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Schralping to a City Near You... The Commute Begins

20 October, 2014

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

It has begun, the singletrack onslaught of good times, big miles, Big Gulps, possibly Big Bites (ok, I added that one, another 7-Eleven delicacy), the relative unknown, and, going out on a limb here, anguish.  James Adamson, Kurt Gensheimer, and Justin Schwatz, our hometown hero, are connecting Lake Tahoe to San Francisco through as much singletrack as possbile, carrying as little as is thought to be reasonable, and staying at friends' places along the way in a trip to be referred to as The Commute.

They started here:

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

 

Justin Schwartz, Marin shredder extraordinaire, Mount Tam Apparel Founder, rocking WTB Trail Boss 2.25 29" TCS Light tires and a Volt Team Saddle and.. a down jacket.  30 degree starting temperature at the shores of lovely Lake Tahoe.  Then, upward:

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

 

Day one now done, they spent the night in Soda Springs and their day wasn't without effort - roughly 55 miles and 7, 200 feet of climbing complete with a descent down the final steps of Hole in the Ground in rapidly approaching darkness.

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

 

Real trails, real talk, real tire - the trio are all rocking Trail Boss tires for their journey.  You can see the aim of the game here is to carry enough water to not die, yet still have the bike as shredable as possible, hence the stay at places along the way and no bikepacking bags.  They definitely got their shred on:

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

Castle Peak, leaning on swooping singletrack, covering tons of rad trail every day, can life get better?

Photo Credit: James Adamson, @_james_ adamson_, dropmedia.tv

Well, they faced this view this morning, we assume, yes, yes, dangerous when talking trips, that they get to descend into that, maybe wince their way out.  There was talk of a potential WTB Nevada City sleep over along the way, then the realization that Nevada City would involve really unnecessary climbs over foolish ridges and what appeared to be a paved descent - yuck.  So, looks like Big Granite Trail is what they're bombing on the way to Foresthill.  May the trails be tacky and the grins everlasting, good luck shredders.  You can peep their adventure as it unfolds on their Facebook page.  More to come as it comes in.

 

Throwback Thursdays: 2002 Gravel, errr... Monster Cross, ahhem... Mutano 44

16 October, 2014

Mutano Raptor 44/44 700c tires had the same beautiful wolf head logo stamping on their side knobs as their bigger casing, smaller diameter, 26" siblings.

There are many things that WTB has created early, perhaps before the market was ready for the craze that would catch on later.  We've already covered the rise and fall, and then rise and seemingly now fall, especially as I'm pretty sure it's currently fall, of press fit bottom brackets HERE.  Another example of this, still triumphantly living, is the 1999 Nano Raptor 2.1 29" tire, the first 29" tire before anybody liked 29", now called the Nano and still awesome and available in several sizes.  I digress.

For this post, we're talking gravel.  Gravel in the form of big, monster cross like tires ahead of their time, available in 2002:

There may or may not have been the term monster cross, there certainly wasn't the acceptance and embrace of gravel like there is today.  You can see that its description didn't necessarily do it an excessive amount of favors: 700c ATB / 29" was its prescribed category .  The Mutano Raptor 44/44 700c, man, can't mess with it, it was amazing.  It was a conglomeration of several WTB treads - Nano Raptors, Moto Raptors, and VelociRaptors were all claimed to have a hand in it, though I mostly see Nanos.  I like Nanos.  It was consistent, could dig, rode almost larger than its size, still wasn't all that slow but it certainly wasn't quick.  By late 2007, it had been cut from 2008 catalog sadly.  Those that got it back then really got it, unfortunately not all that many got it.

This one, above, is more worn but you can tell they owned many conditions when the tread was deeper.  Plus, their hot patch was purple and neon green.  Can life get better?  Probably not.

They had true, 44mm casings and tread widths, beasts unbefitting all but a handful of rad cross-ish bikes at the time.

They featured our DNA Rubber, they were awesome and appeared in this catalog:

For those of you who have gotten to this point, well, thank you.  Fear not, there's an amazing tire available TO-DAY to you, maybe not quite as gnar in block or girth but certainly rad and faster.  Yes, correct, I speak of the Nano 40, go out and BUY ONE at your local shop, they are orderable, if not available in stock from every shop.  Yep, every shop.  Peep 'em:

Old and New, New and Old.  The Nano tread pattern came along before the Mutano but the Mutano 44 came obviously before our new Nano 40, which is new.  You can see they're close and rule.

The Other Downieville

14 October, 2014

Photo Credit: @GusGibbs

It's easy to get in somewhat of a perfect (figurative) rut in Downieville.  Camp or stay some place, wake up, un-stiffen oneself preferably through coffee, make it to the home of the shuttles, Yuba Expeditions, ride the string of trails that never ceases to put a smile on your face.  Anybody's face.  What you don't realize, or I didn't realize, is that there's a whole 'nother side of trails.  Bonus.  Yeah dude, free trails, same trip, like 20% More Free on my cereal box, only far more than 20% More Free.  There's stuff like this:

Mills Peak scenic turn, Sierra Buttes and Packer Saddle in background. Photo Credit: @GusGibbs

And it's just waiting for you.  Cascading off the other side of the Sierra Buttes, visible in the background, is the Lakes Basin.  Yes, people know about this area, I've heard about it, but hadn't ever actually ridden it.  It's aptly named, riddled with lakes, you bounce about atop Granite spines and an undulating landscape.

Where we should have started but didn't: take shuttle to Packer Saddle, pedal along ridges to area of taken photo. Of course we tried driving as far out on bumpy roads as we could - did I mention we're lazy? Did I mention we don't have rad roads like that in Marin? Did I mention we retrieved the car in the dark. Did I mention I thought it was scary? Photo Credit: @GusGibbs

You still do have to work for it:

 

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, hike-a-biking sucks, like serious bummer duuude. You probably can ride up that, I'm sure people do, I certainly didn't. Photo Credit @GusGibbs

There are still sharp rocks:

 But there's sheer radness awaiting the other side of each climb:

Inga Beck. Perma Grin. Actually on the lead up to summiting Elwell but I'm pretending it's the reward portion for sake of post. Photo: @GusGibbs

And there's like, pretty stuff thrown in, flowers-n-stuff:

My Trail Boss 2.4s loved it and I loved riding them on it:

 

Yeah, it was rad.  Here's how you should do it: park a return vehicle the night before in the parking area right next to Gray Eagle Lodge right off of Gold Lake Highway.  Make sure you have a map and understand where you're going from Yuba Expeditions and book a shuttle for the next morning to Packer Saddle.  The next morning, take your shuttle to Packer Saddle and then pedal out past Pauley Creek Trail where the XC course traditionally goes down.  You take 93-3 and then veer up toward Summit Lake and then make your way to the lovely trail that has a horrible hike-a-bike going up the ridge to summit Elwell, it seems to be right next Oakland Pond.  You make your way to the top of the peak, ride incredibly technical but great trail down that progressively gets smoother and faster and spits you out right where you parked.  Or, do as Andy kindly told us, put on your big kid undies, and start and end by parking at the Lakes Basin Campground and make a 4 hour loop of the deal.  Either way, stop by Yuba Expeditions, talk to them about it and assess what you're in for, and buy a map.  Then again, doing another classic Downieville descent, as pictured below, ain't so shabby:

Photo Credit: @GusGibbs

Long live Downieville.  Throw in Mills Peak if you're looking for something smoother with fewer think about it turns and intersections. 

 

Throwback Thursdays: Weir Caught 'Crossin'

09 October, 2014

Bam, proof right here that Mr. Tough Guy, Mark Weir, often referred to as the Godfather of All Mountain riding in the US, has spent some time doing the unthinkable and racing a cross bike.  The jersey and relatively clean facial hair all point to perhaps 2003 - somewhere around that range.  The lovely rolling hills in the background could just very well be the backdrop of Infineon Raceway, formerly called Sears Point, a stone's throw from Weir's Novato turf.

So next time you nail that rockgarden line, giving yourself an air high five and thinking of Weir, just remember, even tough guys race cross.  The lure of cowbells and discomfort must attract all.  It is cyclocross season after all, grab some Cross Wolf tires and wreak havoc, even if it's dry grassy coned turns.

TwentyNineInches.Com Reports on Trailblazer

07 October, 2014

We have been riding the new WTB Trailblazer tires both here in the U.S.A. and in Europe on several different bikes and on vastly different trails.  We have already said much about this “B+” format, and what it may mean for 29″er riders, but now it is time to give you our final take on these fat, puffy interlopers on the mountain bike scene. The previous impressions from c_g can be seen here and Guitar Ted’s can be seen here. Now, let’s get to the final conclusions!

WTB Trailblazer 27.5 X 2.8″ Tires: Exclusive B+ Review: Final Verdict- by Guitar Ted

READ THE FULL RUN DOWN HERE.  Very worthwhile review with excellent questions posed, issues addressed, ride time thought over, and conclusions met reflectively.

Rodeo Labs Rocks the Nano 40 in Lost Park CO

06 October, 2014

Our friends at Rodeo Labs kept it real this past weekend.  People wonder what's up with the Nano 40.  I'll tell you what's up, you can really ride everything with it as Stephen Fitzgerald kindly displays in his excellent post that's got it all - true singletrack, seemingly abandoned fire roads, asphalt, gravel, the whole deal.  Big miles, out there, fall.  I miss Colorado and this post shows it in true fall splendor.  Breathtaking photos.  Plus, I really would want a mountain bike for plenty of this, it's amazing what you can get away with when you run a little bigger tires than you otherwise would.  So before I hijack more of Stephen's fine work, peep his post and wrap up video HERE.

WTB UK Enduro Team Bosses Local Trails

03 October, 2014

WTB UK Enduro Team - The Trail Boss from HotlinesEurope on Vimeo.

Happy Friday.  Our WTB UK Enduro Team has been killing it lately.  Gary Forrest and Rob Williams eat pieces of trail like you for breakfast...errr... see reference HERE.  What I meant to say is, they're Trail Bosses and this rad video that Hotlines and Gee Milner Films put together really shows the power these two enduro gents effortlessly wield.  Makes me wish I had - what do you call 'em?  Ahhh yes, muscles.  These guys sear trail, leave tread mark branding in unsuspecting soil.  Shot in Gary's local backyard in the Tweed Valley of the UK, they simply command what happens to the trail.  They do so on Trail Boss tires, KOM rims, and Volt saddles.  Check out the video to hear their thoughts on the Trail Boss tire... Be the Trail Boss.

 

Throwback Thursdays: Driftin' in '93

02 October, 2014

This might as well be a how-to on old school drifting.  Step 1, put foot out.  Step 2, drift.  Step 3, regain composure.  If that's not savage enough for you, peep this line:

Big cloud, real dude.  This is the Trail Boss at his usual finest during a FauxTo Shoot in 1993 at the infamous Derby Bowl.  Why do I say FauxTo, aren't I supposed to know how to spell?  I'm not French, who're we kiddin' here?

I say FauxTo because it was a staged photo shoot.  It was as real as it gets for a photo shoot but meant to look as though everybody naturally showed up and strangely enough were decked in full WTB attire - stranger things have happened and this probably wasn't too far off for Derby days.  It's been featured before, you can read about it HERE.  Pretty much everybody dressed up in their WTB, went to the scene of the crime, Derby Bowl, and rad things transpired.  I've featured pictures from this shoot before but for the life of me, I can't track down these unbelievable contact sheet images.  They must have never been blown up (might blow up, but they won't go pop.)  It drives me nuts every time I comb through, hoping for a little magic to breathe its way into the box I've searched too many times - always a contact sheet, never individuals.  Here's what I find:

If only I could isolate just a couple, cheating and scanning like this:

Long live the Trail Boss - next time you're in a shop, go ahead and buy a pair, you might just find yourself in a situation like this (in a good way) getting rad:

Ride WTB parts, Stellar Kona bikes, Schralparific Trails for... wait for it... FREE

01 October, 2014

Like George Washington, I sometimes cannot tell a lie.  Yes, you can freely rail singletrack to your heart's content and in the process, pun intended, ride some incredible WTB parts, free of charge.  The Volt saddle is amazing, everybody knows it, you've heard about it to no end.  Now is your chance to go ride one.  Every one of the shredtastic bikes above has a Volt on it (sorry Precept DL, I'm not George Washington, apparently I lie, you don't have a Volt.)  They also have amazing TCS rims on them.  Check out ST i23 rims, the amazing Frequency i25 TCS Team rims (that Jeff Herbertson just flawlessly owned the 72 foot gap on) spec'ed on the Process 153 DL and, even check out the super lightweight and wide KOM i23 rims on the Process 134 SE.

 Plus, for those of you relatively local in proximity to WTB, Hank and Frank, home to many lovely WTB goods and trail knowledge as well as passion, will be hosting the October 17th Joaquin Miller Park.  Talk to them and you won't be disappointed, plus you can find Trail Boss tires hanging in their stellar establishment.

So get out and ride WTB and Kona for free.  See what the fuss is about, no excuses.

 

Rampage Tough, Herbertson Proven

29 September, 2014

 

Jeff did it.  He skyed higher, wavered less, committed more fully, and shamelessly carried more speed.  It seemed like he made a mockery of the 72 foot canyon gap, carrying speed unlike anyone else, boosting higher, and lofting his completely dialed flip with aplomb second to none.  Got anything else?  He almost seemed to say, stomping it not once but twice.
I don't think anybody will refute that Jeff went bigger than the rest on that 72 foot wide chasm of faith.  Ravine of doom would be a nice way to put it.
Jeff took 7th.  Yeah, yeah we think his numerical score should have been awarded a higher number.  But we're proud.  Honored to know him.  The hardest working guy in the get gnar game got recognized, finally, again post Hilbilly Huckfest (which he won, mind you. - yes, that is Jeff doing the horrendously large front flip, also Jeff at the end saying the event is the best, he couldn't ask for more.)  He's our hometown hero forever, even if he truly resides down in Santa Cruz / Aptos these days.  You couldn't find a nicer, calmer, truer, excellent example of what somebody should be - CONGRATS JEFF!
Jeff ran Frequency i25 26" TCS Team rims.  Jeff has spent a lot of time on these rims, pretty much in disbelief at how foolishly resiliently tough they are.  Jeff breaks things - like, for fun almost it seems.
It was a true all-hands-on-deck effort to get Jeff's wheels together.  Of course we made him more than one set.  Did you see qualifying?  Jeez.  Jeff sent us two sets of Stealth hubs.  Our product development office dug through all their fancy spokes to find the not-so-fancy, not-so-light, foolishly tough spokes.  We hunted, well Bryce hunted, beating down the doors of local shops to find brass nipples.  "Who runs brass nipples?"  They cocked their heads in amazement at his curious request.
A lot of spoke prep, a lot of tension, a lot of focus, and a lot of worry that he had them Jeff tough, and bam, Bryce had the Frequency i25 26" wheels built up and ready for Jeff abuse, all right here in this Mill Valley sales office.
So here's to Jeff, showing the world, the entire world, he can get it done.  He got it done aboard some Frequency i25 26" TCS Team rims - Rampage tough, Herbertson proven.  Congratulations Jeff, we couldn't be more proud.
 
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