It Might Be Over Soon

By November 23, 2016 Uncategorized


The break in the clouds, the moment of clarity, the motivation to try something new.


Maybe my approach has been outmoded, maybe it’s being mentally absent, but sorting through where I am now with being in Portland is very different than where I was a year ago.


And yet, it’s really the same. 


So much of progress in life is subjective and based on arbitrary, self-imposed mileposts.  Friends older and younger have settled down, started families.  Some of that are a subset that are re-settling into second marriages, and I’ve consciously sidestepped that track to do…something different. 


That’s where the self-imposed part comes in because there has been a massive internal struggle to figure out what exactly I’m after if I’m avoiding what I really know to be a trap. 


What, then, am I going after?


Maybe if I keep extending that analogy I’ve been using the metric system in a US standard  environment, trying to make things work that are sometimes close enough to cross over but most of the time just create more headaches.


For now there’s a temporary sense of clarity to enjoy this moment for what it is- the terrifying freedom of looking at what I really want out of life, and how I want to live. 


Better go for it now. 

$25 Radness Lesson

By November 16, 2016 Bike, MTBVT


Yesterday was a big day.

Sure, there was the expectation about what a trail ride would be like on a high end bike demo, and I started with some lofty expectations for myself and my new equipment.  Of course I’m a massive gear snob, as my friends will attest, so renting anything suitable is a challenge.

With a $100 burning a hole in my pocket I went to the shop, got fitted up with a rental, and headed out for what became a 4 hour spirit quest ride.  It was awe-inspiring, really, and it helped me realize how much I need to push my limits.

The directions from the shop guys were hard to follow and misleading, and what they thought would be difficult took me about half the time alotted.  That’s my fault because I told them I was an intermediate rider, and the terrain was squarely intermediate until I accidentally went off course and nearly doubled the length of the route.

And at the end of it I was tired.

So today, I still had great weather and another full day in the Arizona sun, so I headed back down into the shop NEXT to the one I rented from yesterday.  They looked to have some decent and inexpensive rental bikes on offer, and when I called to inquire the guy on the phone was helpful and friendly.  Of course it’s a tourist town, but the day before I felt like I was kinda an inconvenience when I was the only guy in the shop and certainly the only one renting that caliber of bike all day.

As we went through the fit up process I got more personal attention for my $25 rental than I did for the daylong demo, then headed out for some relatively mellow, rolling singletrack.

Of course I never intended to kill it, I just wanted to soak up the weather and take advantage of what was on offer.  And as I rolled along I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having on a bike that cost about 1/7 of my trail bike back home.  Wow.

Sure, the brakes squealed a bit, and I hadn’t ridden components that low end since I started high school, but the bike worked, and the trails were fun.  As I got the hang of unweighting and throwing the bike around a few things became clear- first, that this aluminum hardtail was heavier than the carbon long travel full suspension bike I rode the day before, and second that I could still ride most of the same stuff.

Huh.  How did that happen?

It’s easy to get sucked into what many like me call the “gotsta haves,” a vicious cycle of consumerism that may or may not be grounded in having what’s really the latest and greatest gear.  There are real advances in technology, materials, and design, but often it’s just spin to make you feel like what you have and love is no longer adequate.

You know, like an iPhone.

Back to riding with tires and tubes, three front chainrings, a saddle pack, and no dropper post.  The bike was fun, and it was fun because bikes themselves are just plain fun.  A bike needs to be safe with working components and tires that hold air, and of course your local shop can help you sort that out.  With those minimum parameters met it’s really up to you where you ride, how much fun you have, and where you choose to go.

$25 was the cheapest lesson in radness I’ve ever had.

First Look- Moots Psychlo-X Custom

By March 23, 2016 Moots, sponsors


After living in Portland for a year it’s easy to see why cyclocross is such a thing here.

There are a multitude of events close to town, and you have to drive past them to get to the trail head to ride mountain bikes.  Of course it rains frequently as well, so you see plenty of guys out on fendered ‘cross bikes for winter training.

In addition to the ‘cross scene there are a slew of gravel rides and events where the additional tire clearance of a ‘cross bike allows for bigger tires.  If you’ve paid any attention to modern trends you’ll know that gravel bikes are all the rage, so some folks will tell you that’s the tool for job. 


Moots makes several bikes that fall between endurance road and gravel/light utility so the decision pretty quickly came down to what I wanted the bike to excel at.

Last summer I demoed a Routt, which was a remarkably smooth and comfortable bike.  While it was not fast or snappy it was predictable, stable, and kept me from getting too beat up on the rough gravel sections.  Even with thru axles front and rear it was not an overly stiff bike, a fact mainly attributed to its rangy chainstay length, and while I wouldn’t say it wallowed under power it did not lurch forward during out of the saddle efforts. 

So the Routt was fine, but not racy enough for my personal taste. 

While I’ve sworn off ‘cross racing twice recently it does seem like something that’s remarkably easy to do here given the great number of events nearby.  I’m also OK with not being awesome at it, so it would just be for fun…you know, like every other asshole who says they’ll race ‘cross “just for fun.” 

And of course there’s the Psychlo-X RSL which with its flattened top tube is remarkably hot, if not overkill for my limited ‘cross needs.

Fortunately this model year saw the reintroduction of the Psychlo-X with disc brakes and standard thru axles front and rear.  Perfect.

Through some collaboration with Michael at Moots we sorted out the custom geometry I wanted to make the bike more balanced for general use without taking away too much of the race capability.  The changes were small but significant with a lower bottom bracket, slightly shorter than stock top tube and taller head tube.  My goal was to get more “in” than “on” feel for stability at speed without taking away too much of the steering response necessary for taking sharp corners at walking pace which are common on a true ‘cross course.

This thing has been awesome, and I’ll post more as I get more time on it.