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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.

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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.

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.

Presidency has it’s priviledges.  And being in the right place at the right time helps too.  I’ll be in between the Kaibab and the Cream Puff hanging with friends and the mo-in-law in Salt Lake City from about June 17 to the 24th.  That puts me about 30 miles away from the IMBA Summit in Park City on the 18th-21st.  With a $415 registration fee, I was skeptical about the club paying for it.  But it’s a bargain considering I’m already up there and I’m willing to take care of my other expenses.  So I’ll be learning all about how to help improve mountain biking in El Paso while ripping some buff singletrack.  I may even take the lift chair a few times!

 

Today was my 38th birthday.  I enjoyed my morning by rallying the Moto-lite to school.  It was already about 85 on my way in.  I found a pretty good sized concrete roller jump that I like to hit every morning.  It’s definitely a highlight of the morning.  This morning I got chased about a quarter mile by a chihuahua.  I tried to take a picture of it, but it didn’t save to my phone……

I also tried to take a picture of the $4.59 diesel price at one of the stations I passed on the way in.  I pass 6 gas stations on my way to work.  They aren’t nearly as busy as they used to be.  In fact, it seems that people are waiting to the last drop to refill.  I should have taken a pic of the guy getting his car pushed into one of the stations this afternoon.

One of my students asked me why I would ride my bike to school on my birthday.  What an idiot.  These kids are in a totally different world.  Most of their parents can barely afford the car.  83% of my students are on free or reduced lunch, but well over 50% have cell phones.  The good thing is that probably less than 50% of the students at my school get taken to school by their parents.  Most live within walking distance.  They would never ride a bike though.  That’s what poor people do.  And they would rather push their freakin’ car to the gas station to fill it back up than ride a bike.

Times are changing much more quickly than most people realize.  Here are a few of my predictions:

1.  By summer of ’09, cheap gas will be $6 a gallon.

2.  Food prices will be about 15% higher by summer ’09.

3.  Fewer than 30% of the students at my school will have cell phones next year due to the fact that their parents will not be able to afford them.

4.  Crime rates in Northeast El Paso will will double by summer ’09.  This will be due to gas theft, car jackings, muggings, and petty theft so people can buy more gas.

5.  Bike thefts….something that is almost unheard of around here (this is due to the fact that riding a bike makes you look poor and most people are too lazy or scared to ride one)….will increase significantly by summer ’09.  The local bike shops here don’t get their sweet bikes stolen.  They get their office broken into and ransacked until they find the money drawer with a couple hundred dollars in it.  Never mind that $5,000 Trek Madone or $6,000 Titus Carbon Racer-X.  Petty thieves are pretty clueless on that stuff around here.

Those are just a few things I think will start to become more common.  It will actually be a good thing if bikes become a commodity in this town.  What the dirt poor don’t realize is that walking is for chumps.  If they were smart they would have cobbled together the junk parts from all those shitty Mongoose walmart christmas bikes and made something that would have at least gotten them to the bus stop.

Mr. President….the Saudis CAN’T pump oil faster.  They are pumping it as fast as they can.  And only a fool would sell it for less and try to produce less.  If I owned an oil field, I wouldn’t sell any of it yet.  I’d wait a couple more years for it to hit about $300 a barrel.  Then I’d sell it.  Of course, our government would probably spend about $250 a barrel to steal that $300 barrel via a war (theft) for my oil.

Hell yeah I rode my bike to work today…and it hit 101 degrees.  It was my birthday!  Why would I want to drive my car on my birthday?  What fools!  Screw all of you stupid fools for thinking that those of us who ride a bike to work are “crazy”.  Putting that gas pump in that dirty little hole in your car and driving all about town at $3.65 for the cheep stuff…….that’s crazy.

 

Last night I remember pulling blankets out from under the dog so I could keep warm.  Jenn had warned me that we may have rain, but I was skeptical.  Lots of clouds have passed us since Thanksgiving, and none have given us any moisture.

Not that this storm gave our yard much moisture, but it was absolutely one of the best days in May that we’ve ever had!  It never got much over 65 today and the sun was nowhere to be seen.

These pics are from the morning dog walk…..

I think Luna is wondering what those big grey things are up there.  It’s 6:30 am and I’m usually sporting sunglasses.

Jen ended up riding right through that baby on her way to school!  She called me to let me know she got soaked on her way in.  She was really excited about it, but bummed she didn’t have fenders.

After school we went up to Heinrich and took some single track up to the Tin Mine loop.  This is where the new trail from the loop up to the windmill will start.  It’s going to work it’s way around the contour and should provide an excellent adventure for the El Paso mountain biker.  I can’t wait to start working on this puppy!

This is the first one of these we’ve seen this season.  It’s our state reptile.  Last year I remember hauling butt near the same area and seeing a big rock in the trail.  Right about the time I was going to steer around it, it split up and ran off in two directions.  The rock was actually two horny toads who were quite horny and decided to copulate right in the middle of the trail.  I still haven’t figured out quite what to do to get them to bleed from their eyes.  I’m not sure I’m willing to torment one enought for that to happen.

Believe it or not…..Travis Brown showed up in El Paso to race the Coyote Classic.  He loved it and said the trails were kick ass!  Take that you fools that kept talking shit on us and didn’t want to come down here to race!

 Damien Calvert beat him.  Damien has been on fire the past couple of seasons.  It’s good that he gets to race against guys like Ned and Damien every now and then.

The Coyote drew in 160 racers….most of whom I had to pass as they started the SS category behind the entire sport field.  I think it was close to 100 sport racers.  I threw down some balls scary passes and even crashed through one turn.   I passed people the entire race.  It was a bit frustrating, but good practice.

Jen lost a horst pivot bolt (even after I loctite’d the thing in there) and had to walk a couple of miles.  After returning to our trailer, she put in another bolt, refueled and completed the entire course for third place.  A bit bummed she was, but glad to be getting the bugs worked out now.  It’s a bit frustrating when you know you’ve done all the right things for prepping bikes and something stupid like that happens. 

Not many people showed up to the BMBA tent.  That was a bit dissapointing.  It may be that people just want the social aspect of a club.  If the trails disappear, then there will be fewer places to hold those social rides.