Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Raw Christmas Joy

Since I already posted this on Facebook and all the people my wife actually knows have seen it, it must be OK to show complete strangers.  Of all the gifts I have given for Christmas, this was the most fun.
Raw Christmas Joy
 My wife has made the transformation into a full on cyclist.  Starting with a hand me down bike which was quickly traded up to a new entry level road bike, a Scott Contessa Speedster 25.  She rode that for about 1000 miles when we stumbled across a Focus Mares 3.0 Cross bike.  After that, the Speedster never stood a chance.  The feeling of responsiveness that a light stiff carbon frame provides was too sweet.  It is truly a feeling that is hard to describe to somebody that doesn't ride much.   It's hard to explain how shaving 5 lbs off the weight of a bike can make it 4X the price.  I honestly can't figure it out myself because it really isn't just the weight.  I can pack on 4lbs of gear and my light bike still feels light.  It is more.  But I digress for the story.
A Very Merry Christmas
So late this summer I contacted the person we bought the Focus from who happens to be
A: Local
B: My Wife's Size and
C:  A person who is able to get the latest bikes, ride them for a season and then turn them around at about 1/2 of retail.

This is good because the retail on this bike ranks right up there in the absurd category on my bike value scale.  If fact, the 1/2 retail was still about $900 more than I was planning to spend since I've got about 4 bikes in my planned budget range that are pretty awesome.  After some hemming and hawwing I decided to just go for it.
I actually took delivery of this bike in October and had to keep it a secret for 2 months.  That was no easy task especially as hints were getting dropped about getting a new road bike...Actually they were statements like "I need a new road bike to take the podium..."  Or something like that.  I also had thoughts like "what if the garage burns down and she hasn't got her bike yet".  It was rough.
1/2 Century, December 26, 2014 - Powered by 1 cup of coffee & 2 biscotti
Luckily, the weather was very generous and let her get out and ride it immediately instead of waiting until spring.  We did over 50 miles on day 1 and another 30 on the next day.  The naming process went through "Bumblebee", "The Hornet" and landed on "Little Miss Sunshine"  I thought "The Envy Maker" would have been good.

As promised, I have made it though 2014 without buying (myself) any new bikes.  This willpower can only last so long.  (Bucksaw)

On a related note, if anybody is interested in a good entry level road bike at less than closeout pricing, look me up (mention this blog for an even bigger discount )

2013 Scott Contessa Speedster 25 Size M - $675

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fatbike Fun

OK, Ok, I've been whining like a little girl about how heavy my Pugsley is, how I feel beat to crap when I come back from a ride and so on and so on.  Yes, I'd really like a new Salsa Bucksaw Carbon.  And I'll probably settle on a Bucksaw 2  or some other FSFB because I don't think I'll ever be able to bring myself to pay $6500 for a bike, not yet.  And spending an extra $2500 to save 300g seems ludicrous, although I think most of the price is for the bike porn red paint job.  And it's almost worth it.
Bike Porn Red

But anyway, if wishes were fishes then, I don't know, I'd wish for enough yellow-fin tuna to buy a Bucksaw.  The point of this story is I had two awesome fatbike rides this weekend.  Normally I bring the beast out on the worst weather days or unknown trail days full of excitement and hope and return 50% later than expected, soaked in sweat with achy knees.  I complain about how hard it was to grind up the hills on a 38lb bike, blah blah blah.  I realize that a lot of this is self imposed because the fatty comes out when others can't.
I think the white snow would go well against a red background.

This weekend was different.  My wife and I headed out with the dogs to some trails that I knew had been packed.  She on her studded tire MTB and me on the (slightly studly) fatbike.  The trails were a mix of hardpack, soft pack, crust and a little ice.  The regular mountain bike was a fine choice for the terrain.  There was no place that it couldn't go.  BUT, the fatbike was a great choice. The wider tires let me float over some crust where the MTB broke through.  The added traction and contact patch let me blast through rutted sections that I would have been a lot more cautious on with my other bikes.  But the most fun was on the 2 miles of packed singletrack section.  The pugs and I were zipping through the trees with more grace than I normally have.
Is that a boot?

We had some much fun that we decided to go out and ride it again in reverse the next day.  The trails and the day did not disappoint. The studs I added to the 45North Dillingers added the confidence I needed to push through some of the icier sections.  So much so that I went out and bought 100 more, 'cause you can't have too much confidence.  I bought the tires studdless to see how they ran without studs.  I quickly realized that if I wanted to ride it across the clear ice on the lake that I would need some studs.  Oh, I also realized that getting up and down the icy hills at the Moose Brook Fatbike Race would require some studlyness.  200 studs later brings us to last weekend's ride.  Saturday was fine but Sunday had a dusting of snow over the icy patches which provided just enough slippage to make me have stud-lust.

The dogs had a great time out in the trails too.  Between the 2 days they put in 12 miles and are appropriately worn out, it is wonderful and they are happy.  If I can edit together some decent footage I'll post some trail dog videos in a later post.