Unfortunately, not every ride turns out the way you'd like, especially in the fall when leaves and branches start falling on the trail. My brother and I tried to ride at Tryon Park in Rochester but only made it a couple of miles. My brother kicked up a branch into his rear wheel that snapped two spokes and broke his derailleur cage.
When the spokes broke, the tension release caused them to puncture the rim tape resulting in immediate and total air loss. I was riding in front of him but I heard the bang from the breaking spokes and the "whoosh" of sudden air loss and knew that his ride was over. Fortunately, we weren't too far from the parking lot.
The dry summer weather continued into September making for fantastic riding. These were taken at the Trails at Jakes Rocks in Warren, PA. Phase One of this riding area included roughly eight miles of machine built single track.
I wasn't sure if eight miles of trail would be worth the long drive down but I must say that it was fantastic. With nearly forty miles of trail planned, this place is shaping up to be one of the premier riding areas in the northeast!
Carlton Hill State Forest, just south of Batavia, NY, has become one of my favorite WNY riding destinations this summer. I rode there a few times earlier in the year with a friend who knows his way around. I've done enough rides there now that I can find my way around.
Carlton Hill shares many similarities with Hunters Creek near East Aurora, NY. There's lots of trail intersections to learn but Carlton Hill has at least twice the area. If you go, please be courteous to the equestrians!
I've been riding the fatbike intermittently throughout the summer and last week I did some slow speed exploring around Hunters Creek Park in East Aurora.
As you can see, there's not much left of Hunters Creek. I'm not sure how to explain it but there's something uniquely enjoyable about riding a fatbike in a stream bed. Caution is in order, especially where the water is standing as the green stuff is very slippery. I managed to avoid falling in though!
Lest you think cycling is the only outdoor activity I enjoy, here's some pictures of my father and I kayaking on Lake Erie in Derby, NY near the mouth of 18 Mile Creek.
The creek was actually too low to do much kayaking so we spent our time out on the lake. The water is very clear here and quite shallow far from the shore. And very warm!
The weather was hot and the course was really dusty. Only a couple crashes and no mechanical issues made for a relatively uneventful race. We had lots of laughs in the pits and the camaraderie is really the most enjoyable part of this race, at least to me.
I've never had carbon wheels on any of my bikes until recently. My RSD Bikes Sergeant is wearing 38mm Nextie asymetric rims that I laced to SRAM Boost hubs. Tubeless setup with Schwalbe Nobby Nics was simple and so far, I really like the feel of carbon rims.
McCarty Hill State Forest. Fatbike was the way to go as you can see, we found some snow. I rode the Sergeant at Dryer Road on 12/14 and the dirt there was perfect. It's sandy usually but there was some moisture in the ground and the traction was unlimited with the 3" tires on the Sergeant.
Riders on Blueline wheels made it to the podium at the 2nd Harris Hill Hustle in Gerry, NY this past weekend. My brother Ben took the overall win, Lance Johnson was second and my other brother Jason was third. Jason rides on Dt Swiss/carbon 29er wheels that I built.
Jon Suita below took the win in the SS class on a NoTubes ZTR Flow Ex 29er front wheel that I rebuilt a couple of weeks ago. Jon is one of the faster road/cx racers in the area but I've only seen him at a few mountain bike races.
Jon didn't know the course and he was riding full rigid and he let me by on lap one on a downhill section. When the trail turned back uphill a few minutes later, I moved over and let Jon by and he quickly disappeared into the woods. He told me afterwards that he crashed numerous times during the race but the Blueline wheel "held up good to the beating". Hopefully I'll see Jon at a few more MTB races in 2016.
Of course I'm riding wheels that I built on my hardtail 29er. The front has a White Industries CLD hub and a Specialized Roval carbon rim. The rear has a DT Swiss 240 hub and Nox Composites Teocali rim. With CX Ray spokes, they are light and strong, and way faster than me!
Thanks to Greg Snow for this picture!
I had the opportunity to attend the IPMBA 25th Annual Conference in Chandler, Arizona last month. I rented this Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Evo from Global Bikes. The picture below is from the South Mountain Park. One of the local guys said it's the largest city park in the US, in this case, Phoenix, Arizona. There's some trails up on the mountain but the conference seminars stuck to the fast, flowy trails on the desert floor.
trails were wide open and fast.
After McDowell, I headed to the south east and the Hawes Trail System. Twisted Sister was challenging and fun but I didn't make it all the way to the end. Desert riding is fun but I prefer trees and forest. Temps were in the high 80's, summertime must be brutally hot! You can never carry too much water in the desert.
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