Wednesday, September 30, 2009

C'est tout! The Qball Monster Cross

I called Scott Quiring about the bottom bracket issue yesterday and he set me straight. The BB that I got from a friend was probably a roadie BB and not mountain. Thus, when I swung by the Bicycle Center in Brookfield, Shawn hooked me up with the right BB plus a few other goodies for some other forthcoming builds.

While cleaning the man-cave on Sunday I found some bars that were perfect for what I was trying to accomplish. A flared drop with a wide rearward sweep. I think these were another find from the Goodie Shop because they don't appear to have ever been mounted. Barcon fit great and I really like the elongated downward portion of the bar. Much more surface area than what you would get with the Origin 8 Gary Bar.

Brakes on the other hand still need some fine tuning. Road levers don't really pull the cable far enough so it takes a combination of tightening the cable at the caliper and adjusting the pad distance. With two pad settings and not one like on the BB5 you would wonder why the 5's aren't as popular. Might be worth trying, especially if I pickup some Juicys for the Dillinger build this weekend.

Feels great riding around the driveway but the true test will be putting those tires on dirt. Right now I have 2.1 Velociraptors for tires, only because I sold my Motoraptors the other day. These are my racing tires and I am not sure I want to abuse them for everyday riding.

I was able to recycle the Jersey Cow bar tape but it's pretty beat and I will need to replace it at some point. It broke while winding around the brake lever on the left side and I had to use tape on the right side at the Barcon. I hate using tape but the Barcon is so snug that there was no way I could get the tape in there at the same time. When I get some new bar tape I will try getting it in.

I decided to go with the Suginio Compact Mountain Cranks and a 42t front chain ring. Afterall, it's not like I will be riding single track with this bike anytime soon so I think I can get away with no chain guides for now. Should I ever start riding off road with it, I will need to think about doing something a little more permanent. Probably go to a 32t and do an inner and outer bash guard set up. For the time being, however, I don't think I have to fear dropping the chain while riding dirt roads.
I am still having derailler issues. These horizontal drops where the hanger sits below I find is somewhat problematic. I first tried tightening the B adjustment screw all the way down but that didn't work. Then I tired loosening it all the way out and that still didn't work. I think I need to find a longer screw or check to ensure that I have the derailler in the right position I think it is but I will have to do it again. Still, a 1x7 for this Gravel Grinder should be more than adequate.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Working all night on the Qball

Actually, I spent a good six hours working on the Qball in the Man-Cave last Friday night. Ironically, no tunes were blasting and the PBR was still chillin in the Beerfridge. I was busy as a beaver. I was trying to get the Qball ready for a practise run for the Tour De Roxbury, which is a 50 mile Gravel Grinder with 7,000 feet of climbing. I figured the best way to do that, with the parts I have on hand was to turn the Qball into a 1x9. Then, I hope to learn the route and try to keep up with the CAT1 racers who put this race on and come back later and ride it fixed.

I tried three sets of bars before going back to my Ritchey flat bars. I probably should have stayed with the mustache bars but I felt that I wouldn't get enough leverage with them. The bar end diameter on the Origin 8 Gary bars was too narrow for the barcons that I got. I swung by Goodie shop in Bethel and got some three speed bars, when turned upside down turn into flared drops but they were too narrow. Then I tired the FUBars, which looked pretty good but the rearwards sweep and the high angled stem shunk my cockpit too much, so I went back to flats. That mean using some old Avid Levers and a trigger shifter. So my Monster Crosser just morphed back into a mountain bike.

I then hooked up a Deore Shifter and a 9 speed cassette only to find out that with the integrated hanger (below the horizontal drops) the rear derailleur doesn't get low enough to put the chain onto lowest cog. In fact I was having so many problems with the 9 speed cassette that I went to the 8 speed cassette, but since I couldn't get into the lowest cog, it meant I had a 1x7.

On a test ride in the driveway, in the dead of night, I did a little test drive only to find that my FSA cranks were indeed SS cranks and were incompatible with all my chains. I tride the Crankset that I got for the Dillinger only to find that spindle and BB were the wrong size. On Sunday, I found bars that will work but haven't had a chance to put them on yet, however, I am still screwed because I don't have a geared crankset at this point. I have two weeks to find a solution.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's Orange Season Again!

Yes, it's that time again. Crisp, cool mornings sometimes foggy, decisions to be made about what to wear are always challenging. Shorts, bibs, longsleeves? And then there are the hunters, lurking in the woods and chances are you don't see them but hopefully they see or at least hear you.

Headed out for a quick ride Saturday morning - Oranged up and with the bells. Didn't see any hunters but there were plenty of trucks in the lot at Echo Valley.

Friday, September 25, 2009

RAW: Shelton Lakes

Had the opportunity to Ride After Work at Shelton Lakes on Thursday and it was interesting to the say the least. My expectation was your typical up and down New England trails but as you can see from the profile below it was pretty flat. Not sure what that dip means but if you look on the map above it's in a section of the trail that was sloping downwards but that not that much. Maybe because I was moving so fast that the GPS just couldn't record keep up.
The night before I put a new chain on the 'Horse. I had meant to pick one up this week but I was working down in Shelton and never got to the LBS so I pulled one of your chain drawer that I thought was a 9 speed chain. I think it was an 8 speed chain because in most of the gears the chain wouldn't hold. I guess I should have figured it out the night before when I tried using a 9 speed master link but it wouldn't work. I was still able to ride and that was all that mattered.

I think I hit the majority of the Trail System. Except for a section of the Turkey Trot Loop I stayed away from the B2B or Bridge-2-Bridge Trail. Don't ride here without a map if you are riding here for the first time and if you are alone. I downloaded the GIF files to my Blackberry and thought I might have to use that but I also had a printed map that really helped.

Trails are either really buff or rooty and rocky. There is very little climbing and the biggest climbs of course go right up fall lines.

Lots of board walks crossing over streams and wet areas. Except for one on the orange trail past the Eklund Garden all were really solid.

Definitely have to return and try some of the trails that I missed. Of course, the next time I am bringing a rigid bike. Full suspension is overkill on these trails.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thirsty Thursdays: BBC Lost Sailor IPA

There is nothing better after a long hard ride than to open a Growler of BBC Lost Sailor IPA. It has a rich and bitter taste that outclasses just about all other IPAs that I had in the past. What set's it apart from the rest of the pack is the fact that there are no persatives and the ale has to always be kept cold.
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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

29er Fest at CT NEMBA's Fall Fiesta

You would have been surprised at the number of 29ers that showed up at CT NEMBA's Fall Fiesta last weekend. I counted 11 29ers! There was a Green Voodoo Canzo, a Niner, 3 Monocogs, 1 Monocog Superflight, 4 Gary Fishers, and 1 Ventanna! Three years ago, at this same place, there was one 29er, mine, and now look at how many there are!

Tom Lamourine's Voodoo Canzo

Steve Morey's Monocog

a Gary Fisher hardtail

Glen and Steve's Monocogs

Another Gary Fisher

Ventenna, on the left, geared and rigid. Steve on right with his Monocog

Another shot of the Fisher full suspension

Up close shot of the Ventanna

Glenn on his Monocog, riding sweep for the Epic Ride

Joan from Milford riding her personally autographed Gary Fisher full suspension

And then think about all the other people there who also own 29ers, including myself there were at least 5 others, which says to me that 29ers, contrary to LBS belief, is no longer a niche player!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Riding with the Roth Brothers

After all the activities at CT NEMBA's Fall Fiesta wore down I hooked up with Adam & Eric Roth and their posse of East of the River mountain bikers. We rode out on the red trail in the reverse direction of the circumference trail at Gay City. It's kind of ironic that in the three times I have been to Gay City, every time I have ridden this trail in a counter clockwise fashion and riding it clockwise is so much better!

First off, Cheryl flatted along the way and her knight in flat black came to her mechanical rescue.

The posse enjoyed the show, especially when Adam pumped up the tire. He looked like a height challenged Sasquatch humping a football.

After that it was a hammer fest back to the parking lot. Man, these guys can hammer, it was like a stampede and if it wasn't for their little stops I don't think I would have ever caught up to them.

Back at the parking area we all basked in the sun and had a few brews! Excellent way to end an excellent day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ad Hoc Ride Leader

I became the Ad Hoc Intermediate Ride Leader for the second intermediate ride at CT NEMBA's Fall Fiesta at Gay City State Park on Saturday, September 19th. The ride started out with a mix of abilities led by Al Tiniti, CT NEMBA Secretary and local Glastonbury/Hebron riding legend. At one point the less experienced riders in the group decided to head off on their own with Al to show them some interesting local trails which put me in charge of the rest of the ride.

The planned route for the Fall Fiesta was marked with blue trail markers which was intended as a mixed ability route. Interspersed were Hero loops to give the more advanced riders a little more challenge on what I would consider a pretty challenging trail. One such loop shown at the top of the map above was really cool and he rode it twice, too.

There was really cool technical decent on the trail that led to an armored, raised stream crossing.

Those were some really big rocks that were maneuvered into place. Below is a little video of two of the guys in our ride group going over this rock bridge. The first rider's name is Mark and he is riding an orange IF (Independent Fabrications) steel hard tail. The next rider is all the way from Beacon, NY and is riding a GF Cake.

After the second loop on this Hero course, we continued up the Red Trail and at the first climb, we lost the first person in our group, Joan pictured up above on a sweet, personally autographed by Gary Fisher, full suspension 29er. Of course, it wouldn't be a NEMBA ride without a mechanical. In this case one of my quick links broke so I replaced it with another and hoped that it would hold. I know I have said this before but it's time to get a new chain!

At one point we diverted off the signed route and started heading south. I remembered riding this way a few years ago and wanted to try it again. At the gas line, we lost another member of the group, Tom who rides a Green Voodo Canzo 29er. After crossing under the a power lines we ventured into Black Bridge Park. I thought there might be a trail that would keep us from having to go out onto Rt 94 but it turned out it was a fisherman's trail that led to the dam. So we back tracked, got out onto Rt 94, and rode the hardball for 50 yards to the next trail head.

This trail started out as an old cart path and then turned into some awesome single track. About halfway down the trail is when Steve's chain broke. Two broken chains on one ride!

I was all out of quick links, having used my last one on this ride and gave Paula two on the ride at Millers Pond two weeks ago so Steve pulled out his CT NEMBA Trail Ambassador multi tool and fixed his chain lickety split!

We hooked back up with the main trail at Gay City, ran into the Epic Ride that was returning from Case Mountain and rode back to the parking area. The Garmin Edge reported that the length of the ride was 10 miles!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hard Fought 4 miles

It's been over 2 years since I was last here and it's a shame that I haven't gotten back to Sunny Valley sooner. I had intended on riding Bennetts Pond over in Ridgefield but when I pulled into the lot there were so many hunters that I didn't fell like taking any chances, even wearing bright clothing (yellow) and bells. Instead, I headed over to Bridgewater to the Nature Conservancy propery known as Sunny Valley.
As you can see by the profile above, Sunny Valley pretty much up and down. Starting out at Iron Ore Hill, the Blue Trail descends to the lake and then you climb back up again. I always like to tray something new so this time I took the red trail back down to the lake and then proceeded to climb back up. Some parts were hike-a-bike and everything else was pretty rideable if you like fall line climbs.

Trails at Sunny Valley are comprised of single track and old cart roads. The Blue Trail is the most technical trail the place has to offer but I think I have only ridden half the place.

Below is my three rides in three years map. The red track is from 2005, the green track 2007 and the blue track was from today's ride. North of the red trail there are still miles of trails that I have yet to ride. In fact, looking at the Nature Conservancy's website, they claim 13 miles of trails! I have only scratched the surface! Seeing how no hunting is allowed here I will definitely have to return and explore farther to the north.