Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fruita's Kokopelli Trail and Loops

Last weekend I finally made it to Fruita/Loma to ride on the Kokopelli trail and the trail loops in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. My ride followed the entire Mack Ridge and back along the canyon above the Colorado River. I started at the Lion's Loop trail head parking area, as suggested by a nice guy working at Over the Edge Sports in Fruita, starting with the most difficult trail Moore Fun while your fresh. Great suggestion because it was a no joke mtn bike trail with lots of hike-a-bike. I was riding solo and had a long day in front of me, I didn't need to fall and tune my bean so I was riding pretty conservative. The first loop was Rustlers, easy kid stuff, but beautiful scenery all the same. Mary's Loop to Horsethief Bench. Horsethief Bench was hands down my favorite loop out there right from the get-go. A huge boulder wall you must climb down with your bike on your back gets you to the start of the trail, then it's spectacular single track with just the right amount of challenging obstacles for a fast pace, Oh it was on! Mary's Loop to Steve's Loop, another spectacular loop. Lions Loop to Troy Built Loop. Up a wall with over 20 percent grades they call Lions Loop to Mack Ridge. Mack Ridge back the Lion's Loop trail head parking area. I rode it on my Gary Fisher 9er hardtail and it was perfect, I can't wait to go back. I camped at the Highline Lake State Park in Loma, do yourself a favor and stay there if you're camping, it's complete with showers and trees...

Distance, 31.5 miles
Elevation Gain, 3,819
Ride Time, 4:50
Elapsed Time, 6:23 with breaks, lunch, and a lot of photos

On Moore Fun, looking back on Mack Ridge, the
Lions Loop trail head parking area is in that draw.
 Moore Fun looking East.
 Steve's Loop, yes I'm on the trail.

 Raft's on the Colorado River.
 On top of Mack Ridge looking down on Steve's Loop.
 On Mack Ridge looking East as the sun was going down, the ridge on the left is Moore Fun.
 Timed that about right...

Serotta Ti frame Restoration

Earlier in the year I was looking for a good quality used frameset for fast road rides, ideally it would handle a 28c tire and also work as a dirt road Randonneuring bike as well. Titanium wasn’t my priority, but something custom built with a 60cm seat tube and a short top tube to match my non-standard build was. As luck would have it I found just the frame set from Clay at Velo Soul in Denver, he specializes in parting out high end bikes, we also went to high school together. He had a 25th Anniversary 1997 Serotta Ti frame from a guy with a similar build wanting to sell and move on, so I bought it. It had everything I was looking for, a 60cm seat tube, 56cm TT, and it was Titanium. I knew Ti would work especially well for long and rough roads if it was built for a person of similar weight, they can also be extremely stiff if built for a big guy. I built it up and tried it out before spending any real time, money or excitement on a frame that might not work. It rode great, unbelievable, I scored a long term bike for myself. Time to clean it up and build a proper bicycle.   

It was painted dark blue with a factory polished rear end, and the original paint was in poor shape. I used a chemical stripper first, removing a lot of the paint and oxidation from the raw Ti.

I re-polished the rear triangle with 220-600 grit wet paper, steel wool and Mothers Polish.

Then I taped off the newly polished rear triangle with masking tape so I could control the lines and protect those anniversary decals.

Followed by two layers of black Gorilla tape to protect the polished finish and the factory decals. The bead blast process is very aggressive and any parts that aren't protected will get blasted.

I took the frame to my powder coat shop here in Golden for the hook up on a $20 aluminum oxide bead blast.

The end result was amazing, it looks brand new! Titanium frames truly are built to last a lifetime.

On the dirt trail...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Brand New Dirt Century in Elizabeth Colorado, Sept 12, 2010!!

Elizabeth Cowboy Cobble Century. This 100 mile, 80% dirt tour offers 3700' of climbing through some of the least traveled and most beautiful roads east of I-25. RSVP, call Eric and Julia Miller @ 3.646.3803

I have ridden a few of the dirt roads with Eric Miller in and around Elizabeth, they are spectacular! They are smooth and easy to negotiate with a road bike and a 25c tire, car traffic is minimal, and views are stunning. Anyone interested in riding this route with me on a SS/fixie!?!
Eric Althen...

Here are some photo's from the Cowboy Cobble on Sept 12, 2010.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gold Belt Century

The Gold Belt Century finally happened on June 20th and the weather was perfect. 8 riders showed for this epic adventure, dirt roads and brutal climbs.

This was a great group of guys on the coolest mix of bikes possible.

Eric (myself): Titanium Road
Kirk: Steel Road
Eric: Steel Road, Long Haul Trucker complete with rack and fenders!
Peter: Carbon Road
Erik: Carbon Cross
John: Steel Cross
Rad: Steel 9er
Brett: Full Suspension mnt bike, 26" with full knobs! 

Thanks to all that made the ride, it was an excellent group of strong skilled riders. A big Thanks goes out to Steve for driving the sag vehicle, having water available in that heat was paramount, and a few of us took advantage of the many floor pumps on board as well.

Total Elapsed time: 11:30
Ride Time: 7:23
Distance: 99.94 miles
Elevation Gain: 7,192'
Average Speed: 13.5
Average Temp: 84.5

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Gold Belt has been postponed to June 20th!!

Due to weather we are postponing the Gold Belt Century until next Sunday, June 20th. The weather reports are now calling for snow above 9,000', the weather looks to be to severe to negotiate all day. The event has been moved to next weekend, same time, same place. The weather looks to be beautiful nest weekend.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dirty Century Update

I had a chance to pre-ride 65 miles of the Dirty Century this past Sunday with bike shop owner and ride organizer Kirk Webster. This ride will take place in Douglas County this year with the start and finish at Creek Side Bikes in Parker. For those familiar with the Elephant Rock Century it also takes place in Douglas County and continues south into El Paso County if you opt for the full 100 mile enchilada. The E-Rock is known for it's beauty and challenging hills, it's in a beautiful area. What the Dirty Century does is explores those beautiful hills and dirt roads that the E-Rock navigates around. Same stunning views, although the climbs are viscous in the dirt with up to 15% grades. The Bonus, there is almost no traffic. The Dirty Century also takes you along the Cherry Creek river all the way up and through Castlewood Canyon State Park, a beautiful canyon ride with the historic remains of a Dam that burst sending a15 foot high wave into Denver in 1933. The Dirty Century will have close to 5,000 total vertical feet of climbing. I road Sunday's 65 mile section, with all of the serious climbing, on my Single Speed with 49/19t gearing (68 gear inches) and cheap 25c road tires. I will also ride the official Dirty Century 100 mile route on June 27th on my SS, so hopefully somebody else out there will join me with their SS/fixed gear and help represent! There is a link to the ride on the right, be sure to check out the website and get signed up, the deadline for registration is June 20th! This is a great ride, it's only $50 and there is a big BBQ/Hog roast and party that fallows!!

my Dirty Century Shred Missile, JoeLisa!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gold Belt Recon

Today I did a little Gold Belt recon on my Moto Guzzi, so I didn’t exactly suffer but I was on two wheels with my knee's in the breeze no less. The road was just as I remembered with epic dirt sections, teeth jarring washboard sections, and tremendous views all day long. The Moto Guzzi handled about as well as a road bike with 25c road tires, just all over the place, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I knew there were rest area's but I didn’t have mileage points from last years ride so I went back to get them down and to take notes. So all is well, I didn’t miss a turn and I'm really looking forward to riding it again this year.

One of the many wood bridges.

Beautiful Day!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pimp my Bike, volume 1

I spend a lot of time riding and training on my fixed gear / single speed. A 1999 Schwinn 'Sherwin' Paramount with 853 steel tubing, once a road bike I converted to fixed/SS duty. It a fantastic bike, a blast to ride, and a real workout that will forever change your riding style and how you approach your attack. Enough about that, we're here to see how Eric Pimped his Bike. I get a ton of comments on my 'custom' cranks, "Wow Dude those cranks are sick, where did you get them..."

It's starts with a set of my favorite crank arms, Shimano Dura Ace 7700. They look like a traditional pair of cranks should, light weight, and their supper dupper mega stiff. Perfect for my project. Used, without rings, and hammered on... eBay, $35

First you take said cranks and give them the old one-two with a DA sander, if you don't have one use some 'hand-paper'. I use 120-150 grit, 150 is fine in most cases even for the ruff spots. Hit everything you can with the machine, you'll save a lot of time. You need to remove the factory clear coat and go back to smooth raw aluminum, a clear coat is much easier to remove than say an anodized finish, which can also be removed with oven cleaner first before sanding. There are many grades of aluminum, whatever Shimano uses it's very hard and dense, it's holds a polish extremely well and looks great for a long time without tarnishing.

Next move on to the 320 wet and dry paper, I do it in the sink and rinse the paper frequently. After a good rub down with 320 do the same thing with 400-600 grit. If you doing it all by hand you'll have to use 400 first and then 600, also wet/dry paper with water.

Now back to the machine's. You need something that can turn a buffing wheel, here I used my wood lathe I've converted to a polishing station. There are buffing specific machines for less than $100 from sources like craftsman.A grinder will also work, but you might want to add a motor speed controller or a rheostat to slow it down a little for polishing. You don't need those sweet cranks ripped from your hands on thrown on the floor. You can get polishing wheels and kit's at TarHeelParts, I have a link to it in my Hook Up section to the right. Polish till you can see yourself, and you've just Pimped your Bike.

If you don't want to invest in the polishing station you can also get the same results by hand, been there done that... Just move on to 800 grit, than 1200 grit paper. Then as the polishing step use 00 steel wool with Mother's Polish. You might also need to use 000-0000 with the Mother's for the supper mega shine. Takes a lot longer, hours vs. minutes but you'll get the same results doing it all by hand.

A little investment into the proper supplies and you'll have the mean polish on your bike parts in no time, making it look new all over again. I bolted on a 'used' Surley stainless ring, it was also polished in the same manner, and I now have a sweet looking single speed crankset.

See Kirk at Creek Side bikes for his cool 3/32" single speed chains with old school master links!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Stephen Whiteman's dirt review of Will deRosset’s Red Dirt Randonnée and Manhattan Express

Stephen originally posted this write-up on Will deRosset's Red Dirt Randonnée and the Manhattan Express, both Colorado Brevet Series Permmanents, on the Colorado Brevet Series Blog in Aug of '09. Brought to you with a couple more pictures and commentary. Eric

(Monday, August 3, 2009)

On two Saturdays in the last month, Eric Althen and I ventured north to explore Will deRosset’s seasonal permanents, which traverse the hills west of Fort Collins. The Red Dirt Randonnée and the Manhattan Express each explore isolated areas of incredible beauty, their miles of dirt roads transporting us on a tour far removed from our usual routes.

Not far from home as the crow flies, but a whole different world.

The rides are structured similarly, each climbing to Red Feather Lakes before descending Red Feather Lakes Rd. (CR74E) back to Fort Collins. The roads taken along the way are very different, however.

We rode the Manhattan Express, a ride Will describes as “a two-climb route,” over the July 4th weekend. After crossing South Horsetooth to Masonville, we proceeded several miles towards Stove Prairie before turning onto the dirt road that wound its way through forest and alpine meadow to Box Prairie and ultimately over Pennock Pass.

This crazy tube/tire dilemma came after a broken spoke repair we made off the side of the road. Preparedness!

A typical stretch of road on Will deRosset’s permanents: red dirt winding into the distance.

At a control we take a break and search for water.

Miles of climbing were quickly undone by the steep, gravelly descent down to the Poudre, which we then followed upriver towards the day’s second significant climb. Climbing out of Glen Echo, we found ourselves looking for traction up a nasty 2.5 mile track averaging 9% grade, with substantial sections at 12-14%. Turning on to the ride’s namesake, Manhattan Road, we climbed at a milder 6% for several more miles before dropping into Red Feather Lakes. Refortified by ice cream and plenty of water, we finished the day with the rolling descent into Livermore and a final twenty miles of quiet red dirt roads back to town.

Looking back at where we’d been, late day north of Fort Collins.

Having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on the first of Will’s rides, this past weekend Eric and I returned for the Red Dirt Randonnée. Will made the ride sound milder than the Manhattan Express by promising that the climbing was broken into “smaller pieces,” which, in retrospect, was accurate: instead of the M-E’s two major climbs, one stretching over 25 miles, the RDR brought us five climbs of three to six miles, none as nasty, but cumulatively just as challenging as those we encountered on the M-E. Heading north from Fort Collins, we made our way to the Wyoming border, another beautiful climb over a succession of false summits through grassy fields rippling in the wind.

Eric at the Wyoming border.

We then turned to the winding, varied ascent through Prairie Divide to Red Feather Lakes. This road was as peaceful and isolated as any we had ridden, at times rising through open prairies, climbing through the woods, and following creeks through small canyons rimmed by fantastic, otherworldly rock formations.

An open expanse above near Prairie Divide.

This is Red Dirt Randonneuring!

Not only did these rides take us through areas of Colorado enjoyed by very few, far from the cars and reflected heat our usual paved routes, they also challenged us from start to finish. As a randonneur, these were my first experiences with having to watch the clock closely, as making the controles on the way up to Red Feather Lakes in time was by no means a given. Our efforts were easily exceeded by the reward each day, however, as we enjoyed truly epic rides.

Stephen Whiteman.