Thursday, May 16, 2013

What I Did Today...

I've been wanting to put the Niner cross bike to the extreme test for a while now. Well, since classes are over and I have much more free time the time was near to take this thing up to the Creeper Trail for 68 miles of gravel goodness. Sky-lar sent a text and asked when I was planning to do this ride fest. B has been in the hospital for over 2 days so I was taking care of the shop by myself so I was waiting for him to get well then it was on.

That day was yesterday, Wednesday. Little did we know it would be change your tubes day. Sky-lar shows up at the house with a flat. No biggie, we fix it and hit the road. This year I'm going tubeless in cross. I've built up a set of wheels with Stan's Alpha 400's just for this application. I had a bunch of Maxxis CX tires layin' around in the quiver so I used a mud wrestler for the rear and my all-time favorite locust on the front. The first time seating the locust it blew off the rim twice so I should have known they were too far stretched to be using them for tubeless (and that they weren't tubeless either). Well I was right. We get to Damascus and head out within 1/4 mile the back tire blows completely off the rim with only 35psi. Sky-lar was getting a great chuckle, no big deal. I didn't like it, the flat, but I quickly threw a tube in there and was on our way - Sky-lar can keep laughing. We did make a quick trip back to moto-van and get all the tubes and Co2's we had just in case...

Now, we are motoring along about 22mph. Bike feels pretty good but it was needing a couple of fine adjustments. All I ended up doing was raising the seat a tad and rolling the bars back to me about 10mm after we reached Abingdon. For an aluminum MTB frame it rode pretty smooth but I'm going to give the credit to the bad-ass Niner carbon fork up front w/Easton EA70 carbon bars. There's also a carbon seat post sitting up under me as well. About 2/3rds of the way back the front tire (tubeless at this point) decided to do what the rear did earlier.... kaboom! It was humorous this time though. We were approaching a man and his son walking with a stringer full of fish. They jumped when the tire blew but hung around to talk to us while I put a tube in the front. Now that I have tubes installed I was thinking "I better not get any flats or I'm gonna be pissed" I didn't so its all good. I'm going to have to get new non-stretched tires if this tubeless things is to work for cross though. I was trying to take the cheap way out and use old tires I had laying around. It was a good learning experience to say the least.

Our plan of attack was to ride to Abingdon from Damascus and then back, refuel and knock out the climbing part of going to White Top. The first 34 miles out and back was pretty easy and took us 2 hours with about 400 ft of elevation both ways included. The next would grind me to near bonking. We talked to a couple of people before hitting the upper part and was advised that from Green Cove to the top was closed for construction because of flooding and part of the trail being washed-out. That would eliminate roughly 3-4 miles overall of the trail and leave us with 63-64 miles of riding, I wasn't complaining inside one bit. We stopped for a couple of minutes to catch our breath as Sky-lar was laying down a pace I couldn't sustain 'til the end. After the breather he stepped up the pace a bit more and rode off out of my sight. I did manage to slug out the miles to Green Cove several minutes behind wonder boy but I thought I was smoked after I sat down. I think I drained the water fountain dry at that point. After about 10 minutes we saddled up and headed back. It was so much easier heading back.... it was downhill. We were in the 20's mostly and a couple of times cracking the 25mph barrier in the gravel. I was surprised at myself that I could hang in after feeling totally wiped out before starting back. Sky-lar did lay the hammer down and drop me at 61 miles. That left me with about 3 to go solo. I was spanked when I got back to moto-van, seriously spanked. A quick soak in the cold river did the legs some good afterwards. 63.8 miles down and 1900 ft in elevation for the day. I was surprised there was nearly 2K of elevation on the creeper trail to tell ya the truth.

All the vendors and AT hikers were making their way in to Damascus for the annual Trail Days celebration. We timed this ride perfect, this weekend will be so crowded.

We were about 2/3rds the way into our ride but we had to stop and get a pic of the perfect blue sky and green mountain valley. Most of the trail is wide enough for a car but in this section it's a converted drive that's on private property. The Abingdon side has many gates to pass through but the upper White Top section only has one small one for this field section.
First big ride on the converted Niner into a gravel grinder / CX bike. Oh, all you disc brake haters keep hatin'.......... they rock! One finger braking baby!!!! Effortless too! I would have never believed that a 140mm rotor (rear) brakes so well if I hadn't have tried it.

The face of an unhappy camper.... I thought I was toast at this point in Green Cove. The weather was perfect by the way. Sunny, beautiful and 80 degrees... just right!
Afterwards it was food time. We chose Subway. Neither of us wanted anything greasy from many of the cafe's up there. Why do I have a picture of the contact info from the napkin here? Because the service SUCKED. I don't eat out that much but when I do, even if it's fast food like this, I expect good service. After getting my sandwich I went to get a glass of tea, there was none. I asked. The lady said she's out and walked off. Well, I asked if she could make some more and she said no that they're only allowed to make two batches per day and they had already made them. What the hell??? SERIOUSLY?????? We're in the south dammit...... tea should be EVERYWHERE!

Here's what they did after Sky-lar and I got our sandwiches.....
"They" say; you get what you pay for... "I" say; in today's economy people should be grateful for what jobs they have and should act accordingly. Unacceptable!


Enough of my ranting. Working at the shop this week this jewel came rolling through...  Maintenance people.... Do It!!!! Homie was riding with one bearing locked up and probably didn't even notice. If he hadn't broken something it would've probably never seen the shop for quite sometime. Bad, bad, bad!

This weekend, if the weather holds out, it looks like there's trip to F.A.T.S. trails in Augusta in the works.

LAter G.......................

No comments: