Wednesday, June 30, 2010

evening spin

NFH trail 365

recent rains have the singletrack all groomed just like an english garden path, schweetmotherofgawd!  Get on out there, the weather is absolutely stellar~

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

in the flybox: guide saver

penciled-in trip up to familiar waters last sunday, realized I once again misspent my winter instead of tying flies for the new season.  So I dusted off the vise and got after my favorite fly of all time: the Guide Saver(look for search inside this book option, enter guide saver.)  Previous installments reviewed this fly tied in blaze orange: coined the Orange Crush.  Here tied in tan and root beer (aka Root Beer Float) to mimic those rusty brown stones prevalent on my favorite water.

starts with 2mm foam strip, color to your liking

add white kipp tail underwing, few strands of crystal flash as mid-wing

tie in yearling elk facing forward to prep for bullet head, tie a few wraps right behind the eye to start the head, leave thread back at original tie-in to complete the head.

pull the elk backwards, tie off with nice wide band of thread to serve as base for silli-legs.  

Done!  Floats like a cork, is virtually indestructible, imitates stones and grasshoppers equally well.  Give it a go, let me know how it works for you!

Stone and doppelganger
From High Country Bugs

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

horse gulch goodness

Monday- time for one more quintessential mtb ride- gotta feed the Yeti!  We chose to sample some of that schweet tread in the Horse Gulch area.  Tell the truth, neither of the kids cared much for the early start, nor for the steep mile climb to start the ride.  Catching our breath at the bottom of the meadow trail network, I thought I just may have triggered a mutiny as I explained the gameplan for the morning.  The  imposing sight of Telegraph Ridge in the distance proved a bit too much to contemplate.  Rather than force the point, we decided to press onward and reassess our agenda in stages. I managed to correct part of the problem by adjusting the girl's clunky gearing, while the boy seemed to be warming up with the exercise, atta boy!

At the foot of Telegraph Hill, we pulled up and I offered a vote: forgo the climb (and the challenge offered!), or take the road most traveled, it was really fine either way.  Really!  We would all have fun biking together, no matter the trail.  For a moment we weigh the options, sucking on our camelbacks, eyeballing The Ridge towering above.  My darlin wife offers a few soft words of encouragement, bless her.  And the boy!  With impeccable 8-year-old comedic timing intones our favorite lines from Avatar, you know when the Colonel gives the FNG's their first briefing on Pandora?  Gesturing over to The Ridge- 'You're not in Kansas're on PanDOra.  Out there.....everything that walks, flies, squats in mud, will just as soon kill you...and eat your eyes for jujubees.'  That laugh sealed it, hands up, Telegraph Ridge it is!

Hats off to the girl here: from grumbles to resignation to challenge to absolute and total Domination, she rocked that climb!  The evident pride in her voice as she recounted her daring ascent was the best gift she could have given this Dad, lemme tell you.  Wish you could have seen her beaming upon receiving her kudos from other biker chicks completing the same ascent.   That's my girl!

Recovered topside, we interject Newton's First Law of Mountain Biking: what goes up, must come down, in rip-roaring Roughrider fashion!  The rest of the morning we made the most of what Horse Gulch offers best- twisty runs, swoopy downs, bringing out the kid in all four of us!

And with hard work comes great reward: showers & swim at the Rec Center, deli lunch, chocolate-dipped chocolate ice cream all fit the bill just right after 3 days of roughing it in the woods.  Whew, what a weekend! :-o

Once again I'm reminded I simply have the best team on the planet- luv you Roughriders!

rain delay

got chased off otero canyon by local tboomer and deluge.  Monsoons coming!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

hermosa creek goodness

Sunday proved a day to end all days: Hermosa Creek.  Hermosa Creek Trail runs alongside its namesake a full 20 miles between upper and lower access points.  We opted for the upper access and the moderate tread in the upper 3 miles.  Just right for a Sunday picnic!  Oh, and did I mention there's fish in that there creek?

Camelbacks crammed with lunch and fishing gear, we plunged through the first creek crossing with ear-to-ear grins.  Mountain biking the high country with fishing to boot: I ask you, heaven on earth?

The trail starts out as double track running right next to the creek, gradually narrowing down to single track in the first coupla miles.   Often used by our moto friends, it still is not the type of trail for quads- we found our first Texas wheelchair clogging the trail not a mile from the trailhead.  Flock of citidiots clucking around the stuck Rhino, looking for all the world like a bunch of befuddled golfers, sheesh.

Out of sight, out of mind, thank goodness.  We finally pulled up a few miles in, at a nice little streamside pocket meadow offering equal parts sunshine, green grass, crystal water.
After a quick lunch, we broke out the flyrod for some Jedi training.  The boy was first up, we tag-teamed a few fish until he was able to cast, hook, play his first trout all on his own- a better father's day gift I have yet to experience!   The girl was up next, a bit less familiar with the skilz required in wading, casting, reading the water.  But her instruction proved among the highlights of our day, just a Dad and his best girl sharing time on the water, marveling at a few fish in the process.  Noice!





The catching kept pace with the fishing, we brought a mixed bag of cutbows, rainbows, brookies to hand, the biggest pushing 13".  Maybe 15 landed for the day, not too shabby for a day's instruction, no?

Late afternoon came all too soon, time to mount up, head back up trail to truck and camp.  The boy and the girl both shared camera duties for the day, need to sift thru the raw footage, splice a video together in the next week or so- stay tuned!

father's day goodness 2010

I guess I set the stage last year, what with my penchant for looking gift horses in the mouth. 

Most Dad's I know are content with the third Sunday of June as their annual day of honor.  Not so in la familia de Roughrider, my crew just wouldn't be happy celebrating my fatherly excellence for but a single day of the year.  Oh no, I've learned to trust my paternal instincts in such matters. ;-) So, ignoring the rolling of the eyes bowing to pressure I arranged not one, not two, but three glorious days camping, biking, fishing based out of Durango, CO this weekend past.  But Honey, it's for the children!

Friday PM found us arriving at basecamp: Junction Creek campground just a few miles NW of Durango proper, equally convenient to the Colorado Trail right thru camp and Durango Doughworks back in town. Junction Creek doesn't take reservations, segregates the RV-and-generator crowd into their own little  impoundment loop, proved to be only 75% full over the weekend, dropping off to maybe 20% full as we pulled out on Monday afternoon.    The tent sites are well-spaced and large, interspersed amongst a beautiful grove of ponderosas and grassy green hillsides.  What a find!

Saturday I selected a nice little loop that actually connected up to the campground, however we wisely opted to drive out to the Hoffeins Trailhead a bit to the SW of camp.  Our plan was to ascend Dry Fork trail, connect up to the Colorado Trail for a few miles above 8,000ft, head on over to the famous Gudy's Rest Overlook to drink in the view, head back down back to truck via the Hoffeins Connection Trail.

A plan which was executed to perfection!

Mrs Wulff and the kids handled the 4.5 mile ascent like champs, shrugging off the 1200 foot gain in altitude like seasoned pros they are.   The ascent wasn't without its challenges: little buddy completely ran out of gas just as we linked up to the Colorado Trail, nothing a few copious handfuls of melted gorp couldn't fix.  Not to be outdone, the girl took a brief plunge off-trail and down slope, having misjudged topping out a rock mid trail.  Thank goodness for leg armor!  We made the most of our mental lunch break at the highpoint, the kids garnering praise from the few bikers passing by.  Indeed, that ascent was an impressive feat for a coupla youngsters- good work Roughriders!

Lunch done, time to shred some tread:  4.5 miles up leading to maybe 6 miles down, luv the math!  The Colorado Trail proved a moderate grade down, broken up with a few rock gardens and jumps to the Yeti's delight.  Kids had a ball, chattering away and rock-hopping with equal abandon.

We'd congregate at regular intervals and listen for the sound of my darlin wife's Avid brakes squealing like a stuck pig telling us she's working on her downhill skilz as well.  The team reconstituted, we'd bust out once more on down the trail.

ascent, dominated

Gudy's Rest is about halfway down, a breathtaking overlook down onto the end of the Colorado Trail as it winds up its journey from Denver at Junction Creek Campground.  That 1200' ascent?  Well you could also crank it out in the 1.5 miles it takes to switchback up to Gudy's Rest, no thanks!  Hoffeins Connection proved the fastest way back down to the west, maybe 3 miles of brake burning switchbacks, swoops, blasting runs.  Fun!

boy, meet world


coming round the mountain

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Singletracks! Alderfer Three Sisters, Evergreen CO

Had the distinct pleasure to sample a classic Colorado Front Range ride out of Evergreen CO over Memorial Weekend. Schweet, hardpacked singletrack of the swoopy kind, winding in and out of mountain meadows, up and down pine-forested slopes on the east slope of the Colorado Rockies.  The summit views of Mount Evans and the spine of the Rockies are not to be missed, worth the bandy legs, seared lungs to achieve.

There's a ton of riding up there, most all of it published online to get you started.  Stop what you're doing, figure a plan to get up that way, like pronto!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

george, your country needs you

luv this commercial, esp George's game face, lol.  We could use a little of his true grit now, thxsomuch BP, grrrrr.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

traffic on coyote trail

Fun ride on coyote today, feels like a brand new trail with the new bike, she's that good.  I'm climbing better, descending better.  And jumping!  She's so light on her feet, she just wants to take off.

good morning!

Friday, June 11, 2010

yeti in da house

Whoa, a sweeter bike I've never thrown a leg over.  She's a looker too!  Meet my new Yeti ASR5, in storm gray slate.

I swapped the shimano m575's out for my hayes stroker trails, they match up well with the 2011 fox f-series  120mm fork, no?  That's a carbon back triangle sporting internal cable routing for the derailleur, shifted by SRAM X7-9.  Schwalbe fat alberts 2.3 complete the package, they should be fun to test allright.

Think I just might cry the first time I endo on this black beauty.  Taking her out tonight, I may never come home!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Great Yeti Shootout Results: ASR5 vs 575

Great Yeti Shootout results:

ASR5 Pro's
  • great climber, better than 575 & many xcountry rides
  • 5" travel offers plush ride for most all the trail conditions I engage, can take 2-3ft drops to flat according to Yeti reps. (not that I'm dropping those heights, but every rider needs goals, huh?)
  • 28-30# is plenty light for an trail/AM rig
  • acceleration: instant response from pedal to frame
  • stiff, responsive, carves turns like nobody's business

ASR5 Con's: brakes. The Enduro package Shimano M575 are entry level brakes, have nowhere near the stopping power required to bring this bike to a stop, compared to the Hayes Stroker Trails I'm running now.

Summary: if what goes down must first go up, this is the balanced rig for you. Coming off a xcountry rig, the asr5 offers better climbing and descending both, in one complete package.

575 Pro's:
  • great descender, better than asr5 by virtue of the extra 20mm of travel, little bit more laid back in its posture
  • 5.75" of travel is more than needed for my current level of skill (and daring!)
  • good climber, equal to many xcountry rigs I'm thinking
  • 29-31# is crazy light given the shock travel

575 Con's:
  • brakes again- the Race package came equipped with shimano XT 160mm rotors.  The front howled 90% of the time, seemed to offer no better power than my favorite stroker trails.
  • climbing- the geometry makes for more dabs on the steepest slopes vs the asr5
  • response, handling: just a bit mushy compared to the agility of the asr-5.  Still plenty nimble, however for trail riding.

Summary: think Discovery Channel. You know how they show those cheetahs blasting after their prey, their bodies zigging to the gazelle's zags? My favorite part of that chase is watching the cheetah's head staying dead level with the horizon, eyes tracking the gazelle like lasers. Yeah, the 575 is like that: no matter the roughage, the 575 averages the sine wave, no matter the size. Schweet.

So which rig proves the winner? Depends. On your typical trail riding, style, skill, daring. The ASR5 is a true trail to AM bike, giving equal consideration to the climbing and descending I typically ride. The 575 pushes past trail riding onto solid AM/downhilling with the bigger drops/jumps that go with both.

So given the choice, which would I choose? I was honestly most amazed at the dowhnill capabilities of the 575, but am not willing to sacrifice the climbing ability of the asr5. Man, I still ride all up and over hill and dale, but have not yet dropped anything beyond 2 feet high. I feel the asr5 proves the more balanced mtb shredding machine for my riding. 

To wit, I've placed an order for an asr5, Enduro package, in storm grey slate. Gonna be great!

related posts:
field testing the 575
field testing the ASR5 

EDIT: March 2011- I've cribbed from my comments on the ASR5 here:
 Well one thing that rises to the top for sure- the ASR5 loves to fly. You can feel it on any berm or bump, just give it a lift or pump and you'll catch a bit of air. Pre-load your suspension as you hit, lift and you'll catch BIG air. It has increased my jumping ability 100%. The ASR5 remains very reliable, no shop work to date except work on my 2 year old brakes that I transferred over. I did wrap the chainside swing arm with framewrap, having noticed some chips in the carbon from chainslap.

EDIT: March 2011, I've been riding my beloved ASR5 for 8 months now.  Sitting in Moab as I write this, recovering from an afternoon spent out on Slickrock trail- dam that's a big ride!   have 3 afternoons in Moab on the 5, and can say I continue to be thankful for it's climbing ability and light-footed responsiveness, as all 3 days subjected me to mucho climbing.  As for the downs, Amasa Back proved the biggest test for the suspension, as you are constantly hopping off ledges of all sizes from 6" to 24".  Beyond 24"?  What are you kidding me?  I'm not Batman ya know.

The 5's suspension has performed beyond expectation for the 3 day beatdown.  The 575 might be the no-brainer amidst all the rockiness and ledginess around Moab, but for one incontrovertible fact: you still have to mash to the top to earn your downs.  Rest assured  the 5 remains capable in the rough.

In the last 8 months this bike has taken me  on Salida's Monarch Crest/Rainbow; Sedona's Templeton, Llama, Broken Arrow; Durango's Horse Gulch, Telegraph & Dry Fork, Cortez' Phil's World, now Moab's Slickrock & Amasa Back.  That's what I call a proper field testing!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Area 51: field testing the yeti 575

Woooo boy, decisions decisions!  I demo'd the Yeti 575 on Sunday and once again my impressions were boy howdy!

575 is the King of the Downs, its 5.75" of travel fore and aft made for a buttery-smooth ride no matter the roughage.  I was constantly amazed at the size of the obstacles I could take head on, to feel only a fraction of the impact transmitted thru the suspension.  I mean I was just looking for outcrops to take on, gritting my teeth for the imagined impact, but the 575 just chewed them up, no worries mate.  Several of those would've left me with an OTB experience on my current ride, lemme tell you.  Towards the end of the ride I realized I no longer was looking to negotiate thru my home trail's familiar obstacles, rather I was relishing just riding right thru, dam the torpedos straight at em! 

All that prowess on the downhill comes with a bit of a compromise, depending how you ride.  I noticed the 575 wanted to sit into its travel w/o hesitation, took me a good bit to work out the RP23 shock settings to eliminate pedal bob.  Once set correctly, the uphills seemed much more in line with my current 4" 70d ride, comparable due to the 6-7# weight difference.  Engage the 575's propedal and I'd say it was as just as good an ascender as my xcountry/am hybrid.  

With one proviso: on a steady steep uphill, the 575 proved an equal climber.  Once you had to pop the wheel or face an extreme steep, I found the 575's front wanted to wander, forcing a few dabs where the ASR5 and my current ride did not.  I was left with the impression the 575 might force a few dabs on the more extreme slopes, but would not suffer any noticeable penalty on the majority of your climbs.  Not too shabby given the 575's ability top down.

up next: Great Yeti Shootout Results!
field testing the ASR5 lives here

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Area 51: field testing the yeti asr5

Demo'd a Yeti ASR5 today, with an eye towards upgrading my two-wheel drive.  My impressions- Holy Smokes!  Don't believe the Man when he says it's not the bike, it's the rider.  That must only apply for those who've won 7 Tour de France or something, cause the 5 was simply stellar this AM.

The ASR5 tips the scales a full 7-8 pounds lighter  (29#) than my current xcountry/AM hybrid- I could feel it throughout the entire ride.  Believe it or not, the 5" travel 68d headtube climbs better than my current 4" travel 70d headtube ride, even better when you flick the Fox RP23 propedal on- partly on account of the 7 pounds I'm thinking.

As for the downs and steeps, jeezopete I couldn't believe it!  You read about how this or that bike is like riding on rails, now I know what they're talkinaboud!  The extra inch of travel feels like a whole another dimension than my current rig, I was carving turns and blasting thru rockgardens at speeds I simply could not match on my current ride.

Loved it!  Testing the 575 tomorrow- 575 is purpose-built for more aggressive riding with its 5.75" of travel, wondering if that's just a bit much for my riding preferences.  Can't wait for the second stage of the great Yeti Shootout!