Sunday, October 02, 2011

Trail Mines

I went for a ride Saturday, (who wouldn't? it was gorgeous!), and up at Cedar Bend the trails were littered with all sorts of "land mines". You know, sticks and branches. We had a bad wind storm go through here the other day, and it cleared out all the dead branches, trees, and broke off not a few live bits and pieces as well.

Sticks. Branches. Nuts!
That wasn't all either. You could tell where every Walnut tree was at, because right underneath each one was a covering of Black Walnuts in their green fleshy coatings.

These things are from golf ball to tennis ball in size, and they would roll and upset the bike whenever you came across them. Of course, they weren't all that easy to see, camouflaged as they were by all the detritus from the wind storm.

Fortunately, the Diamondback Sortie Black has some really active suspension. In fact, I could rail all of the sections I wanted to without fear, since the suspension was really keeping the tire gripping out back, and the trail oriented front end was not upset by the rolling and bouncing nuts, or by any of the various branches I encountered.

The wheels and derailleur out back concerned me though. These sorts of conditions are primo for ripping off rear derailleurs and popping spokes. I had to stop a couple of times when I feared that the XTR derailleur was in danger.

Other times I listened while wincing repeatedly as I heard the spokes go "pop....ziiiIIIIInnnng!!" all the way down certain sections of trail that were littered with twigs and branches.

Good thing that the "frequency" of a 29"er seems to be out of sync with what the wood demons are used to in regard to damaging wheels and ripping off derailleurs. Several times I had branches popped up by my front wheel only to be deflected harmlessly to the side by the crank, my feet, or the frame. Normally a 26"er would have died a thousand deaths by the time I had done one lap around Cedar Bend.

Look, I don't know that a 29"er really makes any difference here, but it seemed to yesterday. So, I'm going with that!

What I really need out there at this time of year is a branch eatin' single speed. Throw a stick in the rear wheel of a single speed, and with no "dangly bits" hanging in dangers way, those devilish trail obstacles are chewed to bits. No match!

1 comment:

Dave said...

Glad the "spoke gods" are smiling on you. I have a friend who had a much different 29er/stick experience and has a lumpy collarbone to prove it.