Friday, March 17, 2006

Epic Day 2

Day 2

Day 2 was the best day of the trip. It didn’t rain much overnight, and the day broke with sunshine streaming over the hills. I burned, er, cooked some pancakes for breakfast and we loaded up the car and headed out.

That’s right, loaded up the car. After our adventure with the storm on Day 1, we decided to take the car to the trailhead. We also planned to ride all day, and having tools and food handy seemed like a good idea.

I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking, but here are a few anecdotes. I had a dramatic crash on Day 1, during which I lost the end plug for the front extension on my Jones H-Bar. This did not please me. We stopped at the site of the crash on Day 2 to take some pictures, and I joked that Nate should look around for the end plug. Nate looks around for a minute, and sure enough, he finds it! A one-in-a-million chance, for sure!

We had three flat tires on Day 2, all on the same type of tire. Kenda is sponsor, and I love their tires, but I won’t run Karma DTC Lites at Syllamo anymore. Not the 26” which I ran in the rear and flatted once. Not the 29”, which Dan ran and flatted twice in the rear. I do plan to use these tires in Michigan, but the square-edged rocks in AR were too much for the Karma Lites.

A bit about the bikes. I brought both my singlespeeds set up with 2:1 drivetrains. They are built on Airborne Lucky Strike frames with WI ENO eccentric hubs.

I rode my full-rigid bike on Day 1. That was not the best choice, as the trail was very rocky and I ended the day stiff and sore. I did appreciate the light weight of that bike on the climbs, and I was able to hang with Dan and Nate pretty much all day. After riding that bike in horrible conditions on Day 1, it sat in the corner for the rest of the trip. The brakes were shot, the headset (a 10+ year old King!) was starting to grind, the wheels were knocked out of true and it looked like a hurt puppy! The bike with the front suspension worked great, but I hated the extra weight on the climbs. By the end of the ride on Day 2, my legs were cooked. But the 2001 Marzocchi Z-2 kept taking the hits. I did decide that the Candy pedals will have to go. They are fine for winter training, but I had trouble with my foot sliding all over the pedal body as I tried to get clipped in on steep, rocky inclines. I love the Eggbeaters, and will get another pair to replace the Candys.

I really missed the Jones H-Bars on Day 2 and Day 3! I had very sore forearms at the end of each ride, and I ended up with some lingering wrist soreness that persists to this day. As much as my wife won’t like it, I think I am gonna have to bite the bullet and get another set of H-Bars for the backup bike.

Dan also brought a pair of singlespeeds. His main bike was a Niner with a White Brothers fork. His backup was a Salsa Juan Solo. He says the Niner was the way to go on this course; it rolled over stuff that brough his 26er to a dead stop. I can attest that he dabbed and crashed more often on the 26er.

Nate rode a full-rigid Cannondale 1FG on Day 1, and a Trek fancy geared bike with front suspension on Day 2 and Day 3.

My new WI cranks, hubs and freewheels worked great! The cranks were at least as stiff as my splined LX cranks, and a ton stiffer than the old square-taper XT cranks they replaced, even with the same XT bottom bracket. I did manage to loosen the lockring on the cranks by the end of Day 3. I recently received the Hozan lockring tool, and I suspect using that and some loctite should resolve that issue.

Now, on to the pictures!

Me in the parking lot.

Me going down a wicked set of stone stairs.

Nate and Dan crossing a steam.

Nate on the staircase.

Dan stylin' in the parking lot. Dan, how did you get that jersey? I know that guy who won that race, and if he catches you wearing his jersey, he'll kick your butt! He is a mean SOB.

Nate stylin' in the parking lot. You would never guess that his new favorite singer is 50 Cent. What you gonna do with all that junk inside your trunk, Nate?

Day 3 report will be posted tomorrow.


Danielle said...

I was thinking about running a karma in the back for Ouachita. Now I'm just going to stick to Nevegals.

Nice pics!

dallas said...

I also was going to get a set of 29er karmas for racing locally but now I'm scared off.I guess I'll wait untill the summer 29er tires start coming out.
Oh and did you get to spend any time on the 9er?
cool pics.

paddy said...


looked like a fun trip!

as you seem to on the compy, go to the Schwalbe website, be enlightened, call me with your order and get that Rig some fresh was fresh(and breezy) today...the gravel's callin'

Jeff Kerkove said...

Let me get this right...
You drove down to Are-Kansas to pre-ride? Cool.

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