Saturday, August 25, 2012

Whistler Pilgrimage 2012: Part 3 Actually Riding!

It took a nasty cold to finally motivate me to sit down and finish documenting our Whistler trip. I'm supposed to be shuttling trails in Flagstaff AZ, but my head feels like it's going to explode, so...

Be warned, we're not pro photogs and we didn't take a ton of riding pictures. At Whistler, it's really, really easy to just ride. You never feel like stopping even when you're body starts begging you to. But we managed to bring the cameras along one morning and actually take some pictures of a few things. 

I know there are a lot of haters out there, but I have absolutely no problem getting a ride to the top. Adam and Wes take in the sights as they prepare their souls for drop-in.
Look! A Bear!
Mandatory shot from the top of the mountain. Riding the lower mountain is great, but it's another world when you go up Garbonzo. You start to get a sense of just how big this place really is. Still too much snow to ride all of Freight Train, which was a bit of a heart breaker.
Scared? No. Focused.
This is one of my favorite single jumps at Whistler. It sits between sections of trail, carved into a hill in the middle of a massive field of shale. You drop in from probably 75 yards up, hit the massive transition, and float as far as you dare, hipping slightly to the left. There are some awesome step-ups next to it as well.
Making laps on the hip.
Another gem on the upper mountain: the container boxes. Be careful not to go too big off the other side.
We spent most of our time on the flow trails. I know a lot of riders think Dirt Merchant and A-line are for sissies, but we don't drive to Whistler to ride the type of terrain we can ride at home. All said and done, I go to Whistler primarily for the berms and the air. Jarel having fun on A-line.

Stopped on upper A-Line to snap some photos on the big triple set.

No matter how well you ride, there's always someone better. For me, my little brother Dave is that perpetual someone. He gives me something to aim for. After hiking this part of A-line for a bit, Dave starts reminding us that he's a step above.

And of course, the mandatory shots of the GLC drop. Yes, they've mellowed the landing, but you can still go just as big. It just doesn't look as gnarly. Still makes you feel like a man as you fly past all the lounging onlookers. 
All in all, we had a great trip. We're already talking about next time. On the drive home, there's a lot of time to think about what you did or didn't do. On a trip like this, you try to walk a fine line between pushing yourself and making sure you don't get broken off and end the trip early. I'm happy to say that I rode better than I ever have, but I still have a couple regrets. First, Heart of Darkness. We hit this last year, but for some reason we didn't this year. It was like we were all waiting for someone to make it happen, and no one ever did. I should've. There's also a certain line you may have heard of called Crab Apple Hits. They're big. We scoped them out for a while but all eventually decided to pass. (Maybe if we had someone to follow in.) I know walking away still haunts a couple of the guys today. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bootleg Home Brew Tubeless Tire Sealant

No, this post isn't about homemade apple cider. After a recent escapade in Moab without enough air in my tires, I found myself in need of a new rim on my bike. But replacing my rim meant redoing my Stan's Tubeless setup. I spent a while procrastinating, wondering if I should just throw down on some more Stan's tape and sealant, or if I should try some of the "ghetto" methods I've heard about. After Pinkbike ran an article on using Gorilla tape to seal a rim, I decided to give the ghetto method a try. I'm always down for a "man craft" anyway. 

Between the pink antifreeze and the bright green slime, my peek-a-boo joy juice looked almost good enough to taste.

Taping the rim was easy. Walmart sells Gorilla tape in 1" wide rolls, perfect for an average rim. Be warned, Gorilla tape can leave a residue. But it costs much less than the Stan's stuff ($3). I've heard you can get strapping tape online, just like Stan's, for cheap as well. 

The "home brew" sealant was only a little more complicated. There are a lot of recipes out there, and everyone swears by their secret sauce. In any case, homemade stuff promised to be cheaper and last longer than Stan's. After reading a lot of theories on MTBR, here's what I went with:
  • Luiquid Latex Mold Builder (available at Michael's and other craft stores, find it by the glues, take a coupon because it's normally around $18 for a bottle. ($11 with coupon).
  • RV/marine antifreeze apparently this stuff is a little different chemically than the normal antifreeze. It makes the latex runny and doesn't dry up as fast as water. $3 at Walmart.
  • Slime tire sealant From all I could read, this stuff isn't mandatory for sealing the bead, but it will help seal punctures later on. $10 at Walmart.
The ratios:
  • 1 part Latex
  • 1 part Slime
  • 2 parts antifreeze
I mixed 4 ounces of latex, 4 ounces of Slime, and 8 ounces of antifreeze and it all fit just right in a small mason jar. My tire sealed up much faster than it did the first time with Stan's. I'm not sure if that's because of the sealant, or what. So far it's holding up fine but I've only ridden on it once.

  • The latex will start to dry up on whatever it hits, so move fast. Don't let it hang out on the bottle or in your measuring cup. The antifreeze will keep it from drying up, so put the antifreeze in your container first. 
  • I've heard the latex lasts longer in the mix than in its original container. 
  • Some dudes are throwing glitter or other particulates in their sealant for larger punctures. I rarely have large punctures, so I didn't worry about it.
  • I recommend a syringe or squeeze bottle to get sealant out of your container and into the wheel, especially if you can go through the valve.
I wager I could make another 70 ounces or so with the latex I have left. That's 80-100 ounces for $24 bucks. Stan's retails at $24 for 32 ounces, so you're getting about triple the sealant for the cost. If you leave out the slime, it's even cheaper. If it really lasts longer (especially here in the desert heat) then it will be worth it. Plus it was kinda fun to mess with. Cheers to the genius chemists who came before. Give it a go!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Whistler Pilgrimage 2012: Part 2 Rainy Days

Wes started riding pedal bikes about a year and a half ago. Before that, he was strictly moto. And strictly pretty stinkin' good at it. After a year of anxious waiting, Wes thoughtfully passes the last few moments of WBP virginity...

...And then he remembers his brakes need a little love before he rides it.

The first two days of our trip were rainy, and rain means mud. Being from the desert, none of us are used to muddy bikes. I'm so OCD about the mud that I really have to work a little to forget about the mess and just ride. But as far as rain and mud go, it's hard to beat the dirt in the area. It really has little effect on the ride, and it's impressively not-sticky. This picture is of our bikes after day two, which we chose to spend in Squamish. We were riding in some pretty serious muck, and yet it stays off the tires. You wouldn't see that in Utah. Or much of Arizona. Rain adds some inconvenience just in terms of getting wet and dirty, but it really doesn't hurt the ride much.

This is what it looked like for most of the Squamish day. Wet and steamy. A no-goggle day for sure. We know the wet stuff is old-hand for the locals, but let me assure you, it's a novelty for us.

Snapped these shots during a rare break in the clouds on day two. After riding some tech stuff up top, we took the camera along for a couple laps on Half and Full Nelson. Here the crew is getting a rebate on a portion of Half Nelson in Squamish. I can ride these trails better on a smaller bike (I'm too slow on a big bike) but they're still a lot of fun. I like Half Nelson a bit more than Full.

Rain also means more work. For the first half of our trip, we spent all our freetime stripping down to our underwear so we didn't get the truck dirty, cleaning bikes and gear, and doing laundry. Just in time to muck everything up the next day.

Once we were finally presentable again, it was time for one of many sessions at Splitz Burger. I enjoy post-ride eats almost as much as the ride itself. I'm kind of a glutton like that.

You can read part 1 of our trip here, and our encounter with the new carbon Transition Covert here.