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...


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