Thursday, September 9, 2010

Doing Some Dirt

 I got back out on the mountain bike Tuesday. I had a day off, it was kind of drizzly, and I wanted a little time on the bike as I'm still tuning my set-up. Checking in at 2:15, the Camp Robinson trails were all mine. I headed off for a loop of 5-Mile, then took Yucca to Christmas Tree and X-Mas extension, cut across to Dogwood, then out Merlin. Merlin has become one of my favorite trails because of the wide range of terrain and features that it offers. The addition of the new Shipwreck Trail adds a convenient return route to the parking area.Previously you had to either hike-a-bike up Pipeline or go downhill and take the circuitous route around Can-O-Corn before picking your poison for a trail choice for climbing back out from the bottoms. Shipwreck is a climb, but it is relatively short and direct, even given the numerous switchbacks it takes to get up the hill.
I don't have enough experience on a mountain bike to give much advice, but I have changed my tire selection  and suspension set-up. The change is like having a new bike that hooks up much better on the trail in a wide range of conditions. A little attention to these details can make you much more confident out on the dirt.

There is a little new deadfall, but the trails are in very good shape. Not being a summer mtb rider, I was surprised that they've stayed so clear of encroaching greenery. The little rain we had the day I rode made the trail surface just about right.

On Merlin, there's a new reroute around a tree that fell last winter. A big "thank-you" to the little trail fairies that do this kind of work!

Unabashed, uncompensated, unqualified product endorsement:
I think my bike fit is pretty good and I'm comfortable enough, but one area where I have been dissatisfied is with my bar grips. I replaced the reasonably adequate factory grips with some lock-on Oury models that were a little bigger and perhaps softer. An improvement, but I still had some discomfort and had to shake out the numbness from time to time. That's easily done when cruising on the road, but single-track usually demands my full attention and both hands. Enter Ergon grips. Diane and I did a ride with their team a few months back at the invitation of Competitive Cyclist and I had been interested in trying their stuff. Once I knew about the grips, I started recognizing them on the bikes of many of the best riders I know and the grips were given universal approval. I selected the Ergon GP1, size large, from the many choices within the product line. I have pretty big hands (and will say nothing to quell the rumors about guys with big hands.) and I'm generally more comfortable with a larger contact area. I've got to say that these things really are at least as good as advertised! I was on the bike for about an hour and a half and never gave my hands a thought other than perhaps, "sweet".

These Ergon grips have added a new level of comfort to my MTB ride. Good stuff. Go buy some.


Arkansas Mountain Biker said...

That is a dang good looking reroute there on Merlin.

Arkansas Mountain Biker said...

Oh, and they are not "trail fairies" more like Warriors, or Constructobots.

JBar said...

Oh? Have you met these guys?
And it is a lovely reroute. Much better than bushwhacking through poison ivy or dragging the bike under the tree through the poison ivy.
How about:
"Warrior Constructofairies"?
I can see a graphic novel coming out of this!