feels just right, not too slow and not too fast while the bike is quite stable for being rigid.

Redline Mono 9
Speeding down the last hill at the Mt. SAC Fat Tire Classic on the Mono 9

Weaknesses:
Low bottom bracket height. My current steed is a Gary Fisher X-Caliber and its bottom bracket height is a decent 12.4 inches. The Mono 9 has a 11.8 inch bottom bracket height. This half inch difference did take a couple of rides before I got used to it. The first couple of times I had some pedal strike when I went over rocks or logs but I quickly adjusted to this and I haven’t had any problems since. Also, because I mainly ride XC, I didn’t run into this problem very often.

I threw my chain 3 times in 3 months of riding (not bad, in my opinion) but I threw the chain 4 times during the Mt. SAC race. This was extremely frustrating. But thankfully, Redline has heard this complaint and for year 2008 it looks like they’ve added a clear bashguard to prevent throwing the chain.

Summary:
Redline has a strong following with mountain bikers purchasing their very good singlespeed Monocog and Monocog Flight. Branching out to make a geared bike was just a natural progression for Redline and, not surprisingly, the Mono 9 is another hit on Redline’s hands. For those of you who ride 3×9 and want less clutter and less maintenance but can’t fathom jumping to a SS, then the Mono 9’s 9 gears and rigid frame is the perfect setup for you.

For more info about the Redline Mono 9, click here.

Recent Changes:
Redline recently tweaked the Mono 9 for 2008 year. The first change you’ll notice when you jump to the website is that the Mono 9’s name has changed to the D460 29er. They’ve also changed the shifters and rear derailleur to X-7. Lastly, from the details on the website, the new D460 has a very cool looking clear bash guard.

Click here for a photo gallery of the Redline Mono 9 during the review period.