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Messages - Zinjanthropus

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Fort Harrison State Park / Re: Rouge trial building!!
« on: August 26, 2013, 03:28:53 PM »
What frustrates me, is that after numerous attempts, weekend before last, I was able to ride the pill box. Popped right up on it, and was super stoked that I finally rode it without having to get off and walk it. The next day, hammered it like the day before. It takes time to learn these features. And you're super proud of yourself once you get it!!

Deja vu. :)

Rebar bad. I saw the addition and went beside it since i can clear it naturally. If i fail to get enough speed i'll walk it as i did for almost 3 months.

Don't the pro ride the wall on the left instead?

Great feedback everyone, it's nice to see different approaches to the true end goal we all have- having fun. I wish I was at a point where weight loss wasn't an ongoing focus but I know eventually I will get there, and a few others will it seems as well. Keep pushin' it!

I can appreciate how many maintain a simplistic approach, and eventually I'm sure I will do the same. By putting my goals out front I'm putting a bit more accountability on myself.

Congrats to all who've achieved and I'm sure there will be more accomplished each and every day by all of us.

~Yet another Dave

Great to hear the progress being made, nice to hear of some top 10 placing!  I have reservations about going into race mode, but any entry would be withheld until later in 2014. I like the 4-cross concept myself but that is beyond what I may ever achieve, and would require travel to locate.

Sorry to hear about the kneecap John, that sounds very frustrating. I wonder what you could achieve with just one crank and pedal, with perhaps a foot peg for the other side.

Wife on 2 wheels off road? Hmmm...

take her shopping for some riding duds and accessories? You walk/jog while she rides so you can be her guide and coach through tricky parts?  Get her accustomed to smoother rolling and flatter trails initially? Don't spend a lot on a new bike for her unless she gets hooked and asks for it. Get her riding with other couples/women whenever possible- when people see others doing something they feel is beyond them it can be inspiring. I tell myself that nearly every ride- someone else can clear that in half the time with half the bumping I do, so eventually I can too.

Whodey, looks like we're on about the same pace for getting fit. Let me know if you ever want to ride together, you'll probably stay in front though. :)

Rants and Raves / What are your riding goals? How are you progressing?
« on: August 15, 2013, 01:55:14 AM »
This question goes out to anyone and everyone. I know there's a mix of riders here with different backgrounds and interests, many who ride for fun, others with a destiny on the podium somewhere, but whether it be your seasonal guiding light or an incremental achievement you pursue, I'm curious what you are striving to achieve. Obviously there is no right or wrong answer, but I think it will be interesting and should fuel some ideas and aspirations (or means to an end) which some of us hadn't considered yet.
A little background (not required in your answer) about myself:
43 years old, 70lbs overweight when I started riding this year, hadn't been on a bike but a half dozen times in 15 years (sickening huh?)
My underlying motivation for riding is to lose weight and have fun doing it, then remain fit and have more fun riding for years to come because I lost that weight. I ride at Fort Ben primarily due to proximity, and have been collecting ride data in Strava. Since the beginning of June I've cut my Schoen Creek time down by over 30%, went from walking my bike through nearly every technical element on that trail and stopping 1/3 of the way through every lap to catch my breath to now riding over all technical elements and completing a lap without stopping. (trust me, I feel pathetic knowing others do multiple laps without missing a beat)
Ongoing goals
  • Continue to lose 1-2 lbs per week
  • Shave more time off Schoen Creek laps - striving for 17-18 minutes per
  • Ride 2, then 3 laps without a break through improved cardio fitness and more efficient breathing
  • Perfect my pedaling timing/improve peripheral awareness of immediate ground clearance
  • Master downhill switchbacks where I can ride them confidently at good, controlled speed
  • Improve skills at clearing log obstacles, preferably to bunnyhop them all eventually
  • Relearn how to ride a wheelie
  • Use my brakes more appropriately
  • Be disciplined about my diet so it can augment my biking workout
  • Take advantage of terrain features and pump effectively whenever possible
  • Expand my riding experience to trails I haven't ridden, both in-state and out
  • Become more familiar with my bike's mechanics and dial it in further to suit my riding preferences
  • Stay loose and relaxed on my bike
  • Gain general knowledge and experience in how to ride safer, with more grace, at a comfortable speed, while being confident in tackling any situation on the trail
  • Continue to enjoy greeting and meeting people of all types on the trails
Loftier goals
  • Take a few bike maintenance training sessions, possibly a more in-depth or personalized class
  • Get mountain bike riding instruction in a multi-day/camp scenario from a seasoned pro- preferably before I develop really bad riding habits
  • Make a road trip to a downhill biking resort and go full-face for a day or two, without injury
  • Find a dirt pump track/bike park closer than Chicago for regular visits since building one in my backyard isn't an option
  • Get more sleep
I look forward to hearing what others are looking to accomplish- I'm sure someone has an item or two I could add to my list!
~Yet another Dave

Rants and Raves / Re: THIS SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
« on: August 07, 2013, 06:53:52 PM »
I've had a torn Achilles (2011) and yes, you want nothing to do with it. Keep tabs on any pain in that area and if you are concerned at any time make your doctor get an MRI scheduled for you. I hope your meds do their part safely for you, or an alternative option is presented so you don't have 2 issues weighing on your mind.

~Yet another Dave

Find a Ride / Re: mtb destinations outside of Indiana
« on: July 10, 2013, 03:40:59 PM »
Hey Mahk,

A friend and I did just that last week. I tried to dodge the rain and changed from hitting French Lick to shooting westward to St Louis. We dodged some rain but not as much as I had hoped. Regardless, I enjoyed the trail time we had and would definitely go back to explore some more.

I highly recommend hitting www.singletracks.com for wherever you end up traveling at a minimum to get info on trails for the state- skip a city search or you'll limit your results, even if many are out of range. Also, look for a local mtb trail riding organization for the area. I found gorctrails.com for further reference and trail condition info (and trail maps for several locations) for the St Louis area.

Based on logistics for trail proximity and secondly safe accommodations, I decided to stay in Chesterfield. There were several decent trailheads within 30 minutes of that home base. I would consider a different hotel further south for my next trip to ease the extra travel time to go explore the foothills of the Ozarks, if just to take some pictures and explore.

I was impressed initially by the number of trails that the Castlewood State Park system had available, covering a variety of difficulty levels. We only walked some of the trails as the rain had taken its toll on the lower, river-level trails. We walked the advanced (expert) Lone Wolf trail and enjoyed the hike and some decent scenic views. Walking back on the Scenic View easy trail we had to doge plenty of large mud spots. It was flat but curvy for very casual riding but generally 5 feet wide along the river. There are 11 trails in the park, so we saw just a fraction. Plenty of rocky technical riding on the upper trails, staying much drier due to altitude.

We hit Matson Hill out near Defiance, MO which was one I didn't expect to reach but we headed there to beat the rain. Unfortunately the light showers caught up during mid ride but passed through before we completed our laps. The trails there build on each other- you have to ride some easy and intermediate to get to the expert section. There were a lot of roots and rocky layers, making climbing a solid workout but once wet you were punished if you failed to keep your momentum. I walked more uphill than I rode. I think I'd have enjoyed the challenges more without the slick factor. The downhill sections were a decent payoff but not enough to feel it was balanced. Speed had to be watched due to curves. All told we rode the Oxen Mill trail but hit other sections to do the loops. Signage was a bit confusing at the 3-way intersection but I picked the right and shortest path out when possible.

Another park we hit was Creve Coeur Park, north of Chesterfield. It spans a much larger area than you realize once you reach the park, but the mtb trails are all connected and accessible from the same drive/parking areas on the east side. We enjoyed the disc golf course there as an alternate activity. The trails were decently groomed and reminded me of some parts of Fort Harrison, although fewer log challenges and no real ridge riding than Schoen Creek offers. About half the trail gets moving plenty fast with very fun rolling downhill sections. We were grateful for limited foot traffic and after a few laps were upping our speed here as you couldn't help but have fun. A couple of narrow sections hinder only really wide bars but it didn't hamper the overall ride. About a hundred feet of the flat section needed whacking but my legs came through without cuts. The last section of our run was a fitting gradual uphill climb, leveling off just enough here and there to get your momentum back. Not overly difficult for those in shape but not too punishing for me either.

All in all I would readily return to the St Louis area for trail riding. We only saw a fraction of what is available within the area. If it matters, there is a Trek brand store in the area not far from Castlewood, with another in the metro area from what I gathered from the salesman. There were no fees to get into the state parks (or any location we visited for that matter) and if you are keen on long stretches of cross country railway riding, entry to Katy Trail can be found here and there throughout the SW side of St Louis, likely elsewhere as well.

I hope this information is useful to you and anyone else heading that direction. From Bloomington you'll be reaching that 4 hour mark but if you book a room or campsite central to your interests it may be slightly less. Let me know if you have any questions that I could try and answer.

~Yet another Dave

Tech Bench / Re: seasucker racks
« on: June 21, 2013, 11:13:58 AM »
I own and have one- the Talon model. I was struggling to accept my hard-mount rack options for my Altima. I didn't like the trailer hitch idea, and the rails to go rooftop were more generic/retrofit due to the car design. Neither would be something I would care to remove regularly and for the quality I wanted were no less expensive than the other.

Then I found the Seasucker. I read pages and pages of discussion on their racks at MTBR and concluded I found my solution. As I told one curious biker last weekend, I'd be more concerned about a screw stripping than the vacuum cups disengaging. Regardless, I've had mine about a month and have hit the interstate for a stretch, yet the confidence-inspiring times are on the rough, pothold less travelled county roads. All told I've only used my Talon a couple dozen times but have never had any issues with it. There is a little prep for use- I carry a spray bottle and rag to clean the car surface and wet the cups for proper seal.

Each cup is good for 45 lbs I believe so yes, plenty of redundancy when you add them up, and they include an extra cup as a backup in case one fails while on a trip- nice to have a spare. It's the lateral torsion that becomes a concern for cornering at speed, yet the design is such that typical driving speeds will not exceed the rack's ability to keep it in place. Their website gives you all the technical facts if you're interested.

As for my opinion, I am really glad I bought mine and would readily buy it again. My sister has a Prius- I have not tried to fit my Talon on it, it may be tricky due to the aero molding at the top of the hatch. The only real loss I see for using the Seasucker is because it is conveniently removed, you may not feel comfortable not having eyes on your vehicle when in a restaurant or store if a stop is necessary. I did not like the stories about window damage through what appeared to be normal use of the secured cable offering by Seasucker. For those curious, the roof of my car does see some metal flex under the fork cups when I rock the bike side to side but I have no concerns of long-term risk and never saw a single complaint on the MTBR forums about damage from this. Have a traffic accident and all bets are off, but that can be said about any rack I imagine.

Let me know if you have more questions and I'll share what I know. Dang it, I type too much!

~Yet another Dave

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