Continental Trail King Tires Review and Renew…

27 05 2013
Fresh rubber...

Fresh rubber…

I love my Continental Trail King tires. I’ve used my first pair for over a year and had zero flats, burps or other issues. Just great traction and reliable performance.

So when I started to uncharacteristically spin my tire on steeper looser climbs I checked my rear tire and it was worn badly. Time for new rubber.

The new tires say Rubber Queen on them because that’s what Trail Kings are called in Europe. Different name, but same tire. I bought the UST version again. They are heavy, but I love the traction and how great they are to setup tubeless. I chose the 2.4″ size a second time because I love how the large diameter tire rolls over roots and rocks. Skinny tires aren’t faster if you get hung up in every tech section.

I’ve heard some good things about the Schwalbe Hans Damf tire, but I figure why mess with success?

I really can’t say one bad thing about these tires. I hope Continental makes a 650B version when I get a new mountain bike.

She's hefty...

She’s hefty…

I kept the old front tire as a spare...

I kept the old front tire as a spare…

The rear was toast...

The rear was toast…

The Stans sealant in the tires had dried up...

The Stans sealant in the tires had dried up…

Letting the tires seal...

Letting the tires seal…

I used CO2 to seat the tires...

I used CO2 to seat the tires…

My Nomad waiting for the new rubber...

My Nomad waiting for the new rubber…

No more slipping on climbs...

No more slipping on climbs…

Ready to ride...

Ready to ride…

Time to shred the new tires for another year...

Time to shred the new tires for another year…





Sedona Sunset…

22 04 2013
Enjoying a late ride...

Enjoying a late ride…





OTB Bitch!

28 02 2013
Roll down...

Roll down…

Sadly I wasn’t wearing a GoPro when I went over the bars on my mountain bike. I’m sure it would have provided some comical viewing.

Getting used to the red rocket...

Getting used to the red rocket…

I’m happy to report that the bike is fine! ūüôā

Back in the forest...

Back in the forest…

I’m fine except for a tweaked right wrist. Nothing broken or too badly sprained, but I won’t be shredding for a week or so. ūüė¶

She didn't stay clean for long...

She didn’t stay clean for long…

I was at a hockey game last night with some local mountain bikers and the laundry list of injuries [broken wrists, blown up knees, severe tendonitis, sprained hands/wrists, etc…] made me feel like less of a klutz.

Little did I know of my impending doom!

Little did I know of my impending doom!

After riding in Baja for 2 months of blessed traction I guess I had to be reminded that traction in the BC rain forest in winter is a luxury you can’t take for granted!





The making of a KS Lev seatpost….

14 02 2013
lev

Photo: Matt Wragg via Pink Bike…

I love my height adjustable seatposts. They are one of the best upgrades to any mountain bike that gets ridden on technical terrain. At least that’s my opinion! I can’t imagine going back to a non-adjustable seatpost on my MTBs. The Kind Shock seatpost on my Nomad has been going strong for a couple years now. I ran into this article over at Pink Bike that walks you through how they are made. If that sort of thing is of interest click the image above.

Ksi900r adjustable seat post...

My Nomad’s Ksi900r adjustable seat post…





Santa Cruz Bikes 5yr Warranty…

27 01 2013
Click to jump to warranty info page...

Click to jump to warranty info page…

Santa Cruz Bikes has increased their frame warranty to 5yrs from 2yrs on all their bikes and as I understand it this will be applied retroactively to any bikes sold within the last 5yrs. That means my Nomad is back under warranty should anything go wrong until Feb 2014. Sweet! Santa Cruz also has a Lifetime Bearing Warranty and a Lifetime No-Fault Replacement Program to help out owners in situations not covered by their warranty.

All in all it’s a pretty nice post sale support framework which is nice when you drop $5K for a bike and plan to ride it a long time. ūüôā

From the Santa Cruz website here is their warranty info……

Five Year Frame Warranty

Santa Cruz Bicycles will repair or replace at its option any frame it determines to be defective. The warranty will be in effect for five years from the date of sale and applies to the original owner. This warranty does not cover custom finishes.

Lifetime Bearing Warranty 

Santa Cruz Bicycles frame bearings are warranted for life to the original owner of the bike.¬†The return process is simple: send your used bearings back to Santa Cruz Bicycles in an envelope marked “Warranty Bearing Replacement”, and be sure to include your return address. We’ll turn your package around within 48 hours, and cover the shipping back to you. That’s it!

No-Fault Replacement

Santa Cruz Bicycles will make replacement parts available to the original owner at a minimal charge in the event of a crash or other non-warranty situation for the life of the bike.





Nomad Bling…

22 08 2012

A little more bling…

Continuing my plan to spend any bike $$$ on my main rides I added a new bar and grips to my Santa Cruz Nomad.

Red and white…

Nothing major, but a little more eye candy for the Nomad.

I love my Ergon Grips…

I’ll swap the old bar and black Ergons onto another bike.

The “Before”…





Stay on top of the maintenance!

9 07 2012

Not good!

My Santa Cruz Nomad normally shifts like a champ so I was a bit surprised when it started grinding gears on my last ride. stopping for a second to check the rear derailleur I was a bit horrified to see the far end of cable housing was heavily mangled. I had a pretty gnarly crash a few weeks ago and I guess never paid attention to the full extent of the damage. I was able to tweak the shifting back into line and finish my ride, but I could just as easily been stuck a long walk from the car with a bike that wouldn’t shift.

Fresh cable and housing….

Mountain bikes live a hard life so it’s important to take the time to inspect your ride as often as you can. Especially if you ride someplace where you can be several hours walk from help if your bike self destructs! I installed a new cable and new housing before the next ride. It was a bit sad I couldn’t find a reason to use any Shoe Goo though… ūüėČ

Double red…

My Nomad is aging well, but even though it hasn’t required very much in the way of repairs or maintenance the older it gets the more likely something will fail unexpectedly. Before I take off for any long MTB road trips a thorough inspection will be a smart idea to deal with any problems at home where it’s as easy as possible.





Kurt goes tubeless…

6 07 2012

We don’t need no stinking tubes…

We converted Kurt’s Santa Cruz Nomad to tubeless recently. He seems to suffer considerably more flats than I do so he’ll hopefully benefit from the switch significantly. We used Stan’s yellow tape¬† and Stan’s valve stems with some environmentally friendly Blue Seal tubeless tire sealant we are testing out. Kurt’s Chunder Control tires are tubeless ready, but his Mavic rims are not made for a tubeless tire. Regardless setting them up was reasonably painless with the use of a CO2 cartridge to get the bead to seal [floor pump didn’t work and I don’t have a compressor]. So far they are holding air pretty well. I’ll be posting a tubeless update at the end of the summarizing all of our experiences running mountain bikes without tubes. Thus far I have no regrets!





Fighting Murphy’s Law…

5 07 2012

Mostly my bike works great!

I don’t suffer mechanicals very often on rides. For that I am eternally grateful to the Bike Gods. However, it seems that the vast majority of the times when I do have a problem I have left the necessary tools/spares at home. This would serve me right except for the fact I carry tools/spares almost all the time so the fact the problems happen only on the rare occasions when I don’t have the stuff I need to fix things seems perverse!

Frame mounted repair kit…

Case in point. I typically carry a pump and full set of tools + patch kit and spare tube on my Santa Cruz Nomad. Since I ride my Scandal 29er and Surly Pugsley as well I have a second set of tools, pump and patch kit/tube in my hydration pack. Scott usually carries a full set of tools, pump and patch kit/tube as well. So on a given ride it’s not unusual for us to have 3 complete sets of emergency repair equipment for 2 bikes.

Where are the tools?

Last week Scott had front tire problems that required a spare tube and a patch kit or a second spare tube. We were a bit horrified to realize that I had taken off my bike mounted Porcelain Rocket frame bag when I took the bike in to have the fork serviced and moved my second set of emergency repair items to another hydration pack. No problem we’ll just use Scott’s stuff! Yikes – Scott also managed to come on the ride without his tools/pump.

This repair kit is back on my Nomad…

We were only saved from a walk out by Tom’s pump and patch kit. Luckily we had a guest from Australia on the ride who brought some repair gear all the way to Victoria!

My 2nd backpack repair kit…

In reaction to the recent incident I’ve reattached the Porcelain Rocket frame bag to my Nomad and put together another tool kit so each hydration pack has one. In theory this means we can never be without tools/spares on a MTB ride again – right? Sadly Murphy always finds a way to make it happen! I do think we are probably good for the rest of the summer though. Until I go to service the bike in the fall and pull the frame bag and maybe I need to get a repair done on my hyrdation pack and forget to reload it with tools… ūüėČ





Pop!

3 07 2012

Bright colours make for vibrant photos in the trees…

Taking nice mountain bike photos in BC’s gloomy rainforest can be a challenge.

A little red sure helps…

One thing that can really help and doesn’t cost a lot of money is having riders wear bright coloured clothing.

A bright bike doesn’t hurt either…

A brightly coloured bike doesn’t hurt either. Obviously you can’t readily change the colour of your ride just for a photo shoot, but if you live somewhere that’s dark and want to take photos on rides it does make sense to keep this in mind when the time comes for a new bike or a new paint job is in the works.

Our bikes are easy to spot in the forest…

We got lucky as both our bikes are pretty brightly coloured even though back in Calgary this aspect wasn’t nearly as important for taking MTB photos.

White is right!

Compared to Scott’s black Jones my Nomad shows up much better in the forest. I also wear a white helmet and white gloves to improve my visibility.

Spot Sharon….

Sharon’s colourful top and pink grips pop in this photo.

Sharon trying to stick to the high ground…

If you do have a dark bike you can help it pop with contrasting accessories like grips, cable housing, rims, fork, bars, etc…

Sharon happy to pop!

When Sharon saw this jersey at a shop she wasn’t sure she’d like it. I don’t normally get involved in clothing advice issues [I’m too smart for that!], but I did mention that it would show up nicely in photos. Once she saw some photos of herself in the jersey she was stoked to have bought it since it really brightens up each frame.

Even a bit of colour helps…

Aaron isn’t into wearing hot pink, but even the small detail of some red trim on his shirt really does help make him stand out in the photo above.

Kurt knows the score…

Kurt was smart about this subject before I even clued in how important it was. I came to realize his MTB photos always turned out better than mine and finally it occurred to me he wore a lot of bright colour coordinated clothing when he rides.

Maybe I went a bit too far?….;)

Now if you are thinking mountain biking is supposed to be about riding the bike not some sort of fashion show in the forest I don’t blame you. We spend a lot of time snapping photos on our rides. It’s just what we do and it’s not something essential. In fact it gets in the way of the riding to some extent, but we often have experts, intermediates and beginners on the same ride so stopping to session a tech section and photograph it gives the hardcore folks more riding time while the newbies can rejoin the group and catch their breathe. It also allows the less skilled riders to see what the hot shots are doing and try some stuff they’d skip if they were already 5 minutes behind the group.

Bright colours are helpful even when you can see the sun…

The BC rainforest makes bright colours really important, but even in the desert where there is a ton of light wearing bright contrasting colours still helps the subject pop in a photo.

Moab…





Santa Cruz Nomad Porn…

2 07 2012

Freshly overhauled Fox Float 36…

She looks clean from this distance…

Continental Trails King 2.4″ tires setup tubeless…

Fox DHX Air 5.0 freshly rebuilt last fall…

I’m thinking about an upgrade to a low stack headset next year to steepen the HT angle…

DT Swiss EX 5.1D wheels…

Some red cable housing bling…

Dropper post remote + SRAM controls + Ergon Grips…

Selle Anatomica saddle + 5″ Kind Shock dropper seatpost…

NRG Slabalanche pedals have taken a beating…

Shimano SLX crankset…

Using up pretty much all the tire clearance…

SRAM derailleur and chain…

Avid Elixr CR hydraulic brakes…





Heckler Time!

30 06 2012

…framing the action

Apparently we didn’t scare Sean and Deanna off of mountain biking on the South Shore of Vancouver Island. They decided they’d come back for more dirt hijinx.

Sean taking a good line on Ruffles…

We covered a lot of the same terrain as last ride so they would have a chance to work on stuff they’d seen before and “figure out” typical tech moves that crop up repeatedly at Hartland.

Deanna on the move…

Their Hecklers are a bit more XC oriented than our Nomads, but they are capable bikes and well suited to local riding conditions.

Sharon starts up a climb…

Their bikes have steeper head tube angles and lower front ends than ours which makes for easier climbing, but it also makes steep drops more challenging. Especially without height adjustable dropper seatposts.

Bouncing down the trail…

It’s great to have a larger group out on a ride. You end up waiting around more, but that gives you time to chat and hang out with your friends.

Sharon’s turn to roll on in…

Sharon’s enjoying the pay off from so much time spent learning her MTB skills as she isn’t at the back of the pack any more and she can offer up some tips to others.

Sean on the edge…

Sean comes from a rugby and karate background. His style is to throw himself at the trail repeatedly and see who is tougher. This approach has been surprisingly effective, but has also resulted in some spectacular crashes. I gave him some body armour I wasn’t using for future rides as I suspect otherwise his MTB career could be really intense, but really short!

Deanna checking things out…

Deanna is a lot more cautious and she’s rebuilding her MTB skills at a measured pace. It’s going to take her longer to master the challenges of our local trails, but she’ll get there soon enough and won’t have to visit the hospital during the learning process!

Fun in the forest…

We are continuing to get the riding position and the suspension setup tweaked optimally for their Hecklers. I’ve learned with my Nomad how important it is to continually adjust and evaluate your bike’s setup. Small changes can result in big improvements. Plus you get to understand your bike better.

In the groove…





A herd of Santa Cruz bikes….

26 06 2012

Sean and Deanna…

My friends Sean and Deanna both ride Santa Cruz Hecklers. I helped buy the older Heckler in 1998 and then refurbished it a few years ago. When they were looking at buy another Heckler I gave their newer Heckler a once over before it was purchased off Craig’s List.

New and old Santa Cruz Hecklers…

So I’m sort of godfather to their Santa Cruz bikes… ūüėČ

Sharon, Deanna & Sean…

I noticed their bikes weren’t getting dirty so I employed some constructive peer pressure to get them out to Hartland Mountain Bike Park for a rip.

Sharon leads the pack…

Since I wanted them to come back for a second ride we plotted out the easiest loop we could that still covered some ground and gave them a taste of the riding at Hartland.

Deanna sessioning some rocks…

Even with an uber slow pace, lots of stops to check out/try tech sections and some instructional tidbits we still managed to break one of their bikes and crash a few times – one crash was a helmet wrecker! Riding on the South Shore of Vancouver Island is really not easy!

Sharon providing some tips of how to shred the gnar…

Sharon did a great job cleaning almost everything and showing off how well her skills have developed in the last year or so. I think it was a real morale boost for her to see folks who were struggling to get over tech sections she can easily do now – not to laugh at their crashes, but to gauge the improvement in her own skills.

Rockstar!

I blew one steep rooty/rocky climb only to have Sharon come barreling past me and make it to the top for the first time ever. She did a victory dance worthy of a NFL Super Bowl touchdown… ūüėČ Her time with the Dirt Girlz MTB Club is paying off.

Sean tries the rocks…

We got everyone back to the cars mostly in one piece and mostly smiling.

Deana & Sean post ride…

I guess we’ll know that we did a good job of being mountain bike guides if we can get them to come out with us a second time… ūüėČ





After Work Shred…

25 06 2012

Getting sweaty and dirty after work is a great way to end the day…

Going with the flow…

Dressed for an evening out…

Rock-star!





New pads for my Nomad…

20 05 2012

Old and new…

It was time for some new brakes pads in my Santa Cruz Nomad. I pulled all 4 old pads and selected the thickest 2 pads to keep. The worst two old pads went into the spares bin as a back up in case I have a problem with the pads in use and can’t get a spare set. I put the new pads up front where my brakes matter most and the two used pads I’m keeping went into the rear of the bike.

Aaron happened to be over as this was going down and graciously tuned up my front brake to perfection.





Dirt Girl…

17 05 2012

Sharon ready to roll…

Sharon’s been getting better at mountain biking and that’s resulted in more stoke to get out on the trails. We’ve had a number of dirt sessions lately where it’s just the two of us in the woods, which is ideal for working on riding skills with no pressure to keep moving with a group. Mountain biking is a very¬†physically¬†demanding sport with a lot of technical complexity when you ride trails like we have here on the South Shore of Vancouver Island. It’s hard to coordinate things like body position, gearing, seat height, speed/momentum and pedal stroke when you are crazy tired and breathing like you are in a porn film….=-) The catch 22 is that once you get the technical elements of MTBing sorted out you use less energy to get around the woods. So newbies get hammered hard!

Enjoying some sunshine…

Trying the other way…

I’ve got no aspirations of being a superstar mountain biker so cruising around the forest at Sharon’s pace is fine by me. It gives me time to take some photos and to enjoy being outside without people around. Interestingly I’ve found that going at a slow pace and playing around on all the trail features we encounter has resulted in a noticeable improvement in my own riding. I’ve cleaned sections at Hartland and Partridge Hills recently that have stopped me for the last two years.

I guess there is some karmic payback for helping a new rider…=-)

Practice makes perfect…

One last drop for good measure…

Incredibly dry trails!

Lovely views…

I’m hoping to get Sharon down to Sedona this fall for some riding in a location that’s different than home. Our trails are really hard and most of them are deep in the forest [you see lots of open terrain photos on this blog just because the light is better]. Sedona would offer some easier riding for her to flex her skills as well as serving up incredible scenery to fire the stoke.

Thank you summer sunshine…

The green room….

Not that I am complaining. Our local trails may be hard and they may be mostly tucked away in the gloomy BC costal rainforest, but they are fun and I rarely run into other mountain bikers when I am riding. Combine that with a 12 month/yr mountain bike season and we have to admit we are pretty lucky.

Made in the shade…





Working it…

14 05 2012

Cranking up a rocky step…

Sharon on the same rocky section…

Around the corner…

Lazy on the move…

I was hanging from a tree to get this shot…

Whoa!

Sharon grinds the slab…

Another fun drop…

Creek crossing…

Lazy…

Hunting for gnar…

Using the Dark Side of the Force…

Cruising…

Log ride…





Bro Session…

10 05 2012

A-Man at the start of Shock Treatment…

Man and dog…

Scott leading the pack…

Lazy up and over…

A-Man tackles the infamous HUMP of doom…

Scott HUMPing…

Grooving in the woods…

Geeking out…

Got Jones?

The Nomad…

Snacking…

Fun times in the trees…

Wall to…

….Wall





Sharon turning the cranks…

7 05 2012

Sharon in the forest…

Practicing the roll in…

Getting wet…

Looks steeper from the saddle…

Using the 24″ gear…

Trail architecture…

Proof I was along on the ride…

Rooty!

A well earned rest…

Heading for the car…

One last grind…





Tubeless Tire Update…

4 05 2012

Dave @ Sedon Fat Tire Bike Shop setting up my bike tubeless…

Both my Santa Cruz Nomad and my On One Scandal mountain bikes are running tubeless setups now. So far so good. Both are working well and I like the feel of the tires at lower pressures without fear of pinch flats. Tubeless tires are supposed to roll faster and provide better “feel” than the same time with a tube inside. I can’t confirm or deny that aspect. They certainly don’t roll any slower!

Tubless Racing Ralph on my Scandal…

Installation on both bikes was simple and there have been no hassles keeping them rolling along. For my mountain bikes I can’t see any reason to go¬†back¬†to tubes. I want to run tubeless on my Pugsley as it would save a lot of weight per wheel given the heavy tubes it uses. I’m even thinking of converting Sharon’s commuter bike to tubeless when the tires wear out next.





Brand-New Nomad…=-)

27 04 2012

Porcelain Rocket Edition Nomad...

My Santa Cruz headbadge fell off in Sedona so I replaced it with a new Porcelain Rocket badge…=-)





Fun Fun Fun!

16 04 2012

Sharon and Laura excited about a Dirt Girlz MTB Club ride...

Since a vehicle was heading to Hartland I figured I might as well go for a ride...

This strange guy on a rigid bike started following me.

I tried to shake him, but he was too fast!

He was getting close to my bike at stops. Was he thinking of stealing it?!

I would have had to chase him on this bike. It doesn't even have pedals!

He called his bike a Jeff Jones Spaceframe Truss Fork.

He called himself Porcelain Rocket....must be his Burning Man playa name?

He could ride that strange bike pretty well...

I tried his bike and got distracted by that crazy huge front tire! Doh!

He didn't let me ride his bike after that...something about liability and bad PR...

That's cool. I kept rolling on my Santa Cruz Nomad...

As soon as he saw I had the camera out he went all crazy like...

I just did my best not to make him angry at that point...

Finally he stopped to pee so I blasted out of there...

If anyone asks you my name is Jesus-Eduardo and I'm from Guadalajara Mexico!





Expedition to Mount Work’s Summit…

15 04 2012

Is it much further?

I thought we were headed to Hartland Mountain Bike Park for a quick 2hr fun blast around our favourite trails on a sunny Friday the 13th. Little did I know we were on a 4hrs+ bike-xpedition to the summit of Mount Work.

Going tubeless?

We were talking about¬†tubeless¬†tires on the drive to Hartland and Kurt stated that he was going tubeless on his Santa Curz Nomad after this ride. So naturally the Puncture Fairy gave him a snake bite less than 5mins into the ride and while she was at it she ripped his valve stem nearly clean off. Plus she stole Kurt’s spare tube. Yikes! Bad Fairy! Luckily I had a spare tube stashed in my bike’s Porcelain Rocket frame bag. We also realized his front tire was either defective or not properly seated on the rim. After 10mins of futzing with it we gave up and he just kept going. It’s not like a front blowout could be a problem mountain biking right?…;-)

No bikes? - No shit!

We wanted to head to the top of the bike park and ride Dave’s Line to Fun Trail and then back to the parking lot. Sadly we took a couple short cuts that we thought would let us ride more singletrack on the way up rather than just grinding up the easy to navigate double track. We should have know things had gone horribly wrong when we ended up on a hiking trail that was signed “no bikes”. As we were to learn this was¬†because¬†1) the trail didn’t lead anywhere bikey and 2) it wasn’t rideable! Being the¬†eternal¬†optimists we figured that once we were at the top we could drop down the other side of Mount Work and connect with the trails we were after. This of course was totally incorrect.

That's not a smile...

So we slogged uphill for over an hour on a nice warm sunny day. I didn’t realize my bike was in the All Mountain¬†category¬†because it was so much fun to push all 35lbs of it up a steep hiking trail.

Kurt is happy because he thinks this is the summit and he'll be riding down now - not!

A couple false summits later we thought we were finally at the top, but it was lies all lies.

The summit - for real!

Eventually we did get to the top. Ironically the one person who would have enjoyed this experience, Scott “Hike A Bike” Felter, was at home slaving away on some Tour Divide bike bags.

Don't get too excited Kurt...

Kurt was stoked to start riding down the other side of the summit to the bike trails we wanted to shred. He got about another 100m further than shown in the picture above before he realized we were not even close to being in the right spot and that the only way to the bike trails was back the way we came. In the photo below the pen is lined up with the trails at the top of the bike park we wanted to ride and the electrical tape is the summit of Mount Work. Doh!

WTF?

So we turned around and spent 25minutes or so hiking down a steep mostly unrideable hiking trail back to the point where we left the bike park. We had started from my house in the middle of a sunny afternoon and were starting the real riding as the sun was going down and the forest was getting gloomy! We got to ride a bunch of great trails though:

  • Lumpy Pants
  • Dirt Falls
  • Phase Two
  • Dave’s Line
  • South Ridge
  • Fun Trail
  • Crossover
  • Ruffles

Cleaning up the mess...

On the plus side we got a great workout. Hahahaha! We did get to do all the riding we had set out to do. It just took a bit longer than we had anticipated. Mountain bike foreplay?…=-)





Creamsicle Santa Cruz Nomad…

15 03 2012

Picture this Nomad with white rims!

I’ve got a crazy day today with business meetings, friends in town and unpacking from the trip south. So no time for much of a blog post. I figured I’d share this orange CCCP Nomad which would probably be my 2nd choice after purple. I’d use white rims, cable housing, bars/grips and saddle for a Creamsicle flavoured all mountain bike…=-)

Thanks to whomever came up with the first online bike builder. It’s a cheap and easy way to get your new bike fix without having to pull out your credit card!





Santa Cruz Custom Color Choice Program…

14 03 2012

Loving the purple...

For some of its aluminum bikes Santa Cruz is now offering 12 custom colour options as well as 4 ¬†decals in 4 different colours and two finish choices. That rocks! I really like the purple and white Nomad combo shown above…with some white rims it would be killer…=-) There are two downsides to this program: cost [$300 for a FS bike] and extra time. There is often a long wait for a SC bike if you don’t want the colours in stock…having them paint a frame a custom colour will of course add more time to that process.

So many choices!

The white¬†powder-coat¬†on my Nomad is holding up well, but if I was starting over I’d be tempted to get a purple frame for some bling! These bikes last a long time so they are worth a little extra¬†initial¬†investment if a¬†custom¬†colour would make you smile.

When you are on the Santa Cruz site looking at a bike builder and see a CCCP box, like the one above next to the purple Nomad, just click on it to get choose a custom colour for your bike.





The Hogs Trails – Sedona, AZ…

6 03 2012

Taking in an awesome view of Sedona from Hog Heaven Trail…

Our 2nd last day or riding in Sedona arrived Sunday and we wanted to continue to explore some of the best trails of the area.

A-Man climbs away from Chicken Point…

We saddled up at the Courthouse Vista¬†Parking¬†Lot and cranked north to Little Horse Trail. Riding up Little Horse Trail to Chicken Point isn’t as much fun as going the other way, but sometimes you have to pay to play!

Handy Hogs Trail map we got at the Bike and Bean…

Once at Chicken Point we started north on Broken Arrow Trail just for a bit until we hit the hard left we needed to get onto the start of Hog Heaven Trail.

We have slick rocks at home, but no slickrock!

Hog Heaven was a ton of fun and was filled with lots of exposure which seems to a trait of most of the newly developed unofficial trails here in Sedona.

Riding on a ledge…

I managed to launch myself off the bike to the right into space. Luckily a tree caught me and I didn’t tumble down a cliff to my death!

A-Man takes in the views at a rest stop…

The benefit of riding on the edge of a rock face high above the ground is that there are spectacular views whenever you have time to look around!

A-Man coming into a hard right drop on Hog Heaven Trail…

Hog Heaven fed us onto Hog Wash Trail which took us toward Broken Arrow Trail.

A-Man enjoying the hog wild experience…

The ride ended with Mystic Trail south to the Bell Rock Pathway and Little Horse to Llama Trails to the truck.

Some handy trees to catch a falling mountain biker…

There are more Hogs Trails we didn’t get to on this ride: Hogtail, Pig Tail and Hogalicious. So many trails so little time!

A-Man climbs up Hog Heaven Trail…





Secret Trails – Sedona, AZ…

5 03 2012

Getting down to business!

A-Man and I had unfinished business with the Teacup Trail. Having recovered from his Red Rock Body Slam the previous day we went back to Coffee Pot Rock and pushed our exploration of Tea Cup Trail further than ever before!

Staying on the high ground...

Teacup Trail was even more fun now that we knew its twists and turns.

A-Man carves up the switchbacks...

At the end of Teacup Trail we rolled north up to the seven sacred pools and Soldier’s Pass.

Why I don't let A-Man navigate...

Uncharacteristically we didn’t get lost.

I love slickrock!

The trails were all top notch Sedona singletrack. Lots of flow with and ear to ear grins.

A-Man dips his wheels in a sacred pool...

The sacred pools had some water from the snow earlier in the week.

Cranking left...

Eventually we reached the end of the bike legal section of the Soldier’s Pass Trail.

A-Man rolls into the shade...

Being good MTBers we didn’t ride any further.

Thumbs up for Sedona...

Rolling back southwards we were aiming for the giant sink hole.

A-Man on the edge...

The sink hole was pretty hard to miss. You definitely don’t want to ride over the edge here.

A-Man rolls some chunk...

From the sink hole we headed east on Jordan Trail.

I've got a secret...

We turned south onto one of the secret trail network. We’d tell you which one and how to find it, but we’d have to kill you…=-)

A-Man on fire...

To be honest we don’t know which trail we were on. We just followed the blue markers and had an awesome time.

Heading for home...

Our mystery trail dumped us off on Highway 89A and we took the paved trail back to the truck at Coffee Pot Rock. Another great ride in Sedona. You gotta love it!

Follow the A-Man...





Teacup Trail – Sedona, AZ…

3 03 2012

Feeling excited for some coffee at Coffee Pot Rock...

I wanted to check out my suspension and bike fit adjustments on a faster trail than our slow march around the uber techy Airport Loop Trail. So we headed to the Coffee Pot Rock area of West Sedona and rumbled down Teacup Trail.

Several fun loops in this area...

There are a few trails in this area that offer a lot of options and loop possibilities.

Follow the cairns to stay on track...

Teacup Trail was the fast flowy Sedona trail we know and love – with just enough rocky technical challenge to make it interesting without getting silly.

Where to now?

I was pretty happy with the suspension setup that Dave from the Fat Tire Bike Shop dialed in for me. My bike carved nicely around the tight twisty corners like it was glued to the ground. I rotated my bars forward to get my weight¬†slightly¬†more over the front wheel so I had a more aggressive climbing position. In the long run I’ll get a 10mm longer stem and rotate the bars back towards me a bit. I’ll probably also move the saddle 10mm forward to see how I like that.

The fine art of bike fit! – fun, fun, fun…=-)

A-Man rolls back towards the trailhead...

Heading back to the parking lot we unintentionally¬†explored¬†a whole network of smaller trails that are in this area, but aren’t marked on any map we have. When navigating in Sedona just look up to orientate yourself using the local landmarks and retrace your tire tracks back to the last time you were sure you were on the right trail.

Wait for me!





Airport Loop Trail – Sedona, AZ…

2 03 2012

Riding in dangerous territory...

I had a lot of work that needed my attention in the AM on Thursday so we got a late start on the trail and decided to ride the Airport Loop Trail because it was near our hotel and had spectacular views.

A quick derailleur tune...

The start of this ride is a popular viewpoint and a fair number of hikers complete the circuit around Airport Mesa. My derailleur needed some love right at the start, but happily I was travelling with a professional bike mechanic so Aaron tweaked it for me.

Don't fall to the left!

Airport Loop Trail is definitely the most technically demanding trail we have ridden so far. Not only is it narrow and rough, but there is a serious drop off if you screw up. We ended up walking quite a few sections and I had one nearly deadly bail where I thought I was going for a long fall! The exposure on Highline Trail is tame by comparison.

A-Man climbing like an angry squirrel...

We rode around the mesa clockwise and I would probably recommend that direction for the best flow – although it will be hard either way.

The straight and narrow...

The second half of the trail was slightly downhill which meant that if I was able to pick a decent line and finesse the bike I could ride most of it. I definitely smiled more as I got closer to the end of the trail.

Top down view...

To be honest I wouldn’t suggest you take your mountain bike on this ride. I think it makes a better hike than a ride. You’ll get the same killer views and you won’t complete the trail much slower on foot!

Black tie riding...

Even though it wasn’t my favourite trail in Sedona so far it’s hard to complain too much¬†about¬†being out in the sunshine riding your mountain bike in such pretty country.

The eye of the cactus!

We are not big into video, but here is a little A-Man action sequence.





Highline Trail – Sedona, AZ…

1 03 2012

Jumping for joy…¬†

The locals here in Sedona all seem to be talking about Highline Trail so we figured it was time to check it out ourselves.

A-Man getting a leg up…

We started out with a couple espressos at the Bike and Bean bike/coffee shop.

Trying to stay lost…

Climbing aboard our fine mountain bikes we rolled up Slim Shady Trail.

Staying grounded…

We took a couple exploratory missions down side trails, but eventually we found the start of Highline Trail.

There was some hike a bike…

We had to climb & push our bikes up some steep slopes at first.

A-Man rumbles down the trail…

The quality of the trail was high and justified all the buzz we had heard.

Up, up and away…

Highline features a lot of narrow exposed trail.

Desert flora…

It’s hard enough and exposed enough I wouldn’t recommend it for riders with an over active sense of self-preservation.

Getting high…

For the most part Highline was solidly intermediate in difficulty without getting too gnarly.

A-Man channels the Thunder Chicken…

The most dangerous parts of the ride were the amazingly beautiful views that were seriously distracting.

Consulting the map…

Although we got confused a few times we managed not to get lost.

Prepared for take off…

The ride just went on and on until our faces hurt from all the smiling.

A-Man rolling down some tasty slickrock…

Eventually we dropped down towards Baldwin Trail, but the fun wasn’t over.

Living on the edge…

Due to the rain/snow earlier this week the trail was uber tacky making us feel like heros.

Good to the last drop…

Once we got onto Baldwin Trail we let our guard down a bit as we assumed  it would be an easy cruise back to the start.

About to carve some bermy singletrack…

The ride back started off easy and curvy, but then the rocky tech came back.

A-Man went ahead to scout out the route…

Aaron volunteered to go ahead and conduct some ninja styles recon.

Waiting patiently…

I eventually got bored and found A-Man doing some horizontal scouting.

Switchback…

Our easy pedal home got rough and then turned vertical for a good long way towards the start of Templeton Trail.

A-Man, Deb and Brenda our helpful guides…

We had passed two nice ladies on Highline and Baldwin Trails then ran into them again at the start of Templeton Trail. They suggested we try Easy Breezy headed south rather that Templeton and offered to guide us. How could we refuse? It was really fun to ride in a small posse for a change. We cruised down the very enjoyable Easy Breezy Trail then took Slim Shady back to the truck.

A-Man giving ‘er…

All in all Highline Trail was a great day in the saddle. It lived up to our considerable expectations. We’ll definitely be back and would highly recommend it to any intermediate mountain bikers without a fear of heights!

Here are a couple videos of Highline Trail from Mountain Bike USA to give you a sense of the action.