Saturday, December 20, 2008

Rollers ahoy!

It's harder to start this than it is once you're going. I decided that the time had come, especially since we've got rocky mountain winds blowing today. Cold, gusty. Did I say cold?

Yeah, yeah, yeah; I know I should be skiing.

Solstice tomorrow, 5:04 AM MST. First day of winter. The days start getting longer. And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It isn't even that fun, is it?

Last summer when the South Central Racing Omnium was going on we had a local character come into the bike shop to try to convince us to let him ride a Specialized Roubaix from our rental fleet in the road race in exchange for the privelege of having him wear our shop jersey. He was also hoping for us to foot his $50 entry. He would have thrown down for sure, but we don't really often sponsor riders who show up half an hour before the race starts looking for a ride...

Anyway, I was showing him that the Roubaix we had in rental was a nearly $3,000 bike, and we had a new one just like it in his size right there on the showroom floor. He said without hesitation and in complete honesty, "Three thousand dollars for a road bike? It isn't even that fun, is it?"

That's what was going through my mind as I pedaled out of town to get some damned riding in, facing a brutally cold headwind, periodically slowing to near walking speed as I rolled over crunchy ice where the wind was blowing snow across the road.

You have to really want it. Like, really a lot.

I got my rollers out of the garage the other day. I look at them every once in a while, but I haven't gotten desperate enough yet to wobble my way into the beginning of a trip to nowhere.

But you know, the day is coming when I will be desperate enough.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Eye-talian Loafers

Endurance mountain bikers/mtb racers and Sidis go together like cats and cat litter. Sure, there are some paddle-footed riders who hate them for their narrowness, and there are always going to be fans of other shoes, like Lakes and Carnacs. But you see battered black Sidis on a lot of riders out there.

I got a pair of Sidi Techno Fires back in the mid-90s and I was hooked. You remember those? Black uppers and orange soles, fishline loop closure? I rode the hell out of those, stringing in new fishline from my fly reel after one of the loops broke. Then I got my first pair of Dominators. Sidis are nice and stiff, and they last and last.

But Sidis have a dark side (get it? They're black! Get it?!). Sidis are treacherously slippery and quite uncomfortable when it comes time for technical hike-a-bike. During my recent trip down to the Copper Canyon brother Phil always called them Italian Loafers, especially after somebody stumbled or fell trying to walk across bare rock on the silly, hard-bottomed little things.

I have two pairs of Dominator 5's. I had one pair that I got in 2000 or so. In the run-up to my first Leadville in Summer of 2005 I got a 2nd pair because #1 was looking really beat. Since then I've been pretty much wearing the old #1's any time it looked like things would be even remotely tough, to save "the good pair" for posterity. Hell, I pretty much wore the #1's unless I couldn't find them.

So the upshot is, they are beat. The soles are worn down to nubbins. The uppers where they join with the sole, especially near the toes, are peeled back and about to breach. I took them to an outfit that resoles hiking boots and they offered to patch things up for $75-80. Well hell, that's a third of a new pair. At retail no less. So it was obvious what I must do. DIY, baby.

Raw Materials: donor Sidis, old tire, Shoe Goo, power drill, self-tapping screws, cute little stuffed doggy (disclosure: the shoes pictured are my #2's. I had already started working on the #1's when it occurred to me that I should take a picture, so I used the ones I hadn't messed with. Yet.)

At first I considered using something like plastic milk jug material to cover over the toe patches. But then my brain kicked in. Why not use something that isn't slippery? Eureka!

So I dug out an old worn out wire-bead WTB Motoraptor (God rest its soul. Sole? Soul?). I cut a toe patch. I glued it on. I duct-taped the hell out of it so that it would stick where I had placed it. 

Tough Sidis in their duct-tape cocoons, ready to emerge as tough Sidi butterflies

Then I looked at the sole (soul?) of the shoe and decided, if a little bit of mountain bike tire material is good, more is better. Slather on the shoe goo, cut a piece of tire, stick it on there, see if there's someplace where a screw can be driven in to keep it in place. Tape it up. Leave it to cure. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The final product, tough and walkable (I hope anyway)

I'll report at some point after I've had an epic day or two with lots of strolling through the rubble that I love to carry my bike over.

Winter's Icey Kiss

OK, we've finally been touched with real snow.

I'd like to say I'm pleased. I guess I am for some reasons. The mile or so of new singletrack that's been built by Salida Mountain Trails this year needed some moisture really badly to help bed it in. And it's just plain been really dry here, which is good for riding (to a point) but hard on the land. And then there's the good of Monarch to think about. I guess they need to stay in business. And since they don't make any snow they kind of need to have it fall out of the sky.

But I'm bummed about how much our riding will now be limited. There are a few trails that will stay open, and of course tarmac will be open again right away. And then there are rollers.


Sunday, December 7, 2008


Yesterday we got out there and broke ground on a new trail section. We had a publicisized volunteer day and got great turnout. As a result, 1000 ft of new trail is on the ground near Salida.


See Tom pretend to work

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Still on dirt

Another clear dry day. Another ride. Thank goodness.

quite chilly, but still dry and mighty