Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Buffalo Soldier

The Buffalo Soldier...

...probably the most incredible racing bike on the planet.

It has taken Matthew Lee to at least two Tour Divide victories...
(correction: The 2009 bike was aluminum and the 2010 bike is carbon fiber...2 different bikes)

  ...and I rode it across town yesterday to deliver it to his motel room. Yeehaw!

Matthew Lee wins the 2010 Tour Divide

Had a surreal night last night with the Border Patrol hitting the lights and questioning me in the middle of the boot heel of New Mexico. 

Matthew motors across the desert. 

Matthew Lee wraps up and wins his fifth Tour Divide race. He reached the border at 1:10 AM on Tuesday, 29 June. 

Congratulations Matthew!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oil Slick From 40,000 ft

I flew from CCS to IAH last Tuesday. As we approached the TX/LA region of the gulf, I started looking down and this is what I saw. 

Note: I've tweeked the contrast on these photos for the oil spill to be more visible. 

737 at 40,000 ft.

A line of oil stretching out on the sea.

Several blobs of oil...

Orange booms to corral the oil as it approaches the coast. The plane was descending into Houston at this point.

Some of the wetlands on the LA/TX border area vulnerable to the spill.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

First Gila Ride of 2010

Back in the USA for a month and did my first Gila ride today. I had planned on doing the CDT [Continental Divide Trail] South, but ended up veering off at the actual continental divide and heading up Eighty Mountain...mainly because I didn't want to miss breakfast with my mom. 

This is the start of the dirt climb. The Berg trail was a pirate trail built by one of our local mtn bikers in the early 90s. Now it is part of the Gomez Peak trail system and it connects with CDT. Smells like tobacco probably due to the large amounts of mountain mahogany in the area. 
North and south slopes are big deals in the Southwest. South facing slopes will  be dry and deserty, where as the north slopes will be more lush. Heading up the NE flank of Eighty Mountain with thickets of oak. 

Views to the northwest looking towards the Mogollon range in the far distance. In the foreground is some wild area which isn't easily accessible anymore but used to explore in my CJ-5 when I was a teenager and later in the early 90s by mountain bike. 
Switchback near the top of the Eighty Mountain loop trail. I was able to clean this whole section of trail, but walked the switchback, mainly because I figured it was a good spot for a photo. I suffered on the climb due to the altitude. Living at sea-level, now riding at 7,000 ft. 
A rocky section before the real rocky, steep, and technical section. The Litespeed performed well. My technical skills on stuff like this are a bit rusty, but I did pretty good. I stopped about 10 meters from the end (I didn't know the end of the rocky section was only 10 meters more) to rest my forearms. Getting soft in the old age...but in my defense it was really technical rocky stuff and hard to get restarted on once stopped.
Good'll get better as I acclimate.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Uberbike; 2009 Rocky Mountain Vertex Team RSL

I bought this frame yesterday. I bought it used from a friend, a Rocky Mountain aficionado. This deal has been in the works for about a year. It is a limited production, Rocky Mountain Vertex Team edition RSL. Super light at 1.25 kilos (2.75 lbs), but made of super strong 40-ton carbonfiber. It was his "spare" RSL frame. He had bought both the Vertex 70 RSL and the Vertex Team RSL, built them both and decided he liked the 70 better (lower modulus carbonfiber gives a gentler ride). 

This bike will be my first carbonfiber mountain bike. I am sold on the strength and ride characteristics of carbon, having been riding a carbon fork on the Merlin for about a year now. The fork completely changed the ride of the Merlin. It improved everything about it. 

It will be built with a XT drivetrain, XT wheels, SID Team fork, Avid BB7 brakes, and other goodies. XT isn't the lightest, but its bomber.

BTW, I still haven't bought a brand-new out-of-the-box bicycle since 1992 when I bought my Bridgestone.