Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's a Wrap...

The sun sets on a killer winter weather swap.  Traded in one of the hardest and longest Canadian seasons for Arizona. 

Was able to check out new areas new trails, terrain, bikes, skillsets and now that it's over heading back to the rollers as the tail end of winter hangs on to the bitter end.

Arizona has so much to offer it makes this destination so appealing.  The riding is as tough as you want it to be and the rocks will test you but in the end it's time on the bike and that's the point.

I am still putting Sedona on the top of the list but there are so many other areas to check out like Tuscon, Flagstaff, Prescott it makes the possibilities endless.  Unlike Toronto you can drive 90 min out of Phoenix in any direction and hit completely new topography and trails. 

The Crash Trail Panoramic

The calm before the storm.  After getting off a 2 mile rock garden the trail pointed up towards Windgate and Tom's Thumb.  This ride was a out and back and on the descent that's exactly were I ended up....  My back. 

Gateway Trail - Scottsdale AZ

A Few More Trails...

Tom's Thumb Trail - Phoenix AZ

Backside of Highline Trail - Sedona AZ

Cone Mountain Trail - Phoenix AZ

Monday, March 3, 2014

March Madness

2 days of rain and the trails are perfect.  Like sticky tacky perfect.  No 2" of fine desert dust perfect.   Arm warmers and shorts perfect.  No one on the trails early perfect.....


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Cytoe Industries - The small company you need to know...

O.K. you spent north of $2K on your Tallboy and now you're ready to shred. The bike is built to ride and ride fast but it's carbon, and the linkage hangs low, so now what ?  Enter Ron and his company Cytoe Industries from Fort Collins Co.   Cytoe designs and hand crafts rock protection plates for select mountain bike frames.  Ron started off by making a guard for a Niner Rip 9 and due to the overwhelming response from posts on mtbr and local clubs, he branched out to cover off Santa Cruz. 

I can tell you after an inaugural 50 hours of the rockiest trails Arizona has thrown out, the plate has done what it was designed to do, and well.  Santa Cruz is shipping the new Tallboy 2C's with a built in rubber frame guard, but it only protects the lower portion of the down tube.  All you need to do is poke out the 2 water bottle holes and the Cytoe rock guard screws on over the built in SC rubber. 

The ultra guard costs $40 usd and shipping is fast and secure.  It's a small price to pay for the piece of mind that follows install.  Ron's mtbr link can be found here CYTOE.  Shoot him a email you'll be glad you did.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Shaw Butte

Been saving this one a bit.  The access road is only hard for the first 4 switchbacks ( my Garmin said 16% grade ) once you get about half way up the grade levels out to about 9% and it's about a total  2.5 km climb to the radio towers. 

Gary would have liked this one for sure being his namesake Butte.  This one was for you Gaz....

Shaw Butte from the Towers

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

North Mountain via Trail 100

Different route on the 100 again, rode up towards Shaw Butte but ended up on the top of North Mountain.  The climb up to the top was off good and tough and the views worth it.

Funny thing about Phoenix is coming from Toronto I am used to seeing people walking around the streets.  This is not the case here but they are a lot more people out in the parks hiking, trail running, walking etc.

Another good thing about the trail is the free water at various spots along the route so you can still rock a waterbottle.

Everyone I have run into, ridden with, talked to have been great in the 5 rides here and rolling out the driveway at 8 or 9 you can get your daily 2 hours and be back before lunch.

Heading east to meet Dave Thursday and probably riding out at McDowell again but hitting & Dixie Mine then on Fiday its Red Mountain.  Black Canyon is still on the list as well as FINS north and a few more to check off the long list.  Are there really 7' Western Diamond Back Rattlers out there or is Ray trying to sell books ?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mandatory Bike Shot on Hackamore Trail Brown's Ranch

Browns Ranch

This is far from technical but what it lacks it makes up for in flow and scenery.  A good break for the constant barrage of rocky trails.  Did a 35 km loop with a climb up Browns Mountain from both sides for the view / descent.  Did not see any scorpions or rattlesnakes but the trail signs seemed to indicate they were around.  Another killer 80 + day in the saddle.

This area reminds me of Hartman Rocks in Gunnison CO with huge rocks and loops

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ramble on.....

Trail 100 Options

It's hard pressed to load up the car and venture out to ride when this is literally 2 min away.  Over the past 3 rides tried to cover off some new options.  The spin off trails are abundant and the climbs up and around the buttes are tough.  The more you ride the chunks the more you get some flow happening.  This is so drastically different that any trail back home it certainly keeps you focused.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

South Mountain Preserve

See the theme ? Hot and dry and rocky.  Checked out South Mtn today this shot was from the Desert Classic trail if my memory is right.  Decided not to do the National trail...yet.  These rocks are not forgiving and when you get up close it changes your invincibility factor.  This place was packed for a Friday afternoon.  Would not want to hit this on the weekend.

Can't get this theme song out of my head while I'm out there.  Could not find the heli pad climb ?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Scuse me while I kiss the sky..

This is the view from Trail 100 right before the switchbacks heading under the hwy.  I am not sure what the green haze that visibly hangs on downtown Phoenix but I'm guessing it's not good.

This is day 2 on the trail and went to the Dreamy Draw Lot from the 7th st entrance.  Had a chance to see the group that were building the new singletrack up around Cave Creek.  They're the American Service Corps and are a federally funded program that lets them earn money for their college education.  The program is essentially community service on a large scale.  It was tough work clearing rock and churning up dirt in 80 degree heat so we can shred on it later.  Hats off to them.  It was a good loop too.

Trail 100 is pretty neat and it snakes up around buttes and around some pretty sweet homes perched on the rock and sees quite a bit of use like running, hiking, horseback riding and dog walking.
Everyone I ran into was nice which is a welcome change on a multi-use trail system.  The trail is not particularly tough, 2 + hours yesterday covered 27km and 690 m ascent.  There is a lot more stuff in here to explore on the non driving days coming up.  A good local haunt !

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Trail 100 Phoenix Mountain Preserve

This is the local PHX equivalent to the trails in the Don Valley.  The similarity being it's a great urban mountain bike trail right in the middle of the city.  Difference for Phoenix is the fact they have mountains... and while the main trail is 11 or so miles long it has pretty much everything you need like spin off loops, multiple entrance / exit points, climbs, descents, and chunk. Cave Creek entrance is a 2 minute ride away and with the temps climbing up into the 80's it's time for the camelback on Wednesday's ride.  Saw my first Coyote cross the trail today.

Imagine this view at Bayview & Pottery Road


Sunday, February 9, 2014

McDowell Mountain take 3..

I think I understand why night riding is so popular down here.  It is 80 degrees in February and its hot.  I can't imagine this would be the case in mid August when it is consistently 100f +

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Can't get sick of looking at this....

Views from McDowell Mountain Race Loops ( Long Loop )

Mc Dowell Mountain Race Loops

This is a section of trail in Scottsdale that used to be the home of the now defunct Cactus Cup.  This was the classic desert race that used to grace the covers of MBA with the legends of the dirt Johnny T, Ned O and others.

Now it is a series of 3 loops set 100% aside for Mountain biking.  Trails were good and did 2 of the long loops.  That crash on Sunday was hard.  This was a welcome change and good recovery trail.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Giant Saguaro Cactus

Been looking forward to seeing these for a while and was blown away at their size.

Been to the desert on a horse with no name...

What a difference 90 minutes down the road from Sedona makes.  Rode McDowell today and man what a eye opener, wheel catcher, worked over 2 hours in the saddle.  Can't even describe how difficult some of the trails were but believe me when I say my bruises and aches can.  ( rotor burn sucks btw  !!! )

Thursday, January 30, 2014

View from Highline


Another killer day.  Every time I have been here it seems this is the last ride and the weather shifts and your up high.  All proved true today as the bookends the Sedona leg and packing up Friday to head south in AZ for more desert trails...

The Real Slim Shady

Love this end trail.  Ended up on this at least 6 times so far as it leads right back to the Red Agave Resort and its a killer way  to end whatever epic or direction you head off in.

Views for Days...

Rode the Tallboy 2C today.

Going to have lots to say about this in the weeks to come down here but in the meantime here are some pictures.

Can't say enough good things about the SRAM XX1 kit other than this is the place to see if the chain stays on and it does along with shifting perfection and a nice single ring range.  32 when I am back home but the 30 is good enough for me.

Rock Shox Sid.  Immediate difference felt over last years Fox.  This for besides being light is very plush and maybe it was the fact I had the Talas I am really impressed.

This is a XL frame that came in at 25.1 lbs with Thomson, AM wheels, Bonty / Salsa cockpit and Schwable 2.4 / 2.2's.

The pedal strikes are a bit unnerving on these rock strewn trails but that will pass.  Sedona ( specifically Oak Creek ) seems to be the go to place for industry product testing or launches and that makes a ton of sense given the make up of their trail systems.  If the bike and set up can perform here is is good to go anywhere else you may end up.  These trails EAT bike parts.  The 2014 Fox CTD rear shock is smooth once you set up the sag properly.  Have not really played around with the different pedaling platforms as its kind of hard to take your hands off the bar to reach down and I found the trail setting to be a good all rounder on the trails covered today.  Lastly if your unsure of sizing go up.  I am just over  6'1" and that out me in between the L and XL.  The L would have been too small.

GoPro Day

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Something you don't see everyday....

At least in Sedona and it's a hardtail.   Full Squish carbon rigs with dropper posts seems to be the logical weapon of choice and on past trips I have rented a Santa Cruz Tallboy so you really can tell the difference on trails comparison.  One thing the hard tail does better is climb and that was on the menu today.  The pic below is the Chicken Point lookout after climbing up Little Horse Trail.  Will hit Mystic and Hogwash etc. another day.

Can you believe this is JANUARY ?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sedona 2014

Leaving all the cold behind of Toronto and having not posted anything here of worth I thought I would start off the years post with a senic pano taken today from sunny Sedona on the Bell Rock trail leading over to Templeton and Slim Shady ( Made in the shade ) Should be a great time here before Phoenix & Tuscon and just literally confirmed the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo in a few weeks time.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

No carbon was harmed during the production of this video

For those of us who look forward to the snow like our friend Jayson in Crested Butte ( pic ) this is the start of the only season that matters.  They have over 100 inches of snow already so have fun !!

For the rest of us it is roller time, or hibernate time, or heading south in search of warmer riding temps time.

Whatever group you fall into I am sure you will appreciate the video below.  Now if only I can get my Colnago Master x Light retrofitted with discs I will be set for the year......

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Thin Line Between Love and Hate...

B.B. Seaton had it right with that song which pretty much sums up today's ride in the Seaton.  What a throwback to early mtb days.  It turned out to be nice temps which would explain the 20 + groups of hikers out.  For a variety of reasons the consensus was never hit Seaton on the weekend again.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Industry Nine XC hubs / spokes / carbon rims.

Lighter, wider, stronger ? We will soon see. Thought I would try my hand at lacing up a set of i9's that were built up on Stans 355's. After a few emails and calls to Ted at i9 i got a few extra spokes shipped up along with the pawl kit and the plan was to do a straight swap. The lacing pattern is simple enough right ? Having never attempted this before I got 2 thumbs up.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Local....

Depending on who you talk to there is anywhere from 4 to 6 hours of trails to ride in the Don Valley.  Taylor Creek, The Ridge, Dirt Jumps and all the usual suspects only account for about 2 and those 2 are also the most traveled.  Having done a few recon rides with Thorben I think I have a good idea on the network now and still finding new stuff...

Monday, September 9, 2013

2013 Ride For Karen ~ 12th Edition

What a great day Sunday Sept. 8th turned out to be. This after spending Saturday slogging around in the rain with Kris and Co. setting up the ride / start finish, marking the course, and generally getting geared up for the ride the sun gods delivered big time  I think there was 300+ riders on the road and countless people behind the scenes making this ride go off with much success, including surpassing the $2 million dollar milestone over the past 12 editions.

This year marks a new course which from all accounts people loved. Weston Rd. is one hilly mo~fo. The section after the 50 km water stop was top notch.  The groups rode well together and this ride brings out a great group of riders and bike friends.  Congrats Kris, Kirk and kudos to Derek ( wow man your tireless... )

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


I have had this post in draft form the entire day ( Monday )
A year has passed already since Gary passed away. 

Still can't believe he is gone.  One of the strongest guys I know with his love and commitment to his wife and kids and on the bike.

I can't seem to articulate this loss so I try to focus on the positive memories in tag cloud format and this is the condensed version.

Asheville,  Colnago, Marley, Women, Jamaica, Bikes, Skiing, Work, Family, Careers, 3 Peaks Race, Hilly Hundred, Flat tire -10 c on the road, Frank, Enzo, Jack, Mark, Loss, Lessons, PEDAL at the top of the hill, St. Lawrence Market lunchtimes, Traveling, Stoke City F.C.
Chalice, 6 am winter spin classes pre-work, Sprints,  If your hurting on the bike everyone else is as well, Donut Ride, Ms. Wideman Rides, Warden Rides, Marsh Rides, Commish Rides, Don Rides, Hockley Rides, Zoo Rides..

Gary planted the travel bug in me and he is the reason I cant sit still and want to ride as many places as I can while I can.  He was the catalyst in the the Colorado summer and that trip changed my life. 

Miss you Man.  Stories and Memories for the rest of my Life.  The Keele St Sprint Sign blooms...

Friday, June 21, 2013

First Day of Summer = First Palgrave Point to Point

What a killer day to kick of the official start of Summer.  Kris and I went out to Palgrave to do the first portion of the Hockley Epic.  The route is a long time coming and has taken several re-con rides to link it all together but you could not have gotten a better day for this. Stay tuned for the video...

Taking in the rolling vista from atop Glenn Haffey

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Even a SoHo Tranny Needs Some Protection.

We just finished building up the IBIS Tranny and after a few warranty issues with the rigid fork route enter the Sram XX Sid World Cup.  In a fork market that is dominated by tapered steerer tubes, through axles and the latest " new " industry standard, it was a good find to grab a OEM 2013 take off with a straight carbon steerer, no added race lip, and no through axle.

Back to the bike.  I will be waiting until I get the ride report but I dropped it on the scale and its under 21 lbs built up with the SID.  With the Pro or Ritchey WCS fork it would be 19 lbs give or take a few grams. 

Tom Ritchey - The 40 year ride.

Jaybird Films really did a good job with this video. Forgot just how involved Ritchey was back in the day and how deep their racing roots went. Lusting over the P21 and the P23 with a budget for a GT Avalanche.. Sound Familiar ? The red white  & blue was the iconic brand of the hand built steel hardtail. Recently we were looking forward to testing out the WCS carbon 650b fork but that will need to be another time due to some post mount brake issues but its not hard to find a host of other components on our bikes as well as some old 26" rubber kicking around the parts bin.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Monday, April 29, 2013

Leave the gun, take the Cannoli...

It's no secret I am biased with my Pottsallano Silk ti 29 and all things titanium and that my favorite bike rag is BIKE magazine. So with that this is great introduction to the history behind IBIS.

This year marks BIKE's 20th anniversary or as they put it " 20th year of running with scissors " and they started to produce Founder's events.  Founder’s Event is the love-brain-child of Bike Magazine and Mission Workshop. The goal is simple: snag the creative geniuses who shaped the world of mountain biking, put them on a stage, make them answer all sorts of questions. Drink beer. Hang out.

This video is the full version and a good watch.  The Story Behind Ibis Cycles. If you don't have the full time 18:25 is the jump off point.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Music by: Ozric Tentacles. Song: Sultrana Detrii

GoPro Hero 3 black trying out the 1080/30 Wide and the 1440/30/Wide

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Dupont Forest NC

Cedar Rock Uphill Grind
Another stellar day to wind down a great trip.  Rode 7 out of 8 days and it rained all day on the rest one.  The venue today was Dupont Forest and we stopped into The Hub in Pisgah to grab a map and some trail intel.

Having ridden a lot in this network of trails you need to pick the best of in order to scratch some off as you could not string them all together in a day or even 2.

Cedar Rock, Big Rock, Burnt Mountain, Little River, Resenover, Airstrip, Mine Mountain and that was the day.  The temperature was 70 and the lots were packed but the only trails we ran into other riders were the network of Cedar / Big.  Dupont is Durham an Hardwood combined with an area of Carolina slick rock.  Dupint dries out quick as it's a sand based forest that's 10,400 acres and over 100 miles of trail......

What a way to end.  Next time Pisgah proper gets the explore nod as thats a whole other beast and in the same area.  Sleep, Drive, Eat, Drive back home in 11 hours.

Cedar Rock and Big Rock Junction

Industry Nine Factory Tour

Located in Asheville proper sits INDUSTRY NINE  If you're not a fan or owner of their wheels you should be.  I have had a set for a few years now and they have been as good now as the first ride.  Dave was the host today as we re-scheduled yesterday as their machine shop was getting ISO inspected.

I9 got it's name from being the 9th company that the parent machine shop owns / started.  The machine shop in addition to owning I9 has a customer, vendor relationship with it and also makes parts for the military and other applications.  Dave showed us the entire facility and the pictures below show the anodization tanks, the wheel building station, the CNC machines, spoke mills and raw aluminum.  The spoke machine, the raw hub shells pre anodization and the custom laser etching machine for the spokes and hubs.

One good thing about I9 is that they do not sell direct to the public which is good as the wall of hubs, and racks and racks of wheels make for some sweet eye candy.  The new torch hubs were in prototype mode for 18 months before being released early this year and the engagement and weight are significantly improved and they are offering a 2 cross lacing pattern with no strength loss.  The drag is also reduced and the rim options are great as well.  The I9 branded rims come in a good strength to weight ratio and the Renolyds carbon are well....carbon.

I started riding in the golden age of cottage industry CNC bike parts so being able to see that every aspect of your wheels are being built and assembled by hand and in house is bonus.  Seeing how it all comes together is really something amazing and the attention to detail is top notch.   There are 10 people that make up I9 and they are a key piece in the local riding culture. Really glad we got the chance to do this and hopefully we will connect with Dave tomorrow at Dupont Forest.  Can't wait for the ' new ' colors either.