Monday, December 29, 2014

Product Review 2014 Part 3 of 5, Power Bar Products and Mavic Gear (Shoes, Helmets, Gloves, Rain Jackets, Warm Riding Gear and Pedals)

Helmet, Shoes, Gloves, & Pedals

Mavic Ride Gear: Anthony and I were lucky enough to use Mavic Notch helmets, Crossmax shoes, Crossmax XL pedals for all-mountain riding/enduro racing.  

We were also given rain jackets, road helmets, gloves, arm and leg warmers and XC Fury shoes. Yes we could have made do with just enduro gear, but it was REALLY nice to have more streamline gear for road riding. Especially since group road rides are basically underground road races.

Over the last two years we have both hit our heads hard enough to test the Notch helmets properly. They work!

Crossmax shoes are amazing for hike-a-biking and for transferring power in a race. 

For hike-a-bike, the stickiness of the rubber lets you scramble slick rock faces and if in sand or rubble the ankle cuffs keep debris out. 

When racing, they feel the same as the XC Fury, the top-of-the-line XC race shoe (now my "road shoe"). 

The only thing we ran into was that we wanted more ratchets on the retention. We couldn't always get the shoe as tight as we would have liked. Anthony got a size smaller then took his shoe to a ski boot shop, warmed the shoe (in a waterproof bag) in a crockpot of warm water then used a tool to stretch the toebox a bit, perfect.

Mavic wind and rain jackets are perfect, the Crossmax H20 Jacket  even has zippers which open to release more fabric creating space for wearing over an Osprey pack, even has routing for the hydration hose. The women's Cloud jacket is a great fit and takes up a tiny amount of space.

I don't actually run road pedals/shoes but use the Crossmax SL pedals on my road bike. Diaz ran Zxellium Elite road pedals. After a season of riding said he would prefer a little more retention which I would guess is available with the higher end pedals.


I really appreciate the support Powerbar has given over the last five years, stoked for more great snacks in 2015. PowerBar also provides snacks for my clinics which has been awesome!  

PowerBar Snacks: 

Favorites anytime snack: Chocolate Peanut Butter Wafers, Toffee Chocolate Chip Harvest Bar and Apple Cinnamon Crisp Harvest Bar (not pictured)

Favorite enduro race snack: Raspberry (no caffeine), Strawberry Banana (1x caffeine) and Cola (2x caffeine) Energy Blasts

Favorite race gel: Chocolate

Monday, December 15, 2014

Product Review 2014 Part 2 of 5, New Pop-top Camper Van

Now that I am living in Durango CO the big rig is for sale, please pass on to anyone who may be interested. Pictures and details HERE (or see tab above). Selling it for what is still owed on the mortgage.

New (little) rig!!!

Custom Camper Van: I was excited this year to design/buy a new (used) van.

Looking for the new van I called Tim at DenverFleet (recommended by my friend to describe the van I was looking for, 4x4 or AWD, used, cargo, and something I can put a pop-top on. Within a week or two Tim found the perfect van, 2010 Chevy Express AWD cargo, I purchased it based on photos/emails only.

Tim drove the van to Derek at ColoradoCamperVan for the pop-top.  

Pop-top Van Conversion

Derek installed the most amazing 3.5 foot pop-top complete with bed cushions and stackable bed/ceiling platform, LED lighting, silent electric motor-driven pop-up control (with remote), three layer windows all around (1. opaque gray, 2. clear to see out but stay warm, and 3. a screen), a Fantastick fan and Yakima rails. He also insulted the floor and walls.

Upstairs/ Bed

Vehicle Wrap

Derek then trailered the van to I was extremely impressed with the turnaround time and pricing on the wrap.  Time from first phone call to final design was about 2 days. 

Then a quick road trip from Durango to Denver Fleet to pick up the new (used) van!!

After installing two D31M Optima blue top auxiliary batteries in parallel, a 160amp isolator, two small invertors, more LED lighting, an amazing ARB 50 quart fridge, and curtains with custom KingCage Ti curtain rods, we were ready to hit the road.

Retriving vehcles after pre-riding Big Mountain Enduro Crested Butte Ultra Enduro

Big rig is for sale, please pass on to anyone who may be interested. Pictures and details here:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Product Review 2014 - Part 1 of 5

We had access to amazing products again this year. Thought I'd post some of my favorites as a 5 (or so) part post. Enjoy post #1 and feel free to ask questions.


Stan's NoTubes Wheels and Sealant: Having a selection of the best wheels on the market makes life easy. If you have tried to set up tubeless tires on other rims you may know what I mean. 

This year I ran:
Flows: Turner DHR 26" downhill bike
Crest front/Arch rear: Turner Burner 27.5" all-mountain bike

For rougher terrain on the all-mountain bike I would switch it up between Arches front and rear or even a Flow as a rear wheel. 

Diaz ran:
Flows: Turner DHR 26" downhill bike
Arch front/Arch rear: Turner Burner 27.5" all-mountain bike

For rougher terrain on the all-mountain bike he would switch it up between Arch front and Flow rear or Flow front/rear. 

Why buy NoTubes rims?  Tires seat up tubeless on a NoTubes rim easier than any other rims I have tried. While racing cross-country (XC) I carried a handpump on every flight and set up new tires in hotel rooms in South Africa, Cyprus, Europe and Canada. Having or finding an air compressor, or even traveling with a floorpump, wasn't an option so I sure didn't want rims that required one.

Now that we are racing enduro and riding bike parks, my main concern (in addition to easy setup) is running rims that won't let the tires burp, or worse yet, peel off the rim.  See the details on Bead Socket Technology (BST) and why the NoTubes design is best for speed, cornering and more.

If something goes really wrong and I slam into a rock hard enough that something must fail, I like that to be a small dent in the rim while the wheel and tire are still holding air (no burp, no snakebite in the tire) and such that I will not have an issue setting up the next tire. 

In enduro racing you can change tires between runs but not rims. Rims need to be light enough to race and reliable enough to get you through an entire race weekend.

2014 Sponsors

The 27.5" Turner Burner is the best all-around bike! It can climb more efficiently and descend more playfully and with more control than other bikes of similar spec. The climbing efficiency is due to good geometry and the DW link design. The best part of this bike stems from the fact that owner/designer David Turner gets riders. We don't all like the same headtube angle or the same amount of travel, so he designed a bike that everyone will find to be perfect...  

Before ever riding a Turner I saw an Interbike video of David describing his bikes. I loved how he designed the frames to be versatile and he seemed to be truly knowledgeable and inventive, David was not just repeating the latest marketing jargen. He spec'd the Burner headtube angle based on a 140 to 160mm travel fork and allowed for the use of an angleset. Usually the marketing of a new frame is that it is perfect out of the box, but then you either like it or you don't. Or, the rider doesn't know any better and their ride is limited by the bike.

Ride style, body positioning and other factors decide what is perfect for each rider.  For me (5'5")  the perfect setup is: small Burner, 160 DSD modified Pike (see future post), 50mm stem, 720mm bars and an angleset to slacken it a bit more.  

Photo Credit: Dan Holz

For downhill we rode Turner DHR frames with NoTubes Flow Wheels and RockShox Boxxer forks.

Dowhill bikes are fun, we may even add downhill races to the schedule in 2015...