Monthly Archives: April 2015

WILD

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A few nites ago I watched the movie “Wild”.

Here’s the trailer.

Shit like this mesmerizes me. I want to do that so bad. Ive had the “pull” in my brain all my life but it gets stronger as I get older. My father would fly to Alaska and spend weeks alone hunting out of a base camp. So I guess I get this feeling from him. In fact, at this point in my life if I were to be in the mountains Im not so sure I would come back.

There’s more to life than doing what you do for a living. There’s even more to life than raising your family. Sure those things take priority as different points in your life. But there’s a time to do what you need to do to stay sane.

This movie just kinda re sparked that feeling that I need to be doing something of this sort. Most likely has my current thoughts on bike touring rev’ed up again.

This is a generic feeling. I don’t specifically want to hike 1000 miles, or go live in a tent in Alaska (although both would be epic). Really its just the journey I need. The alone time. Bike touring is close to that. Its not exactly the same but pretty close. You dont know where your going to sleep at the end of that day or whats going to happen during.

And since I can’t hike well or have the money or time to head out to AK I’ll do the next best thing. A thing I think I can do.

I’ll share a quick story about my Dad. Sometime in the late 70’s he was dropped somewhere in Alaska by a brush plane, actually it landed on a small lake. I was a teenager at the time. Anyway, he was going to be there for 5 days and had supplies to cover that time. Huge snowstorm hits on the 4th day. Plane can’t come and get him. If I remember right 4 to 5 feet of snow fell. He ran out of food on day 7. He had to wake up every 4 hours to dig out the tent to get oxygen.

He got picked up on day 9 after the storm left. During all this he kept a small diary, writing in it several times a day. I have that diary. But I have not seen it for 15 years. I hope I can still find it.

Just imagine. He had no way to contact anyone at anytime. He did not know when they were coming to get him. He just sat in his tent for days and waited. Now that is something to write about and whenever I see a movie like “Wild” or “Into the Wild” I think of him. Not specifically for what those people in the movie are going thru but just the journey it takes them on. When Im touring and pull into a nice campsite next to a lake, I pitch my tent and think of him.

There’s being alone and then there’s being extremely alone. Its when you are extremely alone that you find yourself.

Its like when you’re on a solo bike ride and you lose yourself in thought for an hour or so, but times 1000.

I sure hope I can pull off the tour I have planned in Aug. And maybe a couple mini tours too. That would be awesome.

So heres to Cheryl Strayed and Chris McCandless and my Dad.

They all had the guts to tackle some epic shit. For whatever reason.

DLD

Twenty Nine Plus

Soon I will have my first ride in the woods on Treks new 29+ bike. And I cant wait. Well, I have been waiting for a new rear pulley from Sram.

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Its not a big deal, one of the pulleys on the rear (and only) derailleur has some flashing on it or something. One of the teeth is bad and the chain catches with every spin. Even the derailleur pulleys are now narrow\wide.

They are sending out new pulleys for me. Soon I hope. I really want to ride in the woods.

While to the mainstream the 29+ is not well known its been around for some time. I was on a 29+ wheelset on my 907 Whiteout two years ago and loved it. The big(er) wheels play into my style of riding. My only real advantage to being of bigger body size is momentum. And the big wheels just play into that.

As far as wheels go the bigger the better for me.

I raced that same bike at the Shuammy 40 last fall. The lack of a suspension fork hurt me a bit but other than that I was just as fast as any 29er I had. But my time on that bike with those big wheels was limited as I sold it pretty quick.

Fast forward to today, and I have the Stashe 29+ just sitting there, waiting for over a week now.

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29+ rules.

I was even debating weather to get a MTB at all this summer as I am trying to get some touring set up. Im pretty sure I could have waiting until Sept when the Farleys got here. But then the Stashe comes out and I was all over that in a second.

Keep in mind its not really a fat bike. You cant race it as one as a Fattie. And you might get frowned upon if you’re out on groomed snow trails with such a skinny tire. 3.7in minimum has been the rule. These are 29X3.

As as crazy as this sounds, both the Fat bike AND the 29+ bike was invented by Surly. Man, hats off to those people. Well, the fat bike was being tried in Alaska before the Pugsley but it was Surly who mass produced a version first. Then, a few years ago the came out with the Krampus. The first production 29+ bike.

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Stashe waiting for me.

I wonder if Surly owns the rights to some kind of patent to the 29+? Cuz now everyone is doing it.

Same as the fat tires. Everyone is doing it.

In a perfect world one would just get a set of 29+ wheels for their fatbike. And that was my intention last fall when I received my Farley. In fact, I started the 29+ wheelset before the bike got to my store. My thoughts were to slap those wheels on the bike until the snow hit the ground. Looking back I got my Farley late Sept and I could have run the taller, thinner wheels well into December before switching to fat.

So I had the high end wheels build when the bike arrived. Nice stuff. Hope hubs. Sapim spokes and Northpaw rimes.

Imagine my surprise when I found out the rear wheel did not fit due to the Farley’s short chainstay. I was devastated. Spent all the money on a wheelset I could not use. I did put them on the the bike with some 2.3 tires but it was not the same.

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Farley with 29 by 2.3. Not the same.

I rode the bike once for 40 minutes that way. I should have done more homework on that. The short chainstay was awesome for the bike. Just not awesome for 29+.

Of course that is now changed as Trek has gone to a 197 rear hub and made the bikes with a adjustable rear chainstay. 29+ on those bikes is good to go. As soon as I get my next Farley I will sell the Stashe and 29+ up that bike just as I planned to do last year.

I also had some concern on the hardtail aspect, Being on suspension for years. I wondered if my back could take it. And while I now have front suspension forks on these bikes the rear may be a bit rougher. But with the bigger hoops not as bad as I thought. The big tire soaks up a bit and the huge wheels roll over stuff a bit. Its not as smooth as a F\S bike but it is tolerable for me since I retired from MTB racing anyway.

This could be the format Im on from this point forward. And yes, as soon as the full suspension models come out I will for sure be on one. Thats just natural progression.

Who am I to stop progress….

DLD

Content

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Im pretty much aware that Ive been lacking content lately.All work and no play makes Dan a dull boy.

But I do have some stuff coming up. Like my first ride in the woods. And the build of my touring bike.

Right now Im still playing with my new camera. Its kinda like the first time you got your Android or Apple phone. There’s a ton of stuff this thing does that is not written anywhere. Its like a little computer. All I’ve been doing with it is pushing all the buttons and seeing what happens. Its pretty cool.

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And I haven’t really gotten started with the camera. But I soon will as I am once again going to sell pic’s in the store. So Ive got some work to do in that regards.

So lets talk bikes. Most of you know that Ive been riding a 1 by 11 on my road bike. As I get more miles on it I seem to like it more. This weekend when on a road ride I noticed several people in the big ring almost constantly. When I run a compact Im in the 50 tooth ring almost 95% of the time. So my thoughts have been its got to be the same, right? Its not.

A normal 2 by 11’s cassette has the ratios a lot tighter. My cassette is 11 by 36. A run of the mill 2 by cassette is 11 by 28. Divide 11 ratios into the two cassettes and the 11\36 has huge jumps in ratios.

On my 1X my highs are just as high and lows are just as low (ish) but the gaps are all on the cassette. As I see others run big\big (50\28) all the time on the road I wonder if a regular cassette would be better. Maybe a 11\32? I almost never hit that lowest gear on top of the cassette. Like maybe once so far. So in theory if I have a 32 as my lowest gear as opposed to a 36, and still have 11 ratios would the gaps be smaller?? I would think so. I’ll have to do some research. Or maybe wait until Sram does the research for me. Im sure their 1X road is not far away.

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I’ll keep the big cassette on as its a cross bike with CX1 anyway. This research will be for the next one. Im still happy with the way the Boone rides on the road. I personally have not notices the “aero” disadvantage the wider frameset has or the weight penalty the disc’s bring. Its a blast to ride and easy on a old guy like me.

Like I said before, I do feel the big gaps in ratio while riding, and sometimes I find myself shifting back and forth between two gears now and then. But I can for sure deal with it. Would  suggest road 1X  to another? Sure. But Im sure, actually, I know for a fact there are a lot of riders that would not like it. But I make it work for me.

There’s my bike stuff for today.

DLD

Monday Report

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The weekend went down as planned. Almost 5 hours total in the saddle. All road miles. Friday and Saturday was once again cold and I froze. Being too stubborn to get out my winter clothing again. But Sunday was not so bad. For once we switched up routes a bit and headed straight east away from the lake and it warmed up much sooner than we would expect.

In fact just 15 minutes and I was taking off my vest. I dont like to go this way a lot as you ride pretty much thru the city to get to the good riding. But I was surprised that it only took 15 minutes to get out of the traffic. Its been so long I forget. And its so much easier to just go south from the store that thats what we do all the time. It was nice to bet some new scenery. I will plan to do this more until the lake warms up, usually in June.

I still have not rode the MTB. Ive been waiting on Sram to send me some replacement pulley for my derailleur. I talked to them 6 days ago. Someone dropped the ball over there. I’ll call them back today. Im confident that I will debut my 29+ in the woods this week.

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Ive also talked about a few days away several weeks ago and that has not happened but will soon. Maybe an overnighter or just a day trip would be nice. Just need to get out of the store for a bit. The weather looks good on the 10 day. Temps in the 70’s by next weekend. That means high 50’s here….  I’ll take it.

I better go… Monday is order day.

DLD