Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday RAW @ Waldo with the Tweeps

@der_dachs organized a RAW at Waldo and @K_fitz, @Der_Herzmann, and myself (@cyclsnack) were present.  @der_dachs was the only one of the four of us riding full squish and little wheels.  Going in was easy but coming out lighting was going to be a necessity.

No, that is not a new trail, rather the GPS was off the mark until we picked up the Hunters Trail.  Ride consisted of down the Waldo, to the water's edge.  Up the fire road to the other side trail and then back up the Waldo to the Daffy Duck.  These guys had never been on it before but riding I doubt that got a lot of it riding in the dark.  In fact, while riding up the Daffy I was looking for the intersection with Waldo thinking we might go back down to the Hunters Trail and then back to the fire road and out to the cars but I never saw the intersection and it wasn't until we were at the by pass near the end of the trail did I realize we were on Waldo for much longer than I thought.  It was really weird!

@K_Fitz (l) and @Der_Herzmann (r)

I was able to get all the way down Waldo without needing light but once down at the water's edge going from there lights were required in order to ride out.

Down at the water's edge, trying to ride a board that wasn't attached to the two logs it was sitting on.  @Der_Herzmann cleaned it on the first go, @K__Fitz took a couple of tries but did it, too.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

L'├ętranger en la nuit on la Gussy

I think this was my last RAW of the season where hitting the forest when it is still light, at least light enough to the see the trail in front of you, but upon leaving you'd never be able to ride without some illuminating assistance.  Apparently the weather here in the Northeast is going to hell in a hand cart for the rest of the week, so this could very well be my last ride for Oktober, too.

Had to try the diSSent after two rides on the Qball and all I can say is that I am not selling the diSSent.  Once on the trail I could feel major differences between riding the diSSent and the Qball.  Weight is definitely one of them and handling, too.  the diSSent definitely felt twitchier and really moved nicely on the trail.  Compared to the Qball, which in comparison was more like a tank.  I think the Qball is going back to being a Monster Crosser and I am going to build up the Longboard as a steel, weight weenie's dream.

By the time I got to the Gussy I put the light on, at the lowest setting because it wasn't that dark and I know the trail so well that I doubt that anything would surprise me.  I took the reloc down to try the line on the rock feature at the top of the reloc and definitely feel that more benching is called for leading into it.  I also choked in the Wet Spot because I went too wide on the setup and missed the Tranny by an inch.  There are some reflector dots here and there from hunters but it might be good to get some more reflectors at the base of the trees just to be safe.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Riding the Trail Reloc

Made some improvements on the Qball after Saturday's ride including having the rear wheel trued, adding a chain slap guard on the chain stay, new head cap, bash guard, and Ergons from the Tandem.  Riding this bike keeps getting better and better.

After doing some early morning Trail Maintenance on the Reloc I headed back to Upper Paugussett for another ride on the Qball and to check out what the trail reloc was like to to ride.  Decided to do an up-and-down ride in order to give the rerouted section a good up-and-down as well.

Earlier in the morning we couldn't really tell whether anyone had ridden this section or not.  There appeared to be a faint tire track on one of the benched sections but it was hard to tell and from the direction of this skid mark it looked like this person might have came from the re-route but it was hard to tell.

I think I was the first one on the entire reloc.  It's still a bit rough but will smooth out once more people start riding it.
First Blood

I went up and down it a few more times, too, and also to figure out the lines on the technical sections.  The first technical section is short and has a weird line but if you power through it it should be a problem.  There is a little tree growing by the edge of the trail that probably should come out.

However, this part near the end of the reloc is interesting to say the least.  Rick and I built up a good base of big rocks around the embedded rock but I found that the line is more towards the uphill side.

After trying it a few times, I positioned some more rocks but I think I need to come back bench more.  This will be a job for pickmatic rather than the trusty Rouge Hoe.  Might come back next Saturday to fix this section and start looking at a re-route around the fallen tree that the main part of the trail goes over due to two developing mud holes on both sides of the tree.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

First ride on the Qball

Headed out to the Gussy on Qball this morning around 11 AM.    First time out on the Qball as a geared 29er hard tail and what a ride it was!  I started riding this bike as a rigid single speed back in 2006.  In 2007 I put a Marzocchi fork on the front and rode it as a hard tail until 2009 when I went Monster Cross on it and been riding that way up until now, with 5 different cockpit changes that included Gary Bars (flared drops) reversed three speed bars, road drops, Salsa Woodchippers and Misfit Fme bars.

Not ready for the colder temps so I waited for it to warm up.  Beautiful day to be on a bike today.  Ran into three guys riding down the Poly Brody and two hikers on the Gussy Trail.  One thing I noticed was how excellent the Fox Fork is.  Solid and reponsive and better than the Manitou Minute.  I would like to put it on the Spot but it doesn't have enough steering tube for that application.  Steel is real and riding today was buttah!  

The one thing that I didn't like was these flat bars that I put on.  They are a whole 2 inches shorter than the flats on the diSSent and felt really weird.  It reminded me of the steering wheel of Cheech's care in "Up and Smoke."

Up in Smoke (1978) Paramount Pictures
Ever since I started riding the Kona I have to say that I really like bar ends again, especially when they are angled flat.  Something about that position feels so different but so right, especially when I am climbing that I think I am going to have to try some Ergons on this rig.

On the ride home, the rear wheel felt wobbly so I took it to one of my LBSs that I frequent and it needed some work.  Might ride it again Sunday after the trail work but it depends on how I feel.  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

See Spot Run

While I haven't had the opportunity to feel real geared steel between my legs yet I picked up this Spot Longboard 9 frame from a buddy that I am going to go weight weenie on it as a 1x9.

The quandary I face now is that I don't need two hard tails, or three for that matter when you include the Qball so I might stick to my original plan with a slight deviation, sell the Qball and instead of getting a Van Dessel WTF for Monster Crosser fetish use the cash to build the Spot up.  Of course, I could just say eF it and transfer everything off the diSSent to Longboard.  That would be cheaper and I could always keep the diSSent around for another build later down the road.  

Decisions, decisions.

Steel is the real deal!

I don't think you need to understand German to get the jist of what this guy is saying!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Upper Gussy Trail Re-Loc Set Back

I knew I was taking a chance running the reloc through this low spot and figured I could just armor it but what I found Sunday morning killed all hopes of what was to be a quick connection to the alternative route and a future ad-hoc pump track. Just south of where this alternative route is supposed to start there a few rock mounds and a perfect spine-line that in essence could be configured into a quasi pump track but with this section being way too wet now I have to rethink the approach. The easiest solution would be to board walk it but I like to keep things natural so I will have to go back and think things through again.

Rick and I headed up to the Gussy via the Blue Trail (and did some bush whacking along the way) to shorten the time getting to the Gussy. We took up benching where I left off last week. The new Trail Re-Loc is almost completely benched.

Nice bench

We also worked on the seciton from Up-and-Over to the technical section. However, I think what I want to do in there is make rock up-and-over in order to keep it fast and flowy.

I have the trail blocked off for now hoping people will stay off of it until I have time to finish fixing the upper area now that I have to completely re-route around the wet area.

The picture above shows what's next for this section. The bottom of the yellow swath is where I want to put a rock bridge. Might have to make a loser line around it or at least do so before one forms.

It still might be faster to come in from Echo Valley.  The way in we took today was quite a climb.

Since the vernal pool put the kybosh on the direction of the originally intended route Rick and I opened up a section that stays along the northern slope.  In the long run, this could be good because I have a idea that might play into opening up a future ad-hoc pump track.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Long time no Huntington

I had somewhere to be in the early afternoon so I popped smoke from the trail work a little earlier than the rest so that I could get a ride in at Huntington.  I was amazed at how many trees were down post Irene and realized that the last time I had ridden at Huntington was at the Happening at Huntington.  

Riders who were at the Trail Work Day including Ed Perten (r) and Kyiera Tucker  (middle)

Ed Perten (left), Alex from Fairfield (middle) and Paula Burton (right)
It seems everyone was riding the trail relocation from the same direction but I rode it in the opposite direction and while it's nice it's still frumpy from the fact that there is still a lot of duff on the trail that needs to get removed, except for the section that I did and the neighboring piece done by Mike Burke.  Still it's a welcomed change.

South Pond Trail relocation
There were two big blowdowns on the Rock and Rock and Roll Trail, one pictured below was massive and it will probably be better suited to just do a go around.  The other further down was taken care of.

Riders heading south on Rock and Roll

The new bridge
I was supposed to meet Nate Hale, the Park Land Manager at the new Bridge today and give him a check for $1500 has a donation from CT NEMBA to the Friends of Putnam Memorial Park in order to purchase a York Rake for spreading gravel but he wasn't there.  So I spent the time riding with a $1500 check in my pocket, I think that is the most money I have ever ridden with in the woods.

It's definitely fall in New England!

The other blowdown at the bottom of Little Vomit