Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Massive Fallout

This is how I spent my Sunday.

Massive Fallout Group Ride, October 28, 2007

This was a group ride that started as a brainstorm of a couple of guys that I ride with on Wednesday. They initially posted it as an informal gathering, but as interest grew, the ride grew. Word is that over 150 people total showed up for the ride. The route took us through Oakland County from Rochester up to Lake Orion/Lakeville, with options to ride the trails at Bloomer Park, Stony Creek, Bald Mountain, and Addison Oaks.

I met up with my teammates Curt, John, Mike, and Jay at the start point, the Rochester Mills Brewery. We, and a few others including another singlespeeder named Tim, set off at about 9am. As things were still damp from the day before, we elected to skip Bloomer and headed straight to Stony. This made for a nice warmup on the roads, and we hit first singletrack about 3 miles in. Stony was tacky, with some leaf cover. My Q was handling excellently, as I chased Tim through the singletrack.

We regrouped at the end of Stony's fine singletrack, ducked out the fence, and took Sheldon Road to Gunn Road to the Paint Creek Trail. The Paint Creek Trail (a rail-trail) took us towards Lake Orion, where a short singletrack connector took us out to Stony Creek Road. Here Curt and I believe Mike got seperated from the rest of us, and we headed to the main Bald Mountain trailhead at Harmon Road. We rode the entire loop of Bald Mountain North (we would later find out that Curt and Mike rode the "top" half). Bald Mountain was fun, albiet a bit greasy in parts. Just after we crossed over Harmon Road, we came to a bridge, at the bottom of a short downhill. This bridge, and basically all other wood encountered on the ride, was wet from Saturday's rain. It was here where John got a quick "reminder" that wet wood was slippery! I was right behind him, and luckily was able to stop in time to avoid him. He was ok, however he broke a rail on his saddle. He did finish the ride, although it was a bit more painful than he would've liked.

Curt and Mike were waiting at Addison when we rolled in. Regrouped, we headed out for a loop of Addison's singletrack. This trail is fast with a very good flow. Paul the trail coordinator has done an excellent job with this trail: challenging when taken at speed, and with not a lot of gratuitous things to rob you of your speed.

After Addison, discussions occurred, and Mike and Tim left while Curt, John, Jay and I decided to do a "4 Corners" loop. This is a 4 mile loop that takes you up Lake George, west on Drahner Road, south on Barr Road, and east on Indian Lake. Oh, and there is a fair bit of climbing on this section (see the segment from about mile 30 to mile 35 on the below elevation plot).

We finished up the "4 Corners", rode down Lake George, did the segment of Bald Mountain from Lake George to Harmon Road. A few miles of roads took us back to the Paint Creek Trail, which we rode back into Rochester. After 52.79 miles (by my computer), and 4 hours 10 minutes of riding time, we loaded up our bikes, changed clothes, and relaxed at the brewery with some food and a couple pints.

Curt's GPS plot of the route. He lost the data prior to Stony Creek, and took a slightly different route from me by Bald Mountain (near where the blue lines form an "X" at the top, to the right of the cluster of lakes)

Curt's GPS elevation plot.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

50 Miles on the Q

Thursday's ride put me just over 50 miles on the new bike, and I'm loving the handling so far. I still need the proper length stem, and that should put things at perfect.

Wednesday night was the weekly Stony Creek group ride. I did my usual one lap of the singletrack before heading down to meet the group. After my "pre-lap", I rode down to meet the group, where my bike had a few admirers. We did a lap of all the singletrack, all of which had to be completed with lights due to the darkness.

Thursday was the weekly www.mysinglespeed.com group ride at Pontiac Lake. Due to an off-site meeting ending early, I was actually able to make the 4:30 early lap (main lap is at 6~6:15). For the first lap, I rode with "Duke" and "Abbeytrails" (screen names). We kept to a leisurely pace, stopping fairly often. This didn't stop me from letting 'er rip on a few of the descents. Riding at PLRA reinforced the fact that the headtube angle change was the right thing to do. I was able to take some of the moderate/high speed corners with more confidence than I could with the Rig. Also, although this topic is highly debated, I am now a believer that frame material does make a difference in feeling impacts from the trail. The aluminum frame Rig felt much harsher than the titanium framed Quiring. Don't get me wrong, there is no mistaking the fact you're riding a hardtail, it's more of a dulled "thud" with the Quiring than the sharp "whack" with the Rig.

I rode the 2nd lap with "Gearless" and "Gears What Gears", and the pace quickened up quite a bit (Gearless is quite fast). We also stopped less frequently and for shorter durations. At one of our usual stopping points, the Campground Road crossing about 4 miles in, we bumped into a beginner who had probably one of the best attitudes about riding that I've seen in a while. She was waiting while her husband went to get their truck. It was starting to get dark, they had no lights with them, and the first 4 miles took it's toll on her. Although beaten by the trail this time, she stated that she needed to come back so she could finish it. The 3 of us all felt that this woman would be riding for quite some time to come.

We had to turn our lights on about 2/3 of the way through the trail, and finished by the glow off our helmets and the nearly full moon. My first experience riding PLRA at night.

Two great rides in two days with two great groups, loving the way your new bike handles, life is good.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Quiring - Built and Ridden

Saturday, my new Quiring got built up into a proper bicycle. A big thanks to the Bicycle and Fitness Barn in Port Huron for work on the build, and my teammate Lee for loaning me the stem (bleeping Bontrager "non-square" stem causing the headset race to not want to sit square).

Yesterday late afternoon I took the Q for her maiden voyage. I went to Stony, since I tend to put in most of my miles there.Overall, I was very impressed with the handling. Steepening up the headtube angle from that of the Rig made a big difference. The Rig wanted to fight me when things got twisty: the Q wants to find the line quickly and hold it. Also during climbing, the Q seemed to track much straighter; the Rig wanted to wander. I didn't see any issues with tracking at higher speeds. A few tweaks still need to be made, mainly fine-tuning of saddle position and a new stem. The borrowed stem is longer (by 20mm) and shallower (by 5deg) than my Bontrager stem. Based on the maiden voyage, I will be going back to my original stem length and angle.

Side view

Profile view

Chris King / Quiring Cycles money shot

Mandatory drivetrain shot. Surly cog to replace cheap Shitmano BMX cog coming soon.

Thomson seatpost porn.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

New Frame

My new frame arrived yesterday. Just over 7 weeks from deposit to delivery. The workmanship is excellent, and if it rides even half as nice as it looks, I'll be very happy. Scott was great to deal with, promptly returning my calls and answering emails. He is very knowledgeable about bikes, and willing to work with the customer to give them what they want.

So here she is: 3 3/4 lbs of beautifully welded together polished titanium. Singlespeed only, Paragon sliding drops, built around a Rock Shox Reba fork, geometrically similar to my Rig but with the headtube angle steepened by a degree. The build-up will take place over the weekend, and "first dirt" should be seen on Monday.

Photos courtesy of Scott Quiring.

Overall view

Closeup of the downtube logo

Bottom bracket - no creaky eccentric here!

Downtube logo