Just a Few More Things and Observations

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I got a few emails asking me some specifics about the Berryman Epic Race and I thought I’d just answer them here. First, the course is pretty rocky. Not solid rock, but there are sections that have a lot of challenging rock ledges. Once again, nearly all these rocks were covered with leaves, so it made it that much more difficult to read.

I was riding about 22 psi in my rear tire and 20 in my front. I pre-rode about an hour on Friday afternoon and started with 28 psi. I stopped after a mile or so and let a bunch of air out. I was riding so much smoother and thought it was the perfect pressure. When I got back to the car, I checked the pressure and it was 15 psi. I laughed. There is no way to get through the race with that little pressure, at least at my weight (158). So, I decided to ride 20 in the front and 20 + a pump in the rear. I knew it was going to be a risk, but there are times to take risks and I thought this was one of them. I was riding Specialized Fast Trak, 2.0 tires front and rear. The first two times I rode this race I flatted a lot. 3 times the first try and then 2 the second. I didn’t flat last year or this year and I was riding the same tires both times. The sidewalls do seem sort of flimsy, but I haven’t even cut them and this is a place to cut tires.

I have only ridden a shock fork on this bike twice. Both times here. The Eriksen 29’r was built to be a fully rigid bike, but I went ahead and put a fork on it, with Kent’s advise of course. It is a Rock Shox Sid 29’r fork. I had no idea how much pressure to ride, so on Friday night, I went onto Youtube and watched a video about setting up the fork. I didn’t even realize that there was a little chart on one side that listed suggested pressures. I rode 120 psi in the fork, thinking that it would be pretty stiff for my weight. I don’t think it was enough pressure, judging by how much compression I got. Anyone chime in here?

It seems to me that it shoudln’t compress this much?

I was amazed at the equipment at this race. Nearly everyone there, at least the guys lining up at the front, were riding full carbon frames, with a lot of carbon wheels. There is no way I would ride a carbon rim at this race, especially with only 20 psi. I dinged my rim a couple places and for sure would have broken a carbon rim. I do need to get some new equipment for my bike though.

I didn’t fall once, which is the only time out of 4 times here that is the case. I was concentrating extra hard on the descents, trying to ride them clean, while trying to make out the course through the leaves.

In order of soreness two days later, it goes descending order from most to least – lower back, left hamstring, both triceps, shoulders/neck and right hand. My right leg feels pretty good though. I think that when you’re “off” physically, you can do some damage to your body. When I’m riding well, I feel pretty good the next day. Usually it’s two days after an effort like this is when you feel the worst.

I rode MTB bikes again yesterday. Catherine, Bill and I went over to the governor’s mansion, here in Topeka for an hour and a half. I felt pretty toasted for the first 30 minutes and then felt better. Not good, but better than I started on Saturday. I think I’m going to look for some more MTB races to do this fall now.

Okay, that the end of all the extras. I hope that answered everyone’s questions.

Here’s the trophy again. It is pretty cool, made of laser cut steel and welded.

The top ten from the previous year were given custom numbers too, courtesy of Hallie Phillips.

This is the women’s podium at the awards banquet. The tequila hadn’t come out yet.

Bromont got tired of these guys, Scott’s Bulldog, named Surley, and this Lab puppy, bothering him.

He would rather play with another hunting dog, but this German Shorthair was asleep by the fire.

I went to the eye doctor yesterday to get my right eye looked at. He told me it looked good to him, which was nice. The equipment in his office looked so ancient for some reason.

Trudi is reupholstering a chair in the living room. I didn’t know she knew how to do this, but it looks great so far.

I saw this bottle of stuff in the Walberg’s kitchen. Catherine hasn’t tried it yet. It looked pretty horrible, but maybe it tastes okay. Anyone try it for any reason?

Does anyone know what this is. It’s a trailer in the parking lot of a used car lot in North Topeka. It has all these PVC pipes going into the ground on one side and a tall exhaust pipe that stick up pretty high. It makes a noise like a generator.

This is the other side of the trailer. These go into the ground also.

11 thoughts on “Just a Few More Things and Observations

  1. Art

    …just my guess.
    Auto repair shops use a lot of compressed air.
    …probably a remote compressed air system.

  2. Bill FEIGES

    It’s a system for check ground water contamination. You see these at gas stations that had leaky underground tanks. When property is sold the new owners want assurances that there is no past spillage so before They sign the dotted line they hire a company to assure compliance

  3. Mark Wieneke

    Soil Vapor Extraction SVE – used to clean up contaminated ground from old gas stations, etc.. I read you blog almost everyday, always something interesting, keep writing!

  4. Hillman

    My Rock Shox Sid 29′r fork seems to perform nice at the labeled spec for my weight.

    Are you heading out here to California for the Nosco ride again? It is looking like it will be a very nice weekend.

  5. Gabriel Byrne

    Fork travel looks good to me. You should be adjusting your suspension to each course so you use nearly all the travel at least once. Most people make the mistake of too much pressure on smooth courses (essentially a heavy rigid fork) and too soft on technical/rough ones (bottoming out or packing up constantly). Defeats the whole point of decent suspension.

  6. Aaron E

    Maybe next spring Ouachita and Syllamos. If you like Berryman, those two are much better, in my opinion. Great trails.

  7. chris farney

    i think your comment on carbon wheels might be off. i think you’re less likely to “ding” or damage good carbon wheels/rims like Eastons or Enve’s. fast MTB guys out here in the grand junction area where i ride have no trouble on our rocky trails, in all kinds of different rocks, with carbon rims. the decent DT Swiss rims i ride are dinged to hell and the bead is pushed in hard in a few places from hard hits, after only 1 season. i think i would get far more than 1 season out of some Enves, although they cost 3-5x as much, probably much more durable.

  8. tilford97 Post author

    Chris-I was thinking about that while I wrote the post. I know your description is how it works on cross. Carbon is much better for cross. But, I can’t imagine not destroying a carbon wheel on those rocks. I bottomed out dozens of times and was bouncing off them side to side like a pin ball the rest of the time. Much, much more brutal than cross.

  9. Ryan

    Steve, are you running tubeless? I used to pinch flat frequently at Shawnee Mission Park’s trails while running pressures in the mid 30’s. Now I have a Stan’s wheel on the front and I’ve set the rear up ghetto tubeless and have had no flats, no burps, and no worries running pressure in the low 20’s. I couldn’t imagine ever going back to tubes on my mtn bike. As for the fork, the SiD should be pretty similar to my Reba. I run a bit lower pressure in mine than you do and I weigh in around 165. Some people have played around with running higher pressure in the lower air chamber (not recommended by Rockshox) and like it, but it’s just a personal preference thing. Whatever the case, it all seemed to work out for you in the end. If you were bottoming out regularly on the fork, then you need to change something obviously, but using the full travel here and there is good. If you have 100mm and only use 50, why not just get a 50mm fork? That brings up another question. Do you have the fork set at 100mm of travel or 80mm? It looks like 100 in the picture. When mine was at 80, I bottomed out more than I wanted. At 100mm, all is well. Cheers.


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