My 14 hours of Idyllwild

Well . . . it wasn’t 14 hours of riding Idyllwild, but it did take 14 hours…

With all the long distant marathon bike races nowadays, “Leadville 100″, “24 Hours of MOAB”, “12 hours of Adrenaline”, etc, etc, etc, it made sense it was time I did a long haul. So I did. I got up at 4:15 in the morning, drove 3 hours and 15 minutes to Idyllwild, rode for 3 1/2 hours but logged literally 6 hours and 9 minutes of logged time (that means we were out there for 6 hours but only rode for 3 1/2. Why you ask? Cuz we got lost! Actually several times! …and, then drove 3 hours and 15 minutes home through San Bernadino / Pasadena / Santa Clarita stop and go freeway traffic. Got home at 7:00pm that night. Thus the 14 hours of Idyllwild…

Why you ask? Cuz we got lost! Actually . . . several times!

Okay, so it all starts with an offer on STR by scan (that’s, scan “The Man”; I call him Scan “The Man” Fran-sisco) to come on down and meet him at Hurkey Creek Campground to ride some sweet, sweet Idyllwild Singletrack. Well I gotta be honest with you. I never even heard of Idyllwild until last year. What the!?!?!? My sheltered life!

3 Hours and 15 minutes later, one Carl’s Jr. Breakfast Burger with extra Ketchup on it  precisely one hour before ride time (don’t ask me why, it just works for me!). I show up right behind a dude called “strobe” (oh the nicknames) on STR. We both pull into the parking area after we give the rangers 3 bucks each (really, that’s not bad and you don’t have tah have a Wilderness Pass). Right off the bat I notice Strobe is riding a Single Speed. I’m thinking oh crap! I have nothing but bad experiences with SS’ers cuz they ride so dog gone fast!

We talk a while until Scan gets there and then “Aaron the Giant.” I’m waiting for him to get out of the car because I’m thinking this guy is huge. No. It means that his name is Aaron, and he rides a Giant! Clever, that one is…

We suit up (naturally I’m the only guy in Lycra) and we take off. Also to discover later, the only guy with out a dropper seat post. The air is crisp as we head out at a parking lot elevation just over 4400 feet and we jump right on this climbing singletrack and I’m thinking we are heading out to epic-ness.

Okay, so we made a couple wrong turns, and, we did have to ride on some asphalt, but it was steep pavement!!! Scan said we forgot our road bikes, I told him I forgot my attitude… Mind you we all have GPS equipment and Smart Phones with GPS Aps on them and yet we kept getting lost. Strobe kept stating that we were so many feet off the course but couldn’t tell us what direction. Scan was constantly whipping out a map and discussing it with Aaron the Giant, and I’m thinking the whole time how come I don’t have a cool nickname.

By about 1:30pm I’m secretly beginning to have doubts about my comrades, and maybe bailing back onto the street and backtracking the trail we came in on. We were heading back (again) on a singletrack when this mystery dude comes out of nowhere all dressed in white on a bike. He’s cooking along. We try to ask him questions and he just bolts by stating that we need to follow him, go to the big boulder and make a right, look for the rabbit hole that Alice fell in, or something. I think I made that last one up. He was kinda a jerk! Was he on a STRAVA mission? So I named him Richard, Dick, for short.

He was kinda a jerk! Was he on a STRAVA mission? So I named him Richard . . . Dick, for short.

So we attempt to chase him (he’s flying) but he’s long gone. We try to decipher his instructions, and, we did indeed find the elusive singletrack! It was literally 500 feet past where we gave up the first time.

Revitalized by this great discovery, we dive into the single track I believe is called “Snake Skin”. Oh……..gosh! It was amazing. Steep, seat in the middle of my chest steep, boulder drops, tight twisty, ducking overhead logs, dropping into ravines, hopping over boulders, climbing boulders, pedal strike everywhere to be had, fast technical descents, dropping into canyons to fly up on the other side on some crazy bank corner and then diving back into the canyon. Thank goodness I had my weapon, the Yeti AS R5c! It really performs on this stuff. I found that Aaron the Giant is a pretty fast descender, so I often heard his skids and vocal sound effects of technical singletrack negotiation in the background.

Thank goodness I had my weapon, the Yeti AS R5c!

Once done with the first section we make a left, and putt over on a fire road only to hit another singletrack named “Missing Link”. Oh, by the way, “Richard”, the dude dressed all in white, out of nowhere reappears from behind (he was prolly lapping us). He comes flying by me, out of the saddle, and I swear when he smiled at me, one of his teeth did that bling of bright light. He stayed outa the saddle and literally flew up a hike-a-bike section. I looked at Strobe, he looked at me, and Strobe just said, “Well, yah gotta give the guy props for killing that climb”. It was like he had an anti gravity belt!

So after that, we hit yet another singletrack called “Tunnel of Love”. All of which these singletracks rocked on a level outside the realm of reality! By this time it’s getting late and unfortunately we got split up. There is such a network of trails over in the Idyllwild area that it is crazy not to go there and spend a couple of days. Aaron the Giant and I rode into the Parking Lot to discover that Scan and Strobe accidentally took another more direct route to our parked cars, and were already there.

There is such a network of trails over in the Idyllwild areas, that it is crazy not to go there and spend a couple of days..

I get a few goodbye pics and load up and head out with Scan leading the way. Was it worth 6 1/2 hours of driving to go do a 3 1/2 hour ride. Uh yah! We only live once. I met new ride buddies and got chance at some excellent new dirt! Super Mega Hero Dirt, to boot! Go ride Idyllwild!

Whiskey Flats Trail

Whiskey Flats Trail is a great trail if you love pushing your bike, you are a masochist, or as I would love to venture, there was a nuclear holocaust and it was the only trail left on the planet…

The Whiskey Flats Trail is a 14 mile (supposedly) descent along the Kern River back to Kernville. The upper trailhead is located at Johnny McNallys or known locally as “McNallys” just North of Kernville California on the Kern River Hwy up stream on the Kern River approximately 14 miles. Somehow I think from the sounds of it it’s around the “Kern” area…

Yah, if you were starring in an episode of Survivor or Man against Nature!

We used “Shuttle Bob” to drop us off and take El Immigrante’s (E.I.) truck to the other end of the trail. You would think from the OUTRAGEOUS “way cool” metal bridge that you cross the Kern River on to get to the trailhead, you would have an awesome adventure ahead of you. Yah, if you were starring in an episode of Survivor or Man against Nature!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT the kinda guy that sanitizes trails so I can sit on my fat fanny perpendicular and just pedal like at the beach sipping a Mojito. I like technical stuff. In fact I love the idea that I refuse to use a dropper post and can clean a lot of sections guys with droppers can’t. Or, at least amaze them that I can clean what they can. But this trail ain’t it!

You start out following the Kern River from slightly above, and the view is spectacular! I’m thinking, Man! This is going to be an awesome ride with some great views!” But immediately, we get into some steep climbs. Okay, no big deal, this is building to an excellent descent, right?. But as we ride along, we start hitting one HAB (Hike-a-Bike) after another. Then we get to this stream crossing where we have to carry our bike across the stream on this fluctuating log! I liked it! It added challenge and diversity I don’t usually get in a ride. The other two guys Hill^Billy and El Immigrante, not so keen. Fortunately it had a rope just above our heads that you can hang on to it as you balance across the log.

After half a dozen more long HAB’s and another stream crossing we are starting to get tired. And all of this within the first 4 miles!!!

Perched high above the Kern River we begin to have second thoughts. We started the ride at precisely 1:30 in the afternoon thinking we had plenty of time to ride this gem. Some gem. In my humble opinion, it was a lazy design. Straight up and straight down, when great trails will follow the curvature of the hills at usually a relative elevation. Nope! Not Whiskey Flats..

Back to the adventure… El Immigrante is not only getting tired but needing his inhaler. I know the feeling, I was on an inhaler when I first started riding bikes. Hill^Billy is getting grumpy and I didn’t blame him. I noticed that we were all starting to swear a lot more which meant the mood was changing, and not for the better. We were starting to realize that we may run out of daylight. After an intense technical descent, we decided to start looking for a river crossing to get us to the highway so we could finish by dusk. One more intense drop and we were in the river bed. Now we are carrying our bikes in ankle deep sand. H^B had just purchased some $450 dollar Sidi’s and I was cringing as he was walking in the sand cuz Hill^Billy’s bike weighs I think about 40lbs! That guy is ripped!

My Yeti became a submarine! I don’t think they were designed for that!

I spot a place I think we can cross and we make the attempt. There was no sandy bottom, nothing but extremely slippery rocks and MTB shoes are not the most tread worthy for this kinda stuff. I started first and was about half way across when I slipped and went chest deep in the drink. My Yeti became a submarine! I don’t think they were designed for that! The water was fortunately very warm. Then I slip again, back down to the chest, and again, and again! Dammit! By the time I get across I’m exhausted. Then I realize I got my phone drenched along with the GoPro and this goofy electronic key for the Mini Cooper. H^B did the same. We were so tired and frustrated we never thought about the electronic schtuff we were carrying!

Incidentally all the video and pics were wiped out on the GoPro SD Card from getting dunked in the river! Bummer!!!!

Once across we had to crawl our way dragging our bikes up the bank to the paved road. Once there we felt a lot better knowing we could get to E.I.’s (El Immigrante’s) truck by dusk but now we had added about an additional 6 miles to our trip, but that was no big deal now that we could see light at the end of this extravaganza! It was at that point I realized that the battery on the GoPro had died somewhere on the trail and had stopped recording this misadventure! Double dammit!

Cruising down the Kern River Highway I took my GoPro outa da case that I now had wished I used the waterproof set up for the day (But who knew!) trying to get it to drip dry and evaporate the moisture inside. To this moment, my cell phone is still toast. Every time I try to charge it it just goes into vibrate mode. Which would be GREAT for “other” things but not too good for talking on.

We stopped to get Hill^Billy some water at a liquor store because he ran out. Then we put it in gear and road, crossing “the bridge” in Kernville and back up to where the vehicles were parked. Late, and no time to eat a nice meal, H^B and I parted ways with El Immigrante and blasted home.

Wow! What a day! There’s a ride over on P & 30th street where it has what we call the “3 Bitches”. Three short steep climbs that are great for training. On the Whiskey Flats Trail I think I will call it the Cathedral of Bitches all consisting of very long HAB’s too numerous to count, that make the trail in my opinion not even worth considering. That’s my buck fifty….

Lower Rock Creek Trail

Lower Rock Creek Ride Report

On any typical day of riding, it turns into an adventure of craziness for me…and Lower Rock Creek was no exception.

I went up with some guys on a fishing trip, we stayed at Tom’s Place, and I REALLY did not feel like fishing this time…so, I brought my bike. I got excited about doing the Lower Rock Creek Ride from the report from LuvMammoth on STR. But I kept getting this idea that there was a Lower and an Upper. But what I theenk it came down to, was the upper section of Lower Rock Creek was what they were talking about (see where this is going already?).

Just to let you know, the trail starts almost immediately on the left hand side of Lower Rock Creek Road once you exit off Highway 395. I didn’t catch that the first time down and caught the second section down on the right side the first time.

So Saturday morning I had a huge breakfast and went to where I thought the trail head was on Lower Rock Creek Road (that was my first clue).
I jump on the trail to the right and start flying down this single track. I’m on my Yeti, I have my GoPro, and I’m loving life! Come to a road crossing and cross the street and . . . more single track! YES! I get down to a stream crossing, go across this awesome wooden bridge, make a hard right, reach for my CamelBak hose…hey! No hose! HEY! No CamelBak! Reach for my bottle…no bottle! I left it all sitting on the table outside the cabin. Turned around, went back to the closest road crossing and called my buds who were half way to the Owens river to go back and get my stuff! They did (cuz they were driving MY TRUCK! Haa beaches!)

The weather was great! The trail was in fantastic condition! There was no one around accept a lot of roadies doing the road. BORRR-ING!

The trail is approx. 8.5 miles long, all downhill singletrack with lots of stream crossing all on awesome wooden bridges. It follows right along side of Lower Rock Creek (what a coincidence!) It breaks down into 3 sections. First section is very fast and flowing, starts out a bit deserty then fades into some small aspens and pines, then you cross the street. Second section is still fast and flowy with some sharper corners and is on the opposite side of the creek. Third section is the commitment section. Once you hit that your committed to the end. It starts out flowy and then gets more and more technical. The trail is 98% rideable with some very technical sections and one HAB (for me) of about 75 feet (whoopee!?!?). I had my bike set up for the ultimate squish which got me in a little trouble, but hey, that’s mountain biking.

At the end of the trail is a small town named Paradise. They just built a new parking lot with fresh concrete and a redwood Pergola. It’s one of the nicest trailhead parking spots I have seen. The trail is totally climbable less the technical sections. I chose to ride the road up and do the trail again! It’s just less of a 2k drop (or climb) and the road is a bit longer as it winds back up to the Highway 395. I totally screwed up my Garmin as I accidentally stopped it and kept riding (Eeedeeot!)

Stats (though messed up):

I know this is all sounding dry and boring. So I added a video. All I did was record the stoopid things I say and do, and then figured out what to do with it when I got home. The quality of the video sucks! I need help! None the less, don’t hate me for being the Mountain Biker and Artist that I am. Ha ha!…enjoy!

Video of Lower Rock Creek Trail <—(Cuz Vimeo sucks with WordPress!)

Industry Standard?

…The Staple Center has now relocated to my right shoulder

Just another walk in the park . . . oh, really?

A very unlikely title for a bicycle crash. But then again, who is there to question the sanity of someone typing with one hand (the left one at that), on pain medication, at 1:00 am in the morning?

With the summer of 2012 in full swing and my normal altitude rides now perfect with the oncoming valley heat, a local jaunt up to McGill Trail, only 20 minutes away never seems like a bad idea. I was meeting a new MTB buddy known as radiocraig. He works during the day “in week” unlike me and so we were meeting at 4:30 in the afternoon for our first ride together at the trail head.

Smiles and enthusiasm as we met and prepared for the ride up the trail from the parking lot, we quickly got underway. I immediately determined that Craig was going to be an apt buddy to stay connected with for future rides. The affable sort, who’s fitness I thought was a bit stronger than mine at the time. Coming off a month of IT Band recovery I was amazed at my lack of respiratory in such a short time.

The climb uneventful, we chattered the whole time as we gained elevation meeting a Father and Son who were on their way down. Craig had some extra curriculum he needed to get done at home, and I had already climbed McGill once earlier that day, we turned around at the second campground.

I started down in front having blabbed about my descending skills. You know, somehow that should always be some indicator of how the future is going to transpire, but rarely does. Nearing midway there are a series of small jumps if at speed (which we were) and along the lines of the third or fourth dirt pile, the evening ride went awry. I did notice a slight misalignment on my approach, and never even thinking about it, launched to only correct in the air (always a fun thing in the past). However, upon landing, a very unexpected result came in to play.

  • Rear wheel landing first (planned)
  • The front wheel following with a slight turn to the right as it hit the dirt (also planned)
  • The front tire immediately rolled on the rim, burping all the air and sealant into the outside world (not so planned)

With the immediate wash out, I catapulted directly into the ground on my right shoulder, snapping (you most likely guessed) my right collar bone (actually into 4 pieces), with the added bonus of two ribs, and a partially collapsed lung, to be discovered later.

GoPro Video of the Crash on Vimeo Here (will open in new window)

Plumbers Tape and Drywall Screws…

Fun! Fun! Fun! Til ”Ghetto Tubeless” took the Clavicle away…

Craig was, in my opinion, text book perfect! Long story short: Contacted Cathy and got me off the hill with the ability of a Pro. I know this from the several times I have had the practice in getting my damaged buddies off the trail in the past. Craig had my back!

But why the crash. An Industry Standard misnomer?

But why the crash? That leads us back to the title of this Blog. Upon a very simple investigation, the front wheel consisting of:

  1. Schwalbe 2.25 Nobby Nic Tubeless Ready Snake Skin side walled tire, mounted on:
  2. DT Swiss X1600 Tubeless Ready Rim, utilizing a DT Tubeles Conversion Kit with:
  3. 1 1/2 ounces of Stans Sealant with:
  4. 30 psi of air pressure

This assembly failed. The tire burped upon impact. Neither the tire or the rim were UST (Universal Standard for Tubeless) rated. We’re not talking the difference between 26 inch and 29 inch wheels. We’re talking about an assembly that failed to complete the task it was intended for. Who created this standard?

In an effort to stay competative, companies watered down the industry standard that Mavic and Hutchinson had designed. Bringing to mind the ISO 5775-2 which is suppose to define designations for bicycle rims. It only distinguishes between

  • Straight-side (SS) rims
  • Crochet-type (C) rims
  • Hooked-bead (HB) rims

UST, Tubeless Ready, Ghetto Tubeless? What the….?!?!

In regards to Tubeless technology there are several schools of thought that may come to light as not all having safety in mind. UST is a standard that Mavic and Hutchinson brought to light in effort to “standardize” the mating surface of rims to tires. This system eliminates the need for innertubes or sealant. This is no different than your typical car or motorcycle system. Conversion kits also known as Ghetto Tubeless systems such as the one manufactured by Stan’s No Tubes which converts a rim typically known as a clincher rim that requires a tube inside a tire, to a “Tubeless Ready” tire with no tube by sealing the spoke holes with a modified rim strip and adding a sealant inside the tire, and by sealing the air stem/valve by using an “o” ring and a rubber flange, may not offer all the benefits or safety intended by tubeless technology. With UST rims and tires as the established end, and every combination available in between available to the uneducated public, the confidence in the words, “Industry Standard”, or the guidelines of ISO (Industry Standards Organization) begins to dilute in meaning and potential safety.

The boast of no pinch flats allows much lower air pressure to obtain better traction, only to increase the potential of losing air (burping) as the tire is forced away from the rim by cornering and landing off jumps. Disaster results when a side impact releases ALL the air from a non tubed tire. In the case of a front tire it could mean immediate loss of steering and control. Thus, a potential high speed crash.

When all else fails, read the instructions…

I’m of the opinion that anyone looking to utilize such tubeless systems to any varying degree must require of oneself to be educated prior to making any choices or purchases. It is your responsibility to not listen to your buddy and dig directly into the facts. The most common responce I have found on forums is, “It’s worked great for me so far”, and, for me, that was exactly the case. It had worked perfect for me up until then. However, in a world where the typical male philosophy is, “When all else fails, read the instructions…” is the norm, ISO or “Industry Standards” should be there to mandate any manufacture who pursues this market toward accurate and precise standards. In this modern litigious world, it would seem prudent, yet, is surprisingly lacking in this part of the cycling industry.

In Reflection…

As I vanquish my summer’s planned MTB activities injured and in recovery, I can now easily reflect back on how “tubeless” crept into my philosophy and how I just took for granted that the cycling industry had a tried and true upgrade to relieve me of flats and gained traction from lower tire pressures by increasing my tire footprint. I am amazed at how I had listened to others as oppose to dug directly into the facts from manufacturers. I’m perplexed at how Stans NoTubes can make the claims it does and I am curious as to how many failures there have been and not noted or reported. How you go about ”Going Tubeless” may not be the safest or even near and industry standard.

As I continue to dig into the facts and philosophies, I find even deviations from the substandards that have been established. For example, MTBer’s have added Antifreeze to the Stans Sealant to assist in slowing down the evaporation. Really? Is that in the manual?

Prior to the purchase of my 2012 Yeti equipped with OEM ”Tubeless Ready” technology (which I feel failed), I had “Ghetto’ed” both my wife’s and my bike’s wheels to “Tubeless”. How did I know I had “homied” our wheel sets?!?! I followed the instructions from those that have preceeded me and appeared to have success, and I listened to their reassurance that it had not failed them yet….yet?

If you are bent on utilizing this technology, I suggest you get educated, pay the price, and cry once…

…But in my humble opinion, if you truly want to go tubeless, there is only one answer. UST.

2012 Yeti ASR 5c

2012 Yeti AS-R 5c “The Cheater Bike”

I got a new bike. Duh! But I have ridden a few and bikes are like art. I think we can all say the same, “I don’t know what the perfect bike is . . . . but I know what I like!”

The AS-R 5c comes so close to hitting the mark I have to share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly. To be fair their is not that much “ugly” involved here. But there is some ugly.

Let’s start with the ugly that there is, and end on a positive note. Because of such little negative press this bike is going to get from me, we might as well get it out of the way early and now.

The Ugly

Wheelset/Tire Package:

The only ugly for the particular bike I received is the wheelset (gee! no surprise there!). Yeti spec’ed the initial 2012 Yeti AS-R 5c with a DT Swiss 1600 wheelset including a DT Conversion Kit to make the wheels Tubeless. Schwalbe was specified for front and rear, Nobby Nic on the front and Racing Ralph on the rear. Despite the fact the “Ralph” went flat withing 500 feet on the trail has no bearing on whether it is a good tire or not. It’s Schwalbe’s customer service that I give a flat “0″. To this date, they have not replied to my numerous attempts. The challenge, and I’m sure it was an over-sight was simply DT Swiss states very clearly that to utilize the DT Conversion Kit, a UST tire must be utilized. Yeti spec’ed out a “Tubeless Ready” tire. Combine the online misleading of low air pressure, this can spell disaster for potential tire “burpage” which indeed happen to me. Yeti quickly remedied this by going back to it’s long time race companion Maxxis. New Yeti’s shortly after mine now come tubed with Maxxis tires on the same DT Swiss 1600 rime with no conversion kit.

The Bad

Low Bottom Bracket:

Well, I wouldn’t call it “bad”; it’s just things that I would expect when I pay the money I did for a bike of this caliber. Geometry dictates that the bottom bracket sits lower on this bike. It gives it the great handling that it is known for. I have noticed it also promotes pedal strike more than I’m used to. The quick remedy is the knowledge of this, and being more strategic with my strokes in potential situations around rocks and deep worn singletrack. Only on occasion have I had a surprise smack to a rock or berm or (you name something) since I became aware of this and addressed it in my riding skill.

Cable Routing:

Cable routing should be internal. I never have understood why a company would route the cables where all the rock strikes are going to prevail. That’s the case with the yeti. Down the front of the down tube, under the bottom bracket. Yeti brags about the “internal routing” of the shift cable through the rear triangle to the rear derailleur. My 1987 Proflex has that!?!? I see no reason on a composite bike why a bike manufacturer can not include internal routing for cables. Especially at that price level.

Composite Frames:

I’m still a bit squeemish when it comes to all composite bikes. I bought this one for the weight savings (and prolly some of the cool mojo that comes with it). I was riding with my buddy Joe McDaniel’s one day up by 5 Deer Trail and was flying down some single track and came across a section just full of softball size rocks. The rocks were flying and naturally hitting the frame. When I stopped to look I was instantly heart broken from the huge gouges I accumulated from the trail. Not enough to compromise the frame, but enough to make me think about it. All the composite on the Yeti AS-R 5c is structural and not cosmetic. It was a weight saving decision. My Proflex 857 has not one single rock chip in the composite swing arm after 15 years of riding.

The Good!

The good . . . . . and the good is truly the good!

Composite Frame:

Your thinking, “Hey, weren’t you baggin’ on the composite frame? For everything I am “uncomfortable” with about this composite frame, there is the love for it. It’s stiff, it’s predictable, it’s light, it’s beautiful (in it’s raw, industrial format)! This frame gives the most incredible ride I  have ever experienced. One of the things I really like about it (and this may seem silly), is that it does not “sound” like a composite bike. It does not sound hollow, does not make those resonated amplified shifting noises. I really love this frame! Yeah, now your confused. But I know that you KNOW what I’m talking about.


Oh . . . my . . . GOSH! This is what the Yeti AS-R 5c is ALL about! Five inches of totally useable squish! Fork and Shock are both Fox and a match made in heaven. Front can lock out for those rare times you want to (me it’s on the road). The rear has ProPedal and I can ride in either mode although I am training myself to use more of the technology. I trained a lot on the road so I was able to develop a real good spin on a rigid road bike. That translates into a good MTB spin when climbing. That’s important! But with ProPedal you can even further enhance your spin . . . . . and climb!

On the descent 5 inches of squish translates into railing some serious terrain. Setting up the suspension to utilize every bit of it to YOUR riding style is your best bet. I had it explained to me like a Mickey Thompson suspension. A lot of SAG to get it in the upper middle will give you the best of all worlds. It took me about a month to get it perfect, but when I did . . . . on man!

The Brakes:

Spec’ed with the new 2012 XT Brakes with ICE technology these to date is the best braking system I have ever experienced. In testing bike to purchased I tried several bike with several different disc brake systems. Hands down XT took the checkered. From the very first pull (which nearly put me over the bars, until I got used to them) these brakes are consistent through the entire ride. One finger at the top of the singletrack, one finger at the bottom!

The Shifters:

Have to be honest with you. Never been a fan of paddle shifters. There slow, they mis-shift (for me) a lot. If I push too far, I grab or lose too many gears, if not enough . . . . . blah, blah. These 2012 XT shifter work pretty well. They mold well with the Brake lever which I am sooooo thankful are separate! They look great and work very well. On a scale of 1 to 5. I give them a 4. One of the first changes I would make to upgrade would to go with the new SRAM XX Twist Shifters.


These are great! 2012 XT derailleurs work fantastic! chain transition is fantastic. As well,I’m thankful the fully composite rear triangle does not resonate the sounds of the shifters like I mentioned above.



XT Cranks are stiff and light enough. I have used sponsored Kooka Kranks most all my life. A company that devoted years to develop a light but stiff crank arm. I have only had one set fail and we (Kooka and our race team) determined we were pushing the limit with that design. So if you are looking for ultra light, XT is not it. However, if you are looking for long term reliability and great stiffness, XT Cranks are your best bet!


Coming from “Old School” (near prehistoric) to the latest and greatest meaning not experiencing the gradual growth in bar width. Jumping from Cross Country (XC) bars, to All Mountain (AM) bars, and them now reaching out to XX mm’s. Was quite a stretch (pun intended!) for me! At first I hated them, but I thought no, I’m going to stick to these. Now, I love them . . . . can’t live without them. Carbon bars was a stretch for me in trust (never owned a pair). But the name Easton attached to them gave me the confidence. Now I could not imagine otherwise. They are stiff and mega light at the same time (how is that possible!?!?!?).

Seatpost & Steering Stem:

Thompson Elite on both of these. Light, Strong, Reliable! A great product to be spec’ed on the Yeti AS-R 5c. I’m tough on seatposts and have stripped many where the seat connects. But never a Thompson and I have owned a couple of them.This one is no exception and I recommend it highly! The steering stem is a class act. Once again light to assist in shaving weight, but designed well to preserve strength. You could do no wrong purchasing either of these!


WTB with Yeti sewn on. At first I hated this seat! I was not willing to change it out. though. This seat took longer than I usually need to get used to it. But in the long run I like it now more than any other seat I have owned. Non of the previous addressed the proper width to accommodate my seat bones and this was the first that did. Having said that, once I was accustom to it, I was able to pedal with more authority as I had a better connection with my bike. Longer in the saddle (which seems to happen on a AM bike), I could do longer distances, with great comfort. Yeti got it right with this one.


Mine came with Schwalbe’s, Nobby Nic (front) and Racing Ralph (rear). You know how I feel about Schwalbe as a Company. And there can be no testimony regarding the “Ralph” as it blew within 500 feet of Singletrack and my Local Bike Shop (LBS) Bicycle Johns did not have another in stock. But I have to tell you, that 2.25 Nobby Nic is about the best front tire I have ever used! I was running on average 35 psi and the ground hook up was killer! Where it (and I) failed is when I lowered it to 30 psi and I burped it right off the rim off a jump (crunch!!!)

How it Worked


I’m a climber. It was my best weapon when racing. My goal was to rabbit right off the start, never to be seen again. That strategy worked very well for me. I usually dropped most guys on the climbs and led the entire race from the start! So well, that it was a great demoralizer when they saw me dropping them from the get go. So a climbing bike is VERY important to me. The challenge for me was getting used to an AM bike. The geometry is very different. You sit up much more. Not like you do on a XC bike. It’s a different set of muscles! But none the less, this is a GREAT CLIMBER. Out of the saddle is not as great as staying in the saddle. I found the trick is to stay in the saddle as much as possible and to develop a great spin on the cranks. Utilize the very squishy suspension to soak up the terrain, and you can conquer some serious uphills!


A new world was presented to me on this bike. Five inches of front and rear controlled travel on the latest geometry translated into a complete new riding style. Old School was out of the saddle, low profile, two fingers on the brakes, a lot of braking and accelerating. New School is now staying saddled, one finger on each brake, rolling momentum and slamming into sharp corners and rolling through the not so sharp. Hardly braking and allowing inertia to do the pedaling (without pedaling). The squishy properly tuned suspension soaks up the terrain, devouring Old School fatigue. Like I have stated about the Yeti 575, good line, bad line, no line; just pick and point. The Yeti AS-R 5c just wants to go! It does not care if if it is sweet and smooth, or baby head boulders. It will get you through you’re bad decisions and reward you for making good choices by smoking your buddy! At the end of a singletrack, I’ve gone faster, safer, and less tired.


The Yeti AS-R 5c is an incredible bike. I would not have picked it in the beginning. But after doing some serious research, serious test riding, and now having the ability to look back and reflect, I am one of the happiest bike owners on the planet. The Yeti AS-R 5c is a well spec’ed, phenomenal bike and I highly recommend it!

The Kokopelli Trail

I have a new website called with a lot more ride reports, forum, product reviews, online magazine, so check it out after you read this ~ Mikie

Back to Kokopelli…

So Mike Grace, owner of Bicycle John’s of Santa Clarita California say’s to me, “Hey you gotta do the Kokopelli Trail with us, reservations are filling fast!”

I couldn’t even remember the trail name based on my continuous short term memory loss, less register. Mike tells me to go to to get registered. Who comes up with these names!?!?!? I check it out, get excited and start calling all my friends. Several say no, Todd (Toddzilla) Attebery, the guy who got me started riding bikes over 20 years ago; he not only said no, but Efen No! But then, later he said yes. Joe McDaniel’s (Joe Mac), long time ride buddy and now my boss, and Dave Williams (FFW) who I call the legendary Mr. Mileage, both were in.

On a Tuesday, FFW, Joe Mac and I load up my Dodge and brace for the big drive to Fruita Colorado. Our first stop would be in St. George Utah to spend the night. We quickly discovered the next morning we waaayyy under dressed for breakfast at the Courtyard Hotel, but hey, we were on vacation and really didn’t care. They were still really nice to us!

Joe Mac & FFW as we load up and point to Fruita from the Courtyard in St. George

Bent on making it to Fruita, the first thing we see when we hit town was a huge silo with a Mountain Bike Mural on it! It’s like they WANT us to be here!

First thing we saw when we hit Fruita was this Mural from the freeway!

Since Toddzilla is blasting down from Ogden Utah to meet us, we meander around town until he get’s here.

“Over the Edge” Bike shop was a great place to hang out.

We stop by a really cool bike shop called, “Over the Edge”. NICE! Great people, awesome atmosphere, and picked up some miscellaneous stuff.

Connected with Todd and met at the Tapatio Family Mexican Restaurant. The food was good, the staff friendly, and most importantly, they put up with our usual Mountain Biker on vacation schmack!

Good food! Tolerant Staff! No, we were good. Left to Right, Fabian, FFW, Janice, Mike Grace, Dan “the Man” Munz, Bob, Joe Mac, & Toddzilla

Next morning, got breakfast at Camilla’s Kaffe, then headed to the trail head to meet this guy named Alex Hearn of Bikerpelli…

Bikerpelli Rider Meeting. Alex is both wise and very, very funny!

The Home Depot of Mountain Bike Tours? That was the slogan?

Well according to Bikerpelli’s Alex Hearn, that’s exactly what they provided. How was I to know the perfection of just what that really meant. While others were just now beginning to develop this concept, the people at Bikerpelli had been perfecting this model for eleven years!

Having never done a sanctioned event of this type, I had no idea what I was in for. Stepping away from it now a few days later, I can only now begin to grasp the simple beauty of what Alex and Brenda have concocted.

“The perfect non-structure, structured mountain bike non-event, event . . . Huh?”

You ride at your pace with whomever you wish and all you have to do is check in at the checkpoints. No guided tour. Just pure cycling at it’s best. They provide all the logistics, meals (outstanding food, practically all you could eat), support vehicles, guidance, and experienced suggestions (which I highly suggest, you listen to).

Day 1: Technical Day

Each day started out with a mandatory riders meeting which I highly recommend you pay attention at. After which we break up in to groups that go out in waves (the only day you go in waves). Words of caution, make sure that you fuel properly. I only had oatmeal that morning at Camilla’s Kaffe in Fruita, and the Carbs drained quickly from my body stripping my very soul of the desire to ride to the finish that day. Don’t be a dweeb like me!

Rule number One: Fuel, and continue to Fuel your body properly.

It’s the most technical day of the ride and I do mean technical. I consider myself a very technical apt rider and it was challenging. What I was not prepared for was all the hike-a-bikes (HAB’s), and there are a lot of them. My only crash was trying to climb some technical rock shelves and loss my balance to fall on my side scraping both my shins. What was cool about it was that I had my GoPro on and caught it on video, as well as my buddy Joe Mac right behind me to catch it on his as well. NICE!

Tight twisty singletrack fun. Lots of rock ledges both up and down!

Outrageous scenery along the Colorado River riding singletrack on the ledge, and on the edge, we really enjoyed this section. It’s important to carry enough water so that you pee every hour. I carried 100 ounces in my CamelBak, and 24 ounces with Cytomax in a Water Bottle and still ran out before making it to the first check point.

Rule Number Two: I think it’s impossible to carry enough water. So give this your best effort to prove me wrong.

Within the first 5 miles I flatted on the rear. I ran a Tubeless Kenda Slant Six. It was REAL easy to side swipe, slam, and scrape boulders on the trail. I’m sure I damaged the tire right next to the rim. We fixed that by putting a tube in and then proceeded to repeat with a pinch flat about 3 miles later. So we sliced the bad tube and wrapped it around a fresh tube (Kinda a Tube Condom?), and had no more problems the rest of the trip.

Rule Number Three: Tires are one of the most important bike components for this trip.

I suggest 2.25 wide (minimum), heavy side walled, with some aggressive knobs. There are some sections with sand, and narrow tires did NOT work well in these sections. Thin walled tires were ate up by the technical tire eating rocks and boulders. There were a lot of flats fixed in this section. I ran a 2.25 Schwalbe Nobby Nic, tubeless on the front and it performed flawlessly! I wish I had it on the rear.

Joe pulling a million barbed cactus needles out of his glove. Don’t fall on these!

Last suggestion, save your energy for the second half of the day. The Western Rim Trail is a must see and I did not have the energy to do it as I fueled very wrong for the day. What a squid, I totally bonked!!

That’s not dinner! That’s just perpetually replenished snacks once you pull into camp!

When you pull into camp, snacks aplenty are ready for your massive consumption. Chips, salsa, guacamole, watermelon, orange slices, pineapple, water, cytomax, and yes, even a keg of beer, to mention a few.

Dinner is what they call Awe-Inspiring. And that is exactly what it was!

The food was ridiculously delicious and not just because we were hungry. It was good. Real good!

Settling in for the night. You camp where you want. We chose, here…

You provide the stuff. Bikerpelli provides the transportation. You grab your huge duffel with all your stuff in it and pitch a tent. It was great!

Day 2: Long Spinning Distance

A great recovery, long distance ride with a climb at the end just prior to what I would consider epic fast, technical, rock ledge, blazing, four wheel drive fire road descent.

The day was 50 miles long, it consisted of fast fire road leading to a long road ride, back to jeep trails, then a little easy climbing that dropped you in parallel with the Colorado River.

After a good 35 miles, we’re back on a trail next to the Colorado

A little technical stuff and then more road to the First Aid/Lunch Break. After lunch, you have the option for a shuttle for the first 5 miles of climb. Take it!

Getting water, we discovered these optical choices in the back of a Bikerpelli Van. They had no lenses. Toddzilla modeled them for me.

Cuz after that, you have 5 more miles of climbing and it’s a fairly tough climb after spinning for some significant miles. What I didn’t know was that there was an OUTRAGEOUS technical section where (if you have the ability) you can really show your metal. It is Porcupine Ridge-like rocky ledge fast slamming rush! I ran it with my buddies Toddzilla and Joe Mac. Both these guys are extremely good at this type of fast technical gravity schtuff, and so it was some most excellent adrenaline fun! Right after that is what is called the Rock Garden and that is a short, very steep, real technical (most, if not all people hike down it), section that I hiked down the first third and rode down the last two thirds. A climbing section follows that with a couple of miles to camp on flat dusty soft jeep trail to complete day two.

Day 3: Climb Day with a Happy Ending :-)

The last day brings on the big but relatively easy climb of at least 17 miles with a couple of false peaks and then the epic Porcupine Ridge singletrack option. I unfortunately did not get to ride this. I had noticed a twinge on the outside of my right knee the first day, that developed into some real pain by the end of the second day, which left me thinking I was not going to finish this masterpiece on the third day. It turned out to be the IT Band, something I had never heard of and had never experienced in all the days of my riding (20+ years). Fortunately, there was an alternate ride, and I took it.

Stopping on a bridge down through Onion Canyon. We made 22 stream crossings!

Stopping on a bridge riding down Onion Creek Trail. We made 22 creek crossings. Yeah, that rock formation in the background is flipping us off!

My buddy Toddzilla and I rode out a fast twisting jeep trail called Onion Creek Trail which had at least 22 stream crossings. We flew! And took turns taking pictures of each other splashing through the water and was awe inspired by the incredible scenery though-out the canyon. We dropped onto Highway 128 and once again followed the Colorado River 20 miles on the road to the town of Moab where we dropped right into the final camp by nearly 1:30pm. Took showers set up tents and although my right knee was killing me, rode our bikes into town (approx. 2 miles) and got a burger and a couple of beers at Eddie McStiffs. Both the beers and the burgers were outstanding! The beer acted as a pain killer for the ride back to camp. I like beer as a pain killer…

When the majority of the riders had made it to camp from either ride options the last dinner was served, awards were given, trail stories were told, and several games of bike tag were played, we then crashed for the evening.

Dan “The Man” Munz and me. Dan’s a great rider and and a real good dude!

The next day loaded our bikes into a van, loaded ourselves into two very nice bus’s and were transported back to Fruita.

Bus ride back to the trail head. Mike Grace & Joe Mac took time to smile from their constant chatter.

It was non-stop talking on the bus as the buzz of the event was screaming through our heads. Friends were made, and laughter was plenty. Back at the start point we unloaded our stuff and loaded our vehicles and parted ways.

This is an EPIC ride and I highly recommend it as a life changing experience. Bikerpelli made it all possible, and you can count on me to be  waiting for the first day of registration for next year!

You can check out Bikerpelli at

I know you have blown some opportunities in your life, don’t blow this one…

Like this story? I have a bunch more cuz I have a new mtb website. It’s called, it has a Forum, an Online Magazine, Product Reviews . . . check it out!!!




Schwalbe Racing Ralph HS 425

I hate to start this way…

This is not a rant . . .

But . . .

When I finally made my choice to purchase a 2012 Yeti AS-R 5c, it was a huge deal to me. Big purchase, lots of research. I still feel I made an incredible choice (more on that later).

When I went down to pick up the bike, I took my gear. I was meeting a friend out in Acton so we could break the bad boy in.

The 2012 Yeti AS-R 5c comes with Schwalbe Tires as OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). Never used Schwalbe and had no expectations.

We geared up and took off on a few miles of street to get to the trail head. We were going to do a ride called Parker in Acton. When we hit the trail it was level and singletrack. Somewhat of a packed sand if you will. 500 feet into the trail my rear tire ran over an 1 1/2 rock mostly round but with one edge to it, not particularly sharp. I would have never seen that rock unless the following had not happen. That sick feeling of massive loss of air. The type where sealant (tubeless) spews everywhere in a matter of 3 seconds.

Upon inspection there was a 1/2 slit in the Racing Ralph. Wow! A fluke? No repairing that! Walked the bike back to the truck. Loaded it. Took it back to the Dealer. They had no replacement and so they put on a Kenda 2.10 Nevegal. Never got to try the Ralph. As you can see from the pic above, every knob has those new manufacturer stubs on them. Brand New!

I contacted Schwalbe via their website. Or I should say, I sent them an email. They never replied. Weeks later, frustrated, I signed up as a member and sent a review of my experience. Nothing.

I don’t mind if they would say there is nothing they can do for me. As much as I would be disappointed, at least I would know where I stood.

I contacted Kenda one time about a tire issue. They told me that the tire I was using was way below my level and then, on their own accord, sent me 3 sets of their top of the line tires. Then proceeded to follow up several times.

I’ll keep you posted as to if Schwalbe ever gets back to me. Maybe they can earn my business. But until then?

So I guess there is a message here, at least for me.

Kenda wants your business. Schwalbe wants your money . . . go with Kenda!

Dear Diary

Dear Diary . . .

3/14/2012 Day One: I have heard it said that there are Great Birthdays; then there is Sex; then there is Great Birthday Sex, and then . . . . . . . there is New Bike Day!

Today is New Bike Day! Drove down to Santa Clarita to pick my baby up. As I got on the 5 Freeway. . . .uh, so did a CHP. He drove approximately 58 mph in the fast lane all the way to Castaic. The traffic was backed up to near jammed as I looked in his back window and saw him sucking the powder sugar off his fingers as he downed a 12 pack of Hostess Donuts.

When I got off the freeway, I hit every intersection with a red light . . . . e-v-e-r-y intersection.

But that’s okay, although it took me an hour and 15 minutes to go the 45 minute journey to Bicycle Johns, it was still . . . . . New Bike Day!

After a few pics taken I loaded her up and went straight to Acton to ride with my buddy Hillbilly cause it’s New Bike Day! We awed, we ogled, we drooled, then we suited up and started our ride. We rode a mile and a half on road to get to the single track. After 500 feet on the singletrack (you know that sound a tire makes when it loses a lot of air real fast) I got a flat. I mean a real flat, the kind that is 1/2 inch long and spews Stan’s EVERY direction?

Dear Diary, is a Racing Ralph worth 500 feet of single track?

Day Two:
Dear Diary,
After going back to the bike shop and getting a new tire the night before, I drive back out to Acton to ride with my buddy Hillbilly and a friend of his named John.

With Old School spewing out of my pores like alcohol the next day after a wild Tequilla Party the night before, I finally mount my new steed to find odd things:

The bars seem way too wide, and too high. I feel like I’m sitting straight up like Mary Poppins or that evil beeotch (<–I added that to my dictionary) that stole Toto from Dorothy. The seats too wide, the brakes too touchy, it has Shimano Paddle Shifters instead of Sram Grip Shift. The geometry made me work different climbing muscles, and 5 inches of travel was squishy and the front end was so light that climbing made the front end leave the ground . . . a lot!

As we made the first climb it was awkward and hurt in different places, on the first descent the Easton composite bars were so wide I thought I was going to take flight like the B2 bomber, at first it steered so wide I thought I was on an episode of Ice Road Truckers (those bars are wide).

After the big climb, getting dropped by my buds, and apologizing for bringing up the rear, we started the big descent, I just concentrated on having fun (dammit! you spent some serious duckets, you love this bike, right!!) I just focused on staying up, but as we descended I noticed that I stopped pulling the brake like I would on my Old School Proflex, and I noticed I was pulling the brake levers with only one finger, Hmmmmm, and I also noticed that I started hitting the corners faster (Hey! Less pedaling!), letting the suspension do the work (hey! I’m going faster!), I totally (well, not totally) forgot about the width of the bars (oh, I didn’t notice), sat in the saddle more (this seat fits my seat bones perfectly). I got less fatigue in my hands cuz I only needed one finger to lock up either brake. I started gaining on the boys on the climbs and the descents, Hmmmmm?!? At the end I was right with Hillbilly (who by the way, I consider a great downhiller).

When We were rolling up on the vehicles I noticed that my back didn’t hurt like it always did on my old school race bike . . . . . uh, . . . . . . . . . . . . New Bike Day?!?!?!?

. . . . Thanks Diary!

Dear Diary, I have a confession to make. I have to add that usually I load my bike on the driver side roof rack. But on the way home I loaded it on the passenger side so I could look up through the sunroof to look at it as I drove home. I should really have been watching the road!
Sigh* Today, was really . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .New Bike Day.

Old School to New School

Some say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks… Why would they say that, and who are “THEY” anyway?…

My first bike was naturally a hard tail. I say naturally because in 1992 there were not really that many options. It was a Specialized Chrome Moly Stumpjumper with a incredible new technology, an elastomer dampened Grey Manitou fork. Frame was stock green, head set was purple!?!?!? I think it had about 2 inches of travel. As primitive as it would seem compared to today it was awesome, at the time. I rode it I trained on it and yes . . . I raced on it . . . . and, believe it or not, I still have it 20 years later.

Bike number two was short lived, it was the frame of a Specialized Metal Matrix something-er-ather, maybe an M2 thingy? I got it from a buddy named Wayne Croasdale. You might remember him as Insane Wayne. National Downhill Champion sponsored by Specialized. He threw me some excess schwag and I really appreciated it! It was the first bike I attempted to build on my own. Man! Did I learn how NOT to build a bike. First race I tried it at was at the Keysville Classic. I think I made it half a lap and broke the chain. Later I discovered I put the totally wrong size bottom bracket in it and the center to center alignment between the middle cog and the middle chainring were not even in the same zip code. I miss Wayne, I have no idea where he is but he was a great ride buddy and fun to hang out with.

Bike number three was special, cuz it was free! Proflex 855. I remember seeing Bob Roll on a Proflex at the Big Bear NORBA Nationals back in 1994 on a Factory Proflex that had probably 1 1/2 to 2 inches of rear travel. I thought to myself, “This totally makes sense!” So we pursued them and they bit. The 855 Proflex, I thought, was an amazing bike. It was truly way ahead of it’s time. For the next three years we received Proflex bikes along with all the other sponsor to build them with. I got REAL good at building and maintaining bikes (nothing more frustrating than taking your bike in and paying for a “Race Tune-up” only to have it fail or mis-shift the entire race).

So after racing Proflex’s for 3 years and breaking my left collarbone. I stopped my pursuit of new bikes for the next 15 years. Whenever I rode I would ride my 856 (my favorite) Proflex. One day after a close inspection, I found that I had finally cracked the frame. I had an 857 mostly built just sitting in the garage so I finished it up and rode it for the next year or two.

I was getting lonely riding by my self so I joined Southern Sierra Fat Tire Association in Bakersfield so I could meet some new people to ride with. They had a Monday night and a Wednesday night group. Monday was a beginner/intermediate and Wednesday’s were for the hammer heads. I chose the Wednesday night rides and met some great folks. But I found that the leaders were always trying to out do each other and that got really old being the guys trying to hang on. So I joined STR (Southern California Trail Riders) an online Forum where MTB’ers come to cuss and discuss cycling. I chose my Forum name to be “Mikie Watson”, pretty original, huh? That’s when I started meeting guys that loved cycling, in my area, who just wanted to ride hard, have fun, and eat drink and sleep…….Mountain Biking. NICE!

Seeing and experiencing all the new bikes and all I started getting the itch to get a new bike. Lucky for me, Mike Grace owns a Bicycle John Bike Shop in Santa Clarita and I had the fortune of test riding his demo’s. I have to be honest with you. I NEVER thought that it would be a Yeti. We used to joke back in our racing days, “Is it ready? Not Yeti!” I don’t know why!?!?!? We just did, alright???

First I tried a Yeti 575. Personally, I hated it. But for all the wrong reasons. It was totally set up for downhill. Seat low, handlebars high. As much as I tried, I could not get it anywhere near where I needed to feel any where near Cross Country comfortable. I attempted to climb up McGill Trail and there was no way. I thought sure I looked like Mary Poppins doing the dirt scene. So I rode the road to the parking lot at the top and rode down McGill Trail. Oh . . . . my . . . . GOSH! The 575 was AMAZING. I never felt such a laterally stiff full suspension bike in my life. That bike gives you descending options. Pick the great line, or, just pick the general direction, it didn’t matter. Sooth trail, rough trail, NO TRAIL! It was incredible. So I thought, okay, I just need to find a bike that can descend like a 575 but climb like my Proflex.

Then I tried tried a Giant Anthem 29′er. It was okay. Then there was the Yeti Big Top. A 29′er hard tail. Everybody was raving about 29 inch wheels. I still don’t see the big deal. I don’t think a 29′er fits my riding style.

I felt like I was speed dating all these bikes when I came across another Yeti. The ACR5. I feel there should be the Ta-Dahhhh sound ring in our heads right now. It was a test bike at Bicycle Johns. As a matter of fact a personal bike of Mike Grace. This is where the story begins the ending…

I’m a faithful husband, very faithful. But when I rode that bike, I felt like I was cheating on my wife. Yeah, that good. Now I’m a climber; and I’m not sure what the rear tire was but on that test bike, but when I got out of the saddle and leaned all the way forward pumping and pulling up on those pedals on a hard steep climb, it was like the tire was glued to the ground. The suspension was insane plush (well compared to a 1987 Proflex, it better be!). Descending was like a dream. And this was on a demo bike. It’s like when I met my wife. I new I had arrived! I named her “The Mistress”!

So I took it one step further and I bought a 2012 Yeti ASR 5c (carbon frame). The bike off the shop floor weighed in at 25.6 lbs.and that’s with 5 inches of front and rear travel! My race bike never weighed that Less!

When I brought it home for the first time, Cathy barged into the garage yelling, Where is she? I want to meet her!”. Yeah, my spouse is pretty cool….

Hello world!

Well, probably the most common way to start a blog. Why not say hello to the world.

I love mountain biking. Not the way I used to feel. I’ve told many-a-friends back in the day that Mountain Bikes were just a medium to compete with. When I used to ride I would only do it for the conditioning, the training, the regiment of discipline. Now… I ride bikes cuz I love to ride bikes. I even (gasp!) take a camera with me on occasion. Smell the wildflowers.

I’ve been riding mtb’s for 20 years now, since 1992. I met a guy named Todd Attebery at work one day and was telling him how I needed something more in my life. I wanted to go back to racing motorcycles but the were just too expensive. He said, “Have you ever thought about Mountain Bikes?”

Changed my life . . . .