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Friday, October 30, 2015

My new old 2003 Norco Bush Pilot

With my regular bike in the shop, I managed to pick up something so I don't entirely miss the 2015 fall mountain biking season.

This bike is entry-level even by 2003 standards... it's heavy.  Spring shocks (that don't seem to absorb all that much).  26'er.  And rim brakes!  Internal bottom bracket, that wiggles, ohhhh maaaaan.

What more do you want for $100?

Swapped on some Crank Brothers pedals from another bike, replaced the seat/seatpost with one I borrowed from my cyclocross bike.  Replacing the bottom bracket ($15).

It's not bad!  I took it out last week and it got the job done, had a really fun ride.  Rocks, logs, everything, did OK.  A little teeth chattery, heavy on the climbs, but not bad.

Once my regular wheels are back I just might hang on to this bad boy as a tooling around kind of bike, something I can lock up at the store without having it disappear on me... or hand down to my soon-to-be-quite-tall-kids.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Alcohol Free Beer

My struggles with weight are to some degree tied to my lack of judgment after a beer or two, so I decided to park the alcohol consumption for a few months.

(Ok "park" is a strong term ... "moderate"?  I still allow myself 2 drinks a week.)

I still really like the taste of beer, though, so I decided to try to find a decent alcohol-free beer.

Decent Beer That's Alcohol Free - Mission Impossible?

I thought so at first, but that's mostly because the grocery store offerings are relatively terrible.

Then I found this website:

I bought one of their mixed cases ("Ultimate Beer Mixed Case") just to try and see what I liked.  $55 + shipping for 24 near bears seemed steep, but I thought it would be worth the plunge to check it out.

It's very hit and miss.  Some of them just don't taste that good.  I didn't like the Erdinger for example - which I expected to really enjoy since I love regular Erdinger.  But it had a weird aftertaste.

On the other hand two really stuck out (so far):

1.  Clauthaler Amber

This tastes so good, the most like a "real" complex beer of the ones I've had so far.  To me it was indifferentiable from real beer, just solidly delicious.

2.  Weihenstephaner Non-Alcoholic Wheat

This one tastes great, much like a real wheat bear would taste.  500mL is a little much for near beer in my opinion... I really just need a taste most of the time.  But really delicious.

3.  Beck's (Grocery Store)

I've managed to find the Non-alcohol Becks in my local stores, it's relatively cheap and pretty good.  My go-to everyday kind of non-alochol beer.

Friday, October 23, 2015

My Broken Norco Nitro 9.3

I love this bike, so was very sad to find a crack in the frame!

This is no small crack, it goes allll the way around the back.  This frame is done.

It sounds like the frame warranty will take care of it, but I will know for sure next week.

UPDATE:  Warranty will cover it.  Thanks Norco!  Frame has been ordered, just waiting and riding a cheapo replacement bike I bought to get through the fall... more on that later!

Seat Tubes...

For now I just want to complain about the design... it's not just this bike, it's a lot of mountain bikes these days.  They have top tubes that slope down so far, and then a stubby little bit of seat tube above it.  This results in a big long chunk of seat post sticking up beyond the frame.

Seat posts have a "minimum insertion point" to make sure there's a lot of seat post in the seat tube.  I had more than the minimum inserted - well over an inch, probably more.  So should have been fine.

But I'm fairly tall and not all that light (185lbs neighbourhood) so that's a lot of weight to have moving around on that seatpost.  By it sticking out this far it creates leverage that presumably eventually caused the seat tube to fatigue.  It shouldn't, as long as the "minimum insertion point" is met, but here we are.

Hopefully they do right by the warranty and I get a nice shiny new frame!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mountain Biking at Buckwallow (Gravenhurst, Ontario)

Great day!

Buckwallow has a little of everything.  All the singletrack is rated 1-5, with 5 being "you are batshit crazy"... and as the picture below shows, I was tempted and bit off more than I could chew.

$10 to get in - it's a private trail so completely reasonable.  I was there Thanksgiving weekend, Sunday at 8am, there were only two other guys in the forest when I arrived.

The guy who runs the place was there to show me the map and give me some suggestions.  Awesome!

His favourite is "Missing Link", and he said the crowd favourite is "Still Here".  Loved both and for entirely different reasons.

Missing Link uses the natural terrain, like the exposed rock as banking... it was wonderful.  Rooty near the end, but just very much in tune with the forest.

Still Here is the exact opposite - it's like a roller coaster, hard packed twisty speedy fun.

The two trails really sum up the place - everything is different and something for everyone.  I checked out pretty much everything, which lead to this unfortunate incident...

I'm not a "rock guy" - just not used to riding over rock.  I came up to a pretty significant rock drop, locked up to stop, then as I fell over slowly couldn't unclip from my pedal... roooookie stuff.  Shin bashed against the rock, lucky not to break it!  Oh well.

Other than that I spent over 2 hours there and loved it, lots of fun, lots of challenges, lots of beautiful terrain... fall colours....... wonderful.