Monday, March 5, 2012

Pressure Drop

That title has a couple of meanings..... In one sense it alludes to just how much pressure I have been under lately. And it also refers to literally a drop in pressure ie in how much air pressure I am putting in the tires in my mtn bike right now. Resultsboy has been heckling me about running tubes in my mtn bike tires for about 3 years. What has kept me from switching is just that realistically I am not that big a mountain biker. So the effort to do it just seemed not worth it. But its come a long way in a couple of years. The stories of tires exploding in peoples shops and spraying liquid latex all over a ten foot blast radius are rare. The system is pretty much dialed right now. So when I put my Sola in for a "spring" tune up right after kicking the white sex to 11 I asked them to convert the tires to tubeless. What you have never heard the term white sex before? Thank Mud and Cowbells for that one. It refers to adding classy touches of white to one's self and one's bike. So white grips, white housing...boom white sex.

But back to the tubeless thing. I was fairly skeptical. But I figured what is the worst that could happen? I started at about 30. Then resultsboy yelled at me over the internet. I dropped it to 25. Then one of the guys from Riverside gave me a twitter tip to drop it more. I dropped it to 22. Damn. For the record it does not ride like a tubie. I hear that sooo many times. But its so not true. A tubie at 22 is like butter. A set of Racing Ralph's at 22 starts to actually grip the trail but does not have that supple, plush rubber goodness of say an FMB fango. But what a difference 18 psi makes. I probably ran my tubed dirt tires at about 40 to avoid pinch plats. But a RR at 40 and one at 22 is like a totally different tire! You can actually ride shit as opposed to bounce off shit.

Part of the pressure drop of late has been riding with that man. Seriously. Matt Aumiller has been a kick ass riding partner. Such a solid guy. Good friend and just up for anything. The fact that he rides a friggin 30 pound rigid 29er singlespeed is just sick. Someone get that man a custom Igleheart. Seriously. For all the dudes getting blinged out new bikes this early season that man deserves a nice bike. Guy rips it on a bike that is basically held together with duct tape...
The other part of the pressure drop has been mountain biking. I have fought it for a while. But as the saying goes "dyude don't fight the mountain..." Stoner logic but its true. Mtn biking is very, very different than road or cx riding. I joked that mtn biking is MMA and road riding is Judo the other day. I am sure people were like WTF Chip really? Where do you even come up with this shit? But its true. On the east coast mtn biking is brutal. So many rocks, roots etc. I HATED it for seven years. Then Zank and his crew and 24HOGG started wearing me down. It is shitload of fun if you let it be. You have to be Zen about it. Riding 15 miles in 2 hours seems absurd. I mean seriously what is that like 7.5 miles an hour? Shit I can walk faster than that. But if you get passed that it is amazing. And yes the drop in psi in my tires has really helped. This week we had a little mini-winter. Two snow storms. The first was negated by rain. But one stuck. I got out and got some fresh tracks on the 2 inches of powder we had. It was amazing. And what dawned on me was with the snow covering all the stuff I am usual petrified of I was able to actually relax and roll over stuff. It was an epiphany of sorts.
Then Aumiller suggested we ride Wompatuck. I have never been. I have heard such great things about it. I now see why everyone raves about it. It is amazing. Too fast and too furious woods riding. Nothing too techy, wicked fast tight singletrack. It was wet in spots but nothing too bad. It also has a bit of an Area 51 or Resident Evil thing going for it which I liked. I mean why would there be a ten foot cyclone fence in the middle of the woods? Keeping things in or out? We got lost a few times but always got back on track. I only crashed once which was mind blowing and again a testament to what a huge difference running 22 psi on wet roots and rocks does for your confidence. I got so cocky that at the end I got a little ahead of myself and rode up a boulder. Not the boulder pictured here of course. But a nice little boulder hop up with a transition.
Road riding and mtn biking seem like different sports. Like Judo and MMA. Judo is a big part of the nexus for MMA. But they have about as much in common now as we do with our homoerectus ancestors. Judo is a competition. Olympic sanctioned blah, blah. MMA is legitimized Fight Club. With one intention destroy your opponent. Can't kill him but that is really about all you can't do to him. It may be dramatic to say that about mtn biking. No one is trying to kill you. But it does seem like the rocks and roots would like to do you great bodily harm. I think its fair to say that at least for me you have to be willing to absorb some body blows from the roots and rocks and not flinch to be able to finally give in to it and enjoy the beauty the woods has to offer. Maybe Teahupu is a better analogy of east coast mtn biking. There is surfing and then there is Teahupu. It is a brutal surf spot in the French Polynesia Islands. The consequences for screwing up are severe. But like mtn biking it takes a combination of pushing your fear aside in a Zen like way and committing to it.
I should be committed I suppose for being sooo stoked about mtn biking right now but I am. I am already thinking of 24 Hours of Great Glen. I am on the fence of whether I am doing a 4-5 person team or a 2-person coed. They both sound rad to me. April 1st will be my first mtn bike race in 11 years. I have "raced" 24HOGG the last couple of years but that is a very specific event. Hopbrook on April 1st should be an interesting test to see where I am at. For now a huge thanks to Zank, Matt, Matt, Rosey and all the heavy metal gods and goddesses who push me.



28 comments:

  1. It's funny I mountainbiked long before I rode the road. While I get the analogy, I always saw it just the opposite, with mtb as judo and road as MMA... Adding to this, I was convinced because the first road rides I did, I am sure the dudes were trying to kill me...

    respect
    fmv

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like your twist on it. Yeah I could see it that way. Most of my road riding is solo or with a small crew that I know really well. I am sort of a snob and can't deal with all the group riding antics anymore. But yes I have been on rides like you describe and in that instance I do think the riders are trying to kill you. Most definitely!

    ReplyDelete
  3. You're describing more of a Kung Fu, Donnie Yen kind of riding. Maybe CX is MMA, beat each other with what ever it takes.

    Tire pressure has to be everything that wheel size isn't for me (and no, none of my shit is set up to run it and i'm not buying new stuff or trying to make stuff i have work).

    nice post chipster

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