Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Monday mixed-terrain...

It's funny when you look at a potential ride on a map and you see that it's not that long compared to other road loops by its physical presence on the map. Then you get out and what you thought you could crank out in a couple of hours, turns quickly into three. And so it was on Monday when I got out for a ride.

After morning coffee and some oatmeal, I headed out on my new sample monster cross bike (shhh, it's a secret still) for a Bolinas Ridge ride. I had plans to ride down to the northern terminus of Bolinas Ridge to Jewell Trail, out the Cross Marin Trail and then up Shafter Trail back to Bolinas Ridge and home.

The day dawned clear and sunny after several days of low clouds typical in the area. With a tail wind, to start my day, it was uneventful, but super fun. The new cross bike is really fun to ride. Compared to my previous steel cross frame, this new one is lighter by virtue of a lighter weight tubeset and the ride quality is superbe. The frame and fork both have clearance for a 45c tire (which I was running). This is the bike I use for all of my riding that involves dirt these days. It's my "mountain bike."

I do need to swap out the 11-28 8-speed gear set for a 30 or 32 if I'm going to continue to do stupid things like climb Shafter Trail as it is an 1100' climb in about a mile and a half. Yeah, it's steep. Luckily I had changed out my double crankset that I was running on the earlier version of this frame for a nice old Specialized triple crankset with a 24. A 24x28 gives me less than a 1:1 gear ratio and when I am ("am" implies I was and will be again instead of using "was") fit, it would be no problem. But I'm not currently fit like I used to be so I'll find a 30 or 32 for it soon.

Anyway, the climb up Shafter was actually fun - except for two gnarly steep sections which put me on foot. The roller-coaster back down the Ridge was super fun and the last section on a more smooth dirt/gravel road was fast. What a fun bike!

Teaser shot of the new frame.
From Ride Photos

It's hard to show how steep a trail is from a simple photo, but trust me, it's steep.
From Ride Photos

The fun begins.
From Ride Photos

From Ride Photos

Came home to find these guys in the back yard.
From Ride Photos

(What's playing: Curtis Mayfield Move On Up)


Jim G said...

Mike, how dry was Bolinas Ridge? I was at the trailhead off of Bolinas-Fairfax Rd. last Saturday, and things looked to be a soupy mess. Thinking of this weekend's LRLR, I'm hoping you can report that it was bone dry!


PLEASE give us the scoop on this new frame. 700x45s? SWEET! Maybe it'll be at the shop this weekend? ;)

blackmountaincycles said...

Jim, the south end of Bolinas Ridge is pretty wet. It dries up north of Randall.

The bike will be at the shop this weekend - a carrot to make it all the way to Pt. Reyes ... :)

Ben said...

Have you tried the Bontrager XDX 1.8's The 2.1's and 1.8's are my favorite tires around here, and the conditions look really similar.

Funny, the verification is "horsed" Appropriate.

blackmountaincycles said...

I've heard that about those 1.8 Bontragers. I'd like to see a 700x45/1.8 Small Block 8 or Nanoraptor too.