Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Crank Arm

The new crank arm arrived today. Big thumbs-up to White Industries customer service for being able to turn this around quickly.

ENO Update

I spoke to White Industries yesterday, and they are going to overnight a replacement crank arm to me. They just asked that I return the cracked arm to them, and I'll be paying the difference between overnight and standard shipping. The lady at White Industries was very nice to work with, and overall it's been a good experience so far.

I'll post up once I receive the replacement crank arm (should be this afternoon).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ENO on Crack

Found this today while washing the bike.

Hopefully I can get a replacement crank arm in time for Lumberjack. I left a message with White Industries, and I'll post an update later after I hear back from them.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

An 80 Mile Epic Ride

This past weekend marked my fourth installment of High Country Pathway fun-n-games. June of 2007 had me attempting the entire 80 miles, aborting after 28 1/2 miles of trail. September of 2007 and '08 had me attempting, and completing, the 50ish mile section from Osmun Road back to the State Park. This year would mark my second crack at doing the full 80 mile loop.

Jon and I hit the road in the morning on Friday, and stopped for a noontime lap around Hanson Hills. At the trailhead, we bumped into one of Jon's fellow Mountain Bike Patrollers. We headed over with him and his group to the Keg 'O Nails bar in Grayling. After conversation, lunch, and a pint, Jon and I swung up to Big Buck to pick up some weekend "supplies".

We rolled into the group campsite in the evening, set up camp, had dinner, and spent the evening sitting around the campfire.

Five of us (Todd, Wendy, Dan, Tom and myself) rolled out at around 8:30 am, intending to do the entire 80 mile loop. We headed out counter-clockwise from the campground, so as to do the rougher and more overgrown stuff first. Coincidently, all except Dan were on singlespeeds.

About 10 miles in, Dan pulled ahead of the group. He must've been on a mission, as this would be the last I saw him until we finished the ride. The remaining four of us rode together for the most part.

Overlooking the Tomahawk Creek Flooding, not far from where my profile photo was taken.

Snack time at M33; Todd and Wendy enjoying a break.

On the Canada Creek bridge. Tom is in the background.

Canada Creek

Boardwalk near Dog Lake.

I didn't take as many photos as in trips past; the length of the ride didn't allow for many stops. Most of my photos were from the section between M33 and Osmun Road, since this is the stretch I hadn't ridden previously. If you dig into the musty archives from September 2007, "The Blue Dots Part 1" will take you from Clear Lake up to a few miles short of M33. "The Blue Dots Part 2" and my post from Last September take you from Osmun Road back to Clear Lake State Park.

Riding the boardwalk. I'm starting to get better at riding these.

I spent some of the time riding solo, and the rest riding with Todd, Tom and Wendy. After the stop at Pigeon Bridge, I rode off solo from the group, having a blast on the trail, climbing most of the hills, and actually riding the really long narrow boardwalk just before Tubbs Creek. Until... coming down some nice flowing trail, I saw two oncoming riders ahead. After a quick double-take, I realized it was Todd and Wendy. After a short debate, I let myself be convinced that they were heading the proper way (which ended up being the case), and after about a mile of backtracking familiar looking trail, we made another turn at a clearing. In hindsight I think I got turned around at this clearing when I circled it looking for the continuation of the trail.

I rode the remainder of the trail with Todd and Wendy, and we were joined by Tom at the base of Rattlesnake Hill. Here we donned lights and rode as a group to the campground.

Rattlesnake Hill overlook

We were on the trail for about 12 1/2 hours, of which about 10 1/2 hours was spent moving. But in the end, all of us that set out to complete the full 80 miles did indeed finish the full 80 miles.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Midwest Mountain Bike Summit

This past weekend I elected to forego racing, and instead chose a long weekend of learning about MTB advocacy and trail building. Yeah, and there was some riding and beer drinking thrown in there also.

I left work Thursday evening, and made the trek over to Grand Rapids. After setting up my tent, I made my way over to the welcome reception. Dinner was a (very tasty) pig roast, and tasty Founders beer was on tap.

Friday held seminars on various advocacy topics. The first one I attended was about how to organize and maintain a successful advocacy club. This was hosted by Kelly and Collins Bishop, one of the IMBA trail care crews. Next, I learned about how to write a grant request. Finally, there was a classroom session on trail building. Here I learned many of the guidelines on how to build a sustainable trail for multiple user groups.
After the advocacy session, I made my way over to the Cannonsburg Ski Area, where myself and a couple others were given a guided tour by Rick Plite (a member of the local chapter of the MMBA). He actually laid out a significant portion of the trail, and rides it regularily, which made it "fun" to keep up with him.

The night was capped off with a late dinner followed by beers around the fire.

Saturday morning was spent putting my new trail building knowledge to the test. We went over to the Cannonsburg State Game Area, where we practiced laying out a stretch of trail.
Afterwards, a group of us decided to ride a lap of the Ski Area trail. Trek had their demo trailer there, so I decided to try out a Top Fuel (their 4" travel XC race bike). This was my first time ever riding a full suspension bike on singletrack, and it made for an interesting experience. The bike rode very nicely, but I could tell that I was tentitive in the corners. This was due to a combination of the 26" wheels, straight bars, different tires, and the effects of the suspension (i.e. drastically different than my bike. All-in-all a nice bike, but I'm definately wanting to stick to singlespeed.

Over the log pile on the Fuel. The blur makes it look like I'm going fast. (Actually I was going pretty fast)
Over the logs at the Ski Area
Photo courtesy of Diane Ursu

Afterwards, a couple dozen of us headed over for a guided lap of Luton Park. This is a new trail in a new county park. The Western Chapter of the MMBA did a great job laying this trail out. Nothing steep, but still a fair bit of climbing in a couple of the loops. Very nice flow. A few technical spots, and a number of fast spots.
After the group lap, a few of us stuck around to do a second lap.

Riding the Luton Trail
Riding the new trail at Luton Park
Photo courtesy of Diane Ursu

Saturday evening was spent at Founders Brewery, where we watched the Wings beat up on the Penguins.

Sunday morning we met at the Cannonsburg State Game Area for the final group ride. I was put into the "fast" group, with Tim from the Founders MTB team, Steve (the owner of Ada Bikes), and another guy who's name I don't remember. As luck would have it, we were all riding singlespeeds. We rode part of the game area, then ducked out and headed on the roads over to Luton. After a lap of Luton, more roads took us to a paved path, which had a few rolling hills. This took us to the ski area where we rode a lap. Finally it was back to the game area where we finished the lap there. It ended up being a 40 mile loop.

Good trails, good people, good beer, and good MTB related information. All this made for a great weekend.