Tuesday, January 30, 2007

New WTB Tires

Make no mistake, I love WTB tires. I have a few sets in action as we speak. For 2007, the kids in Marin have come up with some new models. Word has it that a few sets are on the way towards City Bikes and the Mountain Bike Team for the 2007 season.

All these suckers look pretty fast, with one exception. Up first(right), we have the Prowler MX. Nice and open in the middle with some tight side knobs. Look at all those damn mold injection points. This must have been expensive to make... It looks like a good DH race tire. It might not be super-fast rolling, but it's pretty aggressive. Probably Mark Weir's choice for, guess what, four-cross, DH or slalom racing. Look for that sucker in the mosterous 2.5" size. The LIGHT one is 860 grams. No UST though.

On the left we have the Prowler XT. Similar shape on the knobs, but different organization. Another DH-ish tire at 2.3". Dry and loose seem to be a good place for this tire.

Bottom left is our super-fast 2.1" Vulpine race tire. Whoa. Fast, fun, watch out for the wet stuff! You might as well run a road tire. This is going to be a rad tire for sprint xc-style races (Wed at Wakefield, Greenbriar, etc). Look for a sub 550g weight and real 2.1 size.

Finally, the new Stout 2.3" tires. At 820 grams, it ain't light, but it'll be a great 'shed tire. Good side knobs and sparse in the middle. It should be great in almost all conditions.

Dissent is our last new tire, bottom right. 935g for the light one and 2.5" size. It's the Timberwolf replacement and looks like a serious contender for DH racing. Angled lugs, stout reinforcement, big daddy tire.

What I can't tell from these images is the actual height of the knobs or the reinforcement of the side lugs. I can't wait to see some of these and check 'em out. It's safe to assume that Mark Weir has been running these tires most of the year.

The only tire that WTB has had in the UST area was the 2.1 Weirwolf. Now don't get me wrong, people LOVE that tire and a lot of people are riding it but we all know (including WTB) that tubeless offerings need to be added to the lineup. Sure, not everyone is into it, but a lot of the people who are into it are WAY into it. It's like the 29'er thing. At least WTB was the leader there. And by the way, they have those new 29'er 2.55 lt (low tread) weirwolfs available and in your local bike shop. If you like rigid forks and rocky rides, this is the tire for you! Fast rolling, comfy, low-pressure round tires. I have one or two on the single, the Yeti and the carbon stumpy. I guess I like it!

WTB does a ton of good work for advocacy, both on-road and off. They've been an industry-leader for decades now and they always put their money where their mouth is, helping to start and fund the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, among other off-road endeavors. NorCal is a better place because of their work. We'll see some of their staff in DC for the National Bike Summit held by the League.

Pray for warm temps. 4 weeks until March...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Example Pics for Patapsco

Here is a shot from the plan. This is from Wissahickon in PA but it represents something that would be part of the phase 1 plan. Constructed, natural-looking, low-consequence stuff. Also included will be lots of skinnies made from local timber, planed on the top but no dimensional lumber. There will be various lines like a spiderweb of skinnies that will be just like a playground. The turns will have the radius decreased so you can ride 'em without hopping the rear wheel or have it disappear underneath you. I think the entire 'landing zone' will be mulched out just like a little kids' playground.

The pic on the left is from the Santos project in FL. That's Rich from IMBA Trail Solutions in his signature stance, dreaming of the jumps those piles of dirt are about to be turned into. We'll have a few of those headed our way. The phase two 'flow trail' will include a lot of this dirt in bermed turns and progressive (easy, intermediate, advanced) tabe-tops on the down hill side of the planned area.

Total construction time (if I haven't mentioned it before) is about three weeks and includes volunteers (YOU!) during the weekends and the week. Most of that 'work' will be shaping the turns, takeoffs and landings as well as the turn radii for the berms.

All for now. There's not that much more in the plan but I'll find some good photos to add to the mix... Send 'em if ya got 'em...

Friday, January 26, 2007

Here We Go! Patapsco Plan Shots...

Who knows if I'm actually supposed to get this out there, but here's some of the pics and plans from the Patapsco Technical Features Park plan (not real name) produced by IMBA Trail Solutions.

We have our big meeting with DNR on Thursday and I won't even be able to make it as I have a meeting all morning downtown. Eric, Dan, Rich and the crew will be able to handle it. There's nothing I can do that they can't.

I'll keep the price tag secret for the plan at this point, but the construction should take three weeks. Figure four for normal drawbacks. The machinery has already been sourced locally for rental and the scope of dirt and manpower needed is in the plan as well. I haven't even looked at the pics that are in the main part of the plan but I'll post those as soon as I get into it. I wanted to get this up asap for everyone to check out. The square on the left is the maintenance area of Hilton Rd for DNR. The red stuff is the existing trail with the Nunnery and powerline trail at the bottom towards the left side of the page. The purple is the actual hit/jump line. The key at the bottom has the rest of the info.

More to come. Check back often this weekend...

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

2007 Enduro SL Update

I just got word that the first shipment of the new Enduro SL expert bikes are in-country. We have one orange (test bike color moved to regular stock) in medium on the way. It might be here before the weekend.

Here's a pic from the August release party at Lake Tahoe. Damn that's purty. Let me know if you want a test-ride!

Can I Get 8' Knobbies?

I can't wait to rock one of these!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Winter Is Here!

Well it's about time. We've got a few inches of snow on the ground and, in true Mid-Atlantic fashion, we've got a layer of ice on top. I shot a pic out the back door (so to speak) below. It sure is pretty outside.

Luckily, my schedule worked out that I got a ride in yesterday at Patapsco with MattyD and Steve. It was C O L D out there. I think the high was only in the 30s yesterday. There were about 50 people out there riding (that I saw) so the dry conditions beat out the cold. The traction was amazing, the trails were totally dry (frozen) and the water was cold. My toes never went numb despite a few dunkings and I was only wearing some thin wool socks. Luckily, the front of my shoes froze up after that first water crossing keeping most of the water out for the rest of the ride. Thanks to sheep for wool. I had a wool jersey on, an alpaca ear warmer, wool leg warmers, wools socks and knickers from Scotland where there are a lot of sheep. See? It all comes together.

I was pushing it pretty hard yesterday and managed to feel good all day. MattyD and Steve are no slackers and they made sure that the pace stayed high.

Patapsco remains one of my favorite trails in the area and I keep going back time and again. There are some sections that I still don't make it all the way up all the time. That one climb up towards Hilton after a stream crossing that is all washed out is a tough one. I managed to clean it yesterday but the last two times I tried it, I didn't make it. That's what keeps me coming back.

Thanks to Yeti for the 575. The bike is built up a little moto (36 talas rc2, fatty rims, super-short stem) but it rides REALLY well. If you dial that fork travel down, it gets REALLY twitchy. I enjoyed rocking the full 160mm on the fork on climbs and descents. I'm still not a fan of the Fox rear shocks. The propedal is too on/off for me. I found a happy medium to keep from getting feedback from pedal strokes, but I thought it was a little harsh on the small to medium stuff. Maybe a DHX 5.0 would help that out. After only one ride, it's hard to be sure about how the bike will feel after a few more rides. I'm sure I'll get it dialed.

Rumor has it that there will be a bunch of new bike models for 2008 from some of our vendors. I will tell you this (despite potentially getting in trouble): we will have at least two new bikes from Yeti and maybe 5 new mtn bikes from Jamis. I found out some details regarding the specifics but I'll have to keep my mouth shut for now. Despite the mountain biking market flattening out, there are more models and more technology coming out faster and faster than in previous years. I think the industry is trying to decrease prototype and design costs and keeping their models fresh with constant re-design. Most of the industry that is. Some big companies are starving their mountain bike programs. Points to those who can guess who they are.

The one thing that I don't like about full-suspension bikes vs. hardtails is the setup time. With different leverage ratios on different bikes and the super-flat spring rate of Fox rear shox, it does take some time to get bikes dialed. I'd love to have a few grand laying around for a few Cane Creek shocks for the bikes. With the ti spring version costing around $850, it's hard to buy one let alone having three for all of the bikes. By the way, you should check out that video on the Cane Creek site of the Double-Barrel technology. It's pretty amazing.

Oh, as a reminder that it was 75 frikkin' degrees here last Saturday, here's Emma and Jeremy climbing trees.

Oh yeah, on Saturday we went to the Museum of the Native American on the Mall in DC. We had some family in town so we all cruised downtown to check out the newest museum in the Smithsonian club. It truly is a beautiful building. I'm a big fan of architecture and this one is top-notch. If it wasn't blowing 30 knots and 20 degrees outside, I would have checked out the building from all sides but in that kind of weather, I decided to check it out from the inside. It's hard to have kids who love 'indians' and keep them from yelling 'INDIANS!' every time they see some stereotypical image but they were good and had a good time. The main hall with the boats was great for them as they could run around on the benches and be loud. Ah, kids...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Do This!

If you live anywhere in the Chesapeake Bay watershed (from this area up to upstate NY), you should go here and fill this thing in. It's good and I thank you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Coolest Thing in the World

Everyone would actually like going to work if this was your computer. I'm in love. Order me one...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Looking Back to the Future

I just got the whole Flickr thing going. Whilst doing so, I ran across DT's race pics from 12 Hours of Lodi Farm from 2006. Two DCMTB/City Bikes teams got first and second in the sport three man as well as Expert and Clydesdale and Solo Singlespeed podiums. That race isn't too far away now. It's not THAT hard, but it's never easy.

Lodi in 2006 was a significant race in my career (if you can call it that) racing bikes. I finally got some reasonable training under my belt for the first time since 1997-8 when I raced a LOT and actually got on the podium in a few races. I got 5th in the Cool Mtn Bike Race in Cool, CA. No kidding. The town of Cool, CA. My bro Jerry used to work there and I drove up for a Valentine's Day race in 1998.

On the right is Kent after an early-morning lap, me with the 2nd place check and my better half, changing for a dawn lap - all from Lodi last year. Thanks for the pics, DmofoT.

I'm gettin' old. 1998 was the year that I moved back to the DC area and I won the singlespeed class of the Wednesdays at Wakefield. That was the year that we had to fight (read: ask) for an actual class for the singlespeeders. We were all calling each other to make sure that we'd have 5 so we could have an actual class. I also raced the singlespeed for my first and fastest lap at the 1999 24 Hours of Canaan. That was my first foray into the 24 hour thing and last year a group of us got third in Expert! By the way, if you are ever interested in how creative and wrong mountain bikers are, check out the pics and team names from 2006. I've said it before: if you've taken a few years off from the WV Granny Gear races, the course at Big Bear is worthy. It's a lot of fun and less annoying that the fall-line climb up through the resort.

For 2007, I'm trying to race a large number of the Granny Gear 24 Hour Series with the City Bikes folks AS WELL AS a few DH races AND the SM100 AND maybe even going back out to the Wednesdays at Wakefield races. AND I'm working on the Patapsco Jump Trail stuff AND a few other double-secret MTB projects. It's only January, I haven't met any new people, I haven't been assigned any new projects and I don't think anything major is going on with the house... But I'm already busy with high expectations. Here's hoping.

This makes me think that I am afraid of failing. I know that it's important to reach high and try to do things that aren't easy and I hope that I'm doing that every year. Every day, really. I hope that everyone else in the world has the same courage, more of it, actually. Please know that I wish more courage upon myself and for the rest of the world as well. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Friday, January 05, 2007

New Jamis? Shh...

Just got this in the email this morning. Xenith SL road frame from Jamis. I guess this would be an early 08 release with a full bike coming out Fall/Winter 07-08. We'll see.

Looks familiar...

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year and News

Happy New Year everyone. Susan and I went to 9:30 last night for Greyboy All Stars and Soulive. The new-school, jam-band hippies were in full force. God, I hate patchouli.

Greyboy used to play in San Diego all the time at a place called Winstons in Ocean Beach. It was $5 and there was 20 people in the bar. It was 1996. Last night, the place was packed and I was damn-near the oldest guy in there.

More music news from DC-boy Matty Grason. He's a top-notch kid. Feel good about supporting him:

Introducing...Matt Grason's Motel Project

It's no longer just a figment of my imagination. At long last, the CD I've been talking about for years is nearly here. Motel is the intersection of DC hip-hop and original NYC jazz. It's not typical hip-hop; it's MCs with positive messages performing as jazz musicians. And it's not "straight ahead" jazz: it's fusion and heavy funk played by killin', killin' cats. You haven't heard this before.

We have a CD: Lost and Found

We have a website: http://www.welcometomotel.com/

We have a MySpace page (join us): http://www.myspace.com/welcometomotel

We have a band:
Matt Grason on bass
Jostein Gulbrandsen and John Lee on guitar
Jon Irabagon and Matt Rippetoe on sax
Jerrol Pennerman on keys
Dave McDonald on drums

We have a reunion...the Freestyle "Re-Union":
John Moon (Dapp Theory, Cornell West Theory)
Aura Gin (Hueman Prophets)
Straight Forward (Hueman Prophets)
Kokayi (Opus Akoben, Steve Coleman, Dapp Theory)
Sub-Z (Opus Akoben, Steve Coleman, Dapp Theory)
Cool Cee Brown (Dirty Water)
YU (The Remainz)

We have a CD release show:
Thursday, January 25th, 2007
940 9th Street, NW, 20001, (202) 483-5000
with the Cornell West Theory
$5 at the door

We have a sneak preview show:
Saturday, January 6th, 2007
1610 14th ST NW, 20009, (202) 667-3700
$10 (plus $3 if you BYOB)

We have hundreds of adoring fans:
You. Welcome to Motel.

See you soon,

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