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I’ve been wanting to pull off something brutal and fun this fall and I think I’ve got it.  Am I a masochist?

Check it out here.

http://nmes.wordpress.com/6-%e2%80%93-el-paso-enduro-poker-ride/

The course is going to be pretty sick. 

I doubt it will include the new northern pass trail, but we’ll see.  The current configuration goes over Mundy’s twice….once in each direction.  This will be a good preview for the shorter Puzzler which takes place in January.

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The camping in Breck has been interesting.  We are now surrounded by a Texas Wheelchair (ATV) convention and the rain has been pretty steady.  Downtown Breck is PACKED with cyclists and 4th of July drunks. 

Jen is racing tomorrow and I’m hanging out giving her a feed.  She’ll be on the hardtail rolling the Pacenti NeoMoto in the rear and the Nanoraptor in the front.  Her ride today was rippin’ fast.  She should do well as long as we don’t get sick from the lake water we put into our camper.  Yeah….long story which I will spare you from.

Luna has a new boyfriend.  His name is Koa and he’s awesome.  He really loves Luna and they play together well.  Koa belongs to Pua and Ron Sawicki.  He’s absolutely hilarious.

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Ron and Pua have been awesome to hang out with.  Ron is very generous with his stuff.  So far I’ve borrowed his Nomad bike wash and his bench grinder.  He’s also kicked down some Infinit nutrition and some Okole Stuff…which absolutely rocks.  It will definitely be nice to have in a 6 day stage race…which I start Sunday.

I hope it rains a lot!  I love riding my SS in the slop.  6 days of slop would be even more awesome.

The BMBA is hosting a poker ride on the 17th of May.  I’ll have more details next week.  Our regular club ride is this Sunday at Heinrich.  8 am….new time to beat the heat.

This Saturday I’m doing a slaughter fest in the Franklins with 3 trips up to Mundy’s Gap in the plan.  Start at Heinrich, bee line up to Mundy’s, clockwise around big loop in park on west side, back up Mundy’s, down the middle road (past the tires) to Mad Cow, back on Sotol, Scenic Rd back up to Mundy’s, turn around and head back to Heinrich via Stan’s and whatever else I feel like riding.  I’ll be caching some water on Scenic.

Hopefully hit Heinrich by 8:30 am.  Let me know if you want to join me for some or a all.  Jen’s going to try to hang on as long as possible.  I’ll be rolling gears and big tires.

Wow!  Being married to a pro cyclist can be really funny.  Women do a good job of providing themselves with lots of defeatist-speak (sp?).  They can be so negative…I’ve learned to let it flow and don’t even try to turn it around.  What’s even funnier, is that the last two races we’ve done have both fallen on the day that that time of the month starts.  So the negative-speak is frequent and sometimes loud.  The good part is that the hormone cycle is prime for athletics.  Yep.  Believe it or not, women tend to perform quite well aerobically when they are menstruating. 

So this weekend was a return trip to Socorro.  Day 1 was the hillclimb up mt. baldy (10,800′).  I promised myself last year that I would run a 22t, but after lightening the bike to 21.5 lbs and being told that the last pitch was covered in snow, I went back to the 21t.  Half way up I would have shot myself if I’d had a gun.  The middle part of that climb sucks.  A 22t and I would have been at least 4 minutes faster.  I finished 8th overall this year….3 places better than last.  My time was pretty rippin’, but it hurt. 

Jen’s competition…Cannondale pro Nina Baum was running some trick wheels and tires.  They didn’t quite work out for her as she had to use her air cartridges several times up the road.  Jen won by 4 minutes.

We had a fun ride down.  Being rigid reminded me of the old days when I used to bomb down the old coal truck roads in Tennessee.  The roads are quite similar, just a bit shorter and not as high an altitude.

Jen happy to not be on the bad end of mechanicals....and enjoying all her warm clothes.

Jen happy to not be on the bad end of mechanicals....and enjoying all her warm clothes.

It's hard not to smile in places like this!

It's hard not to smile in places like this!

This road gets really steep.

This road gets really steep.

There is also a lightening research facility up there.

There is also a lightening research facility up there.

Day 2 was the XC race in the Cabradas.  We gathered a good crew in what little area there was to camp. 

camp-1

camp-2

The wind died down and made for a beautiful evening.  Mt. Baldy ended up getting some rain.

Mt. Baldy in far backgroun.
Mt. Baldy in far background.

The XC was super fast.  The SSers and the women started 5 minutes off the expert men.  Myself and this kid Isaac caught about half the expert field before the end of the first lap.  The start of the second lap, I attacked on the road and held Isaac off for a gap of about a minute for the win.  I felt really good and went out for lap 3 with Jen.  Jen had a huge gap and was riding the 659er  1×9 really well.  I ended up dropping back to help some riders who were SOL in the middle of nowhere.

The Cubradas backcountry is really neat.  The race loop is super fun and I’d encourage people to check it out.  Make sure you have a map or gps as you can get ridiculously lost out there.
Here’s parting shot.
luna-carrying-the-winnings

Wow!  What an amazing weekend.  I probably should have ridden longer/harder/faster, but I got a lot of stuff done and introduced some new folks to the northeast trails.  Rudy from the UTEP bike club brought some friends out and I gave them a little tour.  We hit Mad Cow, looped back to the dam, then went back up to the “tire” to hit Stan’s and and the last bit of the Puzzler before the feedzone. 

The only reason Jen and I wore our knee warmers was because the wind picked up.

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Before we met up with these guys, the sun was blazing and the wind hadn’t picked up yet.  We saw a garter snake.  The views were amazing.  We were up on Sotol when I went for the camera and realized I’d left it on top of the car.  I rarely drive to the trails, but since we were meeting these guys, we figured we’d take the single speeds….which wastes some serious time on the roads getting to the trails.  We also had some errands to run afterwards.  We took the b-line back to the benzo and happily…my camera was just chilling on the roof. 

Good thing.  Jen was able to snap this sweet poser shot with me in my hummingbird attracter kit and not so matching yellow socks.

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The day before, Jen and I saw this fat feathered friend on a ridge line.  This is one of the fattest hawks I’ve ever seen.  I could see him pretty well, but the camera was a little lacking.  I refuse to carry a huge camera with a big ass telephoto lens.

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Thirty people have registered for the Puzzler.  That’s more than last year, and most of last year’s entrants waited until the day before the race to enter.  Hopefully that will be the same this year and we’ll hit our target of 50.

I’ve got some stuff for sale if anyone is interested.  I’ll send pics if you ask.

Hayes HFX Mag brakes with both fat aluminum levers and carbon levers – $50 for the pair

Surly Jim Brown Disc bolt on hubs, 32 hole, with freewheels 17-22.  21 and 22 are White Industries – $150

26″ Fox RLC 100mm disc only.  Will include 1st gen stan’s rim laced to DT Swiss Onyx disc hub with Revolution spokes.  Steerer about 7″. $350  BBB5 brake another $40.

Magura Hugin Rear Shock….almost brand new.  6.5×1.5.  Comes with lots of hardware to mount to any bike that uses that length shock.  Mounted to Jen’s Racer-X for about 3 rides.  Back on Fox for this season.  $125

Man.  I think I’m going to invest in a skycard so I can update my blog, check email, pay bills, and get directions when I’m traveling.  I went over a week without internet access.  Big mistake as I failed to plan our return trip.  Ooops.  And that made me grumpy….even though everything turned out well.

Here’s a quick wrap up of my trip.  We drove from El Paso to just past Abiline on Day 1.  We stayed in a Walmart lot and it hit about 20 degrees that night. 

Day 2 we hit Tyler State Park.  We rode that afternoon (first time in wool tights in over a year) and took off the next morning.  Only a few hearty souls were camping there.  It hit about 20 again that night. 

Day 3 drove to Birmingham and spent the night at Oak Mtn. State Park.  We rode the next morning and then headed to my mom’s in SC. 

Day 4 we rode Lynch’s Woods (seems like that would not be a very PC name in the deep south).  Lynch’s was covered in leaves but still rideable.  We had a good time trying to keep from drifting completely off the trail. 

Days 5 and 6 it rained.  So we didn’t hit any trails.  We really wanted to ride FATS, but it was closed. 

Day 7 we headed to my dad’s and hit Harbison on the way.  Spiderwoman was a treat….especially on the SS.  Everything else was kind of blah.  Below Jen is checking out some long leaf pine.  This species was almost completely wiped out by the timber industry who really liked growing loblolly pine due to it being a bit straighter and faster growing.

jen at harbison checking out long leaf pine

Day 8 we rode Marrington Plantation.  That was rippin’ fast as they use leaf blowers to get all the leaves and pinestraw off the nice sandy trails.  We saw this big fat bloated dead aligator.  It stunk really bad.  

bloated alligator                    leaf blower action

Day 9 I gave Jen a quick tour of Charleston.  I showed her my old school/church and checked out the Battery.  Later that day we hit Edisto Island.  It’s famous for its shells.  We scored a bunch of nice ones which we still haven’t sorted yet.  We’ll be making shell jewelry for everyone’s christmas present next year. 

Jen getting the Charleston tour        This is the corner of Broad and Church St.  ( I think )

live oaks over road  The roads to the islands have these huge live oaks growing over them.  They are quite nice during the summer.

campsite at Edisto  Jen can’t believe that palms grow wild.

horseshoe crab  This ancient creature was still alive.

 

the slide out  My dad’s camper has a slide (his girlfriend paid the additional charge for the slide)…..

rear awning …and a rear awning.  It’s a sweet rig.

Day 10 we headed back home with not much of a plan.  I got grumpy and Jen got mad at me.  We ended up driving a bit further than we planned, but we got to ride the ’96 Olympic course in Conyers on ….

Day 11.  The second loop of that course was a blast.  What a perfect single speed course.  Too bad no one was racing 29ers back then.  That course was fast!  We drove straight through Alabama and Mississippi and spent New Year’s eve in a Walmart lot in Lousianna.  Yee Ha!  Luckily it was pretty windy so our heater stayed on most of the night and we didn’t have to listen to all the necks firing off their bottle rockets. 

Day 12 we made it to Tyler again and rode a lap and a half.  Everyone we passed was in their freakin’ granny gear on a brand new high dollar rig.  We packed up and head across Texas and made it back to Abiline that night. 

Then we drove most of Day 14 back to El Paso.  How’s that for a wrap up?

I hope everyone had as good a year as I did.  Sometimes things seem really crazy and stressful, but then when I look back on it all I realize how cool everything was.

It’s been so long since I’ve made a post, I had to actually think for a bit about my password to log on. 

It seems that even though I haven’t posted in a long while, my blog still gets major hits for people seeking info on El Paso mountain biking.  The BMBA page is starting to take over….thank goodness.  It is a personal goal of mine that the new BMBA page is what people go to for info on El Paso trail info.  I have all the maps online now thanks to Robert Newman.  Club membership is up and we are very active in making the city a better place to ride the fat tires and big wheels.

My after school at-risk youth bike program is growing too.  I have all kinds of kids involved.  I had 4 girls show up today to find out what they needed to do to join the club.  Too bad the time has changed and we won’t have time to hit the trails after school.  We’ll have to spend the winter putting in “base miles” around the ‘hood.  Here’s a little video of our last trail ride at Heinrich. 

If you want to donate stuff to the at-risk program, please let me know.  We need the following:

  • 2.1-2.2 knobby tires
  • tire sealant
  • portable workstand
  • tool set
  • frame pumps
  • seat bags

We also need money.  Your donation will go through Irvin H.S. and will be tax-deductible.  Contact me at my contact info on the left of the page and I’ll give you the scoop.  We will eventually need new bikes as our current bikes are about 5 years old and they are LOW quality.  Some of our shifters are already breaking down.  I’d really prefer to put these kids on 29r singlespeeds since most can’t figure out the shifting anyway.  If they throw a chain, they freak out.  The big wheels work way better on our rocks and sand too.

I’ve been trying to enjoy my time off from training even though I have already incorporated and increased the level of my secret fall program.  It’s making a huge difference in the way I feel.

I got a call from Mary McConneloug the other day.  Yep.  Two time Olympian!  She’s trying to figure out what she wants to do this winter and next year as well.  She may be back on the chuckwagon circle again to defend her national title.  I talked to her for an hour and a half and blew off a bunch of grading I needed to do that night.  But hell…when a two time olympian calls, you talk to her. 

Anyway….I just made my first order of Monster Cross parts.  I’m turning the tricky ti titus tooniner into a monster crosser.  I’m gonna have to get a custom fork.  I’ll be sending Walt or somebody some cash’ola here pretty soon as I’ll need a REALLY long fork to help adjust the geo on that crazy frame. 

Don’t expect too much blogging from me this fall.  Sorry.  But stay in touch.

Today we had two rattlesnake encounters today on our 5 hours SS adventure around the Franklins.  Our first one was this little western diamondback just south of Bowen’s Ranch.  Jen almost ran over it and it didn’t move until I got my camera out and went back to take pictures.  After I snapped these pics and put away my camera, we looked up and there was a very bummed out hawk flapping at us.  It’s funny how a bird like that can communicate his displeasure.  I felt bad.  Sorry I disturbed the balance.

 

   
Then…..after about another mile on the road I saw this bad boy!  And he was either pissed off or just making sure we wouldn’t get too close to him.
He was rattling hard when he headed under the bush, then he got into a great pose for me and just rattled away.  This fellow wasn’t that much longer than the first one we saw…maybe a foot longer….but what was impressive was the size of his head and his girth.  It was at least twice as big as the first snake.  Not the biggest I’ve seen but the biggest I’ve photographed.
The rest of our ride was pretty uneventful other than the stifling heat.  Jen was suffering, but rode really well.  She’s loving her 659er and can’t wait for the neo-moto tire to arrive even though the quasi-moto his holding up just fine.

Or at least a new frame.  Titus has been so good to me.  And they try very hard to do what they can to meet my strange requests.  A year and a half ago, I had them build up a 29er hardtail frame for me.  I had them put a steep head tube angle on it AND a high BB.  Not such a good decision.  I thought running 180 cranks would make the high BB work better, but combined with the steep front end….and steep seat tube angle, it made it extremely twitchy.  In the slow techy stuff it shined, excelled, kicked ass, etc.  I could pedal through any rock garden no problem.  But the handling at high speed and trying to corner on loose flat stuff was sketch.  I also was quite disappointed with the tire clearance.  With a 2.55 Weir Wolf, I had about 1 mm on each side. 

This new frame got broken in today with a 5 hour jaunt through our various riding areas here in the pass.  I climbed it, did the spin coast spin thing on the flats, and sent it down the rock scree slope on the west side of Mundy’s Gap.  Handling was much better.  Tire clearance is still a bit tight, but I ran a ragged out Nanoraptor on the rear today and that baby has plenty of room.  A neighborhood test ride showed that the Weir Wolf 2.55 fits pretty good with just enough room to spare.  It worked suprisingly well. 

I had them build this frame with similar stats as the 23″ Specialized 29er hardtail.  I’m glad I did it because the front end feels just like my Racer-X.  Of course, the rear end is a bit….um…stiffer.  Just because you are a big tall guy, doesn’t mean you should try to tighten up a bike to make it handle quicker.  Stick to the relaxed angles and it will fit better and handle better.  I’m not sure what to do with my other frame.  I think it might work really well with a 650b rear wheel.  I’ve got one on order, so we’ll see what happens.  If it handles really well, I may just keep it.

With the three water bottle cages…all King Ti of course… I’ve decided to nickname this bike Desert Destroyer.

I also had Titus use the Paragon Sliders.  These babies are beautiful.  While they take a bit longer to set up, you can use a cheesy QR rear hub and not worry about it sliding forward.  While I like the Titus interchangeables due to their light weight, I either had to crank the bujeezus out of a crossmax mavic skewer or use a bolt on rear hub.  They did a really nice job welding these puppies on.

I ended up breaking my Mr. T starter kit.  One of the pins was so loose I could almost push it through the links with my fingers.  Luckily the closest shop in town to the trails does the BMX thing and I was able to score a master link. 

It’s totally hammering rain outside now.  We got some good sprinkles on our ride this morning, but now it is really raining.  The trails were in good shape today, we’ll see what they look like tomorrow.  Hopefully this will never happen again.

Bad thing about all the rain, besides all the crazy weeds that grow, is that in a few years these suckers will be MUCH bigger.

   

We saw both of these guys on Thursday.  Luckily they were both mellow.

Sorry I’ve been so slack on the updates.  Everytime I got on a computer, I either paid bills or just checked my email then moved on.  Stops in town were for food or laundry.

My friend said I should make a list of all the trails I rode, but I can’t remember them all.

Here are some of my favorites……

A River Runs Through It – sweet Whistler stunt line…slow …and low…no pictures

7 Summits (Rossland, BC) – full loop on the day…pics below

Larmamie, WY – a network of insane trails just off the rest area between Cheyenne and Laramie – home to the Laramie Enduro.

That place has endless riding.

After Laramie we discovered that we had an extra week, so we went to Crested Butte.  The best part about summer in crested butte is the weekly Pinnacle race series on Thursday nights.  $16 gets you a number plate, dinner, and beer.  And if you win your category, you’ll get a ti King cage like Jen and I did!

Reno-Flag-Bear-Deadman’s is definitely the best.  Lots of whoop-dee action thanks to the moto boys and girls.  I’ll be back there again soon.

We finished the summer off with a visit to Sante Fe thanks to the guys at Mellow Velo.  They ponied up a $100 gift certificate for my win in the SS class at Los Alamos.  Pajarito has excellent biking, especially if you like to go the lift served thing.  They have some good DH runs and the lift tickets are only $20.