Sunday, November 20, 2011

They Don't Call it Rebirth for Nothing

No better way to recharge the soul than a set of Rebirth ...


... followed by a couple of days on the trail. Fall colors are coming out. Looks like Thanksgiving out here!



Thankful today I've stuck with mountain biking. It hasn't always been easy. There have been falls. And spills. Leaning trail skills has been a constant focus. But the dividends pay often. There is a peacefulness, a playfulness, and a purity of cycling that comes only on a the trail.

Serentity inducing vignettes like this simply are not availible while dodging congested, aggressive, urban traffic in the twilight hours.

This day I rode until dark. Reminiscent of younger days when trying to stay out as long as possible, until your mom would start calling you back.


Rebirth... indeed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cycles of Life

It's that time of year. While the weather has turned favorable, the days are getting shorter and shorter with each passing day. These seasonable days are precious in our area. Soon it will be winter. Cold. Rainy. Dark. But for now... the dwindling days present great riding opportunity.

Today it's a race. A race to beat the sun before it sinks below the horizon. It has a head start. Here it is sinking over the Eureka Rail Yard.


I get to the trail just in time to ride without lights. Barely. The trail has started it's seasonal change as well. Recent rains have the trail tacky in spots. The moon dust has washed away. Lowering the trail. Lines that worked a week ago, don't now. As winter goes on the trail will erode and lower in spots. And fill in others. More changes ahead.

The trees are changing too. A lot of this going on...


Crews are clearing out the deadfall and deadstand in Mem Park. The drought has been devastating. Over 50% of the trees are dead, and slated for removal over the next few months.


The final season for many trees has come. Their cycle has ended. But the opened cover will allow sunlight to filter through and grow during the upcoming spring.

Cycle of life.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Twice Bitten.

I love my XTR Trail (M988) brakes. They are true one-finger brakes. Great power AND modulation. Now... Shimano's hoses... I have no use for. My original hoses leaked. I replaced them with stock Shimano hoses. They leaked too. Same failure mode, as well. I could warranty these through Shimano. But... Since I'd rather ride my bike, than work on my bike, I cut my losses and went a different direction this time.

The failure occurs right here.


The crimp between the banjo fitting and the hose. It isn't a huge catastrophic leak. More of a seep. But it contaminates the pads. Braking power goes away, and they squeal. Left long enough the lever will get low. I didn't let it go on that long this time.

Off with the Shimano hose.


And on with a Goodridge replacement hose. The Goodridge #107 kit is listed as compatible with the older version XTR brakes (M-966/965). Those brakes used two banjo fittings. The Goodridge catalog does not list any kit as compatible with the newer M-985/988 XTR Brakes. But, the kit includes both two banjos and a straght fitting, and it should fit.

The fittings are of excellent quality. I've used Goodridge hoses on race cars before, so that was expected.


These are neat. Miniature Aeroquip fittings! If you've ever built up Aeroquip hoses, installing the hoses is a cinch. If not... it's still a easy. Here is how it goes. Start by trimming back the outer casing, but not the braid.


Use a sharp blade. The casing is tough. Push the outer fitting on, and make sure the ends are clean, square, and fully inserted.


I threaded the male fitting into the master cylinder to hold it. You can do this in a vice, too. But remember, the fitting doesn't swivel, so you'll have to turn the fitting with the hose anyway. The threaded end simply goes into the hose side fitting into the center of the hose. Screw it on until the fitting flows onto the shoulder of the outer fitting, and snug it with a spanner.


Tada! A nice tight fitting.


Next route the hose. Cut it to length. And repeat with a banjo fitting on the caliper end. Now since the kit isn't specifically designed for M-985/988 XTR brakes, you have to re-use the stock thru-bolt in the banjo fitting. Works just fine. Don't forget the O-rings.


You can use an allen wrench or the like to clock the fitting in the correct orientation. Then snug the fittings.


Repeat for the rear brake. Bleed the air out (worst part of the job) and that's it.

Also keep in mind the Goodridge fittings are reusable if for some reason you need to replace hoses. They can be tightened if they leak, unlike the Shimano factory crimps. Leak free. But so were the Shimano at the start! If these also leak... it's me! Hope this helps, because leaky XTR hosese seems common.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Knee Warmers!


Just cold enough for long sleeves and leg warmers today. Felt great! Indeed fall is here. Days are getting shorter. The goal for the next couple of weeks is squeeze in as much riding as possible. Soon sadness and darkness of winter will be upon us. And albino training will begin. Ick.

For now... its spend as much time outside as possible having fun. It's the most important time of the year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Twenty-ish pain free miles. I talked over my bum issue with my fitting 'consultant'. The puzzler has been that a saddle so comfortable on the road bike was unbareable on the MTB. She pointed out, that with the more upright position, I probably needed a wider saddle. Here's what the sit bones look like.

Ramus of the Ischium

As one can see, they clearly get wider as you move back. The more upright the pelvis the wider the contact point. And that would explain how I kept wanting to point the front of the saddle evermore upward. But that put me sliding off the back.

We tried this saddle, in 155mm width...


Drastic improvement. Not perfect. But I can tell the extra width is where it's at. Unfortunately this saddle creeks and rattles. Too chushy too. I can see this one chafing real bad on a longer ride. It'll go back to the shop to exchange for a wider version of my beloved Romin.