Thursday, August 28, 2014

No Solo

Not a big announcement, but something to consider:

Our blog is team supported now, meaning that there will no longer be a single author (Mostly Joe, Rod, then Damon and Charlie) as in the past.  It is an open forum for team cycling updates.

It is hoped by theorists that this will open more opportunity for quality ride assessments and critical thinking.  It has been stated by the Team SET Coaching/Hilti-NW think tank, rented thru federal funding,  that the " ... ample perfusion of thought and ideas pervasive on the web has equal  footing on the bounding of sociological logistical paradigms and multi-facitudinal perimeters of sub-cultural ethos."

That said, there is no filter on content.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ENDURO racing! Cascadia Dirt Cup Rainier recap

On August 16th I traveled to Ranger Creek off Hwy 410 for the 3rd race in the Cascadia Dirt Cup Enduro series. The trail conditions were epic and so was the course. All 240 of us climbed Ranger Creek trail to the start of the first section of the race. It was upper Palisades. The second section was lower Palisades. The trails were filled with rocks and roots in the dark forest. It was a chilly descent at first but things heated up quick. The transition back to the aid station was on the White River Trail, which I'd like to go back and meander along some more. I was seriously tired by this point and stopped along the trail to consume peanut butter and Nutella banana sandwiches. It was beautiful winding through the mess of ferns, moss, and roots. The last stage began with a slog of a climb up the forest service road to Sun Top. The race only sent us down lower Sun Top but it was plenty after the first half of the day. Lower Sun Top is fast and filled with needle sharp switchbacks. Like 12 of them. The switchbacks are not fast like the rest of the trail and I could smell brakes by the bottom. I could also feel the cramps in my legs by the bottom. I turned in my timing chip for a 30 minute race time, while overall I was in the saddle for 7 hours and thirty minutes. I placed 12/25 in the sport class for men 30-39. Not too shabby if you ask me, especially since the overall numbers for the day were 25 miles with 6400ft of climbing. I am looking forward to the next CDC race! They put on a great race on great trails. The people are pretty nice too. *thanks to Cascade Bob for the picture*


Review and 1st ride report

 2015 Giant Anthem 29er at Harris Park on the South and North Fork Walla Walla trails.

What better way to take the new steed out on its maiden voyage than for an Epic day in the Blue mountains?  After missing the boat on the early season order of a new Giant Anthem 29er and chomping at the bit as they have been sold out nationally for months, thanks to Scott’s cycles and the NW Giant rep for getting to me a 2015 Anthem as soon as it was available!  After debating on whether to go “tweener” (27.5) or “29er” for my new dually, opted to stick with the big wheel platform as I’m a XC rider with a knack for fast XC riding, keeping both wheels firmly on the ground, and LOVE the way the big wheels roll.  I must say, I definitely was NOT disappointed.  Plus the shock and parts spec of the aluminum Anthem 29er is stellar.  That said, I decided to upgrade, likely unnecessarily after really comparing the parts, to a full Shimano XT over the stock SLX, throwing on my nice and light Stans Crest/XTR wheels I outfitted the Anthem with 2.1” Maxxis CrossMark tires, thanks to our generous sponsorship from Maxxis.  Love how these tires roll over the trail, yet still corner and climb excellently.  I also picked up a pair of the 2.2” Maxxis Ikon’s, reviewed as an even better boot, which is hard to imagine!  Once I give those a roll, will offer up a future review.  Rounding out the customizing was the always personal cockpit changes (threw on my 3T LTD flat carbon 640mm bars, 120mm stem, and personal saddle, which happens to be a Fizik Arione Tri2).

I set off for Harris Park for a South Fork/Cabin Creek/North Fork trail option.  If you’ve ridden these trails, the 1st several miles are rocky and ROUGH.  I feel for newbies who head here for a 1st time mtb experience on an entry level bike and get beat up.  It takes several miles to get into the “good stuff”, which never disappoints, nice flowing single track with the spectacular the South fork of the Walla Walla river flowing alongside... makes for some great riding.  And the Anthem?  I’ve ridden this trail numerous times over the years of the evolution of the MTB, from back in the day of rigid 26” fork, to my previously best dually (2010 26” Anthem X), to last time on my hard tail Giant XTC Composite 29er.  This trip was, by far, my most enjoyable.  The bike performed flawlessly, with the Maestro suspension soaking up the rough terrain like someone came through and smoothed out the trail.  The new Fox Evolution series shock and fork are spectacular, LOVE the new “CTD” (Climb, Trail, Descend) settings.  I had dialed in the compression right in the middle on both, with the air according to Giant’s factory recommendations for my weight.  Perfect.  Was slightly concerned that would find the aluminum chassis “flexi” compared to the solid XTC composite hard tail sporting a down tube seemingly honed from a solid 4x4 post, but did not find it to be.  Not having that “solid” connection was DEFINITELY better in almost every situation!  Once beginning the ½ hour + steady climb up to the old plane crash site, I set the rear to “Climb” mode with a flick of the lever and was amazed at the climbing efficiency.  Over the years my least desirable feature of some dual suspension bikes has been the dreaded “bob”.  I did not experience this on the Anthem.  Tipping the scales in the mid 25 lb range allowed the big wheeler to feel exceptionally nimble under me, navigating the tight switchback climbs with ease.  Giant has their Anthem geometry dialed in.  Going down the other side into the North Fork trail, I flipped the shock levers to “Descend” and set off on a smile inducing, smooth, chatter free, fast and flowing downhill. Shimano’s latest disc brakes are truly amazing, 1 finger feathering is usually all that’s needed, and no rotor rub or fading after a long decent?  Wonderful.  Once at the bottom, flicked the shocks back into “trail” mode where I would spend much of the time.  Sections of the trail are accessible by ATV, and in places there are numerous “softball size” loose rocks scattered across the single/double track, always presenting a challenge, but the big wheels handle them better than anything else I’ve ridden up here.
This ride report would not be complete without mention of the encounter Dennis and I had with a young black BEAR as we were coming back in the North Fork Trail.  This encounter started with an odd sounding “cry” that had both Dennis and I thinking, “What was that?” Sounding like a cry or yelp, or possibly like a sasquatch thing I see is a young, 1 or 2 year old black bear shimming up a 2’+ dia tamarack tree 15’ off the trail next to us!  We’d observed some very healthy “piles of fresh berries” on the trail on our way up, with Dennis even convinced, after 3 ½ hours of riding, that there was a bear whistle in one of the piles he passed.  He also swore he saw a purple unicorn, so we’ll discount the source...
After the smooth flowing 15 minute decent back down from the plane crash site, enjoyed the 1st several miles of flowing singletrack back towards the park. Had been anxious to see how the last few miles into Harris Park would feel, as it’s a rough go, a b-b-b-brutally rocky/rough ride on a hard tail, so left the Anthem set to “descend” mode and was grateful for it.

Powering this 4 hour ride were several vanilla Gu gel’s and packs of “Chomps”, yet another generous sponsorship opportunity, thanks to the Hilti NW/Set Coaching/Scott’s Cycles team for putting together these great sponsors.

Summary:  The Giant Anthem 29er is an amazing ride.  Fast, very comfortable, agile, efficient and, well, a perfect choice for hours of mountain biking the great NW trails, be it the Blue mountains, Phil’s Trails of Bend, McKenzie River trail, etc.  I personally can’t wait to try it out at Beezley Burn race next year, which I have to say, courses like that are why I have come “back” to the dually after a brief foray back into the hard tail world.  Even though my mind tells me I’m 25 year old cat 1, the back and body are that of a 44 year old trying to squeeze cat 1 distances out of a cat 2 training volume, and the Anthem is just the ticket for that journey.

Thanks for reading,


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Little Bald Trail

Mark Holtzinger and I did the Little Bald Trail yesterday and were treated to the best conditions I've ever seen up there!  Some fresh rain has the trail dust free in August so go check it out if you haven't been there!!  There's something for everyone.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Scott's Cycles has a great ride coming up!  Mark your calender for the weekend of September 20th and 21st.  Check out the link below for details.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


The 8th annual Capitol Forest Classic was this weekend.  I you weren't there then you missed out on a fantastic event.  Saturday was a cross country race with the usual beginner, sport and expert loops.  The loops ranged from 10 miles to 24 miles of pure single track.  If you did the expert loop you got to do their signature Greenline trail twice which is an awesome 5 mile mostly downhill run!  Brian and Nici Cimmiyoti of Scott's Cycles came by for the cross country and placed 3rd and 2nd respectively in the Cat 2 class!  That's pretty dang good considering the loops all had some good climbs favoring the mountain goats!  I chose to get in some extra miles and did Cat1, I finished the race lets just say that.  After the cross country we were treated to BBQ chicken home made potato salad, fresh fruit, pie and tasty nectar from Three magnets Brewery!  Sunday was the Double D, we shuttled to the top of the Greenline and bombed down that then had a short couple mile pedal to the transition into Little Larch Mountain Trail.  I wish I would have pre-road this one.  LLMT is awesome, it's full of fun jumps, burms etc. Then back to the BBQ for more food and beer!

Great times to be had by all, I would suggest putting this one on the calender for next year you won't be dissapointed!