Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

NOVA Epic 2014

Zack, Ian and I took part in the NOVA Epic 2014 yesterday. Great weather and friendly people just like last yr. NOVA Epic is a fund raiser ride that offers optional 20, 40 or 65 mile rides with aid stations, post ride meal and band (also a t-shirt). Money goes to helping upkeep and build new trails in the northern Virginia area.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First Ride on the 2014 Scott Genius 700 -- Initial Impressions

Date: May 11th 2014
Location: fountainhead park

Jeff Dickey and I (Mike) both purchased 2014 Scott Geniuses with 27.5 wheels. We are both used to xc riding and this was our first real test pushing each other on an all-mountain/enduro/trail bike (not sure what the proper definition is).  The Genius 700s have 150mm of Fox suspension on the front and rear and are meant to ride downhill fast and still be ride-able on ascents.

I'm riding a Genius 730 with Shimano XT and SLX components and a full Aluminum frame.  The stock bike does not come with a dropper post, but I purchased a Rock Shox Reverb and installed it on the bike.  I also installed a set of Continental Trail King Protection 2.4 width tires as the stock Schwalbe Nobby Nics did not have Snakeskin sidewall protection.  Jeff is riding a Genius 710 with full Shimano XT components, a carbon main frame and Aluminum rear triangle and a Rock Shox Reverb Stealth dropper post.  Jeff is riding the stock 2.25 width Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires (the Genius 710 version came with Snakeskin sidewalls) until he gets disc rotors to fit his Stan's Flow wheels and he can get his Conti Trail Kings set up.

The Genius has a lot of on-trail adjustability to get you along the trail the best way possible.  You have three levels of adjustment on the front and rear suspension, all controllable from a single lockout lever on the bars.  A flip of the lever moves both the  rear suspension from full open to half open and leaves the fork in full open mode. Another flip of the lever locks both the front and rear suspension.

In addition to the suspension lock, you can raise the bottom bracket and steepen the head tube by flipping a chip in the rear suspension linkage.  The bike can go from a super fast and stable descender, to a more responsive singletrack bike just through the flip of the chip.

Finally, the dropper post lets you get your weight way back for stable descents, railing berms, or taking jump in the trail, but bring the seat back up to climb or ride flat terrain.

In short, the bike is extremely adjustable to fit your particular riding style of the moment and can be quickly adjusted to whatever the trail throws at you.

First impressions: The Genius is very comfortable -- it feels similar to my 29er XC bike. The angles on the Genius are a little more slack than my Spark 29, but the sharper turning, smaller 27.5 wheels make the geometry feel similar to riding my Spark 29.

The Genius lets me take lines -- through rocks, over jumps and through corners -- that I would not attempt on an XC bike.  Further, the Genius is far more forgiving of rider-errors (because of the extra suspension travel (about 50mm more travel and very knobby and wide tires). And, with the dropper post down, it's easy to lean the bike more into long sweeping corners, letting you carve through turns that you can't do quite as well on narrower tires and a fixed saddle position.

For a trail bike it is pretty light (about 29lbs) but it is still heavy compared to the Scale 920 that I rode last year for XC races.  This year I am on a Spark 730 XC bike, and the Genius is much heavier so trying to maintain an XC-training and race pace up climbs can be really tough. I also found that the Genius 730 is so confident on the descents that I found myself pedaling to go faster in areas that I would normally be coasting or braking.  All that extra pedaling made the climbs even more difficult because there was less time to rest.

We were riding at Fountainhead park in Fairfax Station, VA this past weekend.  The trail network has short and steep climbs and descents in rapid order, so there is a lot of transitioning from downhill mode (fully unlocked suspension and seat post dropped down) to uphill mode (locked out suspension and post up) and back. I'm still somewhat new to using a full-suspension bike with remote lockouts and at first it can be a bit tricky to gauge if a decent is long enough to switch modes or wait to a longer decent because switching back and forth for every little decline or incline would be overkill and mess up the flow of the ride. I ended up spending most of my time with the suspension unlocked and seat post up. I only put the seat post down for longer descents and only locked out the suspension for longer climbs. Knowing what was coming up in the trial really helps and on our second lap at Fountainhead it was much easier to know what mode I should be in.

I will write another review later in the year after putting some miles on the Genius.

If you want to demo a Genius yourself, talk to AK at Pure Energy Cycling & Java House in Lambertville, NJ (Phone - 609-397-7008 / Web - http://pureenergycycling.com/).  He can get you set up properly, like on this recent demo day at the shop over the past weekend:

Some photos from our ride...

One of the rock sections
Banked turns

Drop off
Skinny section through the trees

Considering a second lap
Though the spring growth
Leaning the bike more with dropper post down

Post up and climbing up a short, sharp climb

- Mike

Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 race license

for 2014 i will be going with a green lantern theme race license... green lantern quote..."in brightest day... in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight! Let those who worship evil's might, beware my power -- Green Lantern's light!".  not sure how that applys to raceing a bike but it rhymes.







Friday, June 7, 2013

Scott Vanish EVO Helmet Review 2013

Scott makes a mountain and a road version of the Vanish EVO helmet and woman specific versions but as far as I can tell the only differences are the colors scheme and that the mountain helmets include a visor.

Mountain Versions...

Road Vertions...

  Woman's Mountain...
Woman's Road...

The first thing that is apparent is that the helmet seems to have more square inches of vent openings than any other I've seen. The vents are big and numerous.

The style is nice it kinda reminds me of the boxy stealth fighter .
Vanish EVO probably avoids detection by radar too.

It has a very comfy fit. I've talked to other teammates that were impressed by the feel as well. The adjustment knob on back is on a plastic strap that wraps far down on the back of the head. The low location of the strap on the back of the head lets it pulls the helmet down very securely.

The helmet feels so secure with the adjustment knob/strap in the back that with it adjusted comfortably I can swing my head around and tip it upside down with out it falling off without even bucking the strap tat goes under the chin.

The whole helmet seems to sit lower on my head than most helmets. There is more coverage on the sides and especially more on the back than what I am used to. The extra coverage and the sung fit combine gives me a sense of security when wearing this helmet.

Here is the technology that scott used in this helment...

ConeHead™ technology : using several desitys of foam, one to act as a crumple zone and the other to maintain the shape of the helmet

MRAS II fit system: MRAS stands for The Micro Rotary Adjustment System. It's the name scott gives to the their adjustment knob on the back of the helment.

Cam Dividers: Little buckles that make adjusting the chin straps easy.

The helment weighs 262 grams

It comes in Small Mediem and Large. I wear a medium and have a 22.75"  head.

Comes with extra pads and a helment bag.

Overall... Great helmet for road or mountain, very secure and comfortable feel. The only downside I can think of would be for those who are bold/ shaved head will get some big striped sunburns on their forehead from the big vents.

Monday, June 3, 2013


Sunday June 2nd Jeff and Mike participated in the 1st annual NoVa epic presented by MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts) and FCPA (the Fairfax County Parks Authority). MORE is a non-profit organization that maintains/ builds trails in 41 state and county parks in the Mid-Atlantic area working with and coordinating volunteers and working with government park agencies to maximize the amount and quality of multi-use trails for the region.

The NoVa epic event offered 20, 40 and 65-mile courses with many aid stations (with food and drink options), tee shirt, party with live band dinner and drinks for a fair price ($65/65miles).  Proceeds went to MORE and its volunteer efforts to build and maintain trails in the mid Atlantic region.

Mike and Jeff participated in the 65-mile ride. The 65-mile ride was a point to point starting at Laurel Hill park in Lorton, VA and finishing in Lake Fairfax Park in Reston, VA. The trail wound through several other parks. 

Despite doing many of theses trails before during some long-distance winter and spring training rides, we were introduced to some new trails that we previously didn't know about.

All and all it was a fun full day on the bike, we found some new trails and were able to help trail building in the area.
free tee shirt

early on stopping to check for ticks

didn't see any snakes but heard and saw some cicadas

tick country

Jeff signaling a turn

35 miles in

wheelie practice on road sections

met up with Ian and Sunny

Bikenetic helping with an aid station



filling up

BBQ aid station, heavy stomachs after this stop

mmmmm... good stuff
knee table

Ian going for 2nds

Jeff going for seconds too

Sunny leading

Jeff ripping up lake fairfax park

post ride party

post ride party

post ride band

post ride meal