I took a bit of a social media and blogging break. Just need to reset for a bit. I’m sure my 3 adoring fans missed me greatly. (ha ha ha)
The super short mountain bike season has kicked off and so far I have done two of the series races. Echo Red to Red and Mudslinger Classic. I raced the Ritchey 650b at Echo since they did not have a fat bike category and then raced the Trek Farley in absolutely miserable conditions at Mudslinger.
I’ve got a some decent saddle time on the Ritchey, including the St. Helens Epic last summer. But I don’t really feel like I have gotten to know the bike until I raced it. I tweaked the saddle height a bit this winter, put on some wider Enve carbon bars and shortened the stem down to a 70mm. It ripped and rocked at Echo. I had a mediocre start and then a good middle part of the race and then spent the last 30 minutes slowly fading. It felt good to really push it in a race, the first one always hurts!.
After the race Mia and I headed up to Palouse Falls in Washington. It’s the “official state waterfall” and is about a 150′ walk from the parking lot to see the picture above. You can hike to other spots for your viewing pleasure but the state does not condone many of the trails. Anyways, it’s a 5 hour drive from the house to get here. Given the short hike to see the falls we couldn’t justify the trip by itself. However it was only 2 hours from Echo, OR to reach the falls and it was a nice way to turn the race day into a bit of a date weekend.
After visiting the falls we spent the night in Dayton, WA. A quaint little town in the middle of nowhere. The hotel we stayed at was very nice though, a Best Western that is only 3 years old.
The next race on my schedule was Mudslinger and it was top 3 lifetime for epically hard conditions. Cold (30’s), wet, muddy and snowy too. This is for sure one of my favorite courses here in Oregon. I like a race that starts with a 15+ minute climb to help spread things out! I was wearing some Pearl Izumi amphib tights and thermal jersey, winter boots and a ton of embrocation. I was comfortable during the race, even the 6+ miles of 4+ inches of snow at the top of the course. I was totally cooked, soaked and wrecked after though.
The highlight of the day was the pasta supplied by Mike Ripley’s family after the race. Something hot and tasty was the perfect way to work on warming up afterwards.
And now lastly……I sold my Salsa Marrakesh. It was something that I have been thinking about for a bit. It is a great commuter and did an excellent job on the several small tours I have used it on. However it just wasn’t “racy” enough. I totally understand that it is not the intended purpose of this bike. It’s more my personal preference at this point. The commuter bike option has been the one bike I have toyed with quite a bit in recent years. I feel all my other bikes are pretty much dialed in. The search for my “perfect” commuter may have finally come to an end though. I wanted something that not only was able to get me to and from work but could also double up as a touring/bikepacking rig. Enter the Salsa Timberjack. A 27.5+ trail bike that can also take 29er wheels. The SLX version was perfect for what I want to do with it. Most importantly though, it doesn’t have SRAM mountain bike parts (totally not a fan).
It comes with a 120mm Rock Shox Judy fork. Total overkill for commuting! I had picked up a Salsa Firestarter fork a few months ago via eBay and switched that over. I also ended up taking off the Maxxis 3.0″ tires and tossing on some Schwalbe G-one 2.8″ “gravel” tires that will be better for riding to/from work for now.
I finished the parts switchover this weekend and took it out for a shakedown ride once the weather cleared up a bit. This thing is a blast! I may have to toss a 32 tooth on the front to get a slightly taller gear for commuting. I will also eventually get some XT hubs and Stans Crest rims in a 29er build for commuting. However for dirt/gravel and some touring adventures the 27.5+ tires are going to rock.
So that’s what has been up recently. Hopefully back to a bit more of the weekly routine now.
Thanks for reading,