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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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Today was the BMBA Poker ride and Jen and I rode over the mountain to meet up with everyone.  It was cloudy and cool enough for arm warmers.

"The Elephant" from Smuggler's Canyon

"The Elephant" from Smuggler's Canyon

Then we railed down from Blue Rock….so fast that I caught a huge rock that put two sweet puncture wounds in my shin.  Yep…it left a mark.

two holes with one stone

two holes with one stone

Not actually hurting as bad as some others I've had.

Not actually hurting as bad as some others I've had.

The new BMBA socks came in this week.  I think we are selling them for $13 a pair.  They turned out really nice.

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The Poker Ride was a blast…other than the fact that you had to clean a bunch of sections to get a chip.   Ryan Cody won it with a full house.  There were 4 straights to take the other prizes.

Ryan Cody taking top honors.

Ryan Cody taking top honors.

My meager pair didn’t stand a chance.  I knew something was up when Ryan put back an Ace and a Jack.

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Adrian G. took home a sweet bottle of Boone’s Farm schnapps for his worst hand.  Why do I get the feeling that it might actually get consumed?

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Over the past couple of years, I’ve been pushing for more “epic” length trails in El Paso.  Robert Newman has helped my dream come true by linking up a lot of single track to form a loop around the Franklin Mountains that will be entirely inside the state park.  This loop will be about 75% single track with 2 mountain passes.  The final sections are now coming together.  Jen and I went out last weekend to hike the newest section.  He did a great job laying it out as it is much higher on the mountain than I expected it to be.  So the views are spectacular.  Hiking through the Franklins without trail is a nightmare.  I used a walking stick and my shoulders and neck have been stiff all week.  Jen’s calf got stabbed pretty good a couple times by lechugia.  Two miles of trail took us 4 hours to hike.

Here are some of the views from our hike.

Ridge line above north end of upper and lower sunset trails.  View is looking west.  Hitt Canyon is behind us.

Ridge line above north end of upper and lower sunset trails. View is looking west. Hitt Canyon is behind us.

A pretty view looking to the south.

A pretty view looking to the south.

This canyon behind me is going to be a cool place to explore during one of those all day rides.

This canyon behind me is going to be a cool place to explore during one of those all day rides.

We saw a bunch of these web traps.  Not sure what kind of spider this is and none of us were willing to stick a finger in there to find out.

We saw a bunch of these web traps. Not sure what kind of spider this is and none of us were willing to stick a finger in there to find out.

A lot of lechugia is going to have to be removed to clear this trail.

A lot of lechugia is going to have to be removed to clear this trail.

Near the junction with Hitt Canyon trail (the one used in the Puzzler) with a view to the east.

Near the junction with Hitt Canyon trail (the one used in the Puzzler) with a view to the east.

This is going to be an awesome trail, but it’s going to take many volunteer hours to get it finished in time for next year’s Puzzler.  Anyone who puts in time on this trail will definitely be rewarded with an excellent trail.

We were thoroughly impressed with Robert’s driving skills.  He took his jeep up Hitt wash past the trail.  He then came back and put his jeep on the edge of the wash at the trail junction.  For a video of him getting off the edge, click here.

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.

My blog has been getting plenty of hits this week.  I’m guessing it’s because people are wanting to see what happened with the puzzler.  It was a huge success for us.  More than twice as many people than last year, longer, better weather, more food, better prizes, and a real bike race vibe.

Thanks to everyone who volunteered.  Races never happen without volunteers.  Sometimes you get a good spot to watch some action.  Other times you are stuck in the middle of nowhere and riders come by huffing and puffing every 5 minutes.  So thanks a bunch to all of you who put up with broken up cell calls and complaints and confusion from riders.

For the full story, check out the write up on Cyclingnews.com.  I spent a few hours compiling that thing.  Here it is:  http://cyclingnews.com/mtb.php?id=mtb/2009/feb09/elpasopuzzler09

We are getting flurries today and it’s really cold.  I’m so glad we had the weather we did for the Puzzler.   Next week is Old Pueblo.  It should be interesting.

For those of you in El Paso, please check out the BMBA blog.  We’ve got some work to do.

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

That’s what this guy thinks about the Puzzler.  I haven’t yet tried to do the entire 50 yet, but the 35 mile loop is a killer.  I usually include a ride to and from the trailhead when I do it, so that adds an hour.   What’s scary is that the big climb is at the end of the 35 mile loop and the additional 15 mile loop is freakin’ slow.  It’s so techy that it may be a cause for concern on race day.  I’ll be doing my best to evaluate everyone who makes the time cut before they head out for  the final loop.

I would dare to say that it is the toughest race in Texas and probably a lot tougher than some other endurance events around the country.  Breck 100 sucked.  It was really high altitude.  The techy portions were all downhill, so that helped, but being 100 miles makes it a different game.

The Puzzler is definitely the toughest 50….by far.  I can’t wait for this year’s race.  I hope that by having the sag vehicles, more people will be willing to give it a shot.  Completing a course this tough on your own or for training is more difficult than in a competitive setting.  So I’m hoping that more people give it a shot this year.

It will be interesting to see who will line up for Puzzler dos.  So far we’ve got two Coloradoans and a couple El Pasoans signed up for the torture fest.  Online registration is up, so we’ll see if that gets people going on it.  We have as much swag and cash as last year.  This year we’ll be awarding some incredibly cool trophies.  This trophy will be worth putting on the mantle.  It will definitely be placed at the front of the stash of award crap.  I only wish I could race for one as I used to dream of a similar trophy when I was a kid.  I missed that opportunity….created a new one….but I can’t participate.  Being a race director kind of sucks.  Oh well.

We finally got some cold rain and snow in El Paso this week.  The mountains were white most of the day yesterday and today.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be putting fenders to use this winter or not.  The new PI rain jacket kicked ass.  Gotta love PI’s stuff as long as it fits correctly.

Sign up for the Puzzler.  It’s going to be a blast.

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.