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Posts tagged “mountain biking

Just Riding Along… Back to trail basics.

Lately, I have called the Troll into tail duty, which has been an absolute blast. This bike rolls so smoothly in the woods that I am having a hard time with the thought of returning it to the road. Anyway, the busy schedules of two people has finally come together, so I can now introduce my friend Eric to the wonderful sport of mountain biking. Good times indeed.


Eric is a shapeshifter…


Nice scenery off of the Lake Trail.

Big thanks to CORA for the new trail addition, which makes a great trail even better. Go ride it!

Just keep spinning…

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Just Riding Along… Return to Caesar Creek.

Finally made the return trip up to Caesar Creek state park yesterday, this time with my brother in law. I have been to this park a few times, each time getting a little lost. This time however, we set out with the plan to figure out this trail system. So, after meeting up at the Harveysburg Rd. trail head, we were off to get lost.The trail overall is nice and smooth for the most part. There are lost of roots to make this trail a bit bumpy, especially on a fully rigid steel bike. Not unbearable, just rattling. The most surprising feature of this trail is the amount of climbing. Driving to the trail head through farmlands, and a relatively flat surrounding area, you would not picture much climbing action when on the trail. However, this trail was designed to put you in and out of every single little ravine in the vicinity. None of the climbs are of epic leg breaking length, but all are steep. And when I say steep, I mean you are hiking for some. It is quite the surprise.

Our route started at the Harveysburg Rd. trail head, which put us on the more techinical “Red” trail. After that section, we ended up on the “Blue” section, and from what I gather from looking at the map we rode the “Black” and some of the “Yellow.” We ended up not really sure where we were, but after consulting Google Maps on my phone, we realized that we were on our way to the campground. Not in our cards unfortunately. We doubled back at that point and figured our way back to our trucks.This is a great trail system, that from the looks of it gets lots of traffic. My only complaint is that there is no real signage. Many times we were just taking a trail at a junction to see where it ended up. But, that was the point of this ride, to figure out the system. Smooth single track and adventure just outside of Cincinnati? I will take that. Just keep spinning…

1st ride with the tire combo of the Maxxis Ardent 2.6″ paired with a Maxxis Crossmark 2.1″ in the rear.

Map of the area thanks to CORA.


Just Riding Along… Trail time.

Took the Troll out to Landen Deerfield trail yesterday for some much needed single track. Not a destination trail by any means, but a nice, well kept trail in the middle of a neighborhood. All single track, with a good flow, a few small climbs, a couple interesting creek crossings, and one very fun rock garden.

Only around 2 miles for the loop, but a good trail to ride loops on. My favorite aspect of this trail is that you do not need to carry any tools, camelback, etc. due to the fact that you are not very far from your car at any point.

Rode a few laps, and quickly realized that I am out of mountain bike shape. Hope to reverse that this year!

Just keep spinning…


Just Riding Along… First Impressions.

First impressions are huge. They are when you decide if you are going to like something or not, in a very quick amount of time. Today was the prime example of that. A bike ride materialized out of nowhere, so the Troll was loaded up and I was racing the sunset. Decided to make the journey to East Fork state park to see if the trails were ride-able, and luckily they were.

This is my first “real” mountain bike ride on the Troll, not just tooling around the local nature preserve. This is single track, and sweet single track it is. Anyway, the Troll performed as it should. It reminds me a lot of my former Haro Mary single speed. I make this comparison only due to the fact that the top tube is stretched a bit, and I am using the same On One Mary handlebars. They are both steel frames, so that plays into the comparisions as well. These similarities make me happy, as the Haro Mary was one of my favorite bikes. Solid, smooth ride characteristics, which is surprising for a rigid frame. The Maxxis Ardents are a big surprise at how well they handle too. They are huge, at 2.6″ wide, but they just lock into the soil and hold your line. I was planning to replace them for summer riding, but I might shelve that idea for the time being. Again though, this is only my first impression, not a long term test. I will probably change my mind in due time.

Things that I will be changing soon: I feel that I need a shorter stem. I am a little too stretched out for my liking, but it is not a deal breaker at the moment. Another change that should happen is my front derailleur. It is the only part out of the build that just does not work too well. It was cheap, and it works, but it will be a cheap and easy fix. Sub par shifting, luckily I am from a single speed background, so the chain stayed in the middle ring for the entire ride.

So not a long ride, but a ride nonetheless. It was nice to be out on the trails again, the only rider in the woods, watching the sun drop below the tree line while soaking up the remaining light on the sweet single track. Can’t wait to be out again…

Just keep spinning…


Salsa Fargo for the future?

So lately I have been digging around the interweb, doing lots and lots of searching for my next bike purchase. Cargo bike? Check. Road style bike? Check (Well, at least in the process of building, more on that later…) Dirt ready bicycle? No. So my search begins. But hold on, I need more than just a mountain bike, I need something versatile. Here is what I have been debating:

Surly Cross Check. Seems like this bike is the jack of all trades, does everything decent, but nothing superbly. I have no real idea on that, I have only test ridden one, but that is the jive that I get from reading various online forums. I like that you can fit fatter than normal tires, but not as large as I would like.

Surly Long Haul Trucker. Mostly the same as above. But, I think I would be on a 54cm, which would put me into the 26″ wheel category, which makes me think:

Surly Troll. I really like this bike. I feel that it with a set of Maxxis Hookworm 2.5’s would be the ultimate road bike destroyer. Or at least would be fun to ride. Big positive for it though is I would only have to buy 26″ tubes if I bought one. After riding 29ers in the woods exclusively for the past few years, riding on 26’s again might be a little weird, which leads to:

Salsa Fargo. This bike really intrigues me. Ever since it was introduced in 2008, I have always wanted one. Very cool bike that seems to be ready for whatever. Still somewhat road worthy, but basically a big drop bar 29er mountain bike, with every single braze on one could think of. As of today, this is the bike that I am settling on to round out my stable. This is why:

Most of my riding is on paved surfaces. Every chance that I get though, I am looking for somewhere off of the beaten path. And also, every vacation that my family takes, puts us in a prime mountain biking location, where having a CC or LHT might be a drawback. The Fargo seems to do it all. And now with my feet wet on the touring front, this bike only makes more and more sense. I have thought about a hardtail 29er, but I do not feel that I will be happy on a “normal” mountain bike. Like I stated earlier, I need a bike that is versatile, and I feel the Fargo is it so far. So far for now, that is. I change my mind more than my wife changes shoes…

Ramble on…


Off roading in Dayton…

Last week I spent some time in the Dayton area with my brother in law to hit up a couple different trails. This was the first time that I have been on singletrack in about a year, and thankfully my bro-in-law had an extra bike. First up for us was MoMBA. This is a very interesting trail that winds, twists and turns all over 100 acres or so. Very smooth, very twisty, and very enjoyable. One surprising section called the Hawk’s Lair was very uncharacteristic for Ohio, with lots and lots of rocks. At times it felt you were somewhere else. Very nice to have something a little more technical than usual. We hit every inch of trail, with the exception of the Upper Stealth, which we were okay with not riding it. All in all, around 50 minutes of riding time, around 6 or 7 miles total.

My grade for the trail: B-

Don’t get me wrong, it is a great trail. But is it worth driving to? Not really. Maybe it’s worth it if you ride MoMBA and the next trail…

After MoMBA, we drove the 20 minute drive to Yellow Springs to ride the John Bryan Singletrack. This trail is very smooth. Smooth as in you could probably get away with riding a road bike on it as long as you pick the right lines. Very little elevation change, and twisty and tight. We rode the entire loop which came in at almost 11 miles and around an hour of riding time.

My grade for John Bryan: B-

Another great trail for the area, but not really worth a long drive.

So these two trails get a B-, but when combined together, it makes a great day of riding, and that deserves an A+.


Kona Honzo…

Oh my… after I write a posting about switching to road biking, blah blah, Kona drops the Honzo on everyone! Holy crap! That bike looks amazing! Steel 1×9, with sliding dropouts for single speed conversions, can used tapered forks, can jump off of things, can ride all day, etc. Just check out the pics:

So Kona does not have a price listed, but I found on a dirt forum that the complete will be around $1750, and the frame around $550. Damn, looks like I need to start saving…

Looks like Kona hit this one out of the park. Thanks Kona, for making me want to mountain bike again…

All pics are from Kona’s site, check it here: Kona sneak peeks…
Kona’s site: Kona World…

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