Fair bit o riding lately. I've found that in an area like Arizona where the heat doesn't subside at any point of the day. It's best to just flip the Sun the bird, and go whenever you can. It doesn't matter. You sweat uncontrollably either way. So you may as well go when the trails are empty, and you're able to go faster without worrying about coming upon another cyclist traveling in the opposite direction. I rode a new trail on the North side of South Mountain. For those in the area the loop consisted of:
1) Starting at Beverly Canyon trailhead.
2) East to to Power line trail to the road.
3) Up the road to Mormon, and right on Ridgeline trail.
4) Staying North on Ridgeline to finish on the very bottom of Javalina descent back to the parking lot.
This was an exciting little loop that took about 50 minutes, it was like 5something miles, and a nice amount of climbing, there were a couple spots where poor pedal positioning caught me off guard, and threw me off line on a short technical climb. Making for a foot dab here and there, but all in all a sweet little loop. It had the technical fun climbs, and the fast ever interesting descent. The route went up about 4-500 feet, and had a couple fun bits. It's definitely a route I'll do again to add diversity to my Desert Classic/ Corona Loma/Helipad loop.
I've made a few subtle changes to the bike, to see what happens. I've got it pretty much where I want it, and can't think of anything I need to change. It's at 26 lbs, and 9 ounces. Pretty damn light for a 6" front and rear trail bike that's still fully capable. It tears up everything I have put in front of it. It's without doubt raising the bar on my ability and confidence. Which is nice, the learning environment is so much better when one is in a comfortable state, and can focus solely on the the task at hand without thinking of the quality or robustness of what your'e using. I changed the Purgatory 2.4 inch tires for some slightly smaller in a Purgatory 2.2(rear) and Eskar 2.3(front) with a lighter weight casing and these roll so much faster than the older tires. The front is a new tread pattern for me, while the rear is a similar tread as what I had-just in a smaller size. The front has proven good thus far, yet a few of my friends have stated that it must be really ridden aggressively to get all the positive attributes out of the tire. Most of the negative review's I've read online have likely been by less aggressive folks who don't yet have the confidence to really slam the front wheel into a corner, and let the side knobs do their job. It should be noted that even though the rear is the same tread pattern, losing the width on the tire is significant in terms of it's performance. It's bite isn't as good as it's bigger brother. On the steep, and loose climbs predominantly found here, the 2.4 seemed to hook-up better in most cases, especially when it was really loose. That said, I'm smitten with the new tire choice. I also am trying some of the ESI Foam grips in the Chunky size. No, it's not a reference to my weight, the grips have differing diameters and "Chunky" is the thicker version of the regular. My hands are huge. It's not that I'm a small guy, it's just that I've noticed I have large mallets. The "Chunky" was the choice for me, yet after an initial ride. I think I could have gone for a "Super Chunky" if the option had presented itself. I am stoked on them for two reasons,
1) They help with the forearm shock from riding such rough trails.
2) I lost 60+ grams by switching to these from the ODI Rogue Lock-ons.
3) They win.
I'll be sure to give a longer term review of the grips as time passes, as with the tires, and I'll likely make note of any changes to the bike.
I took an Exam in my summer class on Friday, I knew every question on the exam. Instantly. I sat down, looked and knew the answer. This happens rarely for me. I was ecstatic to know that my grade would likely remain an A, or go up and get that elusive plus suffix. The issue at hand, was the amount of coffee consumed that morning. I have been brewing about a liter +- a few ounces here or there. I'll use a Nalgene bottle and have it in my back pack on my 2 hour pilgrimage to class. Some is usually ingested in the car, until I spill. Then it's back to the bag, the same process usually happens on the 40 minute shuttle bus. Once on solid ground, where nothing can interfere with my enjoyment of the freshly ground Guatemalan roast. I continue, generally without regard for it's temperature, or the effect I know it will have on my bladder. Last friday was an extreme scenario, I somehow managed to drink the whole liter in about 20 minutes after I arrived at campus and began my last minute quick read through of my notes. Needless to say when I reached the classroom I was shaking, and my mind was on overload. I have never in my life completed an exam that fast. It was literally terrifying. I double and triple checked everything for succinctness(as that's where most of my mistakes lay, in simply assuming that the teacher will know that if I got this answer, why should I have to go through all the steps to prove it.) I made sure to write every little thing down, I drew pictures, I owned that exam.
Death Valley Pale Ale. First impressions aren't usually my strong suit, however in this case I was dead on(get it?). It was on sale at Whole foods marked considerably down. Mistake number 1, I should know better. It's a nice beer, yet oddly malty for a pale ale. It's got a darker color than one would expect, and a taste to match. I'd like it more in the winter or a cooler time of year, yet it's not bad, just most definitely not what one would think from a Pale ale. C+.
Blue Moon Belgian White. Don't knock the big guys, this beer is actually a very good Belgian. Simple, not ridiculously delicious, but certainly tasty. It's a smooth drink that's easy to enjoy. It's still got that signature belgian taste, yet somehow eludes all the harshness you can have ina beer like this. A-.