Race Report – SRC Winter Series XC Race #1 Jan 9th 2010

The winter holidays came and went all too quickly for me.  I had dreams of a 3 month off-season but the 1st race of the 2010 winter series was approaching quickly and I decided to treat this as training for the bigger races from March to May. It was a beautiful day with temps in the 70s and as usual Don Jackson and his crew at Southridge Racing do an excellent job in providing a fun race environment. I noticed more entrants in the younger categories, it’s great to see more kids getting into this sport!

For Sport, the course was the same as November’s Southridge Challenge – three,  5.5mile laps.  This was gonna be a challenge as  I do better on the longer courses at Southridge, they have more singletrack and downhill that suit my riding style and help me make up time on the stellar climbers in my category (Sport 27-34).  Climbing is my weakness, I have a gut and at 185lbs (5’8″) I’m heavy/stocky for an XC racer. I even have a habit of blowing up in races by sprinting from the start line for too long!  After about 6 weeks without training, I knew that I couldn’t hold a sprint very long. So when Donny counted us down and we took off, I dropped into third and planned to keep the leaders in site.  We climbed to the water tower and the leaders gradually pulled away and I fell back a few more positions leaving me a panting, sweaty mess as I mushed my way up the hill. I recovered in the single track sections to regain third and moved into second on one of the long downhill sections. My strategy became clear.

On the way to the asphalt road for the water tower climb
On the way to the asphalt road for the water tower climb

I held second to start the next lap and as we climbed to the water tower I was passed again, but I kept my competitors in sight this time. Through the single track I was flowing and managed to close the gap as we approached the downhill where I previously passed. We start heading downhill and I’m cranking hard, building speed to shoot past #2 and eventually the race leader. Next is a short uphill I desperately climb and barely manage to keep the wolves at bay into the next downhill singletrack section where I can build a gap. I finish lap two and begin lap three. I don’t see anyone as I begin to grind my way up to the water tower, my right knee burning in protest as I try to put some power down. After negotiating some of the rolling hills near the water tower as I grit my way up the last climb before the single track, I look back and see 2nd place 10 yards back and attacking! I attack, he knows he is close and is trying to catch me. I sprint, my legs grow thick and heavy with lactic acid, my lungs burn as I sink into oxygen debt my pulse fills my ears, I can only hold this pace for a moment more. I put about thirty yards between us as crest the hill and bomb into the single track. I pedal all the downhills and by the end I enjoy a 2 min victory! Before you think that I was lying about not being in shape, I finished in 1:12:51, in November I finished in 4th with a 1:10:52, so that means that the fast guys just didn’t show up for this race and I’ve got some work to do.

1st XC race win, Sport 27-34
1st XC race win, Sport 27-34

I’ve got to thank the team sponsors for their help, Evomo and Hoss for the cool clothes, IceToolz for the tools and Serfas for the glasses and Ergon for the comfort.

I thought Kermit was for kids

Kermit is not only for kids, my friends. It’s also for mountain bikers too. Meet my Kermit Green Niner Jet9.

Waiting to rock!

I’m in New Bike Euphoria (NBE), so I can’t really give you any detailed comments on the Jet right now unless you want to hear me gush. Oh, you do? Well then… why didn’t you say so?

The Niner Jet 9 is the best pedaling FS 29er bike I have ridden and I have ridden quite a few. OK, a bit of an overstatement as some of those DW Link bikes I rode were really good, but they were not set up quite right or the trail I rode was just blah, so I can’t compare it. Not to take anything away from the rest of them… although I will take something away from the Gary Fisher HiFi (WAY TOO FLEXY)… but the Jet9, on my home course and nearly dialed in, was extremely efficient both in seated and standing climbs. The rear feels planted even when I’m out of the saddle. Very little wheel slippage on standing climbs which can be momentum killers.


To top it off, I never flicked the propedal on. I was extremely surprised by this. Wait, nix that. I doubled back to get to a steeper, short climb and had to ride uphill on the road a bit. I turned on the propedal for that road section. But other then that the propedal stayed off. This is a very nice change because in most other FS bikes if you don’t engage the propedal, you’re feeling Mr. Bob all the way up the climb.

Rear seat stays easily clears a 2.2″ Captain

The bike is nimble. You won’t see many Jet9’s built up with bigger tires (2.35″ front/2.2″ rear), like I did, because the Jet’s purpose is definitely: race/XC/trail in that order. I’m not a racer, although I will on occasion, so I built mine to be more trail and less race oriented. You won’t see any carbon bits, chopped flat bars or skinny tires on my Jet. But even with non-racy parts, the Jet is quite nimble. It handles well on the descents and carves up singletrack very well. It is definitely not G2 nervous, but it’s not slow handling as was the case with some previous 29ers.

OK, so all this was based on a first ride, and more of a shakedown (is everything working properly) type of ride. Also NBE was definitely at work here so please take everything written above with a huge grain of salt.

By the way, I’m still thinking of a name for the green machine.

And of course, every Niner comes with a subtle reminder:

In the meantime, my personal build, for those of you interested:
Large Niner Jet 9 in Kermit Green
Rock Shox Reba 29 Race with pushloc at 100mm
28 hole Bontrager Rhythm Elite wheels with DT Swiss 370 hubs
Shimano XT cranks
Shimano XT brakes
X9 shifters
X9 r. derailleur
XT f. derailleur
Alligator ilink derailleur cables
F: Panaracer Rampage 2.35 setup tubeless (a non-tubeless tire)
R: Specialized Captain Control 2.2 2bliss
Thomson Elite
Sette clamp
Chirs King headset
Truvativ Stem
Truvativ Handlebar
ODI lockon grips
Crank Brothers Candy SL
Lezyne L. Caddy (awesome bag, by the way)
Purple carabiner
Generic Black Cowbell

Sea Otter 2009: Sette’s Carbon Frames!

Met up with Brian and Mylo of Sette at Sea Otter. They were displaying their two new 26″ carbon frames, the more XC oriented Impulse and the very racy Phantom. The Phantom comes as either frame only or fully built up. The fully built Phantom has an amazing spec sheet for the money, $2,699, a real value for an under 20lb rig.

“Phantom” written in on the top tube. Very subtle against the carbon

I’m a big fan of carbon weave, so I thought I’d throw this picture in

An interesting touch on the seat stays. Excuse the dust/sand.

Another low-key Sette graphic on the Phantom. Attention whore RL getting in on the photo shoot.

The Sette Phantom, fully built. An absolutely sick bike at under 20 lbs

The Sette Impulse was not built up, but the frame was on display:

Sette on the downtube in white against the carbon fiber weave

Sette Impulse, a more XC oriented bike with a frame weight of 2.9lbs

For more info on the Phantom, click here.

For more info on the Impulse, click here.

Trek Demo Day, Part II

Gary Fisher Roscoe III

Round number 2 was on the Gary Fisher Roscoe. I had to wait a little while for this one as some dude drove from Vegas to test ride it. That’d be 4 plus hours of driving each way!

Before we get going on the review, I have to preface my thoughts on the Gary Fisher Roscoe with this statement: My riding style is not the one that is being targeted by the Roscoe. I am definitely more of a XC/Trail type rider while the Roscoe with its five and a half inches of travel is definitely shooting for the All Mountain crowd. I have ridden AM type bikes but I am just too timid to really get the best out of them, the Roscoe included. Also, the Fullerton Loop is not an AM type trail so I’d definitely read my thoughts with this information in mind.

Wide hydroformed top tube makes for a much stiffer frame

On our second run, we hooked up with John from Jax Fullerton. He jumped on the Superfly I was riding while Full Squish Randall got on HiFi 29er and I got some seat time on the Roscoe. John, by the way, is a great mechanic and happens to be a very good road racer as well.

My first thought when I got on the Roscoe is that this baby is stout. The hydroformed tubing is thick. The first tube you notice is the top tube which is much wider than any other top tube I’ve ridden. This definitely lent a bit of stiffness to the whole bike that I’m sure is useful when you’re hucking off 6 foot drops. You really can’t tell the thickness in the pictures on Gary Fisher’s website but the top & down tube are wide. The tapered headtube is also different going from 1 1/8 inch to 1 1/2 inch at the crown of the fork. This design is supposed to increase the strength between the headtube and fork, but nothing on the loop was gnarly enough to test this.

Proprietary Dual Rate Control Valve (DRCV) shock made things plush

Coming off the hardtail Superfly I also immediately noticed how plush the suspension travel was. It was almost like night and day and rightfully so going from the racey Superfly to the AM Roscoe. The proprietary Dual Rate Control Valve (DRCV) was smooth and felt good on all the extra credit stuff I threw at it. I also got some time on the HiFi 29er later on and the 4 inches of travel on the HiFi doesn’t have nearly the plushness of the Roscoe’s DRCV shock. Not even close.

The Roscoe does not like for the rider to stand up and hammer out climbs. Every time I tried to stand and climb I immediately felt like the Roscoe telling me to sit back down. The bike is definitely more of a spin, spin, spin type climber which I think is fine and lends itself well to this style of mountain biking.

White bikes with white forks always look good to me. The beefy tires were a bit too aired up for excellent grip

The steering was not as slack as I remember other AM rigs I’ve ridden. The last time I rode an AM rig I distinctly remember that the steering was very slow which is great on the descents as it made things a bit more stable. The flipside to this is that it slowed things down too much for me on the switchbacks and tricky sections that require more finesse and less of a plow through mentality. The G2 steering on the Roscoe, however, seemed to give the best of both worlds as it still had some pep through the tight stuff but retained its stability for the downhill.

As you can probably tell I am a little high on the Roscoe. I think this is mainly because 1. the bike is really good and 2. the 10 mile Fullerton Loop is too short to shake out the bike entirely. More time on the bike is definitely needed to draw definitive conclusions.

Southridge Winter Series Race Report: Kim Finch

RL Policar-Kim Finch is one of our most talented racers on the team. She’s was the Triple Crown Champ for XC and also won a number of Championships for 2008 at Southridge. With that in mind, I present to you Kim Finch’s race report.

Well, a fresh new season has begun with the Fontana Winter Series! This season appears to start off with as much fun and excitement as last season ended. I always love riding in Southridge’s races because it is always challenging and the people such as Donny & his crew are fantastic!
Well, this year I am trying to string all three races together but for this first race I went with the XC race and my first downhill race. The wind was the MAJOR challenge for the XC race. The course was cut short for this race as Donny was still working out permits which he will have resolved next race. So thinking I would get a break on a short course and can then try my hand at DH practice I heard the announcement “2 LAPS”! Man I really didn’t want to hear that as that front section has majority of the climbs and now I had to do it twice?

Well, hanging out at the start line is always fun to chat with those around you as it helps me stay calm. Always answer questions about my “Ellsworth PINK Truth”and all the PINK I can handle! The wind was cold and I wanted to just get moving! Then before long Donny is counting down, and were all off in a large group! The first turn up my fellow riding gets cut off and down she goes..I swerve and cut around the two downed riders give a quick yell then kept going. The course was much nicer due to all rain we had which in itself was fantastic except for the wind! I made it through the first lap with no problems. RL was there with my water & Priscilla was there cheering me on. When it came to the second lap I noticed how much traffic the course had. At one point Eric “The Animal” Hunner passed me only to yell back and tell me to come on, while waiving his “GUNS” forward for me to catch him. The single track sections had been really cleaned up by Donny and his crew which made them that much more exciting to see if I could go faster. I finished my 2nd lap to see Priscilla cheering me along! I took 2nd place

Off one bike and then onto my Ellsworth Moment to try my hand at the downhill course for practice. Wow, now there are two different rides! Tony was at the top to meet me & help guide me through my first attempt. The wind at the top was brutal. I made it through the first few turns and even the little rock droppers then a left turn that lead into a dropper/roller that had an off camber right turn…well let’s say Kim did not make the turn very graceful.

As a matter of fact I rolled down the hill further then my bike did! Got up dusted off listened to Tony’s pointers on that turn and headed for the bottom. Now the lower rock garden…well first try..NOPE..second practice run YES!! I was so excited I made it without killing myself. This section always scared me even as a spectator. My second practice I decided that the turn was not going to get me..but the funny thing was two turns earlier I didn’t lean right or the wind got me off line and over I went!! Pride and dust really nothing more.

Race Day: Hanging out up at the top with RL, Tony, Moe & Joe seemed like forever. We chatted with all those we knew and we talked about the course. I personally got tips from Tony as well as John Seacor who races against Tony in their category. They both told me to find the line which would be grooved due to all the prior racers and stick to it! This was very helpful for me as I was a ball of nerves by this time. I talked to myself and thought of different rides I had done and how points on this course was just like riding the trails! This also was a huge help for me. I made it through the whole course and the lower rock garden without a crash. I got to the famous “WALL” used my Gravidity Dropper to pop my seat up and peddled like a mad woman right into the head wind!! I pulled 2nd place! I was thrilled!
I want to thank to the whole team for all the support and the food we shared on Saturday! The whole team did an awesome job! Next race I will join up with Joe & Moe for the Super D race as well!
C-ya at the races

Joe’s Race Report – 17th Annual Southridge Challenge

This past weekend was a busy one… I raced both XC (Sat) & DH (Sun) at the 17th Annual Southridge Challenge, Fontana, CA.  Saturday was the last leg of the XC portion of the Triple Crown Challenge (TCC).  The 1st was in Bonelli Park, San Dimas, CA (Oct) and the 2nd at Mt. SAC in Walnut, CA (earlier this month).  We had a strong showing from our Team in different disciplines of the Fat Tire – XC, SS, Super D and DH.

Saturday:  I was faced with 8 other competitors.  Three were familiar faces from the other two segments of the TCC.  Two were my regular nemesis (friends really) from the 2008 racing season.

DSC_0212 by bicyclebloggers.                                     Clydes

At the starting line, we were grouped with the Women’s 35+.  At GO, we sprinted on a flat dirt road which quickly turned into an elevated left-handed U-turn.  Here is where I experience the first hold up.  At this turn, series leader Mike D. falls, then a lady from the 35+ group.  Half of the racers that were stuck behind them (including myself) were forced to either dismount or find an alternative route which caused us seconds that counted.  As I made my way past the crash, I sprinted to chase the pack.  From here I would stay behind teammate Kim Finch.  Approaching the first real climb on dirt (where the DH starts), Kim and I pass our friend Val (he looked exhausted).  We passed him then made our way to the winding singletrack.  At the bottom we caught up with our other team mate Priscilla Policar.  We would ride together for a bit, while motivating and encouraging each other.   Passing the smokestack-like structure is another climb.   From the bottom I see Scott V. (a clyde in my class) reaching the top portion of this climb.  From here I broke away from Priscilla and Kim in hopes to catch Scott.  (There is history with Scott and I, as we battled throughout the year.  We took turns placing better than each other at various races.  He is currently one-up on me so I was really motivated to catch him!)

I made my way down another singletrack segment, through the paintball field, then up the final climb… I can see Scott up ahead.  I continued to grind up.  I knew I had to close the distance.  When he reaches the final singletrack descent he’ll open up the gap.  Through the singletrack at the backside of Southridge I tried to go as fast as I can.  Reaching the left-handed drop into the culvert, I see Scott on his way back on the flats.  In front of him was Ner (Val’s brother) with a big smile.   On the flats I big-ringed it back.  From the distance I see Scott and Ner pulling away…man these guys are fast!  Coming around the riverbed/aquaduct area I see Ner but not Scott… uh oh!   I knew we were almost finished and this was not good.  I finally caught up to Ner and passed him but Scott was no where in sight.  I ended up finishing last in my class.  Despite not catching Scott, I was please with my race.  I came in last but my finishing time was better than any of my previous races in Fontana.

3052497114_a45d15c58c_b by you.                                                                                       Overall I felt good about the race and my performance of the series.  Prior to the awards for the overall results of the TCC, they posted me as 3rd place and totally omitting Mike D. (series leader).  As RL stated on his post, I took the liberty of advising the officials that Mike was not even on the list and should be.  After recalculating the points, Mike was on top and I was bumped down to 4th.  Bad thing is there is no recognition of 4th  as they only went three deep for the awards.  Never the less, I was pleased with myself for racing all three races and finishing each one.

Sunday: Armor time… I’ve ridden on Fontana’s DH course several times but have yet to race on it.  This was the day.  Around 8:30ish, I met up with RL, Priscilla and their kids.  After preparation and seeing the line for practice, it would appear that we will only have time for one practice run.

As I stood on top of the mountain, I have to admit that I was very nervous.  With this many people and not familiar with the course I was intimidated with the pretty much everything.  RL went first on the practice run.  I gave him about 5 seconds they off I went after him.  I tried to stay on his heels as I wanted to follow his lines but as soon as we started winding through the upper rock garden panic set in.  The rock sections were fairly easy but after not seeing which lines to pick I stalled out.  I have to admit I walked several sections but had every intentions of re-doing it.  As I made it down to the bottom, before the lower rock garden, RL was waiting for me.  As I neared his position, off he went and I followed.  I stayed behind him heading into the rock garden then… he was OTB!  All I see was his green bike up in the air.  Fortunately he was ok and got back up, then rode to the bottom.  I followed him shortly after reviewing the lines through this section.  At the same time the course officials were telling everyone to ride through as practice was over.  Darn, that means I’ll only have one run.

From the end of the practice until our start time was a good 1.5 hours.  There was plenty of time to think about the course and the lines to pick.  But for me anxiety was kicking in.  I was nervous, MORE than any of my other DH races that I have entered.  For some reason the “rocks” were really intimidating me and I could not shake it from my head.  Often I found myself pacing or just trying to walk around to stay calm.  This is typically not me.  About an hour prior to our start time we lined up for the shuttle.  RL was first to be taken to the top then I followed shortly.  Reaching the top and seeing RL was a relief.  Still nervous, I made small talk with several other guys that I have seen in previous races.

As my group lined up, I was first on the list.  The group in front of me was a Women’s group.  They will give the last woman (Lala w/Incycle) and I a one minute gap as oppose to the 30 sec between riders.  With many thoughts of the course running through my head, I tried to stay focus.  Donny says “Joe, go on 1”… At 1 I sprinted down to the bottom.  Approaching the upper rock section (where I walked in practice) I put my trust in my bike and maneuvered through the rocks.

                                        Upper section. Pic by Dino Brown

There were a few areas where I slowed down, such as the corners with huge ruts, but I managed to get through them smoothly.  Somewhere in the upper section, I heard Johnny D (racer after me) on my heels (on the video posted by RL, you’ll see Johnny go over the bars right behind me).  Reaching the bottom, by the cul de sac, I was very close to catching Lala.  She heads into the lower rock garden but slows down just before the spot where RL went OTB (in practice).  By this time I was literally on her rear wheel… With no momentum and thoughts of crashing, I dismounted off my bike, placed it on the step down and got back on. 423645824_xejXQ-M by you.                                                                      Lower rock garden. Picture by Christopher Wood

I rolled through the remaining rocks and headed to ‘the wall’.  Here is where you test your legs as it is a long sprint on a 40+ lbs bike. At this point I finally pass Lala and make my way to the finish line!  DH4x402 by you.                             Picture by Sharky

In the end I finish 4th out of 6.  I was very relieved that I made it to the bottom unscathed.  I know I wasn’t going as fast the others but it was a big weight off my shoulders and a relief mentally just to complete the course.          DSC_0449 by bicyclebloggers.

I had a great time participating in the Triple Crown Challenge and the DH on Sunday.  I cant say it enough that our Team rocks!  This weekend we had racers in XC, SS, Super D and DH. We podiumed in each category! 2008 has been a great year in racing!

Many thanks to our sponsors – MtnBikeRiders.com, BikeCommuters.com, Evomo, Ergon and Hoss!!!

The First Annual, Quarterly Lift Assisted Ride Report, Part III

The bikes: ready to rock the SART… or is it ready to be rocked by the SART? We soon find out.

We jokingly considered buying lift tickets again for Sunday morning’s ride, but riding some of the best singletrack in So. Cal. was too tempting. After cleaning up the cabin and packing our stuff, we set off to visit the local bike shops in town… for umm… research. Then off to the trail.

Our trusty steed all loaded up waiting at the Visitor Info center

The Santa Ana River Trail is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 miles of trail, the vast majority of it being singletrack. Because of time, fatigue and lack of knowledge of the trail, we decided to ride just about 8 miles of it. Since the trail is really best done as a shuttle, and us with only one car, we had to ride a little over 4 miles of fireroad to get to the trailhead. 4 miles of fireroad with a return of almost 8 miles of singletrack is a deal I’ll take everytime.

Yes, a flowing river in the middle of summer in So. Cal. No cement side walls either

We parked at Angeles Oaks off of Glass and Hwy 38 then rode 4 miles to the South Fork campground. I never really thought about it before but SART actually parallels the Santa Ana River. The 4 mile fireroad also paralleled the Santa Ana River even crossing over it a few times. The gradually ascending fireroad was a relatively easy ride if we hadn’t juiced our legs the day before. But, we grunted it out and quickly got to the SART trailhead.

Tim & Jeremy riding the fireroad for four miles

WOW. It’s not often when something actually lives up to its billing, but the SART definitely did. Singletrack for 8 continuous miles, probably the longest stretch of uninterrupted singletrack I’ve ever done. SART, though, isn’t for the faint of heart though. During the 8 miles, we probably had some sort of exposure for at least 1/3rd of it. Exposure is both good and bad in that it makes the ride more technical, but has its dangerous aspect if we fell. It’s also great for getting some sweet vistas of the river and valley. Some of the exposure was VERY umm… exposed, like someone made the singletrack half as wide as normal and there was a sharp dropoff that left absolutely no room for error.

Eroding singletrack. Time to dab or walk… not time to do something stupid

Other times, the singletrack would drift away from the side of the mountain and we would find ourselves in a beautiful meadow dotted with trees. During these instances, we would open up the throttle and hammer along until we got into more exposed singletrack that required a bit more technical acumen and bike handling accuracy. Add in a few short climbs with baby head sized rocks thrown in for fun, some short descents going in and out of the forest, lots of blind turns and you basically had the 8 miles we rode. At the point where we turned off the trail I think all three of us stared longingly at more singletrack. This is definitely a trail we are going to hit up some more.

Khoa comes into the clearing

Part IV, some lessons learned and miscellaneous pictures that weren’t on the other posts.

The First Annual, Quarterly Lift Assisted Ride Report, Part II

The morning trails were not what we were expecting when we decided to come up and do the lift-assisted riding. At least it was not what 3 of us were expecting. The two who had driven up for the morning are definitely on a different level of riding then us and prefer different types of riding… which is another lesson learned and one that will be examined in the last part of this series.

Trail leading up to Grand View point

During a subdued lunch, the three of us reviewed our morning. We especially were downtrodden when we recalled how little riding we did compared to how much walking we did. For all the walking I did, I even received a little prize in the form of a cut & bruised knee. Tim, the resourceful one, decided to change our course for the afternoon and took things into his own hand by walking up to a random gal riding a nice Specialized Safire and engaging her in conversation.

Tim resting at Grand View Point

After chatting up the gal, we find out that she is a local. Even better is that this gal, Deb, volunteers to lead us to the much sought after but not found XC style trails. Deb, and her husband John, whom she rounds up and explains the plan to, then proceed to spend the rest of the afternoon with us as we hit Pirate, Fern, Pineknot, Grand View and other linking trails. It got so good that we took very few pictures! As bad as the morning was for us was how good the afternoon turned out to be.

Khoa posing at Grand View Point

Singletrack, XC style

The afternoon was spent riding many, many miles of fast, swoopy, singletrack trails with a little bit of technical challenging sections that also happened to be accomplish-able. These XC style trails were fun in so many ways and were the exact trails the three of us, who had spent the night, were looking for and expecting. Riding the singletrack we darted among the trees, going up a little but down a lot, launching off of small rocks, using body english, ripping it all… sweet XC riding. After just riding one short section of trails with Deb & John we knew we had found a couple with penchant for the trails we liked. Even better was that I knew I could take off my elbow & knee armor.

John, leading us back to the bikes after our break. John, who was fighting a little cough, was still WAY faster then any of us out there.

By the way, Deb & John, who have kids that are just a couple years younger than us, are FAST out there on the trail. John led the majority of the time while the rest of us played catch up, without ever catching up. Familiarity always makes you faster on a trail but John wasn’t fast due to familiarity, he was fast because he was fast. Deb was skilled as well taking on pretty much everything the trail threw at her with aplomb. But not only were Deb & John fast and skilled, they were also great ambassadors of mountain biking. Deb, towards the end of the ride, said that she didn’t want us riders to head out of Big Bear thinking that the trails sucked when there were actually great trails to ride that fit our style. How cool is that?

We’ll be riding down there tomorrow on SART

Part III coming tomorrow as we ride part of what is widely considered to be one of the top trails in Southern California, the Santa Ana River Trail aka SART.

The First Annual, Quarterly Lift Assisted Ride Report, Part I

Cabin sweet Cabin

This past weekend three of us went up to the local mountains for one day doing lift-assisted riding and the second day riding the Santa Ana River Trail (SART). We drove up on a Friday night and stayed at a cabin that had a front porch with full view of the lift we would be riding up on the next day. The bikes got a great spot in the kitchen. Every time I glanced at the bikes that first night I smiled. It’s just one of those things that bikes do to you.

The slopes & lift could be seen from our cabin porch!

Things had changed over the years in our local mountains. Just a few years ago the local mountain lift, Snow Summit, allowed you to bomb down the ski slopes with huge downhill/freeride bikes. But as the years have gone by, the local mountains have banned downhill/freeride bikes as well as riding down the slopes. In the meantime, great XC style & downhill trails developed as alternatives to the straight downhill slopes used by the winter skiers and snowboarders. The only difficulty? The XC and downhill trails are not marked, not on the trail and not on the map.

First ride up to the top: Khoa, Jeremy & JJ

We met up with two other friends when we got to the lifts. The other two guys decided to only join us for one day of riding… the wusses. j/k. 3 of us had never ridden the lifts before. 1 guy had but it was years ago and he spent most of that time on the now forbidden slopes. The last guy did the same lift-assisted riding last summer, so at least it wasn’t totally blind leading the blind. But still, we basically guessed wrong the whole morning.

A paragraph ago I mentioned that there were XC style & downhill trails? Well, all morning, except for maybe a short 1 mile section, we rode downhill style trails. “Rode” may be too generous a term here as you’ll see in the pictures below I did very little “riding” and lot more walking. And as always, the camera never makes the trails look as steep as they actually are.

Jeremy walking

Jeremy walking… some more

Jeremy walking… even more

OK, just so you know it wasn’t just me… Jeremy, Tim & JJ walking

Some random pictures:

Gotta love them lifts

The great thing about walking our bikes is that we get to see things we don’t normally see, like this caterpillar that Tim picked up. Tim nicknamed him the dinosaur caterpillar due to the horns and weird tail.

RL, you like the caterpillar?

Justin hitting the log jump

Justin, adding some flair to the jump

JJ, grinning like a mad man

Justin riding a log, no sweat

Redline Mono 9 & Trek 9.0 ready to hit the trails

Well utilized Honda Ridgeline

Part II, a HUGE lesson learned as things get much better.

New Build Project: XC Race and Epic Machine

We’ve got a new build project that we’ll be working on soon. This one is a bit unique from the Ultimate All Mountain Bike, The Sette Reken, and the Full Suspension Single Speed. The bike we’ll be building has two purposes.

1. Be comfortable enough to ride epics

2. Be aggressive enough to race with

I’m sure there are plenty of bikes out there that can do that, but the goal of our build is to customize it for the rider. As you all know, Priscilla is our Podium Girl…no she’s not the one that gives the winners their medal and a peck on the cheek, nope, she’s our girl that places when she races. She’s also been known to enjoy an epic ride.

The problem that Priscilla faces with her current set up, a XC hard tail is that it can be a harsh ride, especially if she’s on the trail for hours at a time. That said, this bike we’re building will suit her racing and epic needs. We’re going to build it up with some great parts…nothing that would break the bank and of course some pink accents to celebrate that she’s a chick.

If you’re wondering which frame we’ll be using…here’s a hint!

We’ll be getting this frame later on this week and once we have it in hand, we’ll post some glamour shots of it…you know on the bed, with a feather boa and all polished up….oooh!