Playing in the Dirt… It’s Habit Forming!

So, my on-bike activities continue to be of the pedal variety more so than anything else if I ignore my daily commute to work by motorcycle.  And, for the most part, during the week I’m riding in the evenings without Miss Debbie as we’re on slightly different schedules.  On the weekends, there are just too many other things competing for our time and that’s cutting in our on tandem time, which we need to do something about, and soon!!

20150919_132934Back to the weeknight riding, Debbie continues to get out after work on her single road bike and was able to enjoy light traffic this past week due to Spring Break taking a lot of motorists off the road.  She riding the ~20 mile loop from the house but will probably start doing the ~25 mile loop as the days continue to get longer.

Me, I get home about 45 minutes to an hour later than Debbie on nights these days, making a point to get out of the office early enough so that I can get in some post-work riding when the weather doesn’t have the trails closed.  Trails are my preference since I don’t have to deal with motorists and I also feel like I get a better work-out and finish up feeling de-stressed, not filled with pent-up road rage!  Again, we’re fortunate to have a wonderful trail system a mere 5 miles from the house at the Allatoona Creek MTB area. It’s a beautiful place with what is  now about 22 miles of trails.

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About 1/2 of it is suitable for enthusiasts while more and more trail development seems to be tailored towards the more advanced riders with features that just aren’t rideable for the average weekend warrior than have to be carefully navigated or walked.

I had a good ride on Wednesday & Thursday afternoon but came to the conclusion that the very old tires on both of my mountain bikes were in dire need of replacement: serious, I think I bought the IRC Mythos tires on the Dean back in 1999 for our Cannondale MT3000 mountain tandem and the WTB Velociraptor tires on the Ventana were at least 10 years old. Both sets of tires were chunking off bits of the tread and anything but supple. I decided to go and see what I could find locally before doing the on-line thing.

I was able to score a set Continental 2.2″ X King (F) & Trail King (R) for the Dean hard tail…

trail-king-sport-mtb-s1-01 x-king-pf-mtb-s1-01

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For the Ventana, I went with a pair of the WTB WeirWolf 2.1’s, as the Ventana’s rear brake bridge circa 1998 isn’t all that wide.  Back in the day, 2.1″ WAS a wide tire!!

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Murphy proved to be alive and well on my first outing with the new Continental tires on the Dean.  As I got ready to head out to the trail I decided not to pack my Co2 inflator as I hadn’t had a flat tire since I resumed off-road riding two years ago.  Yeah, well…  I decided to explore a new set of trails — Mumbo Jumbo and Voodoo — and didn’t do my homework all that well.  Mumbo Jumbo is a moderate skill level trail that takes you to the entrance to Voodoo which I discovered is an advanced level trail with quite a few very technical features: rock gardens, rock bridges, tree bridges, lots of log piles, etc.  On one of the last narrow tree bridges that was sitting in the apex of a turn I came in a little too hard and my front tire skidded off the tree and dove into the far side of the ditch it crossed, sending me and the bike to the ground.

I did the usual check to see that no one saw me crash — heaven forbid there be a witness or, even worse a witness with a camera — then made sure I wasn’t damaged before checking the bike.  Everything seemed to be in order so off I went.  However, I could immediately sense that something was wrong with the handling of the bike.  After looking to make sure everything looked solid and aligned it finally dawned on me that my front tire was going flat!

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I pulled off the trail and set out to change what I assumed to be a snake-bitten tube for a new one in my Camelbak.  While I had a hand pump in my pack, along with a spare tube, patch kit, multi-tool and Co2 cartridges, what I didn’t have were the C02 inflator which I knew I’d left at home but what was also missing were my tire levers!!  Good thing I just installed a foldable front tire as it was sized just so that I could pull it off and reinstall it with my hands.  It took long enough to change the tire for the advanced rider who was behind me when I decided to skip the 1.1 mile Double-Diamond Hocus Pokus loop to finish that loop and go blasting by me.  Oh, to have the right tools and an inflator!

I finished out the ride without further incident and will say that while I look forward to riding Voodoo again, I think I’ll stick with the less challenging loops for my fitness rides: I really don’t need to tempt fate at 56 years of age: things tend to break instead of bending these days!!!

High on my to-do list for Saturday was picking up a couple more C02 inflators so that I don’t have to keep moving them around when I switch between road and off-road as well as some more tire levers, noting that I broke one while prying the very old IRC Mythos wire-beaded tire off the Dean’s MAVIC tubeless-compatible rims: yeah, a tight bead seat to be sure.

Saturday’s cycling activities were limited to the aforementioned stop at the local bike shop where I also picked up a new set of Frog cleats for my off-road shoes which were immediately swapped-out, as the old ones were definitely shot. Again, probably pushing 15 years old and the elastomer had turned into soft chewing gum!

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There wasn’t any cycling on Saturday as Miss Debbie was spending the day visiting with her mother on her 80th birthday and doing some gardening for her during her visit.  I kept myself occupied with a variety of tasks around the house, e.g., getting the cars smog inspected so they could be re-registered for 2016 (what a scam that is), hitting the bike shops, getting groceries, fixing the landscape lighting in front of the house, etc.

I was hoping that I could coax Debbie out for an off-road tandem ride on our unseasonably cool and windy Sunday as it would be a lot more enjoyable than being out on the road. Sadly, I got the, “It’s too cold for me” response which, I suspect, had more to do with saying no thanks to riding off-road than anything else.  She’s simply not interested in riding the trails for some reason, even though once we’ve gotten out in the past she’s enjoyed herself and wondered aloud, “I don’t know why I say I don’t want to do this.”  But, alas, she still defaults to the no thanks position  Very frustrating to say the least as the Ventana tandem isn’t getting any younger and is in need of some seal work on the forks, not an inexpensive proposition if the seals are no longer available.  So, I’m in a catch 22 where the bike needs to be fixed if we’re going to ride it a lot or even if I want to sell it, whereas it’s just fine the way it is for hanging in the garage and looking gnarly.

 

 

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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