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Thread: Roots

  1. #1
    born to chill
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    Roots

    Long, but it's been a while...

    It had been nearly a decade since I’d ridden a bike with a full gearset, and right around that time was when I had first discovered downhilling. Aside from the occasional climb here and there, pedaling was something I had left behind long ago though it wasn’t always like that; in fact when I first started riding mountain bikes I was making the transition from BMX bikes which I’d ridden all of my life on the street and down at the local jumps. My first mountain bike ride was on a borrowed hardtail with front suspension forks back in 1994, a fateful ride I’ll never forget. But it covered all the bases, we rode some dirt road, we pedaled cross country and we had stretches of downhill, I loved every minute of it.

    So now, after a long hiatus spent doing shuttle runs and summers at the ski resorts in both Southern and Northern California, I have decided to make a return to my roots. Well, that and the fact that riding mostly downhill eventually takes a toll on a guy that likes his beer and cheeseburgers, and the last 5 years have added an extra 20lbs to my frame I’d like to burn off.

    I’d taken my new Breezer Thunder Pro out on a couple of short jaunts around the neighborhood, just dialing things in. All in all I think on those 2 or 3 rides I kept it under 6 miles, but I was really just getting things situated. Then we had a short heat wave making riding a bike sound about as unappealing as playing pick-up sticks with your butt cheeks, so it was a welcome reprise when the weather today while still pretty warm, was definitely tolerable. So I hopped on my new ride and headed down the street.

    It took about 4 and a half miles of rolling street to get down to Lake Natoma where there are a lot of short singletrack spurs off of the main paved American River trail that runs the full perimeter of the lake. By the time I had made it there I was just thinking to myself that even with the various rolling climbs it really wasn’t that bad, but I was mostly looking forward to getting off the pavement. Man I had forgotten how much easier it is to ride a bike with gears, makes my 38lb downhill singlespeed bike feel like a freakin’ tank, and once I hit the dirt, there was just no comparison.

    I have to admit, I haven’t ridden much in traffic in many years and I have to tell you, coming down Hazel was a rather… well, exhilarating experience doesn’t quite cover it. Let’s just say I’m going to pick a route through residential next time I head down to the lake. Incidentally, I did notice a few other things as a casual observer now riding amongst others. I’m just so used to waving and saying hello to other bikers when on the trail, it is a habit that carried over to American River trail which was flooded, and I mean flooded, with mostly roadies. I couldn’t seem to get so much as a nod however and definitely had no return waves, weird. Oh, and wow do roadies yell a lot! “on the left” “on the right” “rider up” “walker up” “curve somethingorother”… wtf?

    Needless to say it was a welcome sight when I saw a bit of dirt singletrack off to the left peeking out from behind some trees. I ducked off that pavement and cranked my way up and away from the masses into what might as well have been another planet. Just over the ridge, the people yelling faded away and I was finally enjoying the bliss of riding alone on a nice little singletrack. Nothing crazy mind you, mostly flat and rolling with a little bit of rocks and one very short but pretty fun rocky descent. I have to admit, that hardtail and the Fox fork soaked everything up just fine and it put aside any concerns I might have had about being able to rock a non-suspended bike off road. Also I’m trying out something new called power straps, not sure what I think of them, but I do really like how I can get some upstroke power and slip out of them like they weren’t there if I wanted. It is nice being able to have that extra pull but still wear my Vans.

    After the little downhill was a pretty steep uphill, though short, it was rocky with loose dirt, but dropping down into my lowest gear I was able to power up out of it and I started upshifting as I rolled out mashing down on my pedals and blasting down the trail. I wish I had a picture of the grin on my face as I pounded down the trail; cranking away, listening to my heavy breathing, the chain going through its motions and the wind in the trees. This is what mountain biking is all about, it’s good to be home.

    I kept pedaling around; exploring the various offshoot singletrack trails, and came across some old electrical motor and tank thing. Not sure what they were but it was pretty neat so I stopped to take a picture. It reminded me of one of the other cool things about getting back out there with your bike, you do find some interesting abandoned buildings, old structures, and equipment from time to time. I popped back onto the bike and continued the ride, eventually finding my way back to the street just past a horse stable that offered trail rides, mental note come back and try that, only to find that the way out was up a super steep road climb, though it ended up not being super long it was pretty tough for someone who hasn’t pedaled much.

    The summit was a welcome site, and after riding back home and completing the loop I realized I had done an 11 mile ride, which was actually more than I thought I could do. On another note, I was extremely impressed with the new bike. The component selection made for smooth solid shifts, the hydraulic brakes were extremely responsive and very smooth to engage and the Fox fork absorbed hits like a desert race truck. I could really feel the lightness of the bike as I pedaled around, and the gears were awesome, oh how I missed having gears, I had forgotten the places you can go. At some point I’ll have to do a more complete review once I’ve got a few hundred miles on the bike and really broken things in, but I think we’re off to a great start.

    It’s good to be back.
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    FATRAC - Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Coalition - Member
    My personal site - Living single, seeing double, jumping triples

  2. #2
    Rookie
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    Awesome!
    Ruder than you.
    Ska is not dead!

  3. #3
    born to chill
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    Thx It is good to be really riding again. I know I could use a little more extension on my seatpost, but I've got it to where if I stand I still have a little extra room, just enough that I can still move around for DH stretches and enough that I can bunnyhop enough to clean small obstacles.

    Going to try to get in an hour ride daily since I've got some local trails, this weekend hit up Salmon Falls I think.
    FATRAC - Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Coalition - Member
    My personal site - Living single, seeing double, jumping triples

  4. #4
    Singlespeed Enduro Poser
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    Dude, i can't believe you dropped the SS DH rig! That thing was bad @ss!

  5. #5
    born to chill
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott forty G. View Post
    Dude, i can't believe you dropped the SS DH rig! That thing was bad @ss!
    Hah, I wouldn't say I've dropped it, so much as I've added an XC bike and shifted my main focus to pedal rides instead of strictly DH runs I suspect my next bike will be somewhere inbetween, nice mid-weight full suspended all mountain bike with gears. Till then, I'm diggin the Thunder quite a bit. I forgot how much I both hate and love climbs
    FATRAC - Folsom-Auburn Trail Riders Coalition - Member
    My personal site - Living single, seeing double, jumping triples

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