Today On A Bike

Today I did a little exploring at Isle du Bois Trail. Since moving to Dallas I’ve stuck to riding Northshore, but I want to start exploring other options in the Dallas area. At the advise of a friend, Isle du Bois was my first place to venture out to.

I didn’t get a long ride in at Isle du Bois today so I’m not ready to speak holistically about the trail system, but I can speak about the parts I did ride. It was more slow chunky tech than Northshore. More elevation, more loose rocks, more half-sunken boulders, more sand, more challenge. Less flow, less dirt, less sustained speed.

Summer is winding down and I’m finding my first end of summer very rad in Texas. One of the things that’s felt weird adjusting to was the correlation between temperature and decreasing daylight. Back in Illinois, when road rides started getting cut short to avoid dark I was used to the temperatures getting chilly. Early cross season weather. Sweater weather. Down here in Dallas, it’s still 80º plus but the sun still sets early. It’s weird what your brain gets used to without you knowing it.

I’m trying to be more consistent with content. I appreciate you reading and if you have feedback, I’d love to hear it. Follow on Twitter or subscribe via email.

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New Bike Day! 2018 S-Works Epic XX1 Eagle

My family and I flew back to Bloomington Illinois this weekend to visit friends and family as well as pick up my new 2018 S-Works Epic XX1 Eagle from @BloomingtonCycle . #newBikeDay fun!

After flying back to warm Dallas Texas Sunday I took some pictures at Northshore Trail on Labor Day with the help of my family. After the pictures and some family time, I took the Epic for its first ride. It’s great and really light at 22.09 lbs with Shimano XTR pedals on. I’ll write a full review after I have more saddle time with it. For now, here’s my first impressions.

The drivetrain was the biggest decision for the bike. I choose the build with Sram XX1 Eagle, a one chainring by twelve gears in the back with a crazy 500% gear spread (10 tooth smallest cog and 50 tooth biggest cog) that should allow for scaling most buildings. The drivetrain shifted perfect all day and the crankset was everything I could ask for out of a crankset. My one gripe so far with the drivetrain is I can’t grab two gears harder on the shifter in one finger pull as I cold with Shimano but that’s a tiny tiny downside.

The Sram Level Ultimate brakes were good on the first ride. I come from a long background of using Shimano XTR brakes so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. I also don’t want to speak too much about brake performance and feel from a ride where I was beeding them in.

The new Roval Control SL wheels seemed flawless. The new Fast Trak tires now with Gripton as the road tires have had for a while were great. A good cross-country race tire with a lot of linear grip. They also held up through the thick tire eating rocks at Northshore just fine.

The brains in the front and rear suspension are one of the defining characteristics of the Epic. As this is my second Epic I have a lot of experience and familiarity. Again, I’ve only had one twenty-mile ride on the new Epic but it seems to react smoother and quicker. The brains opening and closing without me knowing. The platform seems very solid when I want it to be and completely open when I need it to be.

There are lots on the newly redesigned 2018 Epic that are technical improvements, one of which is the improved rear shock and fluid path to the brain over the rear axle. The fluid now takes a more straight line approach involving the fluid moving directly through the shock extension eliminating extra parts and turbulence causing turns for the fluid to encounter. Win win. Pretty rad engineering.

The saddle is a carbon railed S-Works Phenom which is light, comfortable, and feels like home every time I sit on them. The newly redesigned seat post looks great and shaves weight over the older version.

I’m a sucker for internally routed cables. It adds a lot of cleanliness to a bike in my opinion. I love the routing on the new Epic. I hope they are easy for mechanics to work on.

I love Bloomington Cycle & Fitness and the owners Caryn and Scott. They are better people than I deserve. I feel like I talk about them a lot on this blog but it’s because they constantly make me feel great. It’s still my local bike shop, just 789 miles further away now. Thank you’s can fall short in life sometimes and this is one of those cases. Much love.

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Plane tickets purchased. I’ve got a date with @BloomingtonCycle. While you’re on their Twitter, drop them a congrats for making the cover of Bicycle Retailer! I’m also thinking about my old team mates at the 2017 Bloomington Crit tomorrow. Smile lots, keep the rubber side down.


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Singletrack in Sin City – Cottonwood Trails in Las Vegas

I’ve been to Vegas a number of times over the last ten years and I always left wishing I would have ridden in the mountains outside of town. This weekend my wife and I celebrated six wonderful years of marriage. My wife wanted me to get out to the singletrack for a ride this trip to check off that wish list item. I’m a lucky man.

While in Bloomington Cycle & Fitness last weekend talking about our plans for Vegas and mentioning I wanted to ride mountain bikes one day I was pleasantly surprised with a hand written plan for a great time. Turns out one of the mechanics that’s started since I moved was a mechanic in Vegas and knows the lay of the land. I contacted McGhies bike shop and rentals for a guided tour through Cottonwood Trails. We rode twenty miles of the 100 miles available in Vegas.

The folks at McGhies and Rich who was my tour guide were great. Rich turns out is one of the local fast guys. I was looking over Strava time as we drove back to the Vegas strip and I started talking to Rich about the quickest times through some sections and he smiled and nodded his head. Turns out the KOM’s in question are his.

The trails were loose covered hard rock for the most part. Good fun stuff. The tech at Cottonwood was fun and it sounds like there are options for much bigger tech if you’re looking for that.

The Trek Fuel EX7 29er I rode was nice. It pedaled well and the geometry was pretty solid. It’s hard to gauge a bike from one ride but it seemed solid. The KS dropper post was much appreciated. I wouldn’t want to ride for the day without one.

I underestimated the heat. I thought coming from Dallas, Texas I’d be just fine. The biggest difference out here was the sun and heat are unescapable. There’s not a tree around every corner providing shade. We lucked out with some cloud cover for the last hour of the ride which was much appreciated. The lesson I was reminded of is listen to the locals. I requested a later start time of 8:00 am and was kindly informed that starting earlier was recommended. I looked at Rich about an hour and a half into the ride and said he was right about starting earlier.

After we finished the ride at the McGhies bike shop trailside, we chatted for a bit. Neat little rental shop in a great location.

Overall, I’d highly recommend Cottonwood trails for a place to ride while in Las Vegas. McGhies bike shop and guided tours were great, the accommodation from the guided tour was top-notch. The guided tour was money very well spent over just renting a bike. They picked me up and dropped me off at the hotel on the strip. No questioning which way to take at a trail intersection. Just mile after mile of expertly navigated trails. It was a great experience and something I’ve wanted to do for a number of years.

Ride Data

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Traveling Days Of Summer

We’re definitely traveling more so after moving to Texas. Mostly to and back from Illinois. Trips as a family are a fun new adventure. Last weekend we headed back to Bloomington Illinois to get our doggo checked up after her ACL tear surgery. All good news on that front. Tails wagging, smiles had.

I brought my road bike and caught a 50 mile charity ride with some of the best people I know – Bloomington Cycle folks.

Random pictures because socks make people happy and bikes in elevators feel picture worthy.

I’m writing this from a few moments in my office at home listing to the new Queens of the Stone Age single.

Later tonight my wife and I hop a plane to Vegas for our first non kiddo trip since Layla was born. Long fun relaxing weekend with some shows and dinners. I’m planning on riding some of the single track while I’m out there one afternoon so there should be some decent pictures and words to come out of that.

Enjoy your night, summer is here. Enjoy a popsicle, beer, or whatever is your thing. More to come soon.

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