Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dirt Fest 2012 part 2

Rolling the road section back to our campground

Adam Lipinski was slangin pies all evening from his homemade camp pizza oven.  He was turnin out a thin crust every 5 minutes with this oven that was at about 700 degrees F.  Faces got rocked.

Taylor Patterson rocks out the generator powered pinball machine.  The brake levers operated the flippers.

JPatt, Alex and I cruising back from Rays to Lake.

Cliff Jumping on the cruise

Matt and Mary (center) took us on a tour of the trails on the other side of the lake

Then I saw this spectacle of east coast ingenuity.  Single Speed and Full suspension.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dirst Fest Part 1

This past week I traveled to Pennsylvania for DirtRag Magazines Annual Mountain Bike Festival Dirt Fest.  I have been trying to capitalize on the fact that I can fly Southwest Airlines pretty cheap, and I have been wanting to demo more bikes in more dynamic terrain than what is usually afforded at demo days in MN.  The week before last, the Angry catfish had a demo day at Carver Lake.  While this was a great chance to try out a bike, its hardly the place to put a 4 inch FS bike through the paces.  The trails at Rays Town lake in PA offer the perfect mix of terrain, and there were no less than 10 different demo trucks, so there were tons of opportunities to ride a lot of different bikes and evaluate what was right for you.

Patterson concedes the position of Capt to Matt, instead relishing his role as Rear Admiral.
We arrived at Rays Town lake on Thursday night for the exhibitors cruise around the lake.  I ended up hanging with the guys from Swiftwick, talking about life back in the old country.  

TPatt and Graham counting cans
 I also got to chill with Graham Daniels of Cannondale over many Dales Pale Ales.  I explained that I had never really considered a Cannondale since I was not really familiar with the Lefty.  He offered to pull one apart for me the next morning before the expo opened, just to show me how simple they actually were.
The next morning feeling kind of bleary, I stumbled over to the expo area for my Lefty lesson.  It literally took less that 90 seconds to disassemble the fork for damper service.  Graham showed me that all you really need is the special tool to remove and replace the Cartridge Damper, which is recommended at least once a year.  The next thing I knew, I was on the Scalpel 29 headed up the hill with the Swiftwick guys for some early morning shred session.  We were immediately blown away by how nice the trails were.  The Allegripis trails at Rays Town Lake are not overly rocky, but require diligence since they allow you to carry so much speed into corners and rollers.  I was immensely impressed with how well the Scalpel performed, and how precise the steering was with the Lefty.  Matt, from Swiftwick, was on a rigid bike, but was still just absolutely thrashing it given the fact that he is pretty new to mountain biking. Ended up getting in over 35 miles of single track that first day, and ended the day at Harlan Price's Cornering skills clinic.  Harlan did a really great job walking everyone through the principles of trail riding.  He covered body position, line of sight, plus weighting and unweighting the pedals.  There really was something for everyone.  My only disappointment was that we did not have enough time for some actual trail time.

Harlan Price advises riders during a skills drill.

4 people and 3 tents

No shortage of good reading material in the ol' blue box

On Saturday, I got to use some of the basic skills that Harlan instilled in us, as I got to ride with a brand new mountain biker.  One of Pattersons college roommates, Alex, from VA came up for Dirtfest.  We put him on the Niner Jet RDO.  We practiced clipping in and clipping out a few times, talked about being in the "neutral" and "ready" positions for turns and obstacles, and the kept repeating the mantra "just keep pedaling, don’t stop".  Alex did great all morning, and never had a problem all day.  Its really fun to see people progress as a rider.
Badass Plumber

Patterson lets no demo bike stem go unslammed
Saturday afternoon I did the Rays to Lake ride.  Which was essentially a race paced ride out of the expo area up the road to the top of Osprey trail, then screaming down to the Hydro loop where we were supposed to meet a house boat.  It was sort of like a race in that only the first 30 people that finished would be able to board the houseboat (that also had a keg of Sierra Nevada).  This was also the only time during the weekend that I demo'ed a hardtail, a Cannondale Flash.  I was really impressed with that bike.  As we went up the road to the top I really started to see the flash shine.  It’s a 29'er that really does not start to shine until you put it in the big ring.  I was a little worried when we started down the descent, as I was in front of the group, but once we hit Hydro the group was pretty strung out.  There was only one SS'er that was with me, and I wanted to see how the bike handled in the corners, so I started really punching it out of the turns. I did not know where the boat was going to pick us up, so me and the SS'er just busted out another loop on Hydro.  So much fun on a super fun bike.
Then we started our cruise back to camp, that we interrupted for some cliff jumping and aquatic shenanigans.

More tomorrow.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Its a quality that I do not always exhibit, but today as I was getting ready to buy new Hyd. brake lines so I could move the Elixirs over to the Ferrous I thought it might be a good idea to measure before I cut.  I just assumed since I had originally shortened them for the Scott Scale that they would be too short for the long wheelbase of the Ferrous. 
The line length is perfect.
I just saved 40 bucks.
I think that deserves a special treat!