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It’s been tough to blog lately. This past summer I made little effort to get to internet access. I spent most of the summer NOT riding due to an issue in my back/neck/shoulder/arm. I’m better now and after pretty much taking a full year off from doing anything hardcore on the bike, I’m prepping for a next summer starting today.
I spent 2 hours this evening cleaning out my toolbox. This was initiated by an oil spill of some sort in the top compartment. I ended up dumping half my tools into the wash bucket with lots of soap, water, and orange cleaner. I thought all the handles on my Park cone wrenches were black. Turns out they’re blue. I ended up resorting all my tools, picking out all the duplicates and tools I don’t use for bike repair, and removing all the non-tool items like cable housing and zip ties. I completely emptied the box and scrubbed it with a sponge and the hot, soapy water. After rearranging everything, I’m much happier. I placed all the tools I use a bunch like those large T-handled Park allen wrenches, the tape measure, the shock pump, and my torque wrench set in the top of the box instead of in a difficult to open drawer. I put all the chain lube, anti-sieze, and rarely used tools in the bottom drawer. Genius! Should have done that years ago.
Now I’ve got to sort out all the parts I pulled out along with the tubs of parts on my work bench. Once I get that done, I’ll be ready to do actual bike maintenance. And boy do my bikes need some love. So do Jen’s bikes. Her’s more than mine.
I’ll be ripping off the parts from her strange fitting 659’r that was supposed to be a 29’r two time national SS winning Titus to put on her On One Inbred which is currently draped with junk parts, commuter wheels, and a rack. She said she didn’t want to have a heavy SS, but why ride a light one with a strange geometry and a weird sized rear wheel that barely fits and handle like a Corvair convertible?
Did you hear about Jen’s attempt at a 3rd national SS title? I thought it was a valiant effort and I’m very proud of her….and myself. Why am I proud of myself? While I was hanging out with Connor and Jen was pre-riding the shitty national course in Idaho, I saw Rebecca Rusch on a hard-tail that was converted to a SS. I kept my mouth shut all week knowing that if I said anything Jen probably wouldn’t even start the race. Jen was WAY under geared for what turned out to be a running festival and Rusch plowed through the waves of geared riders that started ahead. Luckily Jen has been doing a bit of running herself and moved into 2nd place at the hike-a-bike short cut that was near the top of the course. Rusch put down the fastest women’s amateur course time of the day. Jen finished in 2nd more than 9 minutes down. I was proud of her because I knew she was under geared and she only did 4 mountain bike races previous since the end of Summer 2009 when I knocked her up with Connor. Of course, she was pretty disappointed, but it was Rusch’s home turf. And honestly, nobody really cares. She also beat last year’s champion by 3 minutes. Not bad for someone riding a wierd fitting/handling bike that’s 5 years old.
After I get her bikes all dialed (the Titus will become the Chariot dragging device), I’m going to do some major stuff with my bikes. More to come….I promise. Maybe I’ll even have some pictures.
Some of you may know that Titus closed their doors earlier this year. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve blogged, but this deserves a bit of attention as it’s one of the root causes of problems in our current economic situation.
Here’s my view on why Titus went down. It’s an outsider’s view with some internal information that had been gleaned over a few years of correspondence with Titus personnel back when they gave me a great deal on custom bikes.
Chris Cocalis was slow to innovate and change and had trouble managing a growing business. He sold out to investors who brought in Pat Huss who had previously run Cannondale into the ground. Pat brought with him Jeff Titone. Both are nice guys, but I’m not sure they really belong in the bicycle manufacturing business.
Failed efforts at fancy exogrid products and carbon stuff from overseas started the fall. Originally producers of HIGH quality custom frames, they tried to seek more profit by going overseas. This never made sense to me as they had to fly over there all the time to do quality control….which sucked if you ever owned a carbon chainstayed racer-x.
A couple years ago, they sold off their sweet jigs and took all ti production to Litespeed. Yuk. The aluminum stuff was still being made in Portland and the carbon stuff overseas. They shrank their operations in the states trying to become a marketing and design company. Customer service suffered and people started looking at other great bikes like the Trek/Fishers, Pivots, Tall Boys, and other fantastic bikes on the market that cost about the same or less.
Titus deserved to die. Hanging on to the Horst Link and giving up on in house production reduced their value.
Planet-X Bikes recently purchased Titus. I hope they didn’t pay much. Hopefully they will return to some custom in house production if they can ever get a hold of those sweet jigs they used to have. Good luck Planet-X Bikes. If you bring back Titus, keep ’em custom, keep ’em ti.
It’s not often that I sell my bike stuff. But the moto-lite has only been ridden twice in the last year. It’s a great bike, but I need to thin the herd a little and it’s not suiting my style anymore. If you know any tall peeps looking for a great bike, I’m letting it go for $1500. Check out the add on mtbr for more info.
Here’s a pic of the beast.
This bike had a lot of great rides. Hopefully I can find a better home for it than my garage.
School has not started yet, but I’ve been in inservices all week. Some pretty cool physics stuff. Real basic stuff taught really well. I was a terrible physics teacher last year.
After watching the short track races at the nationals, Jen and I packed up the race house and headed to our first real rock concert since about 1997. There was a huge music fest in Denver and Widespread Panic headlined the show. Those old guys really rocked the house. From what I remember, they played Love Tractor, Travelin’ Light, Rebirtha,….and the highlight of the show…drums into Faries Wear Boots! My God! That kicked ass!
We boondocked in a Walmart lot and woke 4 hours later to city buses making their way through the park and ride which we were parked in. uugghh. We headed to Breck with the hopes of riding around Mt. Guyot. It was raining and we were super tired so we soldiered on to Utah. This is when things got weird and we decided to go to Moab. We drove the La Sal Mt. Loop and found a great place to camp right near the junction of Kokopelli and Hazzard County Trail. We did a sweet loop on Hazzard!
Onto Salt Lake we soldiered….in 100 degree heat. The next morning, we looped up the Crest Trail from ma-in-law’s for 5 and a half hours in some sweet heat. That cooked us. I’m taking a few days off the bike, but Jen is up here in Deer Valley riding Spin Cycle and other great trails as I poach wireless and get Luna in the water.
We’ll leave SL tomorrow and head back to Colorado with plans for the Guyot loop. Then on to Laramie for the Enduro.
Titus put us up on their site for “news”. Interesting that they call Jen a “factory rider”. Privateer is more like it. Oh well. She was kind of mad. I could care less. We haven’t received ANYTHING but a discount from them this year….and that was on some oem forks. They do make great bikes though.
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.
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.
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.
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.