Friday, April 23, 2010

I think I actually hurt myself

For those of you who saw the video of my crash posted on my facebook page, you know that I jumped right up after the fall. I was fine for two days after that, but today....Wow!!! My ribs are so sore. They feel like they are bruised; just achy with some sharper pains when I move a certain ways. Aleve had really helped. I'm sure I'll be fine.

Besides that, I finished building up my race bike today. It just needs a few adjustments here and there. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I posted pictures on my facebook page for your viewing pleasure.

I'm getting really excited to ride the Airborne Taka. I've been researching all the places to downhill in the midwest. So far I've found 2. One at Nordic Mountain, WI and one in Redwing, MN. Both places have races that I would really like to compete in once I get my Taka from Airborne. If anyone knows of any other options, I'd really be interested in hearing them.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Well Sea Otter has come and gone, but my passion for riding has only gotten stronger because of the experience. I went to Sea Otter knowing I was going to come home with either a cross country (xc) or all mountain (am) rig. But I could never have guessed what was going to happen.

It was my last day at Sea Otter when I finally took the Taka, Airborne Bicycles downhill/freeride offering, out for a spin. Having only taken my xc bike out on a downhill (dh) course once before, I didn't considered myself much of a dh or freerider, but I do ride my xc bikes pretty aggressively.

The Taka (Japanese for falcon) is an incredibly fun bike to ride. Despite being a 40+ lbs downhill bike, it feels designed to take flight. Once airborne, it is well composed and confidence inspiring because it predictability. And what good is all that if a bike can't handle the landing? No problem for the Taka. Landings are eaten up by the Marzocchi shock and fork setup.

The ride was, dare I say, plush (this is coming from a xc rider who knows about plush). I didn't know exactly how a downhill bike should feel, but if I had to guess, this would be it. But for some reason, I expected a bike like this to be somewhat harsh, but that's just not the case.

The bike begs to be ridden fast through it's FSA/SRAM drivetrain. No matter how fast you're going, it seems to scream at you "faster!!!!" And I was only so happy to oblige. As speeds increased, so did the smile on my face. Controlling the speed are a set of Avid Juicy 3's which perform the task with no fuss. The Maxis Minion's on the WTB laserdisc wheels are not the stickiest tires in cornering on the type of trail ridden (hard packed sand), but they seem predictable and did not complain under heavy braking. I'll be able to give a more comprehensive comment on the tires as I ride them on differing types of trail.

I arrived at Sea Otter as an aggressive xc rider and left a changed rider, adding downhilling/freeriding to list of things I love about mountain biking. Thank you Reed for encouraging me to take the Taka out for a ride. I would have never guessed how much it would change my life. With the current sale prices at it's an absolute steal. I can't wait to get it to my local downhill course.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More from Sea Otter

I will never forget this experience. And it's not just because of the EXTREMELY sunburnt and painful neck. This is probably the best biking experience I have ever had. And that's not because of a lack of good mtbing experiences, because I have had plenty. The biking was choice, but what really made this so special was the people.

Firtly, I'd like to thank all the guys at Brunner and Airborne for giving me this opportunity to meet so many great and enthusiastic people. It was awesome getting to know and hanging out with all of you.

And to the flight crew: You are some of the best people I've ever met. Thank you for making Sea Otter such an outstanding experience. In my opinion, Airborne could not have chosen a better group of people.

It's going to be hard to go home tomorrow knowing that I won't see you guys at Sea Otter, but I know we will continue to communicate and I hope we get a chance to share some rides in the not too distant future. Thank you everyone!

The first blog entry

Today at the Sea Otter Classic in beautiful Monterey, I had the opportunity to race the new Zeppelin Elite in the Super D competition. This was my first foray into Super D and I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

They had us lay our bikes down at the finish line all facing the same way. There was so many riders in my group that the bikes were stacked 2 deep. Then they had us walk back about 20 yards, sit down with our backs facing the bikes with our hands on our heads. When they said "Go!" we sprinted up to our bikes and ran up the grassy field up to the fire road. I got a great hole shot from the run and I think I was about the first one to my bike. However, that was short lived.

My goal here was more to finish my first Sea Otter racing experience with all limbs still accounted for so I really didn't go at it with all the vigor I might have given more experience. That resulted in a lower than usual finish, but I also wasn't involved in the big crash that resulted in one participant leaving in an ambulance. I hope he is okay, but at speeds of about 35 mph, it isn't surprising that a crash would result in a major injury. But like I said I hope he is okay.

The race was about 4 miles mostly downhill on wide open fire road with a few climbs thrown in just for fun. After about what felt like 5 minutes of flying down hill, I at the finish line feeling like I wanted to keep going, but that was all there was. And that was my first racing experience at Sea Otter.

The things that stood out to me during the race about the Zeppelin Elite were the ability of the brakes to handle the extreme conditions. I never felt like I had any lack of power or noticeable fade. For a value oriented brake (Tektro Agura Comp), I think that says a lot. The Rock Shox ability to adjust from 85mm to 135mm of travel was also handy when making the transition from a rapid decent to a steep climb.