Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What to do when your brake fails right before a ride

Last Thursday Oct 25 I was finally going to ride with my friend Mark and his friends. I met them at Java Hot, Fairfax. To my surprise, my front brake was not working at all. I was surprised because the night before I checked the bike and didn't notice my front brake was losing pressure.

Oh well, I went home bummed but determined to fix my brake myself. I thought the oil loss happened because some days ago, I had a rattling loose brake leveler after an over the handlebar crash I had in Tenderfoot.

I knew what to do to fix it because a couple of years ago at Sea Otter Classic, I stopped by the Magura Brakes stand to ask them to fix a rattling brake leveler. Jude and Jeff were there ready not only to fix the leveler for me but to spend hours teaching me how to maintain my brakes including how to bleed them, how to lubricate the pistons, how to replace brake pads, how to calibrate them, etc. Since then I always work on my brakes of my three bikes which I equipped with Magura Marta brakes. They are great brakes.

So back in my house I was trying to remember what Jude did to fix the leveler. I was afraid of messing up with the leveler. I went to the Magura website and found some helpful directions that served me as a refresher so I decided to go ahead and do it.

This is me. Yes, I am a total dork. I am wearing my over-forty-help-your-vision equipment for bike mechanics: good reading glasses and helmet with your night riding halogen light.

The most critical thing is to hold the central piston locked up so when you take the leveler off the piston doesn't retract. If that happens, the whole meachanism can jump off and you will need to mail the brake to Magura for them to take care of it.

The perfect tool to hold the piston for me was a giant needle I have to saw with big thick yarn. Very handy! and it works way better than the allen wrench Magura recommends.

I was with all screws out and the piston locked, but still afraid of pushing the two barrels out to release the leveler. And it was then when I called Magura to find Jeff on the line! Jeff patiently reviewed step by step the whole process, told me how to take the barrels out, bend the leveler and put everything back together. The brake is working perfectly!!! And not only that, when I told him that the piston was loosing oil he set me up with a new front piston set that should be coming in the mail soon. I didn't know Magura offers lifetime guarantee for their parts!

Thank you Jeff! And than you Jude!!

Sunday October 28, 2008 - Annadale

For today's ride we had these stellar riders: Alan (honorary Team A member); Gavin (coming from San Francisco with his chain all fixed from his previous ride in the Headlands); Jason (riding his brand new bike); Dana (showing off her Halloween outfit); Michael (visiting his girlfriend Dana from Arizona); Chadcito (who has been coming with a different demo bike in every ride); Eric (with his big shorts); Kristy (with only 3 mountain bike rides under her belt) and me.

Below is Jason toward the end of the ride. Are we bunking?....

And here is Kristy on her 4th mountain bike ride. She handled the challenge quite well, and is moving toward becoming a killer downhiller. And she is looking much better than Jason... don't you think?

The total riding time of this killer ride Dana and Eric put together was 4 hours (2 hours and 15 minutes of moving time). We climbed 2,800 ft in 18 miles. Click in the map below for more stats and a map:
Map of Annadale

Friday Oct 26 Riding in Mt. Tam - A Delightful Mountain

On the sunny Friday Octiber 26, Chadcito, Leigh, Dana, Joe, Chad and Celia did a killer 6 hours ride in Mt. Tam. Notice Dana eating my favorite cinnamon roll, but this time she didn't share with me because she still mad for the Weight Loss Headlands Ride.

Below is Leigh cleaning a technical section in one of those trails:

The end.

Sunday Oct 21 China Camp with the "Connecticutian"

The riders this week were: Alan (honorary Team A member); Sue (honorary Hot Mama rider); Eric (Alabamean friend of Chad who showed great bike skills in a ride the following day around Old Rail rd); Dana (still mad at me for the Weigth Loss Headlands ride); Chad (today's ride leader for the front China Camp loopers); Amy (who became the leader of a killer ride); Mike (who showed us some awesome bike skills dropping down from the very top of the Nike site!); Mandy (riding Leigh's bike and showing skills); Kevin the Connecticutian (who found us in the Mike's Bikes site and didn't know what he was getting into until it was too late) and me (Celia).

Here is hot mama Amy, hot papa Alan with hot Amy's new car

Here is hot papa Mike with hot Amy's new car

Here is hot mama Amy and hot mama Celia with Amy's new hot car:

And here we are doing some skinnies. Click on the picture for a close up of the Connecticutian.

Here two of the hot leaders:

And after a super fun ride, Amy, Alan, Mike, Kevin the C., Sally (my partner who joined us there) and I went to Marin Brew for beers and dinner. This is me with hotties Mike and Alan.

The end.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Oct 14 Mt. Tam / Headlands Mike's Bikes Ride

The meeing place, Muir Beach, was cold and foggy, so I was wondering if anybody was going to show up. I knew there was sun at the top of the mountain but wasn't sure if anybody else knew. However, to my surprise, we ended up being a group of nine and had a super fun ride in the Headlands. The group was formed by nine awesome riders who were (from left to right): Gavin, Nicole, Jason, Chad, Celia, Cowboy, Debbie, Danilo and Alan.

At the Muir beach parking lot, I kept watching all the riders getting their bikes ready and was wondering if I could be part of this ride's Team A since I am such a Team A wannabe and was unable to qualify for the previous ride. (to find out about qualifications for Team A and Team B membership click here). Chad was a Team A member on the last ride but he was going to be the rear rider this time so I didn't have to worry about him.

We first climbed to Pantoll via Coastal View Trail. On the way to the trail head, Gavin started having problems with his chain but it seemed Chad was able to fix it... yeah right....just keep reading and find out what happened.

The Coastal View trail climb was spectacular once we were able to climb above the fog, it was sunny and warm, it felt like flying as we were on top of the clouds.

In my opinion, the ride had four Team A members. The first one was Danilo who must be related to Speedy Gonzalez, although Speedy is from Mexico and Danilo is from Costa Rica. Alan and I were able to catch up with him at some point of the climb just because he stopped to take off his jacket and wait for us. The second Team A member is Alan, also a Team A from the ride before who reached the top quite fast. The third Team A member was Nicole because she was one of the first ones to reach the top despite being hangover from drinking and partying the night before just a few hours before the ride. She paid the consequences at the top of Coastal View, but I will refrain from saying what happened because I don't know her that well yet....). And the fourth Team A member was Jason, who didn't reached the top first but managed to get back down to the bottom of the mountain first and riding on his back wheel!!!

I was glad Debbie showed up for the ride to hear all the stories Cowboy always tells. Because she was meeting him that day, she didn't know his stories about his fuzzy cool shorts and his adventures. So she kept him entertained. Here is Danilo talking on his cell quite fresh and enjoying the sun at the top of Coastal View Trail.

The second part of the ride was about to start, we were back at the Pelican Inn when Debbie said she was bailing. At the same time, Gavin's bike came with a bent chain. I then decided to take a look and realized his chain was totally dried, no lube has been applied on that poor chain for at least 48 years! I fixed it with my chain tool, my chain link and Debbie's chain lube. Girls in action fixing bikes!

After that Gavin was really bummed since he didn't have any reason to bail. So the group said bye bye to Debbie and kept going to climb Middle Green Gulch to then descend back to the Pelican Inn via Diaz Ridge.

Here is a picture of amusing things you may encounter when you ride in the outdoors by farms and ranchs....

After a fun technical descend we ended up at the Pelican Inn for beers and dinner.

Ride Stats:
Total Time: 3 hrs 50 min (Moving time 2 hours)
Total mileage: 15.5
Total climb: 3,159 ft
Map of Mt. Tam / Headlands

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Mike's Bikes Ride Report for 10/7, China Camp - Ride Leader Dana Beckstoffer

Last Sunday October 7, a group of 5 did the China Camp Front Loop ride. Dana reported that they had a great day out. Sue , Liz , Tracy, Cowboy and Dana showed up for the ride, headed up the trail to the "stunt area" and the BMX jumps where everyone was working hard and did a great job cleaning big stunts, skinnies, ladder drops, ramps, table tops and double jumps and all sort of huge obstacles found in the front loop of China Camp.

I don't know if China Camp has that kind of obstacles, I wasn't there and there are no pictures... so I actually think Dana might be making the story up. But who knows....

Don't miss the next Sunday October 14th ride.
Meeting place: Muir Beach parking lot
Meeting time: 1:30 pm

Rolling time: 2:00 pm
Intermediate/Advance ride
For more information click here


Monday, October 01, 2007

Mike's Bikes Mt. Tam Sunday Sep 30, 2007 Ride

Yesterday Sunday Sep 30, 2007 in the afternoon, the 2nd Sunday Mike's Bikes Ride took place in the Mt. Tam area. A group of 6 met at the Depot in Mill Valley. From right to left, the riders were: Celia, Julio, Chad, Dana, Steph and Alan.

Dolores, Tom and Amy tried to join us but they were always running a little late. So I don’t think they should be counted as part of our ride. However, they should be mentioned as they did the same loop Chad planned, just about 30 minutes behind.

We rolled around 2:00 pm and as soon as we hit Old Rail Rd our group started to split in two: Team A and Team B. During the first part of the climb I was proud of myself thinking I was going to be able to keep up with Chad, Alan and Steph (Team A members) and leave Dana and Julio as Team B members. Right away though, Team A dropped me. After recovering from such humiliation, I decided that instead of suffering trying to keep up with Team A I was better off waiting for Team B to pedal at a better pace for me that also allowed me to take some pictures since the day was just spectacular, crispy, blue skies, blue waters, incredible visibility of the ocean, San Francisco and Marin.

Team A and Team B re-grouped by West Point Inn, when Tom was able to reach us after hammering up Old Rail Rd. But he needed to wait for Dolores and Amy who were climbing at a leisurely Team B kind of pace.

Team A took off, and so did Team B after waiting a bit for Dolores and Amy. And when Team B finally got to the top of Mt. Tam, Team A was fresh, ready to hit the descent via Elderidge. Instead, Team B was dying needing a little brake.

Team A: Chad, Steph and Alan.

Team B: Julio, Dana and Celia.

I realized then that Amy, Dolores and Tom were not going to join us in this ride. They ended up riding the same loop Chad planned, and they were happy at the end (I talked with Dolores that night to check in).

After Team B recovered, we descended Elderidge. Steph was right after Chad who was leading the descent, she was staying on his wheel, was going very fast until she got a flat tire. The hole on her inner tube was big which means she was going quite fast.

Since Steph, a member of Team A got the flat tire, Team B took advantage of this opportunity and went on descending Elderidge all the way to Hoo Koo E Koo. We knew this was our only opportunity to beat Team A. And we almost did! But right by the intersection Chad reached us and it was all over. After that the climb started again to get back to Old Rail Rd, so once again, Team A was in the lead.

We hit together the Tender Foot trail. This singletrack trail is challenging and it has some spots that are quite hard. Chad was showing us how it is done. Alan broke his back wheel hub and I crashed... humiliating… but I did power yoga today and put myself together again for the next ride.

Ride stats:
Riders: 6
Ride duration: 3 hours 45 minutes (Moving time 2 hours 30 minutes)
Climbing: 3,000 ft
Mileage: 17.6 miles
Mechanicals: 1 flat, 1 shot hub, 1 crash

Click below for the MotionBased GPS Ride Stats:

Map of Mike's Bikes Mt. Tam