Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Packrafting the Grand.


Back in October Jeny and I joined a superstar group of friends for a 3 week descent of the Grand Canyon.




We had raft support and, more importantly, moral support from our boat(wo)men.  They gave verbal beta from their higher vantage point when reading and running, and gladly eddied out while we scouted the rapids that demanded it.






In other words, we were given the tools to thrive.





I've spent a handful of hours on most nights since then, culling and editing the gigabytes of media I collected from the trip.  Alas, I'm still weeks away from having that ready to share.





I've been bombarded with questions from people (friends, media, rubberneckers) to ask how the packrafts did, so I threw together this (largely POV) quickie to allow folks to answer that for themselves.




In short: pretty damn well.  We ran every rapid on the river--lapping some, swimming others, drilling meat lines clean on most.






Check back in December for the rest of the story.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Effing awesome.


I'll cop to the teenage part any day of the week and especially twice on Sunday.

Well done team.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tip o' the iceberg.

Winter has not yet arrived.




Late fall has, and it's close enough.  Need to acclimate to this first.




Muted, low angle light with lots of contrast will always make me smile, camera in hand or not.








Jeny always makes me smile.






Focused.








Fresh digging.  Or maybe scraping.








Just enough tech to keep us engaged.




Great little Sunday jaunt on the bikes.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ignominious.

What do Glen Plake, Roman Dial, Will Gadd, and Lynn Hill all have in common?







The ignominy of having to share the limelight with a punter like me.


And poor Shackleton got dragged down to 'our' level...


* * * * *


After thinking about this for the last few hours, it occurred to me that I know a solid handful of people that deserve to be recognized on that list at least much as I do, and probably more.

Doom.  Tim Hewitt.  Gordy Vernon.  Thai Verzone.  Forrest McCarthy.  Pat Norwil.  Pat Irwin.  Brad Meiklejohn.  Eric Parsons and Dylan Kentch.  Rich Rudow.

And those are just the ones I know personally.

Add in those known through their deeds as told over campfires, and you have to include Dick Griffith and Luc Mehl.

At the end of the list on GJ there's a place where you can nominate someone.  Please do!

Thanks for checkin' in.

MC




Monday, November 10, 2014

Clear, cold, and tired.


A clear, crisp afternoon fades slowly into the pinkness of evening.  




Crunching through red, yellow, brown leaves on the sidewalk leaving the shop.






Hints of woodsmoke in the air as I skedaddle up the hill away from town.  Hints of snow on the mesa above.  

Empty trails, tack-tastic from an afternoon shower.




Ostensibly I'm out testing tires.  Realistically I'm getting in an 'hour of power' before sunset.  Before winter.

Too early to conclude anything, but the first, second, third impressions of this pile of tires goes something like:

"That one rolls like a ball bearing."

"That'n's either gonna rip knobs off itself, or the grin right off your face."

"They oughta call that one Sybil.  No idea what personality it's gonna present next..."





None of these three pre-prod tires are available to buy, today.  

But a few months from now?  What a great time to be 'into' this 29+ thing.

Thanks for checkin' in.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Bontrager is winning.

Time for a semi-annual product spotlight. 

I rarely get excited enough about any geegaw to spotlight it, so the fact that you're seeing/reading this gives some idea of how strongly I feel about it. 

Introducing the Bontrager Jackalope TLR fat rims.

 


75mm internal width, 82mm external.

 


860g (average of 12 rims) *INCLUDING* tubeless tape and valve.


   


32 holes, welded seam. 

Not just true tubeless ready out of the box, but by far the easiest tubeless setup in fatland to date.

 


Thus far I've easily inflated a (new) Bontrager Hodag, (used) BFL, (used) Larry, (used) Knard, (new) Van Helga, (new) Dillinger 5, and (new) Snowshoe XL. 

 All with only a floor pump, no soap, no hopping up and down on one leg, no stupid/messy/heavy spilt tube, no pre-inflation with a tube to get one bead set. 

No shenanigans at all. 

To be clear, I wrapped the rim with one layer of Stans tape, pushed a valve through it, installed each tire by hand, paying no attention to where the beads sat on the rim, stuck the pump head onto the valve, pumped, and they took air and seated immediately. 


 

These just became my go-to aluminum rim.

I've brought in a pile of the nekkid rims, and will be custom building them one-at-time to whichever hubs, spokes, and nips your little heart desires. 

Good time to be in the market for tubeless fat wheels!

Monday, September 29, 2014

An idea whose time has come.

Devin Lenz is no stranger to innovation.  He's been pushing the limits of what's doable and desirable with 29" wheels for over a decade.  Even though every one of the big players and most of the smaller ones are finally hawking their version of big wheeled bliss, Devin's bikes remain atop the heap when it comes to uncompromised on-trail performance.  It doesn't hurt his credibility that each of his designs are dreamed up, prototyped, fabricated, and ultimately produced right here in Colorado.

And while he wasn't the first to experiment with the full-suspension single speed, he was the first to do it with 29" wheels, and has been consistently doing it for longer than anyone else regardless of wheel size. 

Devin shipped the first short-rear Milk Money my way many years ago, and while I loved the idea and execution, that chassis was always a little anemic for my tastes.  I'm no Graham Agassiz on the bike--I just lean more toward the chunkier end of the spectrum than what the Milk Money was designed to do.

And while I've flirted with the k.i.s.s. principle on my singlespeeds for 20+ years now, the reality is that my backyard trails, and the way I like to ride them, demand a proper FS bike.

With that preamble out of the way, I'd like to introduce the first protoype of the LenzSport LunchMoney.




Astute observers will immediately 'get' the name--a combination of Devin's most capable trailbike and the aforementioned concentric-pivot xc whip.



Whole lot happening right there: Concentric pivot spinning on massive cartridge bearings and a PMW titanium bb shell.  Plus stealth dropper routing and clearance for 2.5" meat.




Devin's proprietary sliders, with an older-than-old-school Boone ti cog.




A buttery 150mm of travel up front and an impossibly silky ~140mm out back.  Since this is the first proto the rear travel and suspension characteristics are far from 'set'--we'll experiment with a multitude of options including different shock tunes, leverage ratios and spring curves.




Go on--show me a cleaner cockpit on a 5+" travel bike.  Unseen but at least as important--try to find a quieter 5" machine than this one.  Utterly silent.

And on that note?  Belt drive compatible.  Still unsure if I'm willing to go down that rabbit hole...




This chassis will aim to blur the lines between climbing phenom and ripping descender.  In short, I need it to be a capable climber, but more than that I want it to be fun.

Over the next few months I'll post updates as the process of getting it from here to there proceeds.

Thanks for checkin' in.