Five days of rain you say? I say Oh Kay! (Austin TX Schtuff)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Five days of rain you say? I say Oh Kay! (Austin TX Schtuff)

    So, like, last weekend was a fun group clinic at City Park, this week the rains in central Texas were crazy enough that areas were getting flooding of near biblical proportions (we have townships that got almost 20" of rain overnight in some places).

    Austin itself got quite a bit, enough in fact that the local MTB community was getting quite grumpy (not many of the TX trails are good for wet riding, wrong soil composition, very destructive). We have a "local" event The Guts n Glory that had to be post-poned a second time because of weather.

    But, thinking the thoughts that I thought and listening to my bike what was calling me, I sojourned out Saturday back to City Park as it is one of the better-when-wet places to ride (e.g. it's 99% limestone rock ... not enough "soil" to disrupt) and I found that things while definitely damp, gave inspiration for some other trails what may be good.

    That I may be able to put together a ride of near epic proportions and reclaim some of my soul lost to clouds, rain, and flourescent lighting during the week.

    It would take some roads to connect the dots.

    It would take lots of water.

    It would take some luck to avert the projected rainfall.

    It would also take two band-aids (one small, one large), neosporin, trailside wrist-watch repair, trailside spoke-nipple replacement, water donations from passing riders-who-are-done.

    And it would also take more than a little stupidity in my part, as this was going to be a solo effort.

    A side benefit was to play around with the settings and tweaking of my new rear shock ( 'zoke Roco TST R ) and see how things went.

    So, bright and early Sunday AM I set out from the swan pond next to the Arboretum. This was my way of "commiting" to the long ride since I would be 2+ miles from the car at the nearest trail, and of course getting a bit of warmup at the same time as the first trail I wanted to hit was Thumper and that takes a warmed up cardio-vascular system if you are like me (and don't ride it daily like some).

    I got all setup to ride, and lo and behold I already had a blown spoke. Or did I? Upon closer examination it was a blow spoke nipple! Well, at least that's "easy" to fix (I have spares around for just such an emergency), so off came the bolt-on rear wheel, tire, tube, and rim strip. Out comes the broken bits. In goes the new bits. Little bit of plucky truing, and everything back together. Sure, it was a 30 minute delay, but that gave my breakfast time to digest.

    So off I went, up the steepness of the paved trail, down the steepness paved trail, up the steepness paved trail, cruise down the road, and finally to the Thumper trail-way, who'se that?

    So I ran into Mr. Fish and Little Fish, as they were getting ready to hit the trail. Little Fish is competitively racing in the NORBA XC series, and AFAIK getting ready for Mt. Snow - good luck Little Fish! But to keep from slowing them down off I went on my solo cruise. Eventually of course they were to catch up to me, and pass...and this was the last I was to see of them...


    The blurriness reflects my hypoxic state at the time they passed.



    Did I mention it was like 150% humid too? Dewpoint of like 80 with ambient temp of like 80, just drippy.

    It was also a neat surprise to run into a group of male deer, like eight or ten of them, working their way through the greenspace that Thumper runs through. They were not too nervouse about me being around, but I still could not get them to sit for a group photo, just singles ...



    Eventually I made it around the loop, and wandered off down Youpon Rd towards points south. The best part of going down Youpon was discovering that the Quasi is completely sable at 47.1 mph (see GPS image later on), fun! Somehow more confidence inspiring with the brakes on it vs my road bike what has those teeny little brakes.

    So I continued on my way, dropping into the hills here and there, wandering around and up and down, dropping out and connecting with some pavement. Finding trail did not know was there, finding some old trail, finding some new trail, just finding places to put my tires down that wasn't paved.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    At one point I ran into a bunch of people loosely affiliated with Hammerhead Bikes and some other peoploe with them just along for the ride, including the quickly recovering Bruzed who was in the hospital with sever lacerations on an elbow from one of our trails not just a few weeks ago!

    Climbing up one hill, taking routes less travelled, I ran into a great spot for a Titus Marzocchi Pron Display and could not resist...



    At about the "half way" point of my ride, I had to stop and refill on water and eat something, I'd now been out on the bike for about four hours (most of it actually in motion) and for this Clydesdale it was a good and soul refilling ride up and down the hills. At the convenience store I ran into a new product by Monster beverage company that I may have to either look into and buy stock in, or get banned as it is double-crack quality ...



    Mmmm, yummy. Probably horrid for me, but between being cold and wet it was very good.

    During the second half of the ride, which was more of the same, I came to the conclusion that MTBing in Austin pretty much is pretty great. Where else do you have 6-20" of rain on Wed and this trail condition on Sunday?



    I also got reminded of what could be a signature trail feature of Austin (and central Texas in general) as it appears in varying degrees all over the place. I had a very hard time mentally grappling with this terrain for a few years after I got here. But now, while I certainly don't claim to be the expert on this kind of riding ( anthonys will probably be a hero of mine for this kind of stuff for a long time coming ) I feel pretty solid. Oh yeah, the trail sample I ran into ...

    from the back


    from the side


    Now, since I found this rock at about 5:45 I was too tired to hit it (it's also near the crest of a modest climbing turn ... that's another signature combination around these parts, climbing turns with technical trail features at the exit to the turn) but I could have ... and of course if I had found it going down it'd been dead drop fun.

    And, for the record, it was like 10 minutes later I had a massive endo rounding a downhill baby-head-large-ball-bearing-rock infested turn. I almost core-sampled myself on a stump at the time. I forgot to snap pix of the scene, but it was a harsh enough crash that something ripped my watch of my right wrist (leaving a nice cut on the arm from wrist and heading off at a J hook), slicing my left pinkie (which let me exercise the 1st aid kit I keep in the camelbak - 1st time use on that one), "harshing" both knees (the left knee front and back), and somehow arranging to have something try to dig some meat out of my chest.

    left knee, post ride, the Mrs thought this looks horrid, but it's really not that bad a scrape


    ...and one for the ladies, kinda, if they're into scars...


    I *swear* I wasn't bombing at the time.

    After all that, reminding myself that it was this area that put Bruzed in the hospital for a few days, and noting that the weather was starting to look like it was going to close down (e.g. dark skies, temps dropping, wind rising) it was time to start methodically cruising my way back to the start point. I may or may have "had it" for another couple hours of MTB, but since this was the first big run after WEEKS of rain cancelled stuff and barely getting any riding in, I was happy.

    Oh yeah, totals for the two days?



    and profile for just Sunday's ride ...



    Oh yeah, the new rear shock? I've decided it's the bomb.

    It feels like it precisely matches the behavior of the fork, both set around 25% sag w/o gear included. I did not often switch the Roco TST into the "CL" mode, but a couple times. On the trail it still had compliance in that mode, and on the road it just gave a firmer more efficient hill pedalling feel to the bike. On the downhill stuff it feels nice and plush like the fork does.

    Astute readers may notice something peculiar about the bottom-out chamber on it though, let's see who and if they can guess why. Heh.

    And yes, there's lots of pics of my bike.

    I love my bike, don't ask me if I love her more than my wife, not a fair question to ask a dirt-head.

    Ptui!

  2. #2
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    twas good seeing you out there yesterday brother Ted

  3. #3
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    Vewwy Nice!!

    Lot the write ups and pics. Glad you were able to get out and exercise between the puddles.

    I have said brake parts when you'd like to meet up.

    FYI, couldn't use your middle ring or the Mono Veloce one.

    Hopefully picking my titus up today from the shop.

  4. #4
    amar la vida de dos niner
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    Quote Originally Posted by eokerholm
    Hopefully picking my titus up today from the shop.
    Call first, Eric.


    Ted, cool post! Thanks for sharing. Nice to see some familiar scenery. Arranged a 24-hr adventure-race workout in that general region a few years back. The rappel was right there at the scenic overlook where your bike was posing. Fun times.

    You do many more of these epic training rides, and I'll be chasing you *up* the hills as well as down!
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by scorpionwoman
    CYou do many more of these epic training rides, and I'll be chasing you *up* the hills as well as down!
    Thanks, I think.

    "Training ride" - I thought I was just out having fun.

    :^)

  6. #6
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    Fabuloso....

    Awesome write up, Mr. Bear! What a soul cleansing ride.
    Sorry about the endo thingy. Those rocks are worse than the ancient Maya for wanting a bit 'o blood sacrifice to sanctify the whole experience. Pics of the Moto area great - I think it really likes to pose, especially with a new Roco. I think you had just gotten the Moto when I first showed up for a Church of the Knobby Tire ride at Walnut after mangling numerous other frames. Quite a few game but somewhat hungover IT types were there, and you led us on a "backwards" ride.

    Yeah, those Pescados are simply amazing. I remember Mr. Pescado and the ninos out at Muleshoe about 3 or 4 years ago. They were just skinny little kids, but they were REAL FAST skinny little kids.

    PS. I know you love Maria more, but the guy and his bike thing.....it IS something special.

  7. #7
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    Smile Edit!

    Quote Originally Posted by June Bug
    I think you had just gotten the Moto when I first showed up for a Church of the Knobby Tire ride at Walnut after mangling numerous other frames.
    Ack, classic bad sentence structure: should be
    When I first showed up for a Church of the Knobby Tire ride at Walnut, I think you had just gotten the Moto after mangling numerous other frames.

    There, that's better!

  8. #8
    amar la vida de dos niner
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear
    "Training ride" - I thought I was just out having fun.

    :^)
    And that, my friend, is what training *should* feel like.

    June Bug, your syntactic correction made me giggle.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

  9. #9
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    June Bug, it's been bugging me REAL BAD that while I *know* I know you I can't picture your face. PM me a picture link sometime if you've got one - I probably just haven't connected the name to the face (I'm known on multiple continents as bad at that).

    Ah but I love the "Backwards Rides" - challenges peoples' comfort zones with their own comfort zones.

    Yes, there were many things paid to the Biking Gods to lead me to the Quasi.

    Yes, regular deposits into the Interdimensional Bank of Pain must be made. I am really entertained by my own contributions yesteday, but they're quite irritating when I have to work with my hands at a keyboard - all day long.

    I also agree with Scorpion that it's very cute to post a correction on yourself. Particularly considering the liberties taken with language in the various forums. :wink:

    Scorpion, yes, the little gal does like to strike a pose, and seems to strike a bold one. She's definitely more sure on her "feet" than I am in most places, but we seem to get along well. FYI, Monkey Schwine gave her the Blossam Approval on the back of the seat tube.

    I guess you may be right about "training" - i dunno - but I do know that four years ago I could not have done yesterday's ride on a 20 # hardtail on paved trails.

    I guess I also have to admit to having a nice 30 mile ride on my road bike this morning, utilizing many of the same hills, confirming at least that I'm addicted to cycling

  10. #10
    amar la vida de dos niner
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    Quote Originally Posted by bear
    Monkey Schwine gave her the Blossom Approval on the back of the seat tube.
    Made me look again.

    Quite lovely.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

  11. #11
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    yeah.. just who is June Bug?
    I have been wondering that myself

    f this, I am going to New Mexico Wednesday AM for 5 days of riding

  12. #12
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    Have a great trip Chaz!

  13. #13
    amar la vida de dos niner
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammerheadbikes
    f this, I am going to New Mexico Wednesday AM for 5 days of riding
    Braggart.

    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." Anais Nin

  14. #14
    Builder of Trails
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammerheadbikes
    yeah.. just who is June Bug?
    I have been wondering that myself
    June Bug is a lovely, fit, and experienced mountain bikers I have the privilege of knowing. Her name is Maureen.

    D

  15. #15
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    Way to keep the Quasi young with the new shiny bits. She's a great platform and timeless design.

    Btw, where did you get the Rocco? I hear they are pretty hard to come by right now.

    Oh, and good looking ride. Does the max speed on your gps really say 47 mph? Yowsa. That's pretty good for a flatlander.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
    Isaiah 58:14

    www.stuckinthespokes.com

  16. #16
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    Is the ROCO pushed, or is there some other unique feature you were referring to?
    Quote Originally Posted by Owler
    Do not dispute right of way with a tree.

  17. #17
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    The Q just keeps aging well. I sure didn't NEED to put new bits on her, but it sure was fun.

    I got the Roco and coil at Universal Cycles ( www.universalcycles.com ), I went through my LBS first but after two weeks they couldn't get one even "on the way" so I changed direction.

    Yes, the GPS does say 47.1 mph, 'twas a steep downhill stretch between trails, on the road. My best "maintained" speed on flat hardpack or trail is 25-30 mph but I can't hold it too long (yet). I can more likely maintain "close to" 20 mph if I'm warmed up and not tired out (2x9 drivetrain, 22/36 x 12x34 ), just to keep it real.

    The Roco is stock as manufactured. It is fairly tunable as is, but I'm sure Push will eventually make it even better. At this point I'm still dialing in my double-zoke setup in, but she's pretty nice now.

  18. #18
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    Five minutes of rain right now would be wonderful in western Colorado, not a drop in a month.

    Thanks for the story,

    beanman

  19. #19
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    You can take north texas' rain, we're over the average annual rainfall already. I don't remember what the sun looks like. Here are some photos of the trail I usually ride
    Quote Originally Posted by Owler
    Do not dispute right of way with a tree.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikinAggie
    You can take north texas' rain
    Central too, as I'm sure Marble Falls would agree.

    We've got some trails with partial flooding down here in Austin area too, mostly the ones next to the river/lakes, but thankfully other rock-based options.

    BeanMan, thanks for reading and liking it. :^)

  21. #21
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    Hey Bear, Do you know a cyclist in Austin named Steve Flood?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by stylie
    Hey Bear, Do you know a cyclist in Austin named Steve Flood?
    Name doesn't ring a bell, and with the last name Flood you'd think even my memory would hold onto that one.

    Hmm.

  23. #23
    mtbr member since 1996
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    wait a second....good trails in Central/south texas?

    I'm going nuts here in San Antonio. Might have to check that place out.

  24. #24
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    Doug,

    You need to get your lazy butt up to Flat Rock Ranch.

    Only like 30 minutes away from S.A., 25 miles of trail goodness, all in fab conditions (okay, there are a some puddles, and the hill tops of the Upper Loop were bad yesterday morning but were good by the evening).

    I spent like seven hours on my bike there on Sat riding a mix of stuff totalling about 34 miles (yeah, some repeats, but worth it).

    There's a group ride up in here in Austin at City Park at 10am, you have time to make that if you see this message.

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