Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Fun Rough Ride


Watching these guys up in the hills around our house all week, we got a little curious about what they were doing. Sure enough, they were putting in another trail. So, we just had to get out the Rough Rider bikes and take a look for ourselves. The new trail is perfect, or at least near-perfect. It appears that building a new trail includes putting down a lot of extra soil were the trail is cut. I guess this improves smoothness or something. Either that, or ensures nothing really grows back. I dunnno! Anyway, it was good thing we had the extra wide tires on today. Otherwise, we would have been doing a lot more hiking than biking.

Exploring a new powerline road, we huffed and puffed our way up a really steep incline. The road basically sucked because of all the huge rocks and it really wasn't even suitable for a mountain bike. So, we reversed course and headed back to the Joshua Tree trail for some fun. That one is a blast. A couple of miles of groomed trail the dumps out on to a more manageable powerline road. This Rough Rider thing could easily become a habit. But man is my bike a mess!


Rough Ride Profile

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bike Journal Reunion, Days 2 & 3

A Myriad of Photos of the Weekend. Thanks to: Mozam, GW_12, Fredwina, and of course; the one and the ONLY Miz Pansy Palmetto!

Awesome is the word to describe these two days for sure. Day 2 took us on a no drop ride through wine country courtesy of our tour guide, Homey. The 30 mile route took us on some of the lesser known and lesser traveled roads through Paso Robles. In fact, they were so less traveled we only saw just a few cars all day. Of the cars out there, we were lucky to happen upon a line of Ferrari's in a hurry to "get somewhere." Check them out in the video above. Along with the route, the weather was perfect and stayed that way all day. I love this place and I'll be back again, that's for certain.

The whole Great Western Bike Rally is a kinda, do it as you want kind of event. Although there are detailed routes available, none are touted as organized rides. Various groups just get on the road and go. That's kind of nice and keeps the groups sizes more manageable out on the road.

Not to be out done by day two, day three added even more to the splendor that is known as the Central Coast. A few of us brave soles, took on the, "Homey Century." The start time, thank God, was moved back to a more reasonable starting hour of 7am. The temperature, however, was bit nippy hovering around 42 degrees for an overcast, brisk start. The cold would abate quickly as we climbed up Peachycanyon Rd. The twists and turns, combined with the grade warmed us up quite nicely. At the top, we waited for the other riders who joined us on one of the most spirited and scenic descents I've ever had the pleasure to experience. Making our way to Hwy 46 for the last screaming downhill into Cambria, I parted ways to meet Mrs. Mozam and Jr. Mozam for a wonderful lunch in a quaint restaurant smack dab in the middle of downtown Cambria. If you get a chance to visit this town, you won't go away disappointed.

Leaving the rest of the Mozam's behind to enjoy Hearst Castle, I set out on the return home. I knew from the descent into Cambria that the ascent back out was going to be a challenge. The climb did not disappoint. Nine miles later and 1762 feet, I hit the summit about an hour after my start. The climb is relentless at about 6% average with spots reaching 8%. The scenery was just awesome and took my thoughts far away from the pain, so that was a relief. The small, short climbs finishing the route back in to Paso Robles paled in comparison. All in all, this was a superb trip and one which we will certainly repeat in the future.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bike Journal Reunion Day 1


Mozam Get's His Audience with the Queen Pansy

Greetings from El Paso del Robles (I have now idea what that means) and the Great Western Bike Rally! We arrived about 2pm, got settled into the hotel in Atascadero and wandered over the Paso Robles fairgrounds in search of our Bike Journal virtual buddies. This is the first time I've met any of these folks in person with the exception of SteveO. Her Royal Highness, Miz Pansy and I tagged up via cell phone and could be seen walking towards each other while communicating via satellite. You could not miss her as she was sporting the latest in cycling fashion via a Bike Journal jersey and orange camouflage shorts. Let me tellya, she is one hot babe in that outfit. Also sporting designer shades and some serious bright blue eye makeup that I wouldn't get see until later. Everyone was pounding some Fat Tire as we arrive at the communal campsite and I thought, "hey, I like these guys!" After introductions, a beer and some first time EVER recumbant time, we piled into cars and had some really great Mexican food. Ya gotta love California Mexican food. Best ever! That and a 32 ounce local brew, or which, I could only consume 30 ounces...Jr. Mozam helped me with the rest. Twas a great way to top off a long trip in the car. Tommorrow. A no drop ride that Homey has planned and some BBQ at Casa Homey. Grilled Lamb, the ever present BBQ hamburgers, hot dogs...and I'm sure...more brew!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rough Riding 101

Today’s ride put us over the top as official “Rough Riders.” I guess being student, instructor, and evaluator all in one is a good thing, right? Our classroom today was the Henderson Trail network located a short distance from our house. The whole trail network transverses the hills to the east and south of Henderson and then towards Madera Canyon. We had planned to ride the same trail we hiked a few weeks earlier, but as fate would have it, we found some additional trail and followed that to round out the day’s ride. As hoped, the weather was just stellar today. It had been getting pretty hot about midday so we wanted to get an early start to take advantage of as much “cool” weather as possible. Hopping of the trailhead at 0730, we started our journey. Some may wonder…why take a road type bike off-road, especially THIS off-road? Well, like I said, the trail was close to our house and one can’t argue with convenience sometimes. We took it right in the face right off the bat! A short, but really steep butt kicker, about 15% in my estimation. We both made it up and over without too much effort, let me tell ya, riding off-road up that kind of climb on a road bike sure get’s the heart pumpin’ in a hurry. We both knew this route would be tough so we set out on our Rough Rider ground rules: 1) Have fun and enjoy the adventure; 2) No John Wayne acts! Stop and walk if necessary; 3) Most importantly, no injuries…there are no points for blood-letting.

Rough Ride Profile

We actually rode most of this with hiking only on the steep pitches in first 5 miles...and they were steeeep!!

I must say that I was particularly happy with the way the bikes turned out. Not just because they were assembled by Moi, but because I definitely made the right choice regarding gears, shifters, and tires. In particular, the tires where the most impressive. I opted for WTB’s 38mm width cross tires with an inflation pressure of 55 to 60 lbs. I knew from my limited MTB experience that a lower pressure is the order of the day on the terrain around here. The tires are rated anywhere from 50 to 75 psi so I opted for some place favoring the lower side. I was also surprise that we did not have any flats on this ride as I was expecting some sort of “pinch” flat problems give the sharp, rocky terrain. Another surprise was the amount of time both of us spent using the “granny” gear. Ours was a 28 with a rear 32 tooth lower gear. We used every bit of each for the whole ride. I don’t know if it was because of our lack of our off-road experience or what, but I was sure glad we had it.



Expecting to “hike” part of the route, we weren’t left disappointed. About halfway through the middle part of the trail, the route pitches up at a quick and wicked rate. I’m not sure if anyone could even get up that hill with a mountain bike, it was that steep. The hiking part didn’t bother us much, but both of us were surprise at how much effort we put into pushing the bikes up the grade. Coming off what we thought would be the end of the trail, we experienced what it was like to tackle some tight switchbacks that seemed more designed for hikers than bikers. Keeping our three rules of Rough Rider etiquette in mind, we just stopped as necessary and negotiated the obstacles on foot.

An elderly gentlemen met us at the trail end and informed us about a another trail to the south, or what he called Power Pole road. We made our way through a paved neighborhood and once again were greeted with a “hike” portion. Dismounting, we began the “push” again in earnest. At least this time the “push” was short and we soon found ourselves on Power Pole road. This portion of Rough Riding turned out to be a bit more enjoyable. The road was a little less rocky, not quite so steep, and a little smoother all around. Both of us wanted to press on to the end of Power Pole road, but we were suffering a little from the Bonk Monkey and were in much need of a respite. So, we cut it short, headed north along a graded, unpaved road that paralleled and flood channel towards home.

I had a few lingering thoughts about this Rough Riding thing. First, it is a lot of fun. As a pure roadie for many years, it was really nice to take the same sort of bike and myself out of our element and plop us into the unfamiliar. Second, if you want to keep yourself and your steed clean, this is not for you. Keeping clean and Rough Riding definitely don’t go hand-in-hand. Lastly, I think Rough Riding will continue to be fun and challenging. I was worried that this would just be sort of a fad, kinda like mountain biking was for me. Rough Riding uses the same sort of bike, the bike is a lot lighter than a mountain bike, and because you are riding a road type bike, you tend to steer clear of the technical stuff and focus more on easier to negotiate trails.

Monday, May 11, 2009

A Rough Riding We Will Go!


I am pleased to announce that Mrs. Mozam and myself are officially fledgling Rough Riders. Yesterday we left the fear behind and took the bikes on some pretty awesome trails around our neighborhood. We set a few ground rules before setting out. First, use of the granny gear is not a badge of shame, as some roadies I know would have you believe. Second, and in true Rough Rider spirit, this would be about pure adventure and the joy of discovering. Third and last, we would walk the bikes on the steep stuff. There would be no points awarded for war wounds on this ride. All I can say is, “what a blast!” Both cross-bikes worked flawlessly and we had zero flats! Gotta love that. Henderson is a bit slow in the “bike” trail department, but once they put their mind to doing things around here, they do an excellent job.

Now, on to those really cool Rough Bikes. Mine is the first picture below. I decided to use some old shifters I got from a racer dude who crashed them almost beyond repair. They were triple compatible so all the much better for this little project. Mrs. Mozam opted for the straight bar look complemented by the elegant 8-speed gearing. That was fun! Finding 8 speed straight-bar shifters compatible with a road front chainring set up. Her bike is the second one pictured below. Anyway, all worked out just peachy and we were on our way.



The Henderson trails network starts at a park near our house (link in the last post) so we decided to give that a try. The trails are part access roads and part single track/hiking trail put in by the city. I must say that the packed down single track is the best and the most fun by a long shot. Our test ride turned from a serious evaluation of our new equipment to a kid-like fun fest. We soon found ourselves bombing down hills and trails and even racing each other up the short but steep climbs. Note to self: take much more water on a hot day! All in all, a great shake out. More pictures to follow and reports from the Rough Ridin' Mozams.