Monday, April 30, 2012

San Rafael Dual Sport

The verdant San Rafael River, meandering through the "little grand canyon" at the wedge overlook. This is actually my first visit into the northern San Rafael Swell. I am amazed. The San Rafael is supposed to be a good paddle in the Spring flow, but this year even that's low.

Ben and I can't do every sport everyday, but we managed to get in at least two sports into our trip: Ben on Lemonhead (V4). 

Making it look easy....

Action sequence:
I don't climb as much anymore, but I can still practice technique without any arm strength to speak of.
Whenever possible, keep your arms straight.

To reach up, rotate your torso, hips, and shoulders while twisting in with the knee, keeping the opposite arm straight as possible while you cam upward.
Twisting with the core muscles gains reach without resorting as much to my puny biceps.

But wait there's more. We drove a few miles south into the proper San Rafael Swell to ride the Good Water Rim Trail at the Wedge overlook. calls this trail "one of the best rides in Utah". Well it was a nice trail:

It was very consistently flowing, not much in the way of elevation gain as it traversed the variegated and highly branched canyon rim, and very bumpy with small rock after small rock to negotiate, yet never anything that tricky. We both independently thought (1) this is an excellent trail for beginner mountain bikers, and (2), that it would be a great trail to run.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Farm and Frites Ride

Team Tandem-Trailer Continental went out for the first world-tour event of the season.

First we went to the Farmer's market (Chad's).

Then we headed to bountiful via the Jordan River Parkway and back, then to Bruges for some waffles, frites, and merguez sausage---their frites won "best in Utah" and I know why,... its because they are awesome. Still, even after three hours of riding, ordering a whole Machine Gun Sandwich (sausage on baguette with frites and adalou sauce) for yourself is too much... too much awesome that is.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Relevate Designs El Mariachi Frame Bag

I just installed the El Mariachi-specific Relevate Designs Frame Bag---the first production full frame bag specific for one bike. Its made specifically for Salsa Cycles (hence the dual logo on it), and available on order through your local bike shop (Thanks Greg, at Beehive Bikes!)  I'll post a thorough review after I've used it a while, but my first impression is that its constructed well, yet still lighter weight than I would have guessed, and certainly lighter than an equivalent-volume backpack. Two zippers, one for the big compartment and a small phone/wallet/map compartment. The big compartment has a velcro divider that you can adjust the size of, or even collapse away completely. It stores plenty of stuff. I dropped my completely full 4-liter water bladder in it and there is still room for an all-day's-ride-worth of food, spare tube, tools, pump, and basically the contents of the soon-to-be-removed saddle bag that's pictured above. 

The initial verdict: without even riding with it, I already know that long hot summer days will be much improved with 4 liters below deck and no sweaty backpack or awkward schlepping of extra water bottles in my jersey. And now getting food won't even require stopping to twirl around the backpack: Just reach down and get what you need.

The final verdict: I've ridden with the bag for about two months now. I do like that it caries copious amounts of water, particularly on hot days. But now that its chillier, I also stash a jacket in there. I also stash my wallet, keys, lunch, all my tools... I never ride with anything in my jersey pockets or a cumbersome and sweaty backpack. The bike rides no different. Everything seems well-balanced. 

The only drawback is the zippers. In any item that is suspended taught in a frame like this, the tension, particularly when fully loaded will go onto the zippers. After only two months my zippers are not zipping like they should. I rub a little dry Ivory soap on them to get them lubed and working well enough, but the small zipper is broken permanently and the large zipper is not as smooth as it used to be. They work OK but they do not zip up properly anymore, but bulge a little. Be sure not to over load the thing, and when carrying heavy loads, be careful not to reef on the zippers too hard. I see the zippers as a design flaw. Why not put some compression straps on an flap to close up the thing?

Final grade: B-, the zippers are a dumb idea that threaten the longevity of an otherwise nice piece. Careful use will probably prevent problems, but when you are out in the backcountry, why risk having another thing go wrong? It needs to be redesigned with straps, not zippers.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Little Wild Horse

We found the only shady spot in Gobblin Valley. We hung out in that sandy alcove for over an hour.

The high heat took it out of us, but we still did a lot of hiking.

This kid did not care what temp it was.

But we did find a cave to keep cool later on.

The next day we headed to Little Wild Horse Canyon.

After a long day's hike we headed to Ray's Tavern---the time-honored desert rat's stop-over---for a burger, and then some ice cream and coffee at the cafe across the street. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The White Greenhouse

New snow in April.

This season is ending similar to how it started, in White Pine

I used my big skis, but my boots are too big, making skiing a struggle. Still the snow cooperated for some turns.

By 11am it was warming up and the potatoes were getting mashed. The clouds kept rolling in making a magnificent play with the light.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Backpack, Backpack

Imms got her first backpack, backpack.

If you don't know the reference, well all I have to say is that aren't you lucky...

Actually, I think Dora the Explorer is pretty cool, especially since it embraces adventure.

Particularly when that adventure involves hiking in the rain with hot cocoa.

And cliff bars, all packed in her pack. I didn't carry anything. She asked me where my pack was and I told her it was her job to carry the treats now. Luckily for the Dora the Explorer inspiration, she embraced her new role as pack mule. 

The clouds rolling off the west desert were amazing---wave after wave of multi-tired storm clouds.

We had a good time, and the first time she pulled her own weight, so to speak.