Friday, July 4, 2014

Comparing the fat bike to the RIP9

Up at NEMBA Fest I took the Fatboy on about 1/3rd of the rides, every ride was great up there, the Fatboy was awesome on the Darling Hill trails and I really couldn't say that I was ever disappointed that I brought it on a ride. On one of the Fatboy rides we got over to the Burke side and coming down some of the slightly more technical trails I had to slow way down so the bounce of the tires didn't get to the point where I couldn't control the bike any more. It was fun, but on that same trail later in the weekend I was on my RIP and it was a lot more fun, I could go really fast and there was no issue at all.

I ride Crandall Park a lot because its close, the trails there are largely non-technical (with a few technical spots) so I have ridden the Fatboy there pretty exclusively. Yesterday I took the RIP9 out there just because it was the bike that happened to be on the car rack. It was fun with the RIP9, but the fat bike is way more fun to crank around the corners there - and there are a LOT of corners. I got a KOM on a climb on last night's ride, so I guess that answers the "is it slower" question, but more often than not I'm riding for fun, not speed.

I've got a suspension fork on order for the Fatboy, we'll see how that changes the formula.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A little air on a fat bike

There's a perfect rock ramp out at Crandalls, you don't get up in the air that high, but the landing is perfect so you end up getting some good hang time as you travel down the hill 2" over the ground. I have to get out there and make a proper video with the Fatboy and the Contour.

video

Saturday, May 10, 2014

"What happened do your legs?"

I was at the climbing gym last week and I got the "what happened to your legs" question. As short-wearing season approaches I reflected about this question. Generally speaking my legs are a mess (sorry for the gross picture)

I'll admit that there have been times (and there will be times going forward) when I've had to wear long legged pants to cover up the nastiness when I wanted to wear shorts.

Every one of these scars represents a ride, an adventure, a missed attempt on a log ride (ok I'll admit one of them is a result of me tripping over a log in the garage - I was carrying my road bike at the time, if it helps and the ones on my knees are actually from climbing).

My message to you - embrace the scars in whatever form they take, you wouldn't be you without them.

Monday, May 5, 2014

This just in, riding is still fun

My love of riding, whether fat, road or mountain bike continues. I can't help but feel like a little kid every time I swing my leg up over a bike, regardless of which type and where I'm riding.

I was looking at Strava this weekend and here are my stats so far this year:
Year-to-Date
Distance 609.2 mi
Time 86h 13m
Elev Gain 51,089 ft
Rides 56

Its not huge numbers by any stretch, but underneath those numbers are some good times. I'm really glad to have biking in my life and to be able to really enjoy my time on the bike. I seem to be getting into this realm where speed is fun, but not the primary goal of riding and I kind of like it.

I did fat bike rides Friday night and Saturday, they were similar in that I didn't feel like rushing for either ride.

Saturday I rode at Case, which proved to me that the fat bike is not the correct tool for every job. 95% of the ride was fine and super fun just like every other fat bike ride I've been on, but man those highly technical sections were tough! I know its just a matter of me working the bike in a different way than with the 29er FS, but that "working the bike" thing wasn't going too well. I had a couple of crashes that were unexpected. More work to be done I guess, but I'm glad I've got the RIP9 to fall back on for technical rides.

I came across a 4-5' long black snake, it seemed pretty agitated and was shaking its tail in the dry leaves making for a pretty convincing rattle sound. I kept my distance, but very cool to see a snake this large in the wild.

 A bit later I came across two deer who, in contrast to the black snake seemed entirely uninterested in me. They went about their business without really moving even as I rode by them. They looked to be just starting to lose their winter coats and were pretty thin, I'm sure that was a tough winter for them.











I also came across a couple of friends I haven't seen for a while we talked for a bit, which was really nice too. The second rider, upon seeing my legs asked why I wasn't wearing leg guards, hmmm probably something I should consider, my shins look like a walked into a blender. 

On Friday the slow ride mentality at Crandalls manifested itself into a picture ride, I suffer for my art, having several crashes while being distracted by the camera while setting up a shot. I caught some good pictures though (none of the crashes):
Sunday I rode Middlesex, no pictures, but that continues to be an excellent place to ride, one of my favorite places in CT. Highly technical in sections, but really different terrain than any other place. A guy on the ride had a trail saw and we took care of three major trail blockages, it feels good to give back like that with a group of guys who are willing to interrupt the ride like that.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New sneakers, new stoppers


I guess I've been slacking on updating the blog, to my six followers, I apologize! 

I have been riding a mix of the road bike, RIP9 and the Fatboy pretty regularly. All good fun! We had a beautiful weekend to ride last weekend and I took full advantage doing 4 rides in 2 days. 

The tires on my road bike had dry rot on the sidewalls, they are 18 months old so I guess that's good life, though I really only had about 1500 miles on them, I would have expected more miles out of a pair of tires on the road. If this was my mountain bike I'd ride them until failure, or more evidence of impending failure. The road is a different animal though, I started to think about those sidewalls on every downhill - a tire failure at 50mph would be pretty dramatic, in a bad way. 

I figured I'd swap out the brake pads at the same time, wow glad I did, the old ones were really worn down. 

I got some new tires for the bike, they were $45 each, which doesn't seem so bad compared to the average cost of a mountain bike tire, but when you take that road tire out of the box and see how little it weighs, let's just say on a dollar/pound basis these things are expensive! I didn't take any pictures of the road bike tires, lets face it one slick tire looks an awful lot like any other one. 

I was really surprised I noticed a huge difference on a short ride yesterday, I expected to notice the brakes with much better stopping power. I was surprised how much of a difference the tires made, the bike is so much smoother. I wouldn't have thought one slick tire would feel different than another.

Speaking of expensive tires, they finally release the Specialized Ground Control tires for purchase on the Specialized website (and to dealers) - $160 per tire - yep PER TIRE! There must be some gold in the construction of that tire somewhere! I love those tires, but I thought for the summer season I don't really need 4.6" tires and considering how the rocks and stuff wear out tires I figured I'd be better off getting some cheaper tires for summer. I had been running On One Floaters on my old FB-4, so I went there again for the new bike. They now have some colored versions of these tires and they're even cheaper than the black tires. I wish they had red to match the rest of the accents on my bike, but orange will have to do. 


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Winter is over!

I think I can safely say that winter has left the building. I suppose there's a chance we'll see a bit more snow before it really starts to warm up, but cold rides on frozen ground are done for the season. I feel like a psychic buying a fat bike this past fall, perhaps the best winter for riding that I can remember. I am certain that at least some of those rides would have been fine on a regular bike, but there were some that would have been impossible and most would not have been as much fun.

Specialized just released the tires that are on my fat bike for sale individually, tires are a consumable and you know you're going to have to buy new ones eventually. The tires on that bike are $160 a piece! They are great tires, but I could put four tires on my car for the price of two bike tires? Crazy. I ordered some cheaper (though still stupid expensive) tires for summer use. I figure riding in snow doesn't do much to wear down a tire, so if I only use these in winter they should last 2 or 3 seasons. The new ones I ordered are a bit narrower too, I don't need 4.6" of tire for summer riding anyway.

I took a ride on my Niner yesterday, it was great to get out and push a bit. I feel like I'm in pretty good shape, riding two hours at a pretty good pace did not seem hard at all, even after doing 30 miles on the road bike the day before.

So I guess its on to Spring time, warmer weather and all the great things that come with it.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

What do you look forward to?

I went to a retirement party this week for a former colleague who is basically my age. He's got younger kids and a wife that brings in enough money that he doesn't absolutely need to work. I was talking to another friend at the party about how much I was looking forward to retirement, an obvious topic of discussion at a retirement party.

He looked at me very seriously and said "you can't look forward to retirement, you have to live NOW!". It really stopped me in my tracks and made me think hard about it. I really try to seize the day whenever I can, whether its a ride, climbing, playing music or just hanging out with the family.  I need to realize how special those moments are and make sure they happen more and I cherish each and every one of them.

My friend's comment made me realize that while I'm very active in my life, I need to let the little things go more and really challenge my overall view on life.

This is it, take every moment.

This same kind of thing came up yesterday when we were having lunch with our daughter - she was commenting how cluttered (bordering on messy, ok it is messy) our house is. We could spend all our time cleaning up and making our house a museum or we could go climbing, riding or play music. Judge me on the cleanliness of my house if you want, but I won't judge myself that way.

I had a great ride this morning on snowmobile trails in Union. It was a fast crank for 12.5 miles, so much fun flying into the corners - lots of ups and downs to play on. I absolutely love that new fat bike, its so much fun.