More Europe Pics: Day 3 in Chamonix

Here's some more photos from our Euro trip. Funny, it seems like that trip was a lifetime ago, but I've been asked numerous times the past couple days how it went, and then I realize it was only a few weeks ago, and I haven't seen said person in a month.

Day three we took the hour or so drive to Chamonix. We were very excited to have a sunny forecast after our first two days being rather overcast and wet.

The drive gave some awesome views of Mont Blanc peaking out behind the clouds every little while.

We drove to a little area just outside of the town of Chamonix, which I forget the name of. From there, we hopped a gondola, then a chairlift, and made our way to the top of a mountain.

The views from the top were, how do you say, ah yes, very nice.

The biking was also very nice, as they say. The trails consisted of singletrack, the type dreams are made of, that generally pointed downward with a nice gradient, for thousands of feet at a time. Of course the whole time there were views of small towns, Mont Blanc, and a glacier to keep you distracted.

Although the trails were some of the most fun I have ridden in my life, we couldn't simply just rip down the mountain. The views were too overwhelming, and forced us all to stop regularly for photo ops.

We rode up the gondola and ski lift three times that day. Each time at the top there was a fairly mild climb to get you to the singletrack. We went down the face of the mountain which the lifts went up twice. The trail was fantastic and flowly, and ended with the most unbelievably fun set of switchbacks I have ever been on. We did that trail twice, and I think I became a better mountain biker because of it.

We also went up and over the back of the peak once. That gave us another unbelievably fun descent on a slightly off camber singletrack with views of a glacier, then dumped us into some steep and very techy stuff which led us all the way out into a valley. We had a short road ride back to the nearest town, and then hopped on a train and returned back to our starting point.
The train only technically allowed 4 passengers at a time, and there were seven of us. When the lady came by to give us trouble, Gareth our fearless guide explained to her, in French, that there were just five of us, and two were actually quite small, so it was okay. That was good enough for her. Then we didn't have to pay for the train ride some how, and that, my friend, is the benefit of hiring a tour guide.

We finished the day by riding back to Chamonix along a rolling, rooty, rocky cross country trail that followed a small river. The trail was a blast, with no shortage of things to jump over and off of. There were a couple of very loose and techy, steep climbs along that trail. Gareth was leading, with all four of us following on our Mavericks. At the top of each techy climb, I noticed Gareth looking back, and seeming a bit surprised to see us all there with him. He later told me that most people don't usually make those climbs, and that he was beginning to think that maybe there was something to these Mavericks after all (the guides were all Maverick skeptical when we arrived). To that I replied "yes, the bikes are, how do you say, ah yes, very nice."

We were all very thoroughly excited, and eventually agreed it was one of, if not the single best day of mountain biking we had ever had.
Such an occasion of course called for a beer.

We found a Canadian themed microbrew in Chamonix, and I was able to drink the closest thing to an IPA I was to find the entire trip. We then had nachos, and for nachos in France at a Canadian themed restraunt, I was quite impressed. The copious amounts of paprika was a bit odd, but I was starving and it didn't phase me one bit.

From there, we had more beers, and then an extremely loud drive back, overpowered with drunk and excited political conversations by the drunk Americans in the back, while our gracious guides undoubtedly wished they had brought ear plugs.

It was, how do you say, ah yes, bad to the bone.

Survived another Interbike

Well, we made it to Vegas and back, our whirlwind 48 hour trip went pretty well.
Flying out at 7am Weds morning, got in last night at about 1am.
Did a little partying for our one night there, no need to go into details though.
Actually, we're all pretty tame and lame. Went to the Hofbrauhaus for dinner, which remains my single favorite thing to do in Vegas. It's really nice that Interbike coincides with Oktoberfest. It is not nice, however, for the ol' liver.
We also made it to the New World Disorder premier. I don't remember which # they are up to, but it's pretty high. The movie was really good, the premier party and the club at which it was located left something to be desired, but we had a good time.

The show seemed to be pretty productive. Our experience was quite a bit different than last year, when Danny and I wandered around trying to get brands, getting generally ignored and blown off, mostly because we didn't actually have a shop yet.
This year, we're getting courted by reps from different brands, and people actually seem to care about meeting with us, you know, because, I don't know if y'all have heard, but, we're kind of a big deal around here.

I think the coolest bike I saw at the show was the 11th anniversary limited edition Surly 1x1.
The bike had 24" Large Marge rims (same width as the found on the Pugsley, I believe) with 3-something inch wide slicks on it. I don't know why, but I saw that bike, and instantly wanted to own it. Not many other bikes at the show had that effect on me.

Back at the shop this morning, all three of us operating at about 60%. I think we were all hoping for a nice and slow day, but that wasn't to be. We pretty much had everybody we know who rides bikes drop by to say hi at one point or another. It's really nice to be so busy, I just wish sometimes I could be in charge of what days we are busy, and what days are slow.
And as Danny's lovely special lady friend would say, "do you want me to call the wambulance?"

A lot of guys were getting ready to head up to Pajarito tomorrow for their last hoorah of the summer, which is reportedly going to include a collection of breweries, bands, and of course some lift assisted mountain biking.
Tony will be there, doing what Tony does best. If Danny and I weren't working, we'd be there to, and if you're not working, I'd strongly suggest that's were you get to.
It's going to be a good time.

That's about all I'm good for. Hasta la taco.

Burner Pics, as Promised

Okay, so I promised pics from the burner, and I have a few. These are a small selection of the photos taken by our friend Long, who was at the race taking amazing pics like a fiend.
You can see all the pics by following the following link

I asked Long for his info, as he has a website started and such, since he is an aspiring photographer and I wanted to give him a plug since I think he takes some awesome pics. So he kindly wrote down all the pertinent info, which I left at work, possibly never to be seen again. But I'll get his info up here eventually, because it's not easy to take good action shots of biking, and he does it very well.

I'm also experimenting with posting whole lots of pics on the picasa web albums, which seems to be something Google has thrown together recently. It seems to be smooth and easy to put tons of pics up there, so hopefully I'll be sharing more in the near future.


Robble Robble Robble

Okay, first, reminder that we are closed tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday so that we can attend Interbike, the big ol' bike trade show in Vegas, and by all means have no fun whatsoever.

We will be back at it, bright eyed and bushy tailed on Friday at the crack of 10am.

Thank you for your patience with our weird hours, and rest assured, we'll miss you just as much as you will miss us. But don't worry, it's just 48 hours, and it'll go by real fast, we promise.

Secondly, I've been delinquent in my lack of talking about a cool new site,
It is a labor of love recently started by a friend and customer of our, David. He's got some great ideas and plans for the site, such as for sale sections, and tech sections, and the forums are already up and running. I think it will be a great place for the loose knit group of the regions freeriders and downhillers, who all seem to be acquaintances, to be able to communicate and help develop the local scene.
I think the forums can also be a good place for things like "hey, who's down to shuttle Sandia next Sunday," which currently seems to be organized by everybody calling Tonys cell and then he connects the dots.
So, check out the site and sign up.

Okay thats all. I should be getting off to bed since they guys are picking me up at the airport at 5:45 tomorrow morning.
Do you think Southwest serves booze at 7am?

Bikeworks Wins Team Category @ The Burner

So Tony, Vince and Scott won the team category of the Burner Saturday, completing 29 laps in 12 hours.
They beat the BTI team, who got 2nd in team, by a whole lap.
Our friend Chris Boice took second, getting beat by a mere 31 seconds by privateer Waylon Smith. Boice reportedly had the lead for the first 28 or so laps, but lost time once the sun went down. I bet next year he'll show up with some serious lighting strapped to his helmet and bike.

I'm impressed that after 12 hours things were that close. I know that's how the 24 hour cross country races often turn out as well, but in a DH race, I just didn't expect guys to be able to keep it that together for so many runs. I can't imagine what their arms and hands felt like that night.

Danny kept things together for our racers out there, which clearly made all the difference between the guys finishing first and last.

I haven't been given any photos of our own from the race yet, but our friend Long was there, and I hear he was taking photos like a fiend, so I'll post them when I get them.
In the mean time, I have a few links:

official results

a small selection of photos

forum link for

Good job guys.

Shop News

Reminder, the Red Bull Burner is this Saturday, from 9am to 9pm. Danny and Tony will be there, Tony racing on a team with Vince and Scott, and Danny most likely will be frantically repairing bikes in between runs.

Info on the Red Bull Burner

Then next week, Wednesday the 24th and Thursday the 25th, to be exact, the shop will be closed. All four of us are headed to Vegas to attend Interbike, the annual huge bike convention that inexplicably takes place in Vegas, quite possibly the least bike friendly city any of us have ever been to.
We will be there to check out what new stuff our brands are coming out with, what new stuff other brands are coming out with, and to generally get all dorky about bikes for a couple of days. Tony will undoubtedly return with an entire bag full of free shirts, hats, bike parts, etc, as he is undoubtedly the kind of schwag. I intend to follow him around the entire time and try to figure out how he does what he does, because Tony doing his thing at Interbike is the epitome of Tony doing what he does, and he does it well.

Okay, now I fix bikes.

More Trip Pics

Day two had us starting out at Avoriaz, an interesting little pre-planned ski community nestled up above Morzine against some cliffs. We drove the van up there to avoid having to climb the road for hours on our bikes. It was an overcast day from the start, with expected large amounts of rain in the afternoon. Even overcast, the views were impressive.

There happened to be a waterfall, which was awesome looking.

We rode up a trail, and at the top there were...amazing views!
On the left side of this picture, you can see the village of Avoriaz tucked up against the hill. I guess it was designed to blend in, and it really is not very noticable from Morzine.

There was some sweet singletrack to be found.

In the afternoon it started raining, but we still went out for two more trips up the gondola from Morzine. One time down we did an exploratory cross country ride that included a couple of long climbs, and some very wet and very slippery descents.
Second time down we rode the Pleney Downhill Course. I don't know what the history of this course is, if its ever been raced in a world cup or anything, but it sure was fun. It was a fully marked DH course with padded trees around every turn. It wasn't particularly technical, or steep, or difficult, just really swoopy and turney and fun. Didn't take any pictures of it, but there are tons of videos on you tube if youre interested:
Pleney DH You Tube

After that we had some lunch, and it started raining harder. Then it continued to rain, then rain, and then a little more rain, basically until bed time. Our afternoon looked like this:

The rainy afternoon was a bit of a bummer, but the next day completely made up for it.
We'll get to that soon.

Rocky Mountain Sale!

Summer winding down, the weather is perfect for riding in our part of the country, but it's time to put some stuff on sale.

We will start with 25% off all our Rocky Mountain mountain bikes and frames in stock.
The inventory and prices are as follows:

'08 ETSX 70 Frame 19"
MSRP: $2,000
Sale Price: $1500

'08 Slayer Team Frame 19"
MSRP: $2099
Sale Price: $1575

'08 Element 70 Frame 18"
MSRP: $1700
Sale Price: $1275

'08 Element LO 15"
MSRP: $2500
Sale Price: $1875

'08 Element 70 21"
MSRP: $3400
Sale Price: $2550

'08 ETXS 70 18"
MSRP: $3500
Sale Price: $2625

'08 ETSX 50 16.5"
MSRP: $2900
Sale Price: $2175

That's what I got so far. I'm planning on getting more things on sale and posted up here shortly. Give the shop a call (505-884-0341) or stop on by if your interested in anything.

Fixed Gear Scaryness

I might be cramping Bike Snob NYC's style pretty hard here, but I can't let this one go:

The link above is to a local Albuquerque craigslist post from today. I'm a habitual craigslist checker, mostly just the bike section, as many people are. There's an awesome vintage mountain bike to be picked up on rare occasions, but usually it's just crap mongooses, junky old hardtails that people want way too much for, and a plethora of low end beat up car racks.

The list linked above is for a very cheap old road bike that has been very cheaply converted to a fixie, which is an increasingly common phenomenon. Although I find these bikes irritating, I've never been motivated to write something about it on our site, until tonight. The following phrase made my teeth cringe:

"16 tooth cog permanently attached with red loctite"

I'm afraid red loctite is not an adequate substitute for a proper track hub with a lockring. Anybody stronger than a three year old will be able to back pedal that cog off of the hub if all that is holding it on is red loctite. And then instead of slowing down, the rider will just go sailing through that red light and into the intersection at the bottom of the hill, and there will be nothing he or she can do about it, because of course the bike has no brakes.

That bike is unsafe at best.

Speaking of fixed gears, Danny went out last weekend to the latest alleycat. This one was advertised as being extra long and difficult. As a result of the extra distance, Danny won by somewhere around half an hour, instead of the usual 15 minutes.

That's all I got.

Some Trip Pics

Okay, finally got the pictures off my camera and onto my computer. I know, it's a very difficult thing to do and I'm very impressive because it only took me three days.
I still haven't seen Charlie's photos, or gone through the photos that Sian from Endless Ride took while she was riding with us, so I'll probably be putting up tons of pics in the near future.

Although my story of our adventure starts with the airport, my pictures don't start until we reach Morzine, because honestly, who takes pictures in airports? I would actually be kind of scared to take pictures in an airport in the US, as I bet it would get me into some security black book and result in full cavity search next time through security.

So here is a pic of Morzine. The little town kind of sat on two sides of a valley, so here is one side of the town. It was quite rainy and overcast when we arrived, which was a little disappointing because we had seen forecasts that called for seven days straight of rain.

Here we are at Bar Robinson, all of us have been awake for over 24 hours, and we're just trying to stay up to force ourselves into local time. We're enjoying several full pints of Mutzig, a mistake we wouldn't make again.

After a few pints of curiously strong beer and an unreasonable amount of time without sleep, really stupid stuff becomes hilarious:

"Hehehehe, hey Dan, it looks like that dried meat is wearing panties, hehehehe."

"Hehehehe hey, it looks like that carving has a giant schlong, and I'm touching it. Do we have any more beer?"

Our first night concluded with an awesome dinner and too much wine and beer with a bunch of Brits whose names I never really learned.

The next morning started out with foggy skies and foggy heads, and we hopped in the nearest Pleney gondola, or "telecabine" and headed to the top of the mountain.

I think they scratched plexi glass adds a nice touch to this pic. This is looking down on Morzine. Our chalet was just a 2 minute bike ride from the base of this lift.

I call this one "blue steel".

From the top of the mountain, there was an view of....more mountains! I hope you enjoy pictures of people looking at mountains, because that's going to be a big part of this blog for the next little while.

On the other side of the mountain was... another quaint little mountain village! This is looking down at Les Gets.

The Portes du Soleil region, where we spent most our time riding, is something like 124 lifts spread out amongst a bunch of towns, which are all accessable from one another. Basically the mountains are just covered in chair lifts and gondolas going in every direction, with little villages in nearly every valley. The place gets absolutely slammed for the winter months, as you can imagine.
The bike tourist season only lasts for about eight weeks. We were there at the very tail end of it, so the majority of the regular lifts were running for just the first 2 days we were there, and the town was basically clearing out and shutting down by the end of our trip, everybody doing repairs and shops chainging over for the winter.

It seemed the majority of the biking tourists were doing more DH type riding. There were some awesome looking trails everywhere, like this one. Unfortunately it had been raining severly before we arrived, so a lot of things were very swampy the first couple of days.

We took advantage of riding the lifts quite a bit the first day, and basically just did various little trails, circling around the Morzine and Les Gets area.

We started to understand that riding in the area meant steep descents:

and long, grinding climbs on double track or dirt roads:

There was not much singletrack that was climbable, and mostly it was all either up or down. Occasionally, we'd have an "undulation", which according to Gareth our guide, would be anything from a 100 yard vertical grunter to a 20 minute slog.

Here's a pic of Sian showing the boys how its done, getting up a ridiculously loose, steep, and rocky "undulation" that none of the rest of us would.
This would be just one of dozens of times that she schooled us.

Our days inevitably ended with bike washing sessions to get ready for the next day. I quickly got over my fear of hosing my bike down, as it was quite necessary there to keep things running smooth.
I still haven't unpacked my bike from its box, which I'm sure is going to need quite a bit of bearing love to get back up and running after 6 days in the Alps.

And that was our first 2 days. Many more riding pics to come.

I'm Back!

We're all back from the Alps, amazingly all in one piece, and save for a little jet lag, feeling great.

The trip was phenomenal, going to be hard to put it down in words. Fortunately, we have a ton of pics, so that should help.

The trip out went fine, amazingly all our flights were basically on time, and no luggage was lost. Even though it went according to plan, it took a solid 24 hours of traveling. We flew to Chicago bright and early wednesday morning, then had a solid 5 hours to waste in the chicago airport before our next flight to Brussels. Turns out 5 hours is a long time in the Chicago airport, especially when you're all excited and anxious about going to the Allps to mountain bike that day.

We eventually made it to Brussells, and with the time change, it was Thursday morning local time. After navigating the incredible crappyness that is the Brussells airport, we had a little time to kill before our third and final flight to Geneva. Unlike my cohorts, I had not slept at all on the train, as I find that a very hard thing to do. So I got a coffee, sat down at a little table, and noticed the guy at the next table was an American chatting on his cell phone. Then I noticed that he had a fantastic porn 'stash, and kind of looked like Tom Ritchey, from what I could remember. Then I noticed that he had a T Shirt on that had to do with bikes and Rwanda. So I introduced myself when he got off the phone, and turns out it was Tom Ritchey, stuck in Brussells trying to get to Germany for Eurobike.
I thought it was really cool to be sitting there with him, but I very quickly couldn't come up with much to say, which made it a very awkward conversation, and I said by and left.
I know, it's an amazing story, try not to be too jealous.

So we got to Geneva, were amazed when our bikes finally showed up, and were picked up by Carl, one of the guys from Endless Ride. The drive to Morzine was about an hour through many little towns on incredibly twisty roads.
Once at the Chalet, we immediately set to work finding some beer and building our bikes. At this point it was early afternoon in Morzine, and I had been awake for approximately 24 straight hours.

We bolted the bikes together, fortunately nothing was damaged and the job was pretty easy. Then we wandered off to the favorite local watering hole of Endless Ride, bar Robinson, where they only serve one beer, Mutzig. Mutzig has quite a reputation for being an ass kicker in the region. All the folks from Endless Ride are convinced that at bar Robinson, it is stronger than normal as well. Their joke is that the little old french couple that own the bar spike the beer with local magic mushrooms to give it an extra kick.
We were the only ones in the bar, and ordered a couple of rounds of pints before anybody else arrived. Turns out that was a rookie move, and all those in the know only drink half pints, and those who aren't big drinkers go for a panache, a half pint that is half lemonade.

We left a couple hours and 3 or 4 pints later, feeling extemely tired, very excited, and now a little drunk. Wandered up to the chalet for dinner, which I remember being amazing but can't remember what it was. We had dinner cooked for us almost every night by Helen, the "chalet girl". Her cooking was fabulous. I drank some more beers, dranks some wine, tried to keep up with the conversation of the other guests in the chalet, who were all British, and soon I was very drunk, and very tired.
Eventually I managed to get up, make it upstairs, and get myself into bed without falling over. I slept like a log, and woke up the next morning hung over and ready to ride.

Thats it for now. Hopefully I can get some of my pics up later on today, and I'll continue with the adventure shortly. But for now, its off to work.

I'm Out!

I'm leaving bright and squirrely tomorrow morning for a little R and R, riding and riding.
Heading out with Charlie, Sihu and Mike for a week of epic mountain bike days in the French and Swiss Alps.

We will be guided and pampered by Endless Ride touring company out of Morzine.

Since there's four of us, I believe we'll have our own group with our own guide. The rides we are doing are most like their Transalpine Trip. But Charlie said they are doing a custom tour for us based on the conversations he had with them about the type of riding we'd like to do, and that the lift access will be closed by the end of our trip as it's past normal season. I believe Charlies' conversation went a little like this:

Endless Ride: Hello, Endless Ride
Charlie: Hi, I want to book a tour for me and three buddies.
ER: Okay, what kind of riding would you like to do?
Charlie: I like the look of the Transalpine.
ER: Oh yes, that's great, and very challenging.
Charlie: Is there much hike a bike on that?
ER: Just one nasty bit.
Charlie: Any way we can add a bit more long hike a bikes?
ER: I suppose.
Charlie: Can you guarantee that it will rain on us at least once while we're pushing our bikes?
ER: Umm, no.
Charlie: Bummer, oh well. Is there much chance of us getting lost for hours?
ER: Oh no sir, our guides are very thoroughly trained, you definitely will not get lost.
Charlie: Got any new guys that aren't trained yet?
ER: No.
Charlie: Bummer, oh well. Will there at least be copious amounts of beautiful European women for us to oggle while we're there.
ER: Well, it's off season so the resort is basically deserted. It'll just be you, your three dude friends, and a couple dude guides.
Charlie: Bummer. Well, mabe we can get Lucero to wear a skirt and shave his legs. He does have fantastic legs.
ER: That's very nice sir.

Okay, I think that conversation went on far too long. Charlie seriously can not stop talking about my sexy legs. It's starting to bother me.

Anyway, I was trying to make the trip sound not completely freaking amazing by talking about rain and hike a bike, but really, it's going to be completely amazing and there's nothing I can do about it.

So, I'm leaving in a few hours. Guess I should start packing. I'll try to update while I'm there if the interweb is easily accessable. Hmm, you can get passports at the airport, right? I think you need one of those for France now.