Adventures in Mountain Biking

Discussion in 'Adventure, Hiking, Backpacking and Travel' started by shivermetimbers, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    I thought no such day would arrive that I would praise or even enjoy mountain bikes or mountain bikers. I always viewed them as Gumbies, tree bark munching and pond scum slurping snobs. I know that’s a unfair and not a nice statement. I have twisted the throttle to get my jollies, have for decades.

    A few years back I had a few mountain bikers put me in a very bad situation. I was climbing a gnarly off-camber uphill, momentum is important. At the top was a step-up. At which, two mountain bikers sat, taking up the whole width of the trail. They were watching me and refused to move. That’s bad trail etiquette and a bunghole move that left me with little to no-where to go. Unless I plow into them, bail off the side and crash or cut above them and possibly crash. I cut above them, called them some colorful names as I barely edged around them. I whisked the throttle WFO, my 2-stroke hit the powerband instantly and I grabbed another gear hard on the throttle. In short, I roosted the living ———— out of those two. In my mind, fair payment for putting everyone in peril. That has been my opinion of mountain bikers for a long time.

    Recently, my days upon a dirt bike dwindled. There are many reasons, mostly beat up from previous crashes and military service. So the bikes sat. My wife is a fitness junkie. She loves to workout. A while back she said she wanted to try mountain biking. I got her a Specialized hardtail. Soon she was telling me it’s a great workout and a lot of fun. She said I should try it. Lord have mercy I went out and bought a Rockhopper 29’er. I ate a lot of crow btw..

    The first couple of rides were simple laps around the neighborhood. I thought I was in decent cardiovascular health. That wore me out. The next was riding no kidding trails. I learned very quickly, that dirt bike skills transfer over, standing, body placement, line choice...etc. I quickly turned into a junkie. But you have to work for it, i.e. uphill grinds. Hang on while I eat more crow..

    We ride everywhere we can these days. I quickly outgrew my Rockhopper and now pilot a carbon fiber Pivot Switchblade, big upgrade. I’m in the process of upgrading my wife to the aluminum Switchblade. So far, everyone I have encountered on the trails, mountain bikers and hikers alike have been very pleasant and polite. My health has gotten better, I’m stronger—pipes and legs and I didn’t munch on tree bark or slurp on pond scum to get there. I do eat cleaner tho.

    Post up ride pics if you got em. I’ll do the same and keep this tread going.

    Yesterday’s ride, Cedar Creek in Ruidoso, New Mexico. We crept up over 7500. The views were spectacular, the trails were a lot of fun. We took it slow, unfamiliar with the area.
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    Switchblade, agile, light and the boingers soak up just about everything.
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    Please excuse the intrusive camelbak mouthpiece. Best viewed in 1080 minimum.

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
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  2. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    A previous ride, San Ysidro / White Mesa. Some pretty gnarly areas that you don’t want to make a mistake in, might hurt.
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    My wife, the ham.
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  3. Strigidae

    Strigidae Moderator Staff Member

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    Excellent trip reports and awesome pictures!!! How did you go a out choosing your first bike?
     
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  4. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    Thanks! I kinda went on the cheap side and went with an entry level bike, ‘18 Specialized Rockhopper Expert. It’s a hardtail which is probably the best to start off with. They are the best climbers and you’re forced to pick wise line choices early on so you don’t beat yourself and the bike up. You can get away with bad choices on a fully suspended bike. A hardtail instills good habits early. Plus they’re cheaper.

    Because I’m a tall guy, 6’ 3” I like 29’ers. Or 29 inch wheels. They roll over just about everything and feel faster. The other option is 27.5, agile and some say they feel more stable. I have no experience with them.

    If you’re in the market. Ask yourself, what do you want to do? There’s different bikes for different applications. Downhill, enduro, cross country, trail, all mountain and fat bikes. I’m a trail rider, I have no intention of racing. The obvious choice is a trail bike. It’s easy to get out in the weeds with this one.

    I spent months researching, comparing and getting correctly sized before I settled on my Switchblade.

    My Rockhopper/first bike, I put renthal carbon fat bars and renthal stem on and chester pedals. Good beginner setup, at least for me. I added butcher and purgatory tires later, instills confidence to push it harder knowing your tires are going to grip.
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    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
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  5. Bozho

    Bozho Member

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    Great pictures and places to ride !

    I also enjoy mountainbiking since last year, currently have a Trek Marlin 5 hardtail, pretty basic so I upgraded the fork with a Manitou Mankhor 100 mm, nothing special but much better than the stock one and made quite a difference.
    With almost two years on the hardtail I feel that the time for a full suspension bike has come.
    They are expensive, but worth it, especially if you are heavier guy (I am 90 kg and the cheap hardtail has hard time when ridden agressivly).
    I am also looking at all mountain hardtails with 27.5x2.8 tyres and 150 mm fork as something in the middle, between a regular XC hardtail and a full suspension trail bike.
     
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  6. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    Awesome Bozho! My Rockhoppers Suntour Forks were not that great either. If you push it hard it’ll bottom out. You’ve gotta start somewhere. Any specific brands you’re thinking about getting? I’d love to see some riding pics from Bulgaria!
     
  7. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    Right on. I rode dirt bikes growing up and toured all over N. America on a dual sport, but I've always preferred mtn biking, mainly because I could care less about getting "farther, faster" and I prefer the workout and the simplicity. My Better Half loves it as much as I do and we are lucky enough to live in a place with great trails out the door and a whole lot more within easy driving distance. We are pretty obsessed with it.

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    ....and we don't quit when the snow flies, either:

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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2019
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  8. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    Nice pics @Hammer!!! Nice bike too! We are in the same boat. I loved dirt bikes and usually sought out the nasty/snotty trails for the challenge. However, my wife hated dirt bikes. They scared her and then seeing me getting busted up from time to time. MTB'ing is something we both enjoy. I find it very rewarding both in conquering some trails and in health.
     
  9. Bozho

    Bozho Member

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    I was looking at a BG brand - Pulse Cycles, which had great models with a taiwanese frame and Sram / Shimano / Rockshox components, unfortunately they went out of business and are selling the remaining bikes at lower price, however I am not sure if they will have any warranty.

    One paricular model that I like - RS2, enduro bike sells for around 2k $ currently, brand new full suspension 27.5 tyres, Sram NX 11x and higher end Rockshox suspension with 170 mm of travel. I was about to get it, but two cars need to be fixed.. Hard choice :D

    I really like Specialized Enduro, but even the lowest spec version is very expensive here (around 3 of my salaries).
     
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  10. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    Why so expensive? Import costs?
     
  11. Bozho

    Bozho Member

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    Import taxes and weaker currency here.
    The local assembled bikes have some really good models at 1/3 or 1/2 of the price, with high end parts and alloy frames.
    Lots of people are riding hardtails pretty hard here, even on DH tracks, mostly due to their lower cost.
     
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  12. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    It’s been a while since I’ve been to Sandia Foothills. Even though it’s 30 minutes from my house. It was packed today, a good ride nonetheless.
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    Looking down on Albuquerque.
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    Pain and beauty. Cholla cactuses bring both. The quills are barbed so they feel fantastic coming out. The quills on this one are small, they are over an inch long most of the time. Keep your elbows and legs tucked.
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    My best half.
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    Pulling quills out..
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  13. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    Grindstone Lake, Ruidoso, NM.

    Excellent ride! Crept well into 8K elevation. Outstanding views, loaded with rocks, just good intermediate trails. My legs are ruined. I’ll be ready to hit it again soon.
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  14. Mudman

    Mudman Member

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    When I used to mountain bike a lot, crashing into cactus was sadly normal for me. Carrying tweezers made life a lot easier than pliers. Haven't tried it, but those flat wide tweezers made for pulling fish bones look like they'd be good.
     
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  15. shivermetimbers

    shivermetimbers Member

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    @Mudman, it’s a lopsided relationship with my wife and chollas. I’ve been lucky and keep my legs and arms tucked when running gauntlets. She’s a great rider, blows me away on the uphill grinds. She tags em every now and again, spells disaster. They hurt! Her first summer biking, her legs had bruises all over them from hitting chollas and crashing. Man, I got some ugly looks from folks.. They thought I was one of “those guys.”
     
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  16. shaneadams90

    shaneadams90 ESEE Knives Marketing Director Staff Member

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    Man I've grown OLD on a bike....I started cycling at 13 to rehab a knee injury....my Dad is a Physical Therapist and this was before the scope surgery....so a bike it was...and it opened my eyes to a great big world.....I got my first MTB bike at 17.....I saved all my money from my summer job and bought it...no one had ever heard of it on the East Coast save for just a few....

    Now, at 47 I've been riding for almost 35 years.....I've raced road bikes and MTB in all kinds of configurations...Road races and criteriums on the road.......every type of MTB race at some point....including endurance racing and AR (Adventure Racing)...

    I grew up working in bike shops and even owned my own bike shop BEFORE coming to work for ESEE/RAT.....Since my time here I have NOT ridden my bike/s much at all....but I know it's coming....even considered signing up for a STUPID hard MTB race the other day.....but for now...I think I just want to ride....

    When it's hot and humid I tend to gravitate toward water sports....but when it cools off in the Fall the MTB and backcountry riding just tugs at my heart strings...

    Here are a few pics over the years.....different bikes but I still own a few of them...

    My Current Stable includes:

    *Custom Steel Road bike by Nate Zukas.
    *Salsa Fargo in Bikepacking set up (also a hunting rig)
    *Trusty Rusty- My Rigid Steel Niner Sir9 Single Speed with Rigid Carbon fork....gotta hate yourself to ride this bike but I love it..
    * Salsa Carbon Spear fish- Carbon XC dual squish bike...


    I like to do wheelies....and make Moto sounds.....and when I do wheelies on motos....I STILL make Moto sounds...

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    Salsa Fargo on a 3 day trip up in the Cohutta's

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    Trusty Rusty- rigid Single Speed...before the carbon fork.. Love/hate relationship with this bike for sure...fastest way to get myself in shape....also the most painful...

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    Salsa Carbon Spearfish...custom I9 wheels....light, fast, sexy.....fun to ride..
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    Salsa Fargo in it's element


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    Zukas Custom....Carbon sew ups....Campy Super record components....

    painted up like a Shelby Mustang
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    Up in Dupont on Trusty Rusty in Geared form and suspended....way less fun.

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    Doing a race back home....Rigid 29+, rigid Stache....fun bike...gone now.
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  17. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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    @shaneadams90 you should start up a GoRuck style mountain bike event.......ride trails for a certain distance, jump off and do specified tasks for a while, back to the bike.....etc
     
  18. shaneadams90

    shaneadams90 ESEE Knives Marketing Director Staff Member

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    After owning a bike shop for almost 10 years I have ZERO desire to organize any more events......I just wanna ride my bikes with my buddies and enjoy the view...
     
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  19. Bushman5

    Bushman5 Member

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  20. Hammer

    Hammer Member

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    Today's adventure. One of my favorite backcountry rides in the area. Starts off with a gut-busting 2400' ascent. But the descent back to the valley is sooo worth it...

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