Golden sunset emergency photography…

Etiketter

, , ,

…and the results? Another ”Olive branch in front of some clouds and a setting sun” pic. Sorry about that.

Clouds and olive branches smothered in golden light, almost as common as poorly edited gopro videos nowadays

Clouds and olive branches smothered in golden light, almost as common as poorly edited gopro videos nowadays

I can try to compensate by adding a bunch of other pictures.

Hold on buddy!

Hold on buddy!

Fruits, sky and hills

Fruits, sky and hills

Golden hills in golden light

Golden hills in golden light

Weird composition, but for some reason I like it

Weird composition, but for some reason I like it

A mixed bag of fall and summer

A mixed bag of fall and summer

As a treat for all of you who made it all the way to the end, how about a dog making a funny face?

A dog that just ate a fly

A dog that just ate a fly

Sketches of Spain

Etiketter

, , , ,

Just a couple of pics of what I did the other day when I had the day off and all to myself.

Morning mist greets me

Morning mist greets me

The sun rises above the ridge to my right, autumn colours are starting to show

The sun rises above the ridge to my right, autumn colours are starting to show

Big views at the end of the (first) climb

Big views at the end of the (first) climb. Granada lies far down in the valley

Oooh, that ridge looks nice to ride

Oooh, that ridge looks nice to ride

The stumpy enjoys being up there

The stumpy enjoys being up there

Follow the ridge...

Follow the ridge…

Rocky trails in the woods to finish off

Rocky trails in the woods to finish off

I guess it was a total of around 1500m descending, and of course the same climbing. Just a wee loop in my backyard really. And for those of you who have not figured out the title yet, think about Miles!

Trying to be a bit artsy

Etiketter

,

We had a day of low hanging clouds and rain today. Not very common around these parts, but the trails will be better for it. Tomorrow it will be all tacky hero dirt goodness, and I will be out for a big day in the hills. Another great thing with the clouds is that they bring a fantastic sunset, and having been sitting still sending out job applications all day I was eager to grab the camera and stretch my legs a bit. The results are maybe not the best, but at least I did try.

Just more of the same?

That is not dirt on the lens

The hills have never looked this spectacular before

The hills have never looked this spectacular before

Mist and clouds still lingering after the rain

Mist and clouds still lingering after the rain

Olive branch and water droplets

Olive branch and water droplets

Golden hour table tennis

Golden hour table tennis

Living the dream

Etiketter

, , , ,

After a few hectic weeks we finally have a couple of down days, and I thought I would grab the chance to show how I live…

This is where I live, behind the olive tree and underneath the figues

This is where I live, behind the olive tree and underneath the figs

One of my neighbors, all very friendly

One of my neighbors, all very friendly

My backyard for the time being

My backyard for the time being

Way down there is Granada, as seen from my home

Way down there is Granada, as seen from my home

…and bits of my workplace, which is also my playground

Cycle lane climb with jagged limestone peaks as a price at the horizon

Cycle lane climb with jagged limestone peaks as a price at the horizon

Small sample of how my office usually looks

Small sample of how my office usually looks

Racing the sunset home

Racing the sunset home

Dream job, in a dream place for sure! Riding full days 5 to seven days a week can be hard on the equipment though. These past days I have rebuilt my rear suspension, changes seals on the forks (to be honest, that was due already when I came here) and smashed a Rockguardz downtube protector.

Cables smashed, Rockguardz saved the frame

Cables smashed, Rockguardz saved the frame

I cannot emphasize enough how happy I am that I had the guard, otherwise i am fairly certain that I right now would be searching for a new frame. One frame per season is enough I think. Take care out there and mind the sharp rocks, Sierra Nevada is full of them.

Not another gear blog again…Stumpy evo so far and compared to the venerable Five

Etiketter

, , , ,

As you might nor might not know, I dented the poor orange and had to get a last minute replacement. Thanks to good friends and a bit of luck a Stumpy evo frame fell into my hands. As I have said, the geometry is very similar to the Five, and almost all components are the same.

Orange Five, newly built in the beginning of 2013

Orange Five, newly built in the beginning of 2013

I rode the Five for two more or less full seasons, in everything from Wyoming and Colorado to Norway and France. I feel quite confident that I got to know the bike really well, and even if I for obvious reasons can’t ride the Five and the Evo back to back, I still should be able to pick out various differences.

I have now ridden the Evo more or less every day since I came to Spain, and many days I have put in 2000m of descending or more. In other words, I have descended thousands of meters and climbed thousands of meters on the Evo and think that I know it well enough to be able to give a first impression at least.

Stumpy Evo, save for the front wheel mostly covered in dust

Stumpy Evo, mostly covered in dust save for the front wheel

Starting off, the Evo is about 8mm shorter in the reach than the Five. This does not sound that much, but it makes a difference. It feels more agile at low speeds and when playing around, but when pushing it at higher speed and in corners it is not as easy to find the sweet spot for weight distribution as it was on the Five. Probably contributing to this feeling is the 5mm shorter chain stays on the Evo, further reducing the wheel base. Don’t get me wrong, the evo is still plenty stable, but the Five was even more so.

However, the upside of the short chainstays (I think, it might be more to it than that) is the uncanny ability of the Evo to be steered by heels and hips, sort of riding the back wheel. The only other bike I have ridden that gave the same sensation was a Spec Demo, making me think that this is something Specialized look for specifically when they tune in the handling of their bikes. I like it, a lot. Maybe not the fastest way to ride, but it sure is fun.

Then there are a couple of practicalities with the Evo that are annoying:

1: Headset. Why o why campy style internal instead of a proper head tube that I could put a Hope or Cane Creek headset in. It is just unnecessary and creaky and stupid.

2: Kinked seat tube. Limits my maximum seat post insertion, which is annoying. Right now I have my KS Lev 150mm inserted as far down as it goes, and I could do with a couple more centimeters lower. I lucked out, but could just as easily have ended up with a lot of seat post travel I could not use.

3: Press fit bottom bracket. I just cant see the point. Remind me again what was wrong with my xtr970 cranks? Light, stiff and cheap (used). Pick all three.

4: Swoopy down tube. Makes the bike harder to carry for long bike carries. Yes, I know that most people don’t carry their bikes up mountains, but I do. And a straight down tube gives better weight distribution when the bike is on my back, it is as simple as that.

5: The Evo is lighter. It does not make much of a difference to me as soon as I am actually riding instead of lifting the bike in the parking lot, but nevertheless it is lighter.

6: Stiffness. I think that the rear end of the Evo is a bit stiffer, it just has a tad more solid feel to it. But it might just be my imagination, back to back testing is needed to confirm.

Then there is the suspension design, probably the biggest difference between the two frames. The Five is a high single pivot with a lot of antisquat designed in, the Evo a horst link with very little. Specialized themselves usually talk about ”active suspension” and such, and the blunt way to say it is that by construction the Evo is not a very pedal efficient design. Of course, it can be remedied with tons of low speed compression in the shock, but that is besides the point, and negatively affect small bump compliance. So why do they do it then?

As I see it from trying both these bikes, there is an obvious downside to a design with lots of antisquat. Essentially, antisquat is obtained by making the chain tension counteract pedaling induced weight shift. This all sounds fine, but that also means that when the suspension goes through its travel, it will pull on the pedals. The Evo has a very ”quiet” feel in the pedals when descending rough terrain compared to the Five. This makes probably an even bigger impact for riders on flat pedals, like me. The quiet feel makes it easier to keep control of the bike and ride it actively instead of just holding on for dear life. So even if the Five is more efficient, I actually prefer the slightly ”mushy” Evo. And actually, when pedaling over rough ground, the Evo tracks the ground better and does not hang up as much on roots and rocks, since the rear suspension is more decouples from pedal input.

Speaking about single pivot vs Horst/FSR, some people claim that the Horst remains active when the rear brake is on. That might be true, but to be honest I can’t tell the difference. Maybe I am just not sensitive enough, or maybe it has to do with riding style as well.

Another big difference is the rear shocks. The Five had a Bos Vipr, the Evo has a Fox ctd kashibling blahblahblah (with specific mounting as well, unfortunately). As you might guess, I prefer the Bos. It has a completely different feel to it, it does not wallow or lie deep in the travel, it just gives me as much as I need. Not more, and not less. Big part of this I think has to do with rebound damping. The Fox always seem to have to much or too little. Either it packs up, or it lacks control and wants to send me over the bars, and often I get the feeling that it is doing both at the same time. Especially after big hits there is a lot of pogo-stick feeling at the rear end. The Bos gives the impression to have super fast rebound, but is still controlled after big hits. I think it just has to do with superior hydraulics, the Bos has a lot more speed sensitivity in the rebound. It might be a matter of personal preference as well, but I always felt happier with the style of rebound the Bos offers. The compression damping is also more controlled on the Bos, but the difference is not as discernible to me.

So there it is, a bit of a comparison between two very similar and different bikes. If I got to design my dream bike from these experiences, it would be an Evo with a 10-15mm longer reach (but not higher seat tube, it is already high enough!) and possibility to mount a Bos shock. That sounds an awful lot like a Kona Process, if they could just make the chainstays a wee bit shorter. The low single pivot might in theory behave like the Horst of the Evo, and then I would see if the brake characteristics actually affect my riding style.

An ode to climbing.

Etiketter

, , , , , , , , , ,

I know, as a mountain biker or snowboarder I am probably supposed to hate climbing, but hard as I might try, I just don’t.

You know how it goes, as the road start heading upwards everyone goes on at a good clip, talk cheerfully to each other and pretend that it is not hard. This usually lasts from everything between one and fifteen minutes depending on the group and gradient. As the road or track gains elevation, gears are dropped one by one and all of a sudden everyone shuts the hell up and just try to settle into their rhythm, spinning along and trying to minimise damage to legs and lungs. Some are still pretending that it doesn’t hurt, but the majority of the group have dropped the charade.

The Spanish sun beating down on us as Pedro spins along

The Spanish sun beating down on us as Pedro spins along

Give it twenty more minutes and my mind has usually began drifting off in various directions, partly due to the monotony and partly due to the will to escape from the suffering. If the gradient is manageable, I will then just sit there and occasionally return from wherever my mind is drifting to look at the view change gears.

Glaciers coming and going behind the clouds keep us entertained as we climb the Stelvio

Glaciers coming and going behind the clouds keep us entertained as we climb the Stelvio

On snow, it’s a different story. Some climbs are pure monotony and are dealt with by just spacing out, but more often there is constant terrain management involved. When setting a skin track, line choices are infinite. Finding the path of least exposure to hazards and wind is a constant puzzle, and at the same time trying to optimise efficiency is something that keeps my mind focused full time.

Andrea and me minimising exposure on Albright, Grand Teton National Park

Andrea and me minimising exposure on Albright, Grand Teton National Park

Then there is always the anticipation. On the other side of the climb, there will be a descent. It might be an old favourite, happiness guaranteed, or something new, untried and exciting. The potential to find the best ever line or trail is always there, enticing me to keep going.

Discovering new playgrounds in Norway

Discovering new playgrounds in Norway

Both on dirt, tarmac and snow, there is always the thrill of discovering what is behind the next turn, col or summit. A new view, new terrain opening up and new playgrounds to be discovered. Add in the chemical happiness created by the body itself, a powerful drug in endless supply that can only be bought for sweat and pain, that elevates the senses and deepens new impressions, and I can’t see how you could not love climbing.

Sunset summit rewards on Kvalöja, Norway

Sunset summit rewards on Kvalöja, Norway

Just another dusty day…done and dusted

Etiketter

, ,

Just a few days until the guests arrive, I can’t wait. On the other hand, I have to learn a bunch of trails and get my act together. I also need to get my newly built bike properly sorted, so this morning was spent truing wheels among other things.

Straightening out a wheel and trying to learn a map

Straightening out a wheel and trying to learn a map

Yesterday we did my first proper ride since I came here, nice to finally put tires on dirt. Some of the trails needed a bit of work, but now they are in prime condition, fast, loose and very very dusty.

Clearing a trail from a bunch of thorny bushes

Clearing a trail from a bunch of thorny bushes

Most bushes here have thorns. Some of them small and hooked so they stick to everything, and some of them are long, straight and can go straight through a tire casing. All of them are very very sharp. One of these days I might make a thorn collage for you, how about that?

Anyways, one of the best parts of being in Spain is that there is tapas, to everything! Even coke.

Tapas, coke, rest, shade. Add hashtags at will

Tapas, coke, rest, shade. Add hashtags at will

Most climbs were tarmac or gravel, which is nice and efficient compared to what I’m used to. Just sit down and spin away, and before you know it you are up there.

Resting in the dust, taking in the view before the descent starts

Resting in the dust, taking in the view before the descent starts.

Now all I need to do is learn all the trails, get a new pair of shoes to replace my disintegrating freeriders, find spares for the silly straightpull spokes in my rear wheel, get rid of my cold that has been pestering me for days, learn Spanish and possibly change my now rather worn front tire (or maybe the side knobs are supposed to fall off?). Sounds all doable, right?

New bike, new adventures, same old airports

Etiketter

,

Ok, so here I am, sat in the shade on a balcony in Monachil, Spain, looking out over dry and dusty hillsides. I have had worse Wednesday mornings in my life, that’s for sure. Guiding season starts now, and I’m well excited about it. I will be at Ride Sierra Nevada, in case anyone is up for some (obviously) awesome guided riding.

Sloppy cell phone pic of my view this morning

Sloppy cell phone pic of my view this morning

The trip went well, but airports are as always tedious. If it wasn’t for the whole flying to good places thing, I would be a strong proponent for the idea to just replace all airports with BMX tracks. That would be sweet. At least they should have BMX tracks and loaner bikes at the airports…

Well..anyways. Returning to a bit of reality, I managed to get a hold of a replacement for the dented Five at the last minute, and thanks to good friends and a bit of luck I am now owner of a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Evo (puh, what a ridiculous name). Well, it’s got all the new press fit carbon mumbojumbo going on, but more importantly it has a sorted geometry, very similar to the Five in fact. Slightly shorter reach, slightly shorter chain stays, and with an offset bushing it is probably half a degree slacker in the steering department. Having built it up with all the same parts as on the Five, save for back wheel and cranks due to compatibility issues, and geometries being so similar, it is a perfect opportunity to geek out on the differences in suspension action. I will do that in due time, but for now let me just say that it rides great, and very differently from the Five, which also rode great.

Trying out the new frame, with one day to spare before departure. Picture by Andrea

Trying out the new frame, with one day to spare before departure. Picture by Andrea

Bye bye…pink bike

Etiketter

, , ,

Dented swing arms and shocks that need service. That is not the way to start a guiding season. Hence, new steed on the way in, and the lovely pink orange got what could well be its last ride today.

Last ride, I'm going to miss you buddy!

Last ride, I’m going to miss you buddy!

With a bit of mixed feelings I also bid the wet roots, rocks and deep green colours that our sudden and early autumn has brought farewell. And even if I do like the damp, slippery and colourful part of the year probably more than most people, I can’t deny that it feels good to have yet another ”summer” in front of me. On that note, for those of you who did not catch it in the title, bye bye my bird. You will be missed!

Följ

Få meddelanden om nya inlägg via e-post.