Fifty Plus (50+) - Got To Take the New 29er Out
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03-25-12, 04:00 PM
Today was the first day I've really have had a chance to take my new 29er out for a proper ride in the dirt. I went with a guy who knows the trails well and where they all are.
We stated out easy enough with a quick 5 miles to the trail head. This trail was pretty flat and wide. Being a rookie Ted thought this would be a good way to get to know the new ride and break into dirt riding. This was an absolute ball with some man made obstacles, trees to cross and just enough moisture in the dirt for good bite. I enjoyed this 5 miles of back woods a lot.
The next 15 miles was anything but easy. Lot of granny gear steep climbs, lots of rocks, lot of roots and big trees and tight steep downhill turns. This section was hard, slow, fast and rugged. I tried to ride slow on the downhills as much as I could but still found trouble.
Crash number one happen on a tight turn heading back up hill. I was in a low gear and hit a root which caused my back wheel to bounce causing my forward motion to stop and over I went. Crash number two was three feet later as I was trying to get going again spinning out on the wet rocks. That drew a bit of blood when I bounced off the big rock. I didn't feel too bad because a guy had entered the trail right in front of there and was having the same problem. Crash number three was trying to cross a stairs step over a tree. Not going very fast at all but just wasn't square and the bike slid off the side of the tree and on my butt I landed with a nice Cat 5 tattoo to add insult. Crash number four was on a rough downhill and I'm trying to go easy but clipped a tree with the left end of the handlebar. That spill tossed me down a small embankment with mud covering my right leg just for good measure. How I didn't get hurt in that one is small miracle.
All this abuse to me and the new bike never even so much as suffered a scratch that I can tell. That might change as I wash all of the mud off it later. But quick inspections on the trails after each get off didn't show any damage. It still rode and shifted just fine which is more than I can say about the rider. I've got a hunch tomorrow morning is going to feel like the first day of high school football practice.
All in all 20 miles of mud, rocks, roots, trees, hills and water crossings and I had an absolute blast. But man was it hard riding. 50 miles on my road bike is much easier :)
03-25-12, 07:53 PM
Sounds like to dove right in to the deep end of the pool. :thumb:
03-26-12, 04:06 AM
The first time I went off road was last year. (http://simplecycle-marc.blogspot.com/2011/08/learning-to-play-in-dirt.html)
Even the tree roots in the paths scared the crap out of me. It didn't keep me from goin' back though. It's like having a roller coaster in the back yard.
03-26-12, 08:29 AM
Just remember "Mo" is your friend. Momentum. Downhills: Get your weight back and let the bike go.
Sounds like you had fun. 20 miles is a loooooong way on a mountain bike. I'd say it's easily 4-5 times that many miles for a road bike to be equivalent.
03-26-12, 10:32 AM
BluesDawg: I jumped off the high board to boot! :)
irwin7638: The roots didn't bother me much. But the big rocks on descents is what got to me the most. Funny you mention Roller Coaster because that was the name of the last trail we rode. It wasn't as tight and technical as the section we just came off. It was however very narrow, fast, with very rocky downhill's leading to wooden bridges crossing water or no bridge at all. One mistake and you were in for a long hard fall down in the brush. And yes I will be back.
bigbadwulf: Mo, or lack of, was my undoing on all the falls except when I clipped the tree going downhill. I was trying to control my speed on this rough narrow decent and was probably going just a bit too fast. There was more than once I stopped to get by trees that were just too narrow for my 28" wide bars or at least seemed like it. I had a few close calls with trees brushing a shoulder once. That one got me good though. I'm still amazed I didn't damage the bike during any of this silliness. Oh and yes I was shot and worn out by the end of the ride.
03-26-12, 11:15 AM
There was more than once I stopped to get by trees that were just too narrow for my 28" wide bars or at least seemed like it. I had a few close calls with trees brushing a shoulder once. That one got me good though.
I can't believe how wide MTB handlebars have become in recent years. I had to cut 2" off each end of the Salsa Bend 2 bars I put on my Stumpjumper recently to get them down to a reasonable width for squeezing between trees on the trails I ride. All that width may be nice on the wide open trails out west, but around here it will get your fingers smashed and knock you down.
03-26-12, 01:16 PM
Now all you have to do is practice that short Offroad ride till you stop falling off. Won't be long before you learn how to get over the obstacles- The routes up the slopes and where not to go when it is muddy.
Taken me about 22 years so far but I only started riding in 1990.
03-26-12, 01:37 PM
My bars are 28". That is what I rode the dirt bike with. They initially felt wide to me coming off a 26" bike. But after a few rides I don't think about them one bit and we ride pretty tight stuff here. Midwest hardwood and pine and lots of them :)
Keep us updated on the rides. Nothing much more fun than a mountain bike.
Now it's time for some lights and night rides ;)
03-26-12, 02:44 PM
BluesDawg: I've got use to the wide bars since first getting the bike about month ago. I've put a little over 200 miles just riding to work and around just to get use to it. But when I was coming up on trees on each side of the trail it looked much too narrow. A couple of times there was plenty of room. However once it was very tight and I was glad I'd stopped or I would have hit two trees instead of just one.
stapfam: Funny I still fall off my road bike from time to time. Enough that one friend asked if I needed to put training wheels on so I would quite throwing my bike on the ground. The tree crossing kind of caught me off guard. I had already been over several of these stair step log crossings on the easy trail and was pretty comfortable doing so. What did me in on the one a fell on my butt on was a combination of things. One it was slightly up hit so I was going rather slow. Two I simply didn't concentrate on my line which is what really caused the fall. If I had been square to the log and not at a slight angle the bike wouldn't have kick out from under me. Yes I have plenty to learn still and I'll keep working on it.
bigbadwulf: My riding buddy loves to ride at night on the easy part we started with first. I'm sure it will be a hair raising adrenaline rush ride once I try that bit of craziness. I have great light (Minewt 350) on the bars but will need to get a helmet mount light before I try night riding on trails. I can't even imagine trying to ride the hard section at night even with great lighting. I'll have to improve my skills on that part during the day light hours.
Got a question that I've been meaning ask you guys. Do you ride only with others while trail riding for safety reason if one should get hurt? I can see riding the easy trails alone with not much to worry about but the technical hard stuff I'm not so sure.
One other thing that crossed my mind but was too late to do anything about while out... tire pressure. I had them aired up for road riding at about 60PSI and will plan ahead better next time and drop them down to about 35ish I would guess.
03-26-12, 02:55 PM
The Minewt 350 will be plenty for night riding. That is what I have and it's enough. I do also have an Urban 300 for the helmet but just the Minewt is enough to get you going. I rode many miles with just the Minewt.
03-26-12, 03:27 PM
fasthair - omg! (as they say) 60psi is way too much for riding in the woods, 35 is much better, depending on your weight of course. No wonder your tires were slipping off stuff.
Those silly wide handle bars will just not work for some of the trails around here. Riding through the trees like in the photo is not uncommon for around here. At my local trail system, some are even closer. I designed a couple of the trails there and I was using my 24" wide bars as an measure as to which sets of trees we could ride through. Well, not that bars are trending wider, that's a bit of a problem for some. Some can do a quick twist and get though, but others have to stop.
That's my riding buddy Beth in the photo.
03-27-12, 07:28 AM
60 lbs!? where did I miss that? OMG. Yeah, Somewhere between 25 and 40. Usually 30-35. It's a wonder you made it up ANY hill. LMAO...not AT you but WITH you :).
Usually the first thing I do with new riders is ask them how much air they have in their tires. Usually it's too high. Common mistake, especially from those coming from road riding.
With 35 lbs you'll think you are stuck to the ground now :)
03-27-12, 08:32 AM
missjean: I'm not sure I, or rather my handle bars, would fit in between those tress. When I first got this bike my first thought was I need to cut these bars down. I think it was mr.wulf that advised I ride it as is for awhile and and see how it feels. After awhile I could see the advantage of the wide bars with the big 29er and wide 2.1 tires. They do make the bike steer much easier.
mr. bigbadwulf: I'm still laughing at all of my rookie mistakes that day as there were many. But damn it was really fun. Did I say that already?
As for the 60psi like I said was in such a hurry to go play I forgot everything I knew. Hell I left my spare tube and CO2 kit laying on my kitchen floor! :) It didn't hit me about the tires pressure until a couple of miles in the dirt when I watched my friend go over a log and I noticed his tires deform and grip it as he rolled over it. I also never thought to ask him if he had a pressure gauge in his backpack (as you can see he was prepared...ugh) so I could lower the pressure. And I sure wasn't going to stick a twig in the valve core and lower the pressure and risk a flat since, you know, I left my tire kit on the kitchen floor! :)
03-27-12, 08:37 AM
Been there. Done all of them. That's why I can laugh.
I used to have this dream before a big dirt bike race. I'd get to the race and have everything all laid out and be ready to go to the starting line and I'd have EVERYTHING.......................except the bike :)
03-27-12, 11:35 AM
You do know this is the 50+ thread. :eek::eek: Sounds pretty aggressive, but a lot of fun. The best stories do come with scar tissue.
Congrats on the 29er excursion. I have a long way to go to wear out my 26, but dirt and mudd is the best riding. Hate those roots.
I have seen Maxxis recommending 60 psi on some of their tires, but that is for their SC racing team. Us day job people need some grip, 30-35 works for me. Pictures of the riding environment would be cool?
03-27-12, 12:48 PM
Daspydyr: Fully award of this being the 50+. I was thinking the same thing when I clipped that tree... boy your 50 now and not a kid anymore... what the hell you thinkin?
I picked up a used 2000 Cannondale F700 last fall that reignited my desire from my childhood for dirt riding. Than lust for a 29er set in and just couldn't shake it. I had to scratch the N+1 itch.
I'll get some pictures of the place next time I go out and post them. I wasn't thinking much of taking photos or my phone while riding except when I clipped that tree and I pulled my phone out to see if it survived the crash too. However during post ride recover beers sitting at a patio bar I did get a picture of my nice Cat 5 tattoo though.
03-27-12, 02:56 PM
Gave up serious Mountain biking 6 years ago as I stopped bouncing. A Fall became a Thud and it started to hurt too much too often. That was after 16 years of Mountain biking so Falls are to be expected. On the wide bars- I like them. Took a little while to adjust but really noticed how I like them when I ride the Kona that still has 23" flat bars. But it does depend on the type of riding. Most of my riding was XC on open trails although the odd tree and bush used to jump out in front of me on those trails.
I now class myself as a roadie but still have the MTB's and still get them out occasionally. But if you want a great Mountain bike experience- Get a Full offroad Tandem. Takes a while for the team to get together and even longer for it to decide not to throw itself on the ground at high speed but nothing can beat singletrack on a beast that doesn't steer- Doesn't go round Corners and the brakes don't work that well. They are unbelievable.
03-28-12, 04:38 PM
stapfam: Funny you bring up the tandem. My gal pal and I have been wanting to try one for sometime now. I've got a friend with a MTB tandem but I know there is no way she would follow me off road. Well I guess if she is on the back she would have no choice huh? :)
What I would really like to find is used Cannondale road tandem. They just don't come up for sale that often and never around here. Talked to my LBS and he said you can still order a new one that are leftovers from 2009. He said he doubts that after they are all gone that the new owners probably won't make anymore. I've seen photos of your ol' beast and it looks fun.
03-28-12, 10:03 PM
Fasthair, not after seeing that leg picture. You're getting a ton of wind drag with those bear limbs! :lol:
I still prefer trails to pavement. I'm learning to stay in my limits but can't help stretching them from time to time.
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