Thought I should post up a bit more about the trip Charles and I just returned from. It turns out that St George was an excellent choice for some great riding/weather. Excellent was reinforced even more by the hospitality and intro's we got from the crew at Desert Cyclery.

Sunset flightBondBefore I get into that, lets flick the time machine backwards a few days... Here's a shot out the Airbus window on the way down to Las Vegas where we would be picking up our minivan for the two hour night drive into St George. Air Canada now has onboard entertainment planted into the chair back in front of you, allowing for a choice of several movies and other offerings. Bond, James Bond. I have to say the new Bond movie "Casino Royale" is my fave amongst all the other Bond flicks.

Two chairsWhen planning a road trip like this, no expense is spared. Welcome to the EconoLodge. For the more discerning crowd, I recommend bypassing this one but for two frugal (cheap) mtb'ers it worked out well. The beauty of staying at this place would be its close proximity to Neilson's Frozen Custard (ice cream shop across the street) and Cafe Rio (Mexican restaurant across the street) we were regulars. After five days of Mexican the EconoLodge doesn't smell any better. ;-)

Bed bikeSince Doreen was back in Calgary with the boys, I couldn't think of a better sight to wake up to in the morning.The Ellsworth held up to everything that was thrown at it, with the exception of my rear dérailleur (uugh). Fortunately Desert Cyclery helped me out with that one under the expert hand of Andy on the wrench.

All told we did approx 15hrs of cross country riding or approx 18hrs of trail time if you count the three hours were either waiting for someone to catch-up or just simply enjoying the views. The terrain is way different than riding Kananaskis Country, it's similar to Moab but better in my opinion. Some of the trails we hit were Paradise Loop and associated offshoots, all of Gooseberry Mesa, Bearclaw Poppy trail, Bloomington Micro-Loop, Stucki Springs, Church Rocks/Prospector Trail, Rockville Bench/Slickrock Swamp and Zen Trail. I might have forgotten one or two of the trails and some we did more than once. Here's a shot of Charles and I about to dive into Paradise Loop which you can see heading off into the distance behind us.

Start of Paradise Loop
Charles restingThis was a reasonably common sight, either Charles or I hanging off our bikes trying to catch our breath after a good effort. Even though we were working pretty hard during most of the rides, the terrain was so much fun my perceived exertion felt way lower than it should have been. If I was redlining my heart rate I was just having so much of a blast that I didn't want to ease off. The trails we did were quite a bit easier both technically and climbing wise as compared to riding in Kananaskis Country. It's so different from the stuff we usually ride, it feels like a massive skateboard park designed for cross country racers. To ride it well, or ride it fast you had to work pretty hard, and we worked pretty hard. My body is a bit tired now that I'm back and it looks like I'm going to be on the CompuTrainer again since we have more snow in Calgary at the moment. From desert to snowbank, hilarious. If someone wants to head to St George again tomorrow, give me a call, 'cause I'm in.

Uhmmm, heading there again tomorrow, that was a joke.


Andy said...

Hey you Hosers! Glad you came out to our neck of the woods! Everybody had a great time riding and meeting you guys. Mike says hi and was impressed with you kanuck's riding ability. Dusty claims it was the fact you were on 24lbs XC bikes was the reason for his defeat, HA! SS suggestions. Here's a couple things I know about SS to push you over to the dark side. First cockpit. Risers bars are the rule, 26" at least. H/B should be a close to level with the saddle as possible. This neutral position allows you to decend better and your climbs for the most part are standing so the bars don't have you hunched over so much. Bike geometry is key, especially where your at. #1 Short chain stays. I personally like 16.5" stays but anything I can get close will do. This puts more weight on that back tire and makes the bike snappier to handle. High BB! This allows you to crank through techy stuff and not worry about catching a pedal and you have the clearance to get up and over stuff. Slacker head angle. Your standing on climbs or running so the typical XC formula isn't needed so why not rake it out a little for the DH. Drive Train. First you have to have SS Chain rings, trust me. Black Spire, Spot, and Salsa make great SS rings. 32 or 34 are great. 32 for more clearance, 34 for more chain wrap. SS chain too. You can get away with 8 spd geared chain but why? a good quality SS chain will flex less a handle more torque=less fixing broken chains. I'm currently testing a Whipperman white far I'm happy. Freewheels....ACS claws are your best bet to start off with. Cheap and durable but not sealed...i.e. they get dirty inside and either blow up or you have to rebuild them...or in your case buy another one before it's too late. The nic thing is to start you can buy a couple of even cheaper ones like an 19 and 21 and try out your gearing. When you know what gear you want to run you buy a White Industries freewheel. Brakes...Avid BB7 discs nuff said. Levers: Avid FR5's. They're cheap, strong, and weight less than the Avid Ultimates...what more could you want. Tires....I usually run a fatter front tire like a 2.3 It's worth playing around with. What every you can do to add speed on the DH is nice 'cause you ain't pedaling. I think IRC Serac XC is a great tire for this. Have a good one and stay in touch! I'll email you about you chainline issues!

Shaun Taylor said...

That was Andy "I'm bursting at the seams with a huge amount of bike knowledge" from Desert Cyclery. If you are in Utah, don't go anywhere else. Massive respect!

Andy, you are killin' me with the SS taunting - I'm so tempted. But then I'm also tempted by the Ergomo Pro. ;-)

I'll drop you a PM separately.