I’ve been on a roll the last couple of weeks. In my last two mountain bike rides I’ve had to push my bike out of the woods because of flat tires. The first one was a 5 mile push caused by a tire that came apart, the second one was a flat on my Bandersnatch and I’d forgot to bring a wrench to take off the back wheel which bolts on. It was only a 2 mile walk.
Yesterday I managed to actually complete a mountain bike ride without a flat, though the tire went flat overnight. I actually bought an almost brand new “Racing Ralph” take off tire from Dan’s Comp when Shauna and I went to Evansville recently. I mounted this tire tubeless with Stans on the Bandersnatch and it performed really well yesterday. The Racing Ralph tire seems to have a really supple ride even with 35 pounds of pressure.
Sadly when I looked at my tire several hours after the ride it was almost flat and has a slight cut in the sidewall, of course the trail we rode is pretty harsh on equipment. We rode a trail called “The Ruby” it’s one of the best trails in the Shawnee. It has a mix of very technical rocks, switchbacks, and some climbing, along with some fast, fun, flowy sections. It’s very rocky and tough on the bike and rider. I don’t think the tire is ruined but it may need some patching inside to hold air.
The Bandersnatch is by far the best bike I’ve ever ridden for the technical trails. It’s so stable and it seems like you can push it through anything. The Shimano Alfine 8 speed rear hub is still performing flawlessly with zero maintenance since I bought it used. It’s a fantastic system once you get everything set up right. The only thing better would be for me to quit being a wuss and actually go single speed.
One of the guys with us is an awesome road rider, but doesn’t get on the trail all that often. He did very well, his biggest problem was the real technical stuff where pedal control is very important. A section of trail that goofed him had a rocky step up that he didn’t make. I approached the section and tried to pay attention to what I was doing, see if I could get an idea what I was doing different. As I approached the rocky ledgey step up without thinking I set my pedals nearly horizontal and a quarter second later yanked the front wheel up with a timed pedal stroke that bashed against the top of the step a bit but propelled the rest of me up and over the ledge with a thump. Now a good rider would have unweighted the back wheel and lifted the front even higher to seemingly float the back wheel up and over the ledge, but I’m a basher.
The trails have finally dried out and the horses are starting to pack in in the dirt. Temperatures are going down and the foliage is starting to thin out a bit. Mountain Biking is starting to get good.