Blog? What blog? Pshaw…

Here’s how it goes.

One decides to start blogging. One thinks it’s kinda fun to record the events of one’s life and see what people have to say about it. The fun starts to wear off slowly if one is honest with oneself. One disciplines oneself to write things even when one doesn’t have much to say. One does o.k. for a while, and then gets tired of talking about oneself all the time. One quits blogging.

I decided I need to stick it out instead of following the normal pattern. Quitting is for losers, unless of course we are talking about quitting things like work or responsibilities.

Since it’s been so long I can’t really catch up on everything that has happened, so I’ll just tell you it hasn’t been anything to write home about. Or blog about as you may have noticed….

I’ll just point out the biggest items of interest and leave it at that…..

The beard has been shorn.

I am working full time as an interior trim carpenter.

I have done less bike riding than in any of the previous 10 years.

I am still a whiner.

 

IDONTUSUALLY...

Yeah, I am no longer working at Pearl Izumi on a normal schedule. I am still on call for times when things get crazy, but now my days will be spent doing what I know best. Operating noisy tools that will rob me of my hearing, and maybe my fingers and other stuff. Oh, and breathing lots of dust and to slowly rob my lungs of function.

I blame my lack of blogging, cycling, and lack of free time to working six days a week in order to make the transfer smoothly between jobs. Now it’s game on and I’m here to win. That’s partly why I’m writing right now….right,  write, rite??… Anyway, I figure if I start writing again I will then be motivated to do things worth writing about. Like riding. Riding…writing… I may not make it through this.

So here are some pictures, knock yourself out.

A sample of the trim work I’m doing

A sample of the trim I've worked on

Oops, no one was supposed to see this one…

mustache

And yes, I have been on a couple bike rides. The good trails are just now melting off.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

I had to fight off a bunch of MUS keet uhs for the picture of the bike in the alpine meadow, so I hope you enjoyed it!

Till next time! (don’t hold your breath)

 

 

 

 

Riding the HobGoblin

Riding the HobGoblin

Since I’m so good at whining, I guess I’ll start with a little bit of that.  I had been looking forward to getting my new HobGoblin for a good while, and during that time things had been slow at work allowing me plenty of free time to do as I pleased. As soon as the bike showed up, that situation changed immediately.

Not that it changed in a bad way, I just didn’t have many chances to get out and play on my new bike as I would have liked. First of all, I was on call for jury duty. That left me unable to plan further than one day in advance for anything. Next, our full time employee and my good friend Joe at Pearl Izumi took a management position at another store in another state. Then we had friends from out of state visit us for five days. Again, not for bad reasons, but I did miss a few days that would have otherwise been spent on the bike.

Now I’m on a plane to Ohio for a ten day trip in which I will spend five days in Kentucky working for a friend. Whew. And to think I was bored for a few weeks these last couple months.
In spite of everything going on, I have been on the HobGoblin for three rides now. Definitely enough to get a good first impression of how the bike performs, and feels. I have avoided full suspension bikes ever since I caught the racing bug, but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.

There is no way to beat the efficiency and weight of a hardtail, but I was having too much fun on the HobGoblin to think about anything like that. I also felt much less beat up after an hour of riding rocky trails than I would have on my hardtail.

To get an idea of how well the HobGoblin’s modified twin link rear suspension design works, I did some riding on the road. I tried a variety of different pedaling styles and found that the HobGoblin didn’t waste any noticeable energy at all from pedaling force. It’s really impressive. I did some hard seated efforts and the rear suspension stayed firm. Good rear suspension doesn’t react to pedaling force, and that’s exactly what the HobGoblin does.

The component spec has already proven its ability on Airborne’s hardtail 29er, theGoblin, and there are a few design choices that are worth mentioning. The first thing I was excited to see is the internal cable routing. I have a thing about nice clean cable routing, and it’s better yet when I can’t see the cables at all. They are also fully housed front to back, so they will stay clean and smooth for a long time. I also like the pressfit bottom bracket. The threadless headset has proven its worth, and I think bottom brackets will be the same. For complete specs check it out at http://www.airbornebicycles.com/products/123-hobgoblin.aspx

Riding the HobGoblin Riding the HobGoblin

Of course with Airborne the price is one of the most impressive features of the bike. You just can’t find a bike of this caliber without paying hundreds more elsewhere. I think what Airborne is doing is such a great thing because they provide more people the opportunity to enjoy the sport we love by making great bikes affordable. If you are a skeptic, believe me when I say there isn’t a weak spot in this bike. All the parts are the same quality bits from Sram/Avid/Rockshox you would get on other bikes costing much more, and the frame is 7000 series aluminum with hydroformed tubing and a great suspension design. The wheelset is solid too with KT sealed bearing hubs, WTB rims, and Geax AKA tires.

Riding the HobGoblin is an absolute blast! It seems like it can roll over anything, and I find myself looking for rocks and logs to ride over instead of looking for the smoothest way around. I am looking forward to warmer weather when the trails open on the mountain so I can do some enduro style rides. The HobGoblin will be a great bike for enduro racing, which has become a very popular in recent years. And speaking of racing, Airborne makes the HobGoblin XO which is a lighter weight version with a higher end part spec throughout. Drool…

I need some more time on the bike to get a more complete feel, but the first impression has definately been good. The HobGoblin geometry is similar to the Goblin with a slightly taller head tube, so the cockpit, steering, etc. feels like home to me already. The suspension feels balanced front to rear, and like I said before, the rear suspension design is a winner. I have owned bikes costing a couple thousand dollars more that were not superior in the suspension department.

Well done, Airborne! And thanks for such a great ride! Your bikes have proven to be solid and dependable in my experience, and have held up well to technical riding in the rocks and mountains of central Oregon.

Riding the HobGoblin Riding the HobGoblin Riding the HobGoblinYou know I’m smiling as I ride off into the sunset…..And Eric McKenna, the beard is for you.

The Airborne HobGoblin, and getting serious about having fun

How did I get to this point of being a cycling addict?

When I was in my late teens I didn’t even ride a bike anymore. I guess I thought it was something for kids to do because they couldn’t drive cars yet, and once I grew up it was time to quit playing around. There is no doubt I put my time in riding my bike as a kid. I rode my blue BMX Kmart bike all the time. I rode in circles in our driveway. I went to my cousin’s house down the road. I rode to the creek even further down the road to catch turtles and fish, and to chase the sheep around that lived on the farm nearby. I even rode to my friend’s house who lived a few miles away. My bike was my ticket to adventure and freedom.

I got older and busier like most people do, and eventually my bike became just another item in the garage collecting dust and taking up space. I don’t even remember what happened to that bike. It probably got sold at a garage sale or something like that, but I had moved on to driving cars, riding my dirt bike (which I didn’t have to pedal), and hanging out with friends.

When I was still in high school I remember how silly I thought my buddy was when he told me he had bought a mountain bike. Why would you spend $400 on a bike? Just think how much fun you could have spending that much on something else.

How things change.

They started to change for me when we went on a road trip to California and stopped to see a friend who had moved to Vail, Colorado. I was talked into renting a full suspension mountain bike and riding down the slopes of the ski resort. I found out it was pretty exciting going down trails so steep I couldn’t avoid going over the handlebars. But I wasn’t hooked yet.

A year or so later I traded some labor for a brand new Schwinn Moab. I took it out on the trails a few times in the summer, but it was just a side hobby that not too many of my friends were into. I definitely didn’t see it as a big part of my life. But the more I rode the more fun it became, and as I spent more time on my bike that feeling I had as a kid came back. I had freedom again, only it was freedom from different things. I could forget about responsibility, work, and all the things that come along with being an adult.

It wasn’t long before I bought another bike, and this time I went for one that had full suspension. I started riding more often and for longer amounts of time. It was all about having fun, and even though my bike was entry level and a little heavy, the full suspension was comfortable and made jumping and technical riding a lot more fun.

By now I was riding a couple times a week, which seemed like a lot to me at the time. On one of my rides I talked to some other bikers on the trail and they told me about the mountain bike races that were held on the trails I usually rode on. I was a little bit curious about how I would stack up against the guys who raced all the time, so I timed myself on a lap around the trails. I was slow. Like twenty minutes slower on a ten mile course. It seemed impossible to go any faster, but somehow people could. I started to get hooked.

I bought a road bike so I could train after work when I didn’t have time to drive to the trails. I started riding four or five times a week. I started entering races. And I started looking at my mountain bike a little differently. It was too heavy, the geometry was too upright for racing, and I was losing too much energy in the rear suspension linkage. I needed a new bike.

This process of riding, racing, and getting lighter bikes went on a couple times until finally I was riding a carbon hardtail bike that only weighed about twenty pounds. I was much faster than when I started, and by then I had moved up to the expert class. I even won a couple of races.

My riding style had changed too. I didn’t ride back and forth over logs, jumps, or rocky sections just for fun. I rode around obstacles like rocks and roots so I wouldn’t damage my super light wheels. I kept my head down and rode for hours instead of stopping to look around to soak in the beauty of being in the woods surrounded by trees.

I didn’t realize it, but I was starting to lose that freedom again. Don’t get me wrong, there is a completely different satisfaction I get from pushing myself and achieving things that seem impossible, but the simplicity of riding a bike just to enjoy it had faded a little. I decided somewhere in the middle was the best place to be. I wanted to stay in good shape, but also wanted to spend time just goofing around on my bike.

My choice in bikes reflected my decision, and it’s been the same for the past three years. A hardtail 29er. Bigger wheels to make the ride smoother and the obstacles in the trail smaller, with the efficiency of a hardtail to satisfy my competitive side. My Airborne Goblin is the perfect bike to strike that balance.

The Airborne HobGoblin, and getting serious about having fun

For that reason, I wasn’t too interested in owning a full suspension bike again. I was perfectly happy. Then Airborne created the HobGoblin.The Airborne HobGoblin, and getting serious about having fun

I wanted one from the time I saw some early spy photos from the product manager at Airborne. After what seemed like a long wait, I was lucky enough to have my very own HobGoblin show up at my door.

And on the very first ride I got a little bit more of that freedom back.The Airborne HobGoblin, and getting serious about having fun

(More thoughts about the HobGoblin soon)

About two blogs short of a full blogload.

So, where did I leave off? Oh yeah, November 23rd. I’m embarrassed I went almost two whole months without posting up. I guess I could be like Lance and deny the whole thing ever happened, but the truth would probably come out in the end. It’s easier to admit it now, so I’ll just say it. I’m a lazy blogger.

At this point Christmas was too long ago to talk about, nobody cares about New Years, and the end of the world didn’t happen so I guess I won’t mention that either. Kim and I have had a normal two months of the work, eat, and sleep routine with just a few exceptions. And if it wasn’t for those, you wouldn’t be reading anything for another month.

For starters, we had visitors. Not from another planet or anything, but exciting nonetheless. We have tried all year to get friends, family, or anyone else to visit us in our new home in Bend. Nobody showed. And then all of a sudden we had two different sets of folks in the same week.

The first to arrive was the Stumbo’s. Most of you know them as Chubby, Wife, and Cookie. The unfortunate part is that the reason for them coming to town was that Chubby’s grandpa wasn’t doing too well. In spite of the circumstances it was good to see our friends again, and to meet little Ira May for the first time. It was also a boost to my self esteem as a blogger, since Chubby’s blog has been a few blogs short recently too. That’s a subtle hint Chubby.

About two blogs short of a full blogload.

Next up was my best buddy from the time I was just a little punkin growing up. Neil, Shelly, and their two boys were in Washington to visit family, and they decided to take a couple days to come and see us. I felt honored they would drive all the way to see us in spite of the possibility of snowy roads and unhappy young’uns. You just can’t replace lifelong friends, and it was so good to see them and hang out. We had a fun time showing them a little bit of where we live, and sampling some good local food, coffee, etc. in Bend. If you don’t believe me, just ask Neil about the meatloaf sandwich.About two blogs short of a full blogload.

Also speaking of things from when I was growing up, I started shooting archery again. Those of you who knew me as a teen are well aware that I was a little obsessed with shooting my bow, at least until other things like chasing girls and a few other hobbies took over. I still picked up my bow a few times a year during hunting season, but not nearly as much. Fortunately it’s like riding a bike, and I didn’t forget how it’s done. I will never be a great archer, but I did manage to shoot a 300 with 48 x’s at the last local shoot. I won a $40 gift certificate too, which is about the same amount of money I make in a week at work. As an extreme sports athlete would say, I was stoked.About two blogs short of a full blogload.

In other news, we went cross country skiing yesterday for the first time. The weather was beautiful and sunny, and the snow was sparkling like it does when the sun shines on it. I fell down a lot since it’s freaking awkward, and today I can’t hardly walk from the sore muscles. That doesn’t mean I won’t try it again as soon as I get a chance. The mountains are amazing, and skis are a great way to get out and see them.

At this point I feel like it goes without saying that I’ve been riding my bike occasionally too.Airborne bikes have been awesome to Kim and I, and they are coming out with some very exciting new bikes this year. They also signed a pro rider, Caroline Buchanon, who will be racing with them this season. It’s gonna be a great time being part of the Airborne crew with everything that’s happening in 2013!

About two blogs short of a full blogload. About two blogs short of a full blogload.

Oh, and I’m growing a beard. I decided every man should grow a beard at least one inch in length before he dies. And since I can’t grow hair on top of my head, this gives me the opportunity to use shampoo again. It’s a win win situation really.

Talking to myself

Thanks to a job working in retail, my day started at three a.m. this morning. Black Friday is a nightmare I usually avoid while deer hunting in southeastern Ohio, but this year I was smack dab in the middle of it. I grudgingly set my alarm and tried to get as much sleep as I could before heading to the Pearl Izumi store to take my turn helping to satisfy the American hunger for a bargain.

What I learned is that there really aren’t many people who want to buy cycling clothes at four in the morning, or even at five for that matter. People are smarter than I thought. It did get busy as the morning went on, and when noon rolled around I had put in an eight hour day. That part was nice, but it felt more like bed time than lunch time.

I have been working more hours the last few weeks thanks to some side jobs and more hours at Pearl due to less employees. The weather has turned from sunshine every day to mostly clouds and rain or snow. The result has been less time for general messing around, and also less happy time on my bike.

Everyone else seems to be out messing around less too, because the last couple hours of the day at Pearl Izumi not a soul walks through the door. I can only check craigslist, the news, and the weather so many times before I resort to talking to myself. Most of the conversation is about how people shouldn’t make such a mess of the store when they come in, but you really never know where it will go. I am considering taking books to work with me before it becomes an issue.

I have been commuting on Jake the Snake through it all, day and night, thanks to water proof pants and a new pair of fenders. I actually enjoy the challenge of riding when the weather isn’t great. It is kinda like having mini adventures in the middle of home and work.

Jake the SnakeTalking to myself

It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is already over, it’s such a great time of year. Everyone is getting together with family and friends, carrying out different traditions, and enjoying a day to relax and be thankful. Folks are rushing back and forth on the roads to get to a million different destinations. There are football games on, turkey to eat, and naps to be taken. I could only think about one thing. Noodles.

My family tradition is to eat homemade noodles on Thanksgiving. Just the mention of Thanksgiving brings a mental picture to my mind complete with taste and smell of them noodles. Since we moved to the other end of the United States, I was on my own this year. The process of making noodles isn’t complicated technically, but I managed to get eggs and flour stuck to my hands, the table, and everything I touched while trying to roll them out into a manageable thickness. The more I tried to wipe it off my hands the more it built up like sticky mud builds up on a pair of shoes. After working up a sweat and making a mess that a two year old would be proud of, I finally managed to gain control of the stickiness with flour and cooked a fine mess of noodles. They were good, but not like my mom can make them. There is no equal to my mom’s noodle making abilities.

Kim and I started a new tradition this year too. We bought a $5 permit from the forest service so we could go cut down our own Christmas tree. Our dogs went with us to find an acceptable conifer, so of course it ended up being an adventure. The snow was heavy and stuck to Lola’s hair like the egg noodles stuck to my hands. It wasn’t long till she could barely walk, and she looked at me as if to say “what are you gonna do about it?” I carried her part of the way back, and then enjoyed the smell of wet dog on the drive home as the snow melted away. We got us a tree though, and I couldn’t be happier.

By the way, my wife can chop down some serious Christmas tree.

I am hoping to get out for a good mountain bike ride in the next few days. We found a used GoPro camera on Craigslist and I have big plans for getting some good footage of my rides to share. The trails east of our house should be in good shape to ride by now, and are the better option now that it has snowed in the mountains.

Airborne has been moving things forward with some great new bikes to choose from. They are building some of them with even higher end race weight parts, and the full suspension HobGoblin 29er so many of us were waiting to see is available for pre order. I love the colors and designs in the pictures I’ve seen, and I know the bikes will ride and perform well as Kim and I have had a great experience with the Airborne’s Goblin and Guardian.

Talking about riding makes me miss the warm weather already……..

I also miss mom’s homemade noodles, but I miss all our family even more. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving day, and I hope you enjoyed watching what we did on ours!

Eight Years

Eight years was once a very long time. When I was a kid, just one year seemed like an eternity. Primarily it seemed the longest when I was waiting for my next birthday to roll around. And believe me, I was waiting for the next year’s presents the day after the party. These days a year doesn’t take nearly enough time, and I get older and balder (if that’s possible) at an alarming rate. It must be really bad when we hit our 60′s and 70′s. You get up, pee a couple hundred times, make breakfast, read the paper, and boom. It’s ten years later. It’s no wonder we remember less the older we get. Time goes by so fast, it’s like it never happened.

So back to the eight years. That’s how long I have been married to my beautiful wife as of September 26th. And yes, eight years have went by very quickly. When I look back though, a lot has changed. We could have never imagined who we would be, and where we would be eight years from our wedding day. I know I am blessed to be able to say I love my wife more as time flies by us, and she is my best friend to this day.

To celebrate nearly a decade of life together, we decided to load up and drive to the Redwoods of Northern California. We took our tent and bikes, and left baby dog and poo dog at home. This was going to be an annivesary we would remember for a long time, or at least what seems like a long time to me now….Eight Years

I was excited to see the big trees, and also because we planned to visit Chubby’s new home in Medford on our way. I am happy to inform you Chubby, Wife, and Cookie are all doing well. We ended up spending the night at their house before continuing on our drive to the coast.

We had our first sighting of the ocean when we rolled into Crescent City, California. It was a beautiful day, and we ate our lunch on the beach while watching the waves crash into the rocks. Lunch consisted of chicken salad, chips and salsa, cheese, and water. Our food for the whole trip was in a cooler in the back of the car, and we didn’t yet know how we would miss the chicken salad once it was gone and had been replaced with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for every meal. Ignorance is bliss.Eight Years

After we finished eating, Kim discovered there were lots of small, interesting looking rocks in the gravel lining the beach. She gathered them up like they were of immense value and shoved them in her jeans pockets. I even got all caught up in the whole thing, and we left the beach a few pounds heavier than when we arrived. I think we both felt a few years younger too.

We continued on for a short while, and then we saw them. Gret big uns. It is a weird feeling looking up at trees that are hundreds of feet tall, and bigger around than a car. I sorta felt like we had been shrunk, and suddenly the world was a much bigger place. My neck is still sore from my two mountain bike crashes, and this trip didn’t help it any. We stumbled around tripping over the smallest objects in the trail because we couldn’t take our eyes off the giants that surrounded us. It was cool.Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years

As we stumbled around, getting a nice sunburn on the roof of our mouths, we met a couple from Canada who were traveling up the coast. We chatted with them for a while and looked at big trees together. They had no plans for a place to stay that night so we told them about the campground we planned on going to. They decided to stay there too. They ended up paying for our camp site, and we fed them some chicken salad. Life was good.

Did I mention the campground was on the beach? And that it was stinkin’ amazing? Eight Years Eight Years

We went on a short hike before dark to a place close by called fern canyon. It was a small canyon, and there were lots of ferns.Eight Years Eight Years

Then it was back to our happy little tent. It looked so warm and cozy. It was actually damp and cold. We worked our way into our sleeping bags still wearing jeans and long sleeved shirts. We ended the day with a good laugh after Kim exclaimed loudly, “Oh crap, I’m losing my rocks!” She turned on the flashlight to reveal a pile of assorted stones from her pockets in her sleeping bag. Eight Years Eight Years

I proceeded to lay awake most of the night, which is perfectly normal for me when tent camping. I didn’t care though, I was in a beautiful place and I knew the next day was going to be a good one.

Breakfast was oatmeal and fruit. We had found blackberry bushes along the road and picked a few handfuls the day before, and they made the whole operation a lot more enjoyable. We shared some with our new friends, and then they headed out to continue up the coast toward home.Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years

We looked at more big trees, and ate the last of our chicken salad. As we drove around on the dirt roads we saw quite a few elk. They were in the early stages of rut, and I heard them bugling on the ridge above our tent early in the morning. They took quite a lot of our time throughout the day, and if I would have had my bow with me I could have poached a nice one right there in broad daylight. Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years

We saw a young bull later in the evening marking up his territory and acting like he feared no other elk on earth. When a larger bull mosied over and made a lunge at him the truth came out. He was a chicken with big horns and lots of hair.Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years

We camped on the beach again. I didn’t sleep much again. The following day we packed up our gear and headed north to a trail along the highway someone had told Kim about. We unloaded our bikes and saw some of the best views of the trip. We arrived at the perfect time when the fog was rolling in and sunlight was streaming in. The sun’s rays looked like bars of light and it seemed like you could reach out and break a piece off to take home with you. It didn’t work that way.Eight Years Eight Years

Most of the trails in the Redwoods don’t allow bikes. This trail did, and it was good to be back on the Airborne Goblin.Eight YearsEight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years Eight Years

All in all, we had a great trip. We made some new friends, saw some big trees, and found lots of cool little rocks. (The rocks were for some earrings Kim wants to make, I just like to poke fun at her) We ate lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and wore the same clothes for four days. We even stopped at Crater Lake on the way home which is worth a whole nuther blog post. But the best part was, I was with my best friend the whole time. And when we are old and wearing diapers, we will remember our eight year anniversary like it was yesterday.Eight Years Eight YearsMost photos courtesy of Kimberly Sink

Ode to Chubby

From home friends and family

We moved far away
I needed somebody
On bikes with to play
 
Upon our arrival
Who did we meet
A man with a beard
Who lived down the street
 
The man had a wife
And bikes quite a few
I knew I would like him
Even though he was new
 
It didn’t take long
To do rides quite a few
We had much in common
And we both like a good brew
 
Now things have changed
And due to much login’
Chubby and wife
Have a cookie in the oven
 
They moved far away
Simliar to we
They left where they were
A new life to see
 
I miss my new friend
And sometimes I sigh
But let it be known
We’ll be friends till we die

This One’s History

I would like to take you back in time to an event that happened long ago. My memories have faded a little, but I will try to recall the events of that day to the best of my abilities. Much has happened between now and then, and in many ways I am not even the same man. The day I would like to tell you about was two whole weeks ago.

The whole thing started off with a question we heard again and again from fellow mountain bikers. “Have you ridden the McKenzie River Trail yet”? The reply was always the same. “No, but we would like to”……Finally, on the 19th of August we lit a shuck for the McKenzie pass. We drove until we arrived at Clear Lake, which is a very clear lake near the beginning of the trail, and set up our tent where I would lie awake until it was time to get up and ride.

The following morning was very chilly, and I was tempted to pour the hot cup of coffee I purchased at the Clear Lake Lodge over my head just to warm up a bit. I was able to restrain myself, and drank the coffee like usual which ended up working just fine. I was thawed out somewhere in the middle of the second cup.

This One's History

Now folks, I have to tell you Clear Lake is an amazing place. The lake was created when a lava flow dammed up the McKenzie river, and now the water that feeds the lake is snow melt that is filtered for up 20 years through lava rock before it enters the lake. You can see trees on the bottom of the lake up to 100 feet deep! It looked like the boats tied up to the dock were floating on air. The only way I know how to describe it is plumb beautiful. Pictures can’t capture it, but I tried anyways. It’s at least twenty feet deep under the boats.This One's History

In this one, you can see the trees down to the bottom of the lake. This was on the shallow end, but it’s 175′ deep in places.This One's History

Ok, back to the reason we went on this jouney. The McKenzie River Trail. This trail has been voted one of the best in the entire country. I can say without a doubt it was the most beautiful and challenging trail I have been on in the last thirty two years. The trees are amazing, everything is green and beautiful, there are waterfalls and rocks and hot springs, and well, I guess just like Clear Lake it’s plumb beautiful.

Upon thawing out and eating breakfast at the lodge, we put on our cycling diapers and loaded up with water and snacks for the day.

The Goblin pre-ride with one bottle of water and one bottle of special sauce.This One's History

It was a cold start, and my lightweight arm warmers were not quite enough. It didn’t take long to forget the cold though. The forest I was riding through took my mind off of that little problem in a hurry. Bathed in warm morning sunlight, it was like a mythical place you would read about in a little kid’s book. It would be a good book too.

Did I just say “bathed in warm morning sunlight”? There goes my credibility as a man. This One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History

After just a short time on the trail, we came to the first waterfalls. The water was pounding the rocks below, and it created a mist that rose up in the sunlight. You could say it was bathed in warm morning sunlight too. Again, it was beautiful.This One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History   This One's History Kimberly was in photographer’s heaven. Usually I get a little impatient, but this time I was in no hurry to move on. This One's History

We rode at a fat man’s pace, stopping often to take pictures or just to gawk at our surroundings. It ended up taking about six hours to complete the whole thing. Our Airbornes made it through the day with no problems, and even with all the technical riding in rocks neither of us had a flat tire. This One's HistoryThis One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History

The Blue Pool under Tamolich falls.  This One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History \ This One's History

We stopped at a hot springs, and ate a cookie. The springs were right beside the river, and I was too afraid of someone walking down the trail to splash around in my birthday suit. As fun as that would have been, we settled for dipping our feet in the hot water to relax from a long ride.This One's History This One's History This One's History

At the end of the trail is a whole lot of nothing. I didn’t have the steam to ride uphill for 20 miles to get to our car back at Clear Lake, so I made my debut in hitchhiking. Amazingly enough, in spite of my apparel a friendly Baptist preacher and his wife picked me up in less than a couple minutes. Turns out he was from Texas, and used to ride bulls when he was a young man. I didn’t know when I got up that morning I would be riding in a car with an 80 year old bull riding Baptist preacher. This One's History

After we made it back to camp and ate some more food, we went on a sunglasses hunt/picture taking ride. Kim had left her sunglasses at one of the first places we stopped, and we were lucky enough to find them with little trouble. I won’t mention she left them at another spot after we had rescued them once, and they had to be retrieved again. Here are a few of the shots we took on ride two.This One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History This One's History

Like I said, a lot has happened since our trip to the McKenzie River Trail. Heck, I even got a new bike in the time that has passed since then. But it turns out I remember it well, and I can’t wait to visit that mythical place again.

Man I am so cheesy.

My take on Airborne’s NEW Goblin

The folks at Airborne have been busy lately, and guess what they came up with…a new and improved Airborne Goblin!My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin

Yesterday I received a big ole brown box that said “Airborne” on the side of it. I have been anticipating getting a New Goblin to the point of checking our front door for Fedex deliveries so often it was almost like a nervous habit. I have never grown up to the point of having an adult sized patience I guess.

Upon opening up the packaging like a starving man tearing into a sandwich, I found the Goblin well packaged and ready to put the wheels and handlebar on. The first and most obvious thing I saw was the new color. Airborne did a great job on the graphics and design, and that’s just a small part of the good things that come in a box full of New Goblin.

My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin

There are a number of things that Airborne changed to make improvements on the Goblin. First up on the frame, they increased rear wheel mud clearance and upgraded to a tapered head tube. The Reba RL fork was given more travel as well (now 100mm), and the Elixir 7 brakes have a larger front rotor at 180mm. Sram’s X7 drivetrain has went through some improvements as well, and the 2×10 crankset Airborne chose for this bike now has a more usable 38/24 gearing combination. The Kenda Small Block Eight tires have been replaced with 2.2″ Geax AKA’s, which turned out to be my new favorite tire.

 

Of course what really matters is how the bike actually rides.

I found out this morning. Like I said I don’t have a lot of patience.

Kimberly and I went to our local trails here in Bend, Oregon to put the New Goblin to the test. There is a fair amount of rocks and hills to get a feel for how the improvements affected an already great handling bike.

Most of the Goblin’s new features are small improvements, but they all play well together, and the sum of their individual contributions make a more confident and balanced ride. I noticed the extra travel right away as I have been riding on an 80mm travel front fork for a few years now. There seems to be a larger sweet spot in the travel leaving me less fatigued after spending a fair amount of time riding. It was also great in the rock gardens especially when paired with the tapered head tube. I felt like I had a little more control and stayed on the line I chose to ride, rather than having the rocks choose for me which sucks for obvious reasons.

The gearing works well too. I tend to try to stay in the big ring on my crank (the dog) even when I should probably admit I’m not strong enough by dropping into the small ring (the granny). Back in Ohio where hills are less frequent and less big, this wasn’t much of a problem. I could just grit my teeth and power over the top. Our hills here are actully mountains, and I can end up climbing non-stop for periods of time well over an hour. The 38 tooth dog keeps me from losing my pride, and the 24 tooth granny (scary mental picture) gets me through the steep stuff.

In the end, Airborne didn’t need to sell me on the New Goblin. I was already sold on the original one. The New Goblin simply builds on the old, and there isn’t a better value on a well balanced cross country 29er out there. Great job Airborne, and keep it up!

Now for the part I usually skip to, the pictures.My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin My take on Airborne's NEW Goblin

Today was the first of many rides on the NEW Airborne Goblin. I had been looking forward to experiencing what it would feel like riding a bike similar to the one I already love, with some improvements here and there to make it even better. My first impression is that the NEW Goblin is a little more balanced to make the dowhills as much fun as going up. It offers better control through a larger front brake, a stiffer front end thanks to the tapered head tube, more travel on the fork, and a more usable range of gears thanks to the 38/24 crankset.

Now I had better get some sleep so I can ride again tomorrow. It should be easier now that I am not checking the front door for a new bike to arrive every hour or so through the night.

A short update

Kimberly the beautiful and I are getting ready to go on another adventure and I thought it best to write a quick blog in case I fall on my head again and forget how to read and write. We are heading to the McKenzie River Trail to camp and spend a day riding our bikes. As some of you already know, the last two times I attempted riding the Goblin I fell on my face/head. This trip I hope to break out of that pattern.

SAMSUNG

I took a little time out from all the bicycle riding this week to do some running. I have never been a very good runner, but I still enjoy the challenge. I signed up for a 5k running race a few weeks ago to make myself eligible for a free pair of shorts and a shirt from Pearl Izumi. They have an employee sponsorship program, and all you have to do is send your info and the race you are signed up for to qualify. And voilà….the requested clothing shows up in the mail! Neat huh?

I still don’t have my free clothes, and the race is over. Maybe they will show up this week??

Oh well, it was fun to do some running for a change, and even though I got passed by a couple girls the race was still fun.

In other news, I was able to sell my old mountain bike and then promptly blow the money on some new tires for my truck. New to me anyway.I saw a great deal on craigslist and couldn’t pass it up. Wheels and tires off a truck just like mine for half the cost of tires alone. Bring on the snow!A short update

Well that’s about it. If anything else exciting has happened since my last post I don’t remember it due to my recent head injuries. Meanwhile, the car is loaded for bear and we have some camping to do.  A short update