Saturday, January 24, 2009

Quick ride

Hit the mountain bike for a quick ride today. It was a good thing too because it got me off my but to get the bike back together again. It's been so cold in the garage that my wheels, linkage and BB have been in pieces.

In the middle of the hypertrophy phase I don't worry at all about riding or not. In fact it's usually a good thing to not do too much. And with the cold snap we've been having it's been since 1/1 that I was on the mountain bike.

Whenever I go that long off the bike I always worry that I'll forget how to ride, and that my skills will be terrible up and down. Sometimes though I've seen that when you're away from the bike for an extended period of time that I can do things, that I normally don't do so well, like ride a certain log or technical section.

Today the legs were burning badly at the first steep section but other then that it wasn't too bad up Old farm. Going down too I was happy that I remembered how to ride. I think the lifting I've been doing in the upper body was key to downhilling well. Last year I could feel and visibly see my body caving in from lack of lifting or something like Yoga. Lower back, shoulders, etc. Downhilling today, I felt much more connected and in control of the bike. My upperbody work has focused on chest, back and my external rotators of my shoulders.

On another note, I know that I gush about my Azure often here, but today again I just get this overwhelming feeling to shout to the heavens how much I love that bike.

From a value for the money it's hard to beat.

Several things have come together I think that make it click for me.
1) Progressive 5th element shock combined with a platform (Minute SPV) fork. Together I think the suspension action is balanced and tuned for agressive XC
2) Good setup in terms of sag/rebound. (though something was a little bouncy today)
3) Light wheels - Stans rims, tubeless, Laser Disc Lite wheels. Not the most expensive, not the most robust, not the best engagement, but pretty darn light
4) long top tube/short stem. I'm 5'4 and am riding the size 17" which has a 22.5 Effective top tube combined witha 70mm stem.
5) Learning to ride in the middle ring, and be more aggressive with throwing/hopping the bike forward on steep climbs - This a a new thing for me in the last year. But I've probably used the granny ring twice in the last 8 months, and each time I wish I'd stayed in the middle. I think this bike is tuned for the middle ring. Even though DW has a treatise here on why triple rings are necessary for duallies. Combine this with some better techniques for throwing my weight I've been able to clean some steep stuff in the middle.

Granted I don't demo any bikes so have little to compare it to beside my Hollowpoint, and a Salsa FS that I had for a bit and of course the hardtail. But the only bike I'd even consider right now even if I had money to burn would be the Azure Factory.

Maybe maybe a little, the Turner Flux, which has a DW link on it now. But out of sheer principle I wouldn't because of the price difference in an Azure and the Flux. I bet my entire bike right now is less than just a Flux frameset. And I also don't understand the point of a Fox 3 way shock. I cannot stand shocks/forks with knobs and dials on them that are designed for adjusting while riding. Maybe it's just me and my mindset that doesn't work with them. And if the suspension is so good, like I think the DW link is than there should be no need for having 3 different settings, except for locking it out on the tarmac.


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