Saturday, August 9, 2008

Spreading the wealth

I took my neighbor for his first mountain bike ride today. We rode little sac and it was a lot of fun. He's a college student in his early twenties and is in pretty good shape as a competitive runner. It's actually the first time I've taken someone for their maiden voyage where they didn't completely boink. We rode for about an hour and half and if it hadn't started raining we could have gone longer. He did very well on the uphills and went understandably slow on the downhills. Really the only time he had to come off the bike was when i didn't give him a headsup about a steep incline we were approaching. Speed comes with experience and it's never a good idea to ride beyond your comfort level.

By the end of the ride his hands were starting to hurt (I think he had a death grip on the bar during the descents) but he had fun and said that mtbing wasn't at all what he expected. I had him ride my rockhopper because he has a hybrid bike and I'm sure it would have handled it but off road riding is so much more enjoyable when you're on a quality bike. I've seen people on the trails on walmart bikes and I think it's good they're out there but I know they would have a better experience on a lighter, better handling bike

Anyway, I hope he wants to get out there again. I usually ride alone and it was cool to have someone to share the experience with.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Post mourning

Little sac is in much better shape. I rode it a couple times this weekend and the weeds have been mowed, many of the low hanging limbs have been cut and the fallen trees have been cleared. Kudos to those that did the work; it's much appreciated. Speaking of this weekends rides, I had a crazy wreck; and I probably brought it on by jinxing myself. Early in the ride I was rounding a corner that was a bit muddy and started to go down but was able to clip out of my petals and prevent a fall. I thought to myself that my wrecking days could be behind me since not too many months ago that same situation would have resulted in me laying in the mud.

Then on my last lap when I was within sight of the car I took a spill. I was taking a clockwise loop following the trail that parallels the entry road and going at a pretty fast speed. The entire section is slightly downhill and hugs the treeline. Near the end i made a slight turn following the trail when all of a sudden the rear of my bike flew into the air and to the left and since I was pedaling like mad my knee slammed into the top tube of my frame. The speed and sideways momentum meant I was going to go down and to be honest the fall wasn't that bad. I ended up sitting in a bush next to the trail with my knee pulsing in pain. As I sat there I just kept repeating to myself "I'm okay, I'm okay....". I was in fact okay and after about 2 minutes the pain in my knee subsided and I was able to get up and ride the short distance to my car. As an aside, I noticed that while I was sitting in the bush my helmet was off my head being worn like a backwards necklace held on only by my very loose chinstrap and on my bike the only thing amiss was that the chain was off the front sprocket. When I looked to see what had caused my rear tire to fly up all I could find was a root that ran across the trail. I don't know how that would have caused it to happen since I go over much larger roots all the time but maybe my speed had something to do with it. I think my rear shock turned into a kind of catapult....

Anyway, I decided to tighten my helmet, pay more attention to the obstacles on the trail and luckily while my knee is still a bit swollen i think it's going to be fine. Unfortunately everything I do seems to be to my right knee; hopefully it will continue to hold up to the punishment.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I'm mourning the current state of the little sac trail. I've never seen it in such bad shape; it's overgrown, tree's across the trails and low hanging limbs everywhere.....

I wrote to ozark greenways about it and they redirected me to a guy that works at cycles unlimited who I guess is responsible for trail maintenance. That's cool, at least somebody accepts responsibility for doing the work that I and many others benefit from. Here's my original email;

The sac river trail is in serious need of maintenance; the weeds are
crowding the trail (often several feet tall) and there are numerous low hanging limbs that need to be trimmed back. There is also a section of the trail along the river that is completely impassable due to fallen trees.

If there are any planned group maintenance days then I would be glad to volunteer to help out. I know with the wet weather trail conditions haven't been the greatest, but I've never seen the trail as overgrown as
it's become.

It needs help.


Mark Gullett

Here's the response I got;

Hey Mark,
thanks for your concern. The greenways guys are going to clean the fallen debris soon. Unfortunately trail conditions have been unrideable for most of the season thus far. Any riding during muddy conditions is bad for trail conditions. As the rain has been relentless any corridor trimming is futile. As soon as we get some dry conditions we will be cutting back the overgrowth. You are welcome to carry some cutters for your next ride and trim anything that is arm widths. I will contact you for any organized trail maintenance. thanks again
ride frequently,
(name omitted to protect the innocent)

I understand what he's saying but the weather has cleared up and the last couple times I've ridden the trails mud hasn't been an issue. I'm willing to help out when they organize a work day, but I don't know about carrying cutters for my next ride; I wreck too often and I hate to think of the damage I could do to myself with those!!!!

Anyway, I'll just deal with having a sub-par trail system since that's better than no trails at all.....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weight Part 2

I took my bike to a&b and weighed it this weekend; it turned out my bathroom scale was pretty accurate. The official weight is 26.75 pounds. I then took my flyweight beast to little sac and proceeded to cover it with mud. I also took my dogs (heavyweight beasts) with me and had a great time; they absolutely love going with me on my rides and sometimes I enjoy it too. Dingo (the weimaraner) always leads and kupfer always follows. Dingo even kicked some mud in my face this time. That was nice. Anyway, after we finished our 2 hour ride I did my normal de-tick routine before putting them in the car. They were covered in ticks. I must have removed at least 30 from each of them before we left, then after the group shower at home I took probably another 30 off them; I’ve never seen so many ticks. I sprayed myself and the dogs with off before the ride and I only had 1 on my leg. I think the boys will be limited to greenways trails until I figure some way to keep the ticks off. That just took too much time…..

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Yesterday on (a place I hang out often; I'm 417markg) someone asked me what my bike weighed. I had no idea since I've never put it on a scale but it seems light to me. Well last night I got on my home scale and picked up the bike and it was 26 pounds. Then I put just the bike on the scale and again 26 pounds. I know that's not very scientific but it has to be pretty close. Next time I'm at a&b cycle (a great lbs btw) I'll put it on their digital scale and see what the "official" weight is. Until then I'll go with 26 pounds; I like it.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I want to document the trails I've ridden and I'd love to create maps of the trails (someday) but for now I'll just create a list with the highlights and lowlights and go from there.

I bought two domain names: and Neither of them work right now but i have big plans. Little sac is technically a "park" owned by the springfield/greene county park board, but from what I've seen they don't do anything to improve or promote it. That's a shame since it's really a nice place to ride, very close to Springfield and has a dedicated group of volunteers that maintain the trail system. But it has practically no documentation and is not very welcoming for newcomers. I'd like to change that.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


I am tubeless. It was not easy but both of my bikes are converted. The stumpjumper was done with a stans conversion kit that I bought online and an air compressor that managed to seat the tire on the rim. I don't see how I could have done it without the air compressor. The rockhopper was done with some bontrager rim strips I picked up at my lbs and some stans sealant. That was much easier. It was a long and dirty process that spanned several evenings but has been totally worth it. I used to fix thorn flats nearly every ride; I haven't had a single flat since converting. Awesome. For anyone wanting to make the switch I recommend the stans kit but make sure you watch the instructional videos on their site. It will save you a lot of time and trouble.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


A little background; I am really into mountain biking. I’ve been riding for almost a year and although I’m not very good at it I make up for my shortcomings with enthusiasm. And strong bones apparently.

For the last 3 months I’ve been lusting after a shiny new full suspension mountain bike. I have a hard-tail I’ve been riding, but it was a fairly inexpensive bike (spec rockhopper) with low grade components and I think I’m ready to move up.

The object of my affection has been a 2008 specialized stumpjumper fsr (pro). The bike retails well over 4000 big ones (are you considered cheap when a dollar is a big one?) and my gf (life partner?) frowns on such large "unnecessary" expenditures. Not that she wears the pants in the family or anything.

My solution for getting what I want was to "build" my dream bike by purchasing all of the pieces on ebay (for cheap) and putting it together myself. I ended up buying the frame from my lbs (local bike shop for those who don’t know the lingo) for retail because the one I was after on ebay was getting too expensive and I figured getting the lifetime warranty was worth the extra cost since i do wreck occasionally.

The rest of the components came from my fellow mtbr’s (short for mountain bikers) on the inter-webs and I’ll give you a little tip; don’t buy anything from Canada if you want to receive the item anytime that month. I don’t know if our friends to the north still transport cargo by dogsled or what, but they could seriously use some fed-ex up there. They make the usps look fast. I bought a crankset from a guy in Taiwan after I bought my fork from the canuck and the crank set came in like 2 weeks before the fork showed up. That doesn’t make any sense.

Anyway, after I finally received all the pieces for my new bike (saving well over 1000 big ones I might add) I set upon putting it together. I’d like to say I completed the build in a few hours but that would not be entirely true and I’m all about honesty and trust and forgiveness and such. It took a little over a week to "finish" and I had to make 2 trips to my lbs for help: once for the bottom bracket and once for the headset installations. Special tools were required and I had already spent too much on this project.....

After much trial and error with the remaining components the bike is whole and I’ve been on a few rides and I must say it is awesome!!! The rear shock is like butter. or margarine, whichever is smoother. I love it. I can now easily climb steep hills that used to exhaust me, and the descents are much faster and fluid. If you ask me it has been well worth the money!

My latest adventure is an attempt to go "tubeless" but that will have to wait for another post since I’ve yet to achieve that goal and I want to write about success not failure.

Peace out.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

First post

New site is up! I'm excited.... here's a link to my flckr photostream