Wednesday, July 21, 2010


If anybody is still out there, haven't blogged in a while...have been riding, but...have a new blog of sorts.

Check out the Bronto Blog, this is Todd's and my project:

Follow more mediocre adventures there!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Dragons, the movie

A little video tribute to Welsh riding and the late, great Ronnie James Dio.


It's no coincidence that Wales has a dragon on its flag, and just recently the mighty Ronnie James Dio, legendary singer of dragons and demons, passed away. Well...maybe there is no connection, but anyway myself and the Tachelet Brothers headed up to Wales after RJD's recent passing for some trail riding.

Su-per trails! Maybe the best I've done in Europe. Big mountain riding as it should be. Heaps of climbing followed by seemingly endless singletrack descents. Our first day was to Afan, the most famous of the Welsh riding centers. Multiple marked trails according to different skill levels gave us some choices. We went right for the meat - the W2, a 44km slog fest made up of 80%+ of single track. Heaven! Long descents, technical singletrack climbs, big views, and perfect weather. Awesome day.

After a culturally diverse night (mingling among the Welsh knuckleheads and their terrible tattoos), we went out for another big ride. This time in a smaller trail center, Brechfa. Super nice guy at the Drop-Off Cafe gave us some tips and we headed out for another 40km ride. This time, instead of going up and then down, we went up, down, up, down, and so on. Lots and lots of climbing. But that gave heaps of scrumptious trails, and more diverse terrain than at Afan. It took us about an hour longer to complete this loop than at Afan, and we were pretty destroyed at the end, but it was worth it.

Finally, back (for me) to Cwmcarn for 1.5 hours of 100% singletrack goodness. We got up early as we had a ferry to catch, and were clipping in just after 7am. Peter had hurt his back the day before, so it was just Stijn and me pedaling up the very technical climb. What a fantastic ride! To get so much exercise and thrills in just an hour and a half. Hour and half on the road bike and I'm falling asleep. Mountain biking rules!!

So there you have it. 3 days of some of the best riding I've done. Trails like big west-coast USA trails. Top that off with English beer and Indian food, and you have a pretty ok trip. Except...for the English breakfasts. But you can't have everything, right?

Dio, RIP

UK, here we come!

All those squiggly lines? Trails!

The big blue van saw us through the trip.

Motley crew

One of the rare moments not on singletrack

Some "north shore" features. Clearly I was riding so fast I came out blurry...

The next day at Brechfa. First big climb, Peter breaks a chain

Flowers are pretty

Here we go...

Trails, trails, trails

Stijn getting his groove on

Well-deserved beers at the end.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ridgecrest, CA

Ah, the desert. Something magical about it. It attracts artists, loners, writers, and lots and lots of military base families. Ridgecrest (RC), California, is no different. I was here on a weekend with Ivan and Jenise, to check out the legendary RC. We had all heard the stories...ah, the stories. I had to find out for myself.

I imagine if you had to grow up might hate it. As my colleague Craig kind of did. He got out as soon as he could and moved to the beach in San Diego. He also advised me not to ride trails above the college.

"Hey Ivan, where we riding?" "Above the college!" Well, we were trying to bust out a morning ride. No time to drive to something epic. And this was the local network of trails, people have been biking, hiking, 4xing, trucking, and squatting here for as long as Ridgecrest has been in existence. I love riding local loops.

Desert riding usually means getting up at the crack of dawn, or slightly beforehand. In September, it can still get above 30 degrees in the daytime. Hot. We met up with one of Ivan's old riding buddies and set out on the climb, stopping shortly thereafter for Ivan's ritual mid-climb stretch.

We climbed and climbed, getting a pretty good view of the valley. After some steep double track rollers, we went onto some new singletrack that was oh so tasty. It was not super long, but long enough for a local loop. Technical, tight, rocky, rocks to play on - everything you want out of desert singletrack.

Afterwards we had a huge american pancake breakfast. Good day.

Admittedly, I look like shit at 7:30am on the trail

Old mines around here. Pick your line carefully.

Some local hessians had built some hugemongous stunts.

Ridgecrest lies down below

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The lummen loop is back!

A fine and sunny april has erased all the mud and the Belgian trails are in fine form.
I dusted off the Spot, everything seemed to be in working order, and headed out for a morning loop with Jeff. Super fun. So nice riding without mud...

Guest rider Jeff with his beautiful ti IF single speed

The next day I went out again, but found a flat tire waiting for me on the Spot. Luckily, the Spooky cross bike was waiting in the wings. Riding cross bikes on single track usually sucks, but this is Belgium so it wasn't too bad. In fact, the Spooky was pretty quick on a lot of sections - very light weight and with skinny tires, I had no problem pushing a 39x17 around for the most part.

There's still more destruction creeping into the loop, seems every few couple months a huge truck or tractor drives in and tears a bunch of trees down. But, some previously blocked trails were clear and all in all I can't complain.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Houffalize WC

Anybody who knows their stuff in mountain biking knows that the Houffalize world cup is the most venerated and possibly oldest stop on the UCI world cup circuit. If you're an American and you come to Houffalize for the first time, walking down the road into the little stadium-like town, with 20,000 people drinking beer and cheering on mountain bikers, it's like you just walked into heaven. Despite what I like to call the worst XC course in history, the racing is always exciting, with many vantage points.

One thing I never understood about Belgium, however, was why they run their trails straight up and down the mountains. It's great for cobbled roads like the Koppenberg, but I've been on so many rides in beautiful forested areas, where I just have to scratch my head and ask, "did they intend to make the most boring trail on earth?"

But enough complaining. The race was fun, the Lachouffe beer was good, some girl won on a COLNAGO and some guy won on a Merida. This is a long, long ways away from Oakridge, Oregon!

Always good crowds at this event

American on a 29er lost to a Colnago. How poetic

German doper almost took the spoils...but faded on the last lap

Best line was on the inside of this straight-down-the-hill-boring-descent