Santa Cruz 29er Spew…

29 02 2012




Sedona Fat Tire Bike Shop Redux…

28 02 2012

Sedona's Fat Tire Bike Shop...

It’s been 3yrs [yikes!] since my last visit to Sedona’s best bike shop – The Fat Tire. Not much has changed. Dave is still building up some of the finest mountain bikes and tuning them to perfection. I urge you not to allow him to suggest a test ride of his personal Ibis Mojo HD unless you are prepared to be both super happy [at the amazing ride] and super sad [at how lousy your MTB rides in comparison]. If there is one thing I would share that I have learned from Dave – it’s that a $5K+ uber mountain bike is useless without having the suspension tuned by a master mechanic.

Dave and Aaron talk shop...

The Fat Tire is an interesting bike shop. Walk inside and you won’t see row after row of low and mid-range bikes with a few premium bikes placed strategically around the shop. You won’t see rack after rack of widgets and accessories that you may or may not need. Nope. Walk into the Fat Tire Bike Shop in Sedona and you’ll only see a few top shelf mountain bikes that have been custom built with love to meet the specific needs of each customer and a handful of accessories optimized for local riding.

Dave holds court...

It’s sort of like a Ferrari dealership. There are no bargins to be had and if you don’t want the best product for any given mission you are in the wrong place. On the other hand if you appreciate talking to someone who loves lives to ride a mountain bike, someone who has forgotten more about bikes than you know and someone who won’t let a bike leave his shop if it’s not perfect – then Dave’s your man.

Let’s be honest – saving a few bucks and not getting what you really need isn’t a bargain anyways.

A-Man testing out Dave's personal Ibis...

The Fat Tire is the only LBS I know of that is reverse marketing – trying to get the phone to ring less. Dave wants to spend his limited time helping out folks that appreciate a top notch mountain bike experience. He’s happy to rent you a premium Ibis Mojo HD mountain bike in Sedona to maximize the your holiday experience. He’ll tune or repair your existing bike or he’ll be happy to build you up a new mountain bike with a custom build specification.

Dave showing us how it's done...

If you are in Sedona I highly recommend you stop by and talk to Dave. He’ll give you a ton of useful information about local riding. Even if you don’t live in Sedona the Fat Tire Bike Shop can help get you on the right bike.

A-Man takes aim at a sweet Ibis...

A dream of mine would be to have Dave build me up a custom Ibis Mojo HD…one of the few bikes that gives the Santa Cruz Nomad a run for its money. Not only would I get Dave to customize the build to my needs I would drive down to Sedona for a bike fit & suspension setup. Since I was in town I might as well stay for a few days and get Dave to show me around his favourite trails. Call it the Deluxe Lazy Rando Package.

Hahahaha…I may not have the budget for this at the moment, but a guy can dream! It would be money well spent…=-)

FWIW – Dave’s help setting up the suspension on my Santa Cruz Nomad in 2009 was a revolutionary experience. Not only did he get my bike running so well it blew my mind, but he took the time to explain things to me so I could keep adjusting my suspension after I left Sedona.





Submarine Rock Loop – Sedona, AZ…

28 02 2012

Can you dig it?

Monday was our first full day in town so we wanted to get in a longer ride. The Submarine Rock Loop is a classic Sedona ride that was just enough gnar with a lot of fun curves to carve plus some slickrock to play on.

Taking the high road...

It was a cool and windy day.  So windy my bike fell over twice!

A-Man sampling some slickrock...

Starting out on Broken Arrow Trail we enjoyed some amazing singletrack that led to a small area of slickrock.

Testing out my brakes...

I felt a lot stronger than Sunday and didn’t have to gasp for air quite as pathetically.

Deep in the trees...

The quality of the trail started high and just kept getting better.

A-Man dropping off the Submarine...

Hard to believe, but we didn’t see any other mountain bikers until the we ran across a solo Ibis pilot at the end of the ride.

There were some pedestrians to contend with though...

The slickrock parts of the trail were popular with the Pink Jeep and 4×4 crowd.

Pink Jeep...

The Pink Jeep tourists seemed amazed anyone could ride a bike off road for more than a mile or two.

Icy cold beer hits the spot in the middle of a long desert ride...

Some friendly 4×4 guys gave us a couple icy cold beers – which were most appreciated.

Rolling down some chunk....

We spent a lot of time exploring all the side trails and variations we could find.

Are we lost?

We even managed to get a tiny bit lost on a closed trail until we realized the level of difficulty seemed over the top for a popular Sedona Trail. At least we got a taste of the riding back at home for a few minutes.

Wheel's eye view...

With a map and a look around at the many striking landmarks it’s pretty hard to stay lost biking around Sedona.

I don't need no stinking rear suspension...

A-Man showed off his skills muscling his Kona hardtail over all manner big chunky rocks.

Okay I don't fly like a butterfly...

My hand is still sore from the bikepacking crash 2 weeks ago so I kept my ego in check and rode conservatively.

Rock and roll....

No point taking any chances.

I could do this all day...

I figure a few days of easy riding and I should be able to rip it up at the end of the trip.

A-Man is enjoying his first full day of Sedona riding...

After Broken Arrow Trail [including a few detours] we hit Little Horse Trail and then rode Llama Trail again for good measure.

A-Man feeling all panoramic...

By the time we were on Llama Trail we were pretty tired, but when the singletrack unfolds in such a fun way around every curve there is no way to stop pedalling.

Where is Lazy?

After Llama we spun north on the Bell Rock Pathway to Mystic Trail.

Where did we park the truck?

By the 4hr mark we were hungry, tired and ready to see the truck…sadly there were a few more miles left.

Keeping my spirits high...

All good things must end and so did our ride. After Mystic Trail we still had another mile or two of pavement, but that was fast and painless. We were definitely happy to load up our bikes and head into town in search of food.

Done like dinner...

This trail loop is just amazing. So many miles of consistently awesome singletrack with stunning scenery in every direction and virtually zero mountain bike traffic to share the trails with. It really doesn’t get much better than this…or does it?….=-)~

My Nomad waiting to be blown over by the wind...





Llama Trail – Sedona, AZ…

27 02 2012

It's good to be back!

After a long, long, long drive we rolled into Sedona Sunday morning in time to have a delicious espresso at the Bike and Bean.  Not only do they have great coffee they are also the local Santa Cruz dealer. So I was able to get the spare derailleur hanger for my Nomad that was proving so elusive to source in Victoria.

Just follow this wiggly line...

We had a few hours to kill before we could checked in to our hotel. A fun shakedown ride was in order.

A-Man ready to ride....

We cranked across the highway to the Bell Rock Path and rolled north to Little Horse Trail. This isn’t hard riding, but Aaron and I are both fighting off colds not to mention our pitiful sea level lung capacities so there was some huffing and puffing.

Aaron staying legal...

It was a warm and sunny day with glorious singletrack spiced up just enough with rocky technical sections. It only takes 5 minutes of riding to remind you why the crazy long road trip was more than worth it.

Blue sky mine...

Little Horse Trail took us to a super fun ride down Llama Trail back towards the Bike and Bean. Fast curvy singletrack with bermed corners and traction galore. Pretty much the exact opposite of riding around Victoria!

Dusty...

I’m happy to report that all my technical suffering at the Hartland MTB Park has paid off with some displays of skill on the grippy rock steps and drops Sedona threw at us.





Bicycle Traveller Magazine…

27 02 2012

Click here to jump to the Bicycle Traveller website...

You can download a free copy of this bike touring magazine by clicking on the image above.





141 Airmiles…

26 02 2012

Canon T2i...

Update: Got the Airmiles  I needed and T2i has been ordered. I can get a decent flash from Airmiles so that’s my next mission. I’ll probably have to pop for a fast prime lens, but that’s okay. Crisp rainforest MTB action shots here I come…=-)

141 Airmiles is how many I am short from being able to order a Canon T2i DSLR for free. The Canon S95 I bought last Dec has been a big improvement over my older point and shoot cameras. It combines improved image quality [especially in low light] with a small form factor that is easy to take with me anywhere I go. My main photographic challenge is action photography in the forest. Even in summer light levels are low and in the winter we have very short days. The S95 does great with a tripod and for slow action moments, but as soon as the light levels drop and/or action gets faster it struggles.

All the angles...

So I’m back looking at DSLRs since I can get fast lenses for them and shoot ~3-4 frames/second in burst mode to catch all the action. During my last attempt to love a DSLR I couldn’t justify the weight/size for the results I was getting. However, that was in Alberta where getting lots of light for my typical photo needs was no problem. Living in the BC rainforest blurry photographs are a regular occurrence. I can either bring a more capable camera and deal with the hassle of a heavier/bulkier form factor or I can live with the image quality currently have.

What I suspect we’ll end up doing is to bring the DSLR along on rides that we determine are going to be particularly photo-centric for one reason or another. For the rest of the rides we’ll stick with the Canon S95. Hopefully we can strike a useful balance between image quality and hassle.





Santa Cruz Bike Torture Testing…

26 02 2012

Photo: Pink Bike - click on image to jump to original page...

Click on the image above to read a cool Pink Bike article about testing AL & carbon Santa Cruz Nomad frames to failure. I think it’s neat to see some of the tests they run. However, I would caution that these tests don’t tell the whole story. What they say is that carbon can be very strong in the face of some specific forces. What they don’t tell you is how happy you’ll be with your carbon MTB frame 3yrs into your expensive relationship.

For example what happens when you crash 4 or 10 times onto some sharp rocks cracking the surface of your carbon frame and then you ride it hard for another year? Will the crash impact combine with the repeated stress cycles to cause a frame failure?

We have a pretty good handle on how steel or AL MTB frames respond to typical use and abuse. I don’t feel the same level of confidence with carbon. That’s not to say you’ll never see me on a carbon bike, but it does mean I’ll be hesitant to throw down the big $$$ to run my own torture tests!

Don’t take this to mean I am anti-carbon. To me it’s just another potential frame material that deserves due consideration.

What would really be interesting is if Santa Cruz would release their warranty/crash replacement stats for the AL and carbon Nomads. That would clearly demonstrate how each frame material performs in the real world.