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freighttraininguphill 02-06-12 02:24 AM

MTB Fun! First MTB ride in 15 years on new bike (pics & video)
Yesterday had to be the most fun I've had on a bike in years! I took my brand-new Trek Wahoo Disc 29 up to Auburn for some climbing and descending bliss. These are some of my favorite trails from the good old days back in 1992-1993 when I weighed 120 pounds.

All of these trails have technical sections to keep things interesting.

The first trail is Clementine. It starts at the bottom of the canyon by the American River and climbs up to the next trailhead (Fuel Break). Clementine starts out as doubletrack, narrows to singletrack for a while, then widens to doubletrack again as it climbs.

Fuel Break climbs for about 1/2 mile, descends for 1/4 mile, climbs again, then descends to the next trail, Culvert. Culvert drops down to Old Foresthill Road.

Confluence is the really fun downhill that starts at the OHV parking area. After I finished that one, the real suffering began. I started up the short steep part at the beginning of Stagecoach Trail, but instead of making the left turn at the first switchback, I accidentally overshot it and continued on to the next switchback. When the grade got steeper instead of leveling off somewhat like it's supposed to, I started to wonder if the trail got re-routed in the last 15 years.

I spun out a few times and had to restart. Great fun! Other times my front wheel lifted off the ground, forcing me to stop. I was starting to wonder if I was going to have to walk this one, but I eventually made it all the way up by pedal power.

Where I ended up was the top of the Ridgeview trailhead. I went back down and explored some trails off of the steep climb. Found another short steep climb, and after several tries I made it up that one. Picking the right line was absolutely essential with this one. It was technical and covered with pine needles.

I went back to my truck to get more water (gonna have to get a Camelbak, I guess), and started up Stagecoach again. This time I didn't miss the turn-off. After the steep part, the trail leveled off and there was very little suffering for the remainder of the climb. Near the top I saw a group of hikers heading down. One of the women said "Good job!" (you can hear it in the video), and I thanked her.

After that climb I continued climbing on the pavement on Russell Road, then turned around and enjoyed the descent back down Stagecoach.

I'm going to have to remove the spacers and slam the stem to cut down on the front wheel coming off the ground on steep climbs.

Here's the video. It's raw footage, so my standard heavy breathing audio warning applies.

One of the technical turns on Culvert
technical turn on Culvert Trail by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Confluence trailhead
Confluence trailhead by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Middle fork of American River as seen from Confluence Trail
Middle Fork of American River seen from Confluence Trail by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr
Middle Fork of American River and Confluence Trail by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

American River and Clementine Trail
American River and Clementine Trail by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Start of Stagecoach Trail steep climb
Start of Stagecoach Trail climb by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Ridgeview trailhead
Ridgeview trailhead by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Steep sufferfest climb I wound up on by accident
Steep climb above Stagecoach Trail by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Short steep climb it took several tries to clean
Short steep climb above Stagecoach Trail by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

More pics here:[email protected]/

bradtx 02-06-12 09:20 AM

freighttraininguphill, Well your video pretty much seals the choice of bike I take with me to visit my son in the Bay Area! Your last picture reminds me of a place in Dallas (I don't remember where). I made it, but it was brutal.


freighttraininguphill 02-06-12 09:59 AM

I really love how this 29er handles! My old mountain bikes had 26 x 1.95 tires and were a little rougher over trails like these. This one seems to handle rocky trails better.

Mr. Beanz 02-06-12 10:30 AM

8:30-9:15 is the best part!:roflmao2:

Funny how one little rock or taking the wrong line can throw you so far off on a settep section. Did you noitce how steep the grade was at that point?

BTW, keep an eye on that Garmin while off road. A buddy lost his on the descent once. Luckily another partner went back as this dude had to be at work shortly after the ride. Different older model so hopefully these Edge 500's don't have that problem.:p

freighttraininguphill 02-06-12 10:57 AM

LOL! I know! I forgot the NSFW language warning. :D :p

I can't look at the Garmin on climbs like that. I couldn't even look at it on the steepest climbs in San Francisco that I did the day before Thanksgiving last year. I'm often leaning over too much to read it, or I'm concentrating on just making it up the hill, like with this mtb climb.

Thanks for the heads-up about the Garmin. :) So far the Edge 500 mounts have held firm, so hopefully they redesigned it.

Mr Sinister 02-06-12 11:20 AM

Did I hear a swear word, when you couldn't make it up the hill the first time, at about 8:28?

That was also my favorite part for a couple of reasons...

1. I know that at sometimes I'm not the only one who either can't make it up a hill, or just falls when clipped in.

2. I'll never be the only one who doesn't swear at something when things don't go as planned.

3. We all make some sort of mistakes.

freighttraininguphill 02-06-12 11:31 AM

Yup, you sure did. ;) Picked the wrong line, spun out, and stalled. Climbs like that are one of the reasons I absolutely refuse to use clipless pedals. I use toe clips and straps instead.

jyossarian 02-06-12 12:04 PM

Descents like those are the reason I use clipless pedals. I've been bounced off platforms and it's always ugly. Also, those climbs looked brutal but the descents looked fun.

Leebo 02-06-12 12:45 PM

Rethink that clipless pedal thing. I find them very useful for my dirt rides. Keeps the feet on the pedals for downhills/bumps. Able to lift tires better for bunny hops/ log overs. Max climbing efficiency for steeps, pedal on the upstroke. Always able to come out of them, it will become second nature to you. They always come out on the crashes, you can set up the release tension for your riding style. Straps? for off road, that's what they used 20 years ago when nothing better was around. Try shimano 520's, YRMV. Yes thee is a small learning curve.

freighttraininguphill 02-06-12 01:00 PM

I had several slow speed crashes when I used to use SPDs years ago. Maybe I didn't give them enough time, but I'm afraid of falling over while clipped in and rolling back down the hill like a snowball! :D I'll have to think about it.

I do pull up while climbing with toe clips. Much more efficient than platforms. I know, with clipless I could also pedal in circles by pulling back as well.

Leebo 02-06-12 01:07 PM

Yes, I've had a back roll with the seat slamming into my chest after I landed on my back, that was rider error not pedal release. For those 520's, just twist your heel away for the bike.
Small learning curve with them.

freighttraininguphill 02-06-12 02:55 PM

Ouch! Hope you weren't hurt.

The SPDs I had were the same way-twist your heel away from the bike. For some reason I still had times when I either forgot to do that or couldn't do it in time, which caused the slow speed crashes.

iforgotmename 02-06-12 04:15 PM

Looks like a good time.

freighttraininguphill 02-06-12 04:22 PM

Yup! I have another old favorite in mind for this weekend if it doesn't rain.

freighttraininguphill 02-07-12 02:01 PM

For those who like to see and hear me suffer, here's a good one for ya! ;):D This is more of that steep climb I ended up on by accident when I overshot the switchback on Stagecoach.

I'm probably going 2-3 mph here, but I'm definitely living up to my username! :lol:

Raw footage, so my standard heavy breathing audio warning applies!

Hill-Pumper 02-07-12 05:25 PM

OK, so this is the first time that I have watched one of your videos. The heavy breathing wasn't anything to distracting for me anyway. That out of the way, looked like a fun ride. I ride a 29er myself, and find myself only wanting a 26 for smooth, fast, tight downhill.There are a couple of other things that I want to comment on. First, I noticed what looked like your front end bobbing while on some of the climbing sections. I could not tell if it was just the camera or your fork was unlocked. I almost always lock my fork on the climbs unless the terrain is really technical because it it keeps me from wasting energy.The second thing is about using SPD's, if you have not tried them in the last few years, there are a newer style of cleat out that helps aid in getting out of the pedals. The Shimano SH-56 cleats are what to look for if you ever decide to give clipless pedals a try again.

freighttraininguphill 02-07-12 05:41 PM

I think it was the camera. My fork was unlocked, but most of the climbs were pretty bumpy, and most of the footage from that ride was very bouncy as a result. I'm a female cyclist and the camera was mounted on my chest so, um, you know. ;):D:o

Thanks for the tip about the clipless. I will keep that in mind if I ever decide to go that route. Right now I need to get a Camelbak before my next ride. I spent quite a bit on bike stuff this month, so hopefully that will be it for a while.

Daspydyr 02-07-12 05:49 PM

I love Mountain Biking big time. You are set up well and the scenery is primo. Congrats.

I have been using platforms with pins and a pair of Five.Ten shoes with that sticky Stealth sole. I am amazed at how close to being clipless it is. I have tons more rocks around here and getting off the bike instantly is huge when I do something stupid. But the big thing is having a blast, improving your health and liking the ride. Keep those videos coming. in the clearance section sometimes has some really smoking deals on Hyrdation packs. I like mine. I bought a 70oz and now wish I had gone for the 100 oz. Plus I have enough room for tools, a couple snack bars a tube and a spare pair of reading glasses if I need to repair something on the trail.

freighttraininguphill 02-07-12 07:21 PM

Wow! Hydration packs sure have improved since the early 90s when I last owned one. I had the plain white Camelbak with no extra storage. I think I paid somewhere between $40-$50 for it.

This is the one I think I'll get.

I also recorded video with the ContourHD mounted on my helmet, but the footage was just as bouncy, plus it had way more wind noise and a knocking sound coming from the mount, even though I made sure it was good and tight before I started the ride.

Even worse, the camera being higher up made it look like I was crawling up all the climbs and descending like I'd never been on a mountain bike before. I'm really glad I had the GoPro mounted lower, as that footage turned out much better.

I did get some nice screen captures from the Contour though. Here they are.

Clementine Trail (facing south)
Clementine Trail singletrack (facing south) by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Clementine Trail (facing north)
Clementine Trail singletrack (facing north) by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Confluence Trail and some cliff climbers
Confluence Trail and people climbing the cliff by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Culvert Trail
Culvert Trail by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Steep climb at start of Stagecoach Trail
Short steep climb at bottom of Stagecoach Trail by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Further up the steep part of Stagecoach
Stagecoach Trail steep climb by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

A little further up the steep part of Stagecoach. Kind of rough here.
Stagecoach Trail steep climb 2 by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Switchback I overshot the first time I climbed Stagecoach
Stagecoach Trail first switchback by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

The steep climb I ended up on instead (grimace!)
Steep climb above Stagecoach Trail, just past switchback by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Stagecoach Trail first switchback, the second time up when I actually went the right direction
Stagecoach Trail first switchback 2 by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

freighttraininguphill 02-07-12 07:22 PM

Rougher section of Stagecoach, but not as steep
Stagecoach Trail rough section by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

Smooth section of Stagecoach
Stagecoach Trail smooth section by freighttraininguphill, on Flickr

jyossarian 02-07-12 11:17 PM


Originally Posted by freighttraininguphill (Post 13823078)

Yeah, I'm not sure I'd want to be clipped in on this section...

funrover 02-08-12 01:58 PM

Rock on man! For me the dirt is where it is at, thanks for this post!

freighttraininguphill 02-08-12 02:15 PM

You're welcome! :) I always enjoy your mtb pictures. I think they helped motivate me to finally quit procrastinating and buy a properly fitting mtb.

This weekend's weather forecast is looking perfect so far, so you know what that means. ;) Another old favorite! :D

Seattle Forrest 02-08-12 02:39 PM

Nice pics! Thanks for posting them.

We've had four days of unbelievable weather. It got up to about 60 degrees, and this weird, nice yellow thing has been punctuating the empty blue space where the clouds should normally be. People have responded by going out of doors, and exposing their skin to the elements. Naturally, if it's nice here, it should be everywhere, and the pleasant weather has had me want to spend more time in the mountains ... but not in a deep, dark forest with snow shoes on.

I've been itching to go check out the Teanaway (pronounced tee-en-a-way) river, Blewett Pass, Icicle Creek, and lots of east-side-of-the-Cascades roads. A friend and I were talking about this, making plans, and decided that that area is a lot like the eastern Sierra. So your snowless, semi-arid mountain photos are only making my wanderlust more intense.

freighttraininguphill 02-08-12 03:40 PM

Looks like you might just have to go a little lower in elevation. ;) A cyclist on another forum posted some nice pics from a Portland ride in the West Hills. I grew up in Portland and always wanted to live in a house with a view in those hills.

Of course I chimed in on that thread I linked to above. :D Too bad I couldn't read the grade sign on one of those pics. It looked like a nice climb!

EDIT: I forgot that you have to be signed in on that forum to see the pics if the poster uploaded them as attachments to the post. :( That's why I always use Photobucket or Flickr. That way you don't have to be signed in. This forum is the same way.

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