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Braff Zacklin

The Surly Mountain Biking Thread

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Some trails open today, finally.  Because I have ridden exactly once in the last 30 days, I need to stick with something flattish for now, so Rowlett Creek it is!

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Going fat biking on wide well groomed snow today. Not the narrow, hiked out slog I fought through last Sunday.

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Did 8 miles at Rowlett today.  My idea was to do a warmup mile on the first loop and then get into some more challenging stuff.  Well, I went too fast and it turned from a warmup into a burnout.  Still slogged through most of the rest of the trail, but eesh.

The twisty turny nature of Goat Island deceived me as to how much conditioning I've lost since early December.  Really glad I didn't try one of the climbier trails that are open.

Should be able to lay down some miles this week.

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19 hours ago, KuЯdt said:

here's some footage from a couple of the blue runs.  

 

 

That looks fun and doable even for a nimrod like me.  Any idea what kind of speed you were carrying?

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1 hour ago, Braff Zacklin said:

We've got the worst sort of winter here in Idaho. You fuggers are just tryna make me jealous.

 

 

It's working.

Well, take solace in the fact that it's not Africa-hot in the summers and you have far better vistas, and probably trails, than most of us.

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In normal winters, I can take solace in the cross country skiing, but it's been too warm and relatively un-snowy for more than a few outings.

Trails will be soft and muddy for at least another month (educated guess)

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Fat biking was great today. Highs in the 40’s tomorrow and then into the 20’s, and no snow in sight. So most of our snow will melt, but not enough to start riding single track in a regular fashion.

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4 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

That looks fun and doable even for a nimrod like me.  Any idea what kind of speed you were carrying?

I Strava'd the first couple of runs, and it said avg speed was about 13 with max of 28.  So I think it was between 15-20 for a good portion of it.

The blues are completely rollable, so you can go as fast or slow as you want.  There were riders of all levels out there, which was cool. I saw noobs wearing jeans and sneakers on walmart looking bikes as well as full on downhill dudes with all the gear and badass big travel bikes.  Also saw some really young kids - maybe 9 or 10 - with full face helmets and GoPro mounted on top hitting the black trail.

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had a good ride at Brushy this morning.  finally got good loft on both jumps up top on Snail2 (the plywood one and the big, angled one right after it).  couldn't tell you how I did it.  they usually throw my ass up for awkward, nose-heavy landings.

craziest thing I saw today was a group of dudes on those Onewheel boards...riding trail.  it was on the flattish, bermy section in the woods just east of Parmer.  conditions were perfect for that today.

K, you got me thinking about Spider tomorrow, but I think I'll just go South, and save the fiddy bucks.  it looked like they reworked a section or two of the wood feature line, taking out a couple small ledge drops.

but there's something to be said for riding a lift to get back uphill, esp toward the end of the day.

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wd - is there a good map somewhere or recommended plan of attack for Brushy?  I've only ridden it once but had my brother and dad with me so it was kind of a short ride.  We started by the skate park and headed west.

I don't make it north of the river all that often if I can help it, but my sister lives in Cedar Park and I usually stay the night there Easter weekend.  This year I think I'll hit Brushy while up there.  What are the must ride parts of Brushy?  I'd probably have time for 2-3 hours to ride it.

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2 hours ago, KuЯdt said:

I Strava'd the first couple of runs, and it said avg speed was about 13 with max of 28.  So I think it was between 15-20 for a good portion of it.

The blues are completely rollable, so you can go as fast or slow as you want.  There were riders of all levels out there, which was cool. I saw noobs wearing jeans and sneakers on walmart looking bikes as well as full on downhill dudes with all the gear and badass big travel bikes.  Also saw some really young kids - maybe 9 or 10 - with full face helmets and GoPro mounted on top hitting the black trail.

I see pre-teens and teens outriding me on the daily.  🤬🤬

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2 hours ago, KuЯdt said:

wd - is there a good map somewhere or recommended plan of attack for Brushy?  I've only ridden it once but had my brother and dad with me so it was kind of a short ride.  We started by the skate park and headed west.

I don't make it north of the river all that often if I can help it, but my sister lives in Cedar Park and I usually stay the night there Easter weekend.  This year I think I'll hit Brushy while up there.  What are the must ride parts of Brushy?  I'd probably have time for 2-3 hours to ride it.

I'd posted  this link on the last page for dbeasy.  it's fairly useful.  here's another.  probably more descriptive, but the videos seem old and don't account for some reroutes.  or maybe I'm just terrible at recognizing stuff. but neither one has Snail Trail on it, which is interesting, because it's been heavily Stravulated.  a bit of an open secret.

anyway, I usually start under 183A, hit Snail, then Dave's ditch (IFF it's been dry for a while), 1/4 notch and double-down.  if I have  the time, I'll do Deception 'backwards'.  then Picnic, which has numerous optional drops.  no matter what, I do Picnic.  if the conditions are such Picnic's unridable, I just don't go to Brushy at all.  

for some reason, Deception just doesn't appeal to me, but once I'm on it, it's actually pretty fun.  very rocky, moderately techy ups and downs, and lots of cactus to keep you on the straight and narrow.  very hot in the summer, whereas Picnic is always comfortably shaded.

Mulligan is fun, but there's a couple little soupy spots for several days after any rain, so I'll just run up the mellower climb on the left of the big slope facing the paved path, hang a right and bomb down the steep one closest to the train tracks, like today.

as I mentioned to dbeasy, really only Mulligan and Peddler's Pass are one way (PP being very well marked in this regard).  just depends on where you start.  ie, you could certainly make the case that Deception flows generally west, but that's only because the skatepark lot is the most popular starting point.  

the route I roughly described above, with PP, is between 8-12 miles, depending on whether I do any Deception or extra Snail repeats.  just pulled an old strava record up that's 9.48 mi and a whopping 359' of climbing, with zero Deception.  

I tend to do Brushy solo on saturday mornings.  if you want a guide, sing out.  it don't make a shit.

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Whoo boy.  Started strong-ish at OCNP, but bonked (not formally, just crapped out) pretty big.  I clearly was not ready to climb.  I completed what I undertook, including some slow burn stuff, but shit I was tired fast.

Part of it may be that I am trying intermittent fasting and was at the tail end of my fast at noon.  But I think the bigger part is third ride in 2020 and first with any climbing to speak of.

Onward, and upward.

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Headed out to Rowlett Creek and managed to cough up 10 miles at a surprisingly decent pace.  Surprising because I added two new-to-me loops in 10 and 12.  Not sure why I had avoided them, guess I feared they would be kind of crazy like loops 7 and 14.  Loop 12 especially was fun with some nice climbs and descents.

At one point on loop 12, I did a descent and then the climb-out had what appeared to be two options with one steep and cresting quickly so all you could see was the top of it.  Well, I took that one, but slowed bigtime on the climb-out, which was good because at the top it dropped off right into shit creek.  I guess fishermen or hikers had made that trail.  I kind of lollygagged the rest of them in case there was another rude surprise.

Pretty good ride, though.  I can still feel the weakness, but it's coming back fastish.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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Being a noob rider I’d like to go to Spider Mountain but would have to take those trails really slowly. Will experienced riders get pissed at me when they come up behind me and have to pass?

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11 hours ago, Dbeasy said:

Being a noob rider I’d like to go to Spider Mountain but would have to take those trails really slowly. Will experienced riders get pissed at me when they come up behind me and have to pass?

Generally, I'd say no, but  a downhill course might be a little different deal than a regular trail.  It looks like from what Kurdt and wd40 posted that there's plenty of room to let burners pass or you can get to a wide section pretty quick.

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Newb MTBer jumping into the thread. Experienced road cyclist & triathlete, just got a MTB to XC race & do off-road triathlons. Probably wasn’t the best idea but jumped into the Rocky Hill roundup yesterday as my first time off-road. It was a blast. Terrifying at times, but so much fun. Can’t wait to check out all the trails around H town.

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On 2/9/2020 at 9:22 AM, Dbeasy said:

Being a noob rider I’d like to go to Spider Mountain but would have to take those trails really slowly. Will experienced riders get pissed at me when they come up behind me and have to pass?

Not unless they are total douchebags.  There were riders of all levels out there when I went, so I don't think you'll have any issues.  It's easy enough to get around people on the blue trails (or get out of the way of a rider coming up behind you).  Not quite as easy on the black trails.  I say just go and have fun, and you'll probably find that you can ride those trails faster than maybe you think.

As an aside, we met one older gentleman while riding the lift to the top who had a season pass to Spider, Angel Fire, and some other place I forget.  He was mid 60's and retired.  I came up on him a few times while going down the trails, and he was just taking it about as slowly as one could but having a great time.  Spoke to him each time and passed on by.

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Dumb question.  Here in DFW, we have a lot of ups and downs, meaning climbs followed almost immediately by descents.  Most of the time, no problem, good workout and fun.  But on occasion, because of roots or rocks or lack of conditioning or bad gear choice, I find myself at the crest or top of a climb stopped.  

I really dislike starting down a descent from a stop. Whether accurate or not, I fear three things:  a pedal strike, going off line, and not having my weight sufficiently back.  All of these being a product of having to get started from a stop and not being "oriented" (pedals level, weight back or going back, and with a little momentum) on my bike.  On a relatively level crest, I just back up and get going a little, but some just don't permit this.  I sometimes walk descents that are completely rideable because of this.

I tend to start off with a biggish pedal stroke from the left with the pedal high, which provokes the pedal strike fear and also the weight shift.  Saddle height doesn't seem to make much difference here.  If it's a relatively smooth descent, it's less of an issue than if there's something that would provoke a pedal strike or compress the suspension.

Is there a solution to this?  Should I just stop being a wuss or what?

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Don't worry about pedal hitting.  Without any visual idea of what you re riding, I say just go for it.  😃

The only real problem I have like that is when I can't get my shoes clipped in.  Metal on metal is actually very slippery it seems. 

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28 minutes ago, dingleberryswitzer said:

Don't worry about pedal hitting.  Without any visual idea of what you re riding, I say just go for it.  😃

The only real problem I have like that is when I can't get my shoes clipped in.  Metal on metal is actually very slippery it seems. 

Well I have actually had pedal strikes.  Haven't crashed because of it.  There's one descent in particular that has a bump in it that compresses the suspension about 10 feet into it and there's quite a number of descents that I ride that have big roots, rocks, and shelves that could pose a disaster if your pedal is low going over them.

If I'm able to just ride it without stopping, no problem at all, but if something happens that causes me to dab/stop at or near the top of the hill, I find it rather nerve wracking.

But yeah, I don't ride clips, but getting my feet sorted on the pedals is kind of the issue or a big part of that.  Also the instability in low-speed steering of a slackish bike contributes to it.

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19 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

Is there a solution to this?  Should I just stop being a wuss or what?

Ride flat pedals. I rode clipless for 20 years on the road and off but in the last couple of years I’ve gone back to flats for the mountain bike. I noticed no loss of power and I ride technical stuff way better on the flats. You come to a standstill on a chunky climb and you can just keep steady and give it one more push to get up it instead of unclipping at the first sign of tipping over. I’d rather be clipped in on the road or for long XC but for anything I may or may not make it up or down I like the flats. And it makes what you’re describing easier. 

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5 hours ago, TwiceHorn said:

Well I have actually had pedal strikes.  Haven't crashed because of it.  There's one descent in particular that has a bump in it that compresses the suspension about 10 feet into it and there's quite a number of descents that I ride that have big roots, rocks, and shelves that could pose a disaster if your pedal is low going over them.

If I'm able to just ride it without stopping, no problem at all, but if something happens that causes me to dab/stop at or near the top of the hill, I find it rather nerve wracking.

But yeah, I don't ride clips, but getting my feet sorted on the pedals is kind of the issue or a big part of that.  Also the instability in low-speed steering of a slackish bike contributes to it.

Sounds like you're just not comfortable or confident starting a descent from a dead stop or without momentum and/or having your body in an incorrect position.  I'm not sure what you can do about that other than work on not coming to a stop at the top or just practice more.  Focus on starting with pedals parallel to the ground and get your ass back.  Seems like it would be a bit easier for you since you ride flats.

I know it can feel pretty awkward if you get hung up, dab or come to a stop then have to start up again rolling down a technical section.  I don't think it's just you.  I ride clipless and in that scenario I may keep one foot unclipped upon starting again until I'm back in the groove.

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fwiw, both my Konas, each the slackest bikes I've ever ridden (66.5*, iirc) are also the most stable at very low speed.  could just be I've just been riding so long and finally gotten ok at it, or maybe the low bottom brackets.

so, I'm with Switzer on this:  just go for it.  focus on were you want to go, not where you are.  that's verymuch easier said than done, but sooner or later, you have to trust yourself to execute, or it's just no fun at all.

don't think I've posted this one before.  turns out 4-footers are the same as going off a curb.

 

Edited by wd40

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8 minutes ago, wd40 said:

fwiw, both my Konas, each the slackest bikes I've ever ridden (66.5*, iirc) are also the most stable at very low speed.  could just be I've just been riding so long and finally gotten ok at it, or maybe the low bottom brackets.

so, I'm with Switzer on this:  just go for it.  focus on were you want to go, not where you are.  that's verymuch easier said than done, but sooner or later, you have to trust yourself to execute, or it's just no fun at all.

don't think I've posted this one before.  turns out 4-footers are the same as going off a curb.

 

It's hard to describe slack steering accurately.  Yes, it's "stable" going in a more or less straight line or gradual turn, but if you get knocked or knock yourself off that straight line, to the point of flop at low speed, it can be kind of wild regaining the stability.  Like if you start off down a hill a little wobbly.

I'm getting used to it again in most conditions.

I suppose the fact that I fucked myself up pretty good a year ago has me a bit skittish, along with riding new trails/loops that feature a lot of this.   But it is a kind of perennial problem for me, at least since I resumed riding 8 months ago.

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@TwiceHorn: If there's a neighborhood park or empty parking lot near home, I'd suggest riding over there and spending a half hour or more each day for a few days working on low-speed handling. Track stands, maintaining balance and control at <1 mph, super slow yet sharp turns, sudden stops, wheelies, stoppies, etc. Some parks probably don't want you on the grass, but if there's one that permits it, it'll be time well spent.

Still won't prepare you for exposure, but it should give you the confidence you need to negotiate the obstacles you described.

And, no, still can't manual. Sure I could if I really put in a solid two weeks of effort, but alas, I always get hungry to lap the miles. Swear it is the most unnatural thing--to deliberately take a stable platform and push it to the edge of disaster ... without quite going there.

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6 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

@TwiceHorn: If there's a neighborhood park or empty parking lot near home, I'd suggest riding over there and spending a half hour or more each day for a few days working on low-speed handling. Track stands, maintaining balance and control at <1 mph, super slow yet sharp turns, sudden stops, wheelies, stoppies, etc. Some parks probably don't want you on the grass, but if there's one that permits it, it'll be time well spent.

Still won't prepare you for exposure, but it should give you the confidence you need to negotiate the obstacles you described.

And, no, still can't manual. Sure I could if I really put in a solid two weeks of effort, but alas, I always get hungry to lap the miles. Swear it is the most unnatural thing--to deliberately take a stable platform and push it to the edge of disaster ... without quite going there.

I actually do that from time to time when it's dry enough but the trails aren't.  Maybe I'll learn to manual, too.

I should say I used to do that.  I haven't since the crash.

Edited by TwiceHorn

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3 minutes ago, Braff Zacklin said:

Totally understandable. How is everything healing up, btw? Still got that one crooked-ass finger?

Still stiff but gradually loosening.  The last knuckle/joint used to be really "enervated" or tender, not sore per se. That's leaving too. The finger almost wraps around the bar now and I have developed enough strength in my left hand that it doesn't seem to limit me much, although I did see it sticking out in shadow the other day. I get a little bit of soft-tissue soreness around the collarbone, and weirdly, in back by my shoulder blade, but biking actually seems to help that.

Like you, I would rather get on the trail than noodle around in a parking lot or at the park looking like some old guy having a crisis on a bike.   And after being off it for six months, when the weather turned, I was off to the races.

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3 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

... looking like some old guy having a crisis on a bike.

Pretty sure this is how I appear regardless of the setting.

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yeah, it's a young man's sport, for sure.  

instead of parking lots, why not just bike to run errands or around the neighborhood?  attack it like an urban assault.  track stand every stop sign.  hop up on the sidewalk (assuming no peds) to get out of the way of over-taking cars.  ride the curb tops like skinnies as far as you can.  all fairly low-risk, but it keeps it interesting and teaches you stuff, plus miles.

2x, you probably already do this sub-consciously, but lately, during very low speed moves, I've become more aware of ratcheting the pedals back a half or 1/4 turn to get them in position for optimum power or to clear a ledge.  it seems like an under-appreciated technique, but I find myself doing it a lot more than I realized.  it gives you something to do for that split second at the crux of a hump, as well as good power to re-start/continue over the top.

anyhoo, today I took my bike in to figure out why my fork was at 140 instead of 160.  being an old, I just assumed I had forgotten to get it converted  almost 2 years ago when I got the p153, and bought a new air cylinder to finally do it.  turns out I did have it converted back then.  the internals were just so clogged with dirt, I was storing air on the negative side, and lost 20mm of travel.  herpaderp.

Edited by wd40
non-typing motherfucker

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Yeah, I have become pretty conscious of pedal position of late for some reason.  I am encountering some more rocks and some off-camber, neither of which necessarily require good pedal work, but I'm conscious of it.  Which may partly account for my skittishness because I am just not in firm control of it heading downhill from a stop.  I've only had one pedal strike that was scary and it didn't cause me to crash, but I don't hanker to have a hard one pointed downhill.

It's really the pedal and weight thing that bugs me from a stop more than anything else.

Im gonna need to service my hydraulics soon.  Probably time to add some sealant, too.

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Pretty good fatty snow ride today. Went to the same spot I hit Xmas Eve by my in-laws place. Better grooming than my local spot, but still a total ass kicker. Calories per hour have to be off the charts on this shit.

 

This is probably the last weekend of groomed snow riding. Temps look to permanently be north of freezing by late next week. Fine by me. Would put us on pace for normal single track conditions in March.

 

d881e704845ac27a91c375c5c3d66eee.jpg

 

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Third sunny day in a row, but rains so bad no trails dried out.  Plus I have a fucking headache.  Or I guess I could go have a crisis on my bike.

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55 minutes ago, TwiceHorn said:

Third sunny day in a row, but rains so bad no trails dried out.  Plus I have a fucking headache.  Or I guess I could go have a crisis on my bike.

The park adjacent to RCP was underwater all week.  We're running into the time of the year when the trails will dry up just before the next rain event. At least I got a soccer game in at 9AM this morning.

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South Austin trails were in good shape today, but any limestone in the shade was slick as fucking ice. Always makes for an adventure.

Then my back tire felt weird so examined it and found this:

20200216_160117.jpg

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3 hours ago, KuЯdt said:

South Austin trails were in good shape today, but any limestone in the shade was slick as fucking ice. Always makes for an adventure.

Then my back tire felt weird so examined it and found this:

20200216_160117.jpg

Had a tire do that last year. Fortunately, was able to get it warrantied, although it took forever (couple of months).

Aside from the hernia, do you like Aggressors? Haven't ridden them, but they don't appear to have much in the way of transition knobs. Running one up front would scare me.

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12 hours ago, Braff Zacklin said:

Had a tire do that last year. Fortunately, was able to get it warrantied, although it took forever (couple of months).

Aside from the hernia, do you like Aggressors? Haven't ridden them, but they don't appear to have much in the way of transition knobs. Running one up front would scare me.

Was yours a Maxxis?  I may try to get this one warrantied.

 

I like the Aggressor as a rear tire, don't think I would run it up front.  Right now I'm really liking the DHF front, Aggressor rear combo.

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No, it was a Vittoria.

How long have you had the tire and how many miles do you estimate you have on it? I see some rounding on the knobs and lugs but it looks like it would've had a lot of miles left. Maxxis can be very spendy, so I hope you get your money back.

Also warrantied a Continental X-King back in 2011 that was shedding knobs despite being brand new. They gave me credit but I never bought another X-King as too many experienced a similar issue.

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