Accelerade is Kool

My good friend and new riding buddy Nate gave me a giant tub of Powder Lemon Lime Accelerade. He said it makes him puke so he pawned it off on me, one who is always willing to try new sports drinks.

I mixed up a batch in the kitchen to give it a shot. Now I understand why Nate gave it away so easily. Not only is there a gag reflex in the aftertaste, but when I gave some to my neighbor who happened to be over, he said immediately upon consumption, “this tastes like toilet water,” and I concurred (so did my 7 year old daughter).

So that was my initial impressions along with those of the innocent bystanders in the kitchen with me. With 55 servings left in the tub, I thought I should give it a go in action, you know on the trail… I will tell you this: When you are out in the wild all food tastes a different. I say different, but what I mean is better. Instant oatmeal is nothing but a slop of tasteless mush if you eat it in the comfort of your own home surrounded by a fridge full of bacon and eggs. But when you are miles and miles from civilization, camped out on a plateau in Escalante, and you wake to an unexpected bone cold snow covered desert, with nothing but 2 cups of water, a couple of instant oatmeals and a 15 mile hike ahead of you, those precious oatmeals taste like heaven. You see I’m setting you up for the taste of Accelerade on the trail..

Now I won’t go as far as saying that on the trail Accelerade tastes like oatmeal in the wild, but I will say that out on the trail Accelerade does deliver as promised in energy, hydration and recovery, and the taste…is bearable. Nowhere on the tub does Accelerade boast taste as one of its strong points.

So I’m down to 52 servings left. (I used a couple more out on the trail). This morning as I was tossing and turning in and out of sleep crunching work numbers in my head, I had a vision. Why not add some cherry Kool-Aid to the Lemon Lime Accelerade to enhance its flavor factor?

So there you have it, new and improved Kool Accelerade. I’m still working on the proper mix ratio, but 16 oz water, 1 scoop Accelerade and a half scoop cherry Kool-Aid is a compromise that I can swallow.

Review: Squirt Dry Chain Lube

I picked up a sample of Squirt chain lube at Interbike after a nice conversation with Larry Grossman, the marketing guy there. His spiel was good, he named names of racers using the wax lube like Ned Overend and Travis Brown and I knew I wanted to give it a spin.

Right out of the bottle Squirt smells great, and by “great” I mean doesn’t smell at all. Although the smell of classic petroleum based chain lube is a nostalgic smell I’ve grown to love over the years, not smelling the lube on my bike while it’s inside my office all day is a good thing.

My first test was on the singlespeed running a SRAM singlespeed chain. The Forte tensioner does its job adding tension to the chain, but a side effect is friction. After cleaning the chain, lubing it and letting it dry I actually felt less friction turning the cranks by hand. Hammering on the trail is now smoother, quieter and cleaner. I rode some pretty dusty newly cut trails and SQUIRT lived up to its claims. It leaves the dust on the trail where it belongs and not clinging to your chain. A quick wipe down after riding and I was ready to go again. Squirt is ideal for Arizona’s dirty and dusty trails.

The next test was on the geared bike. I again made sure I cleaned and degreased the chain well before applying the Squirt lube. Then let it dry overnight. I tested it first down National Trail on South Mountain. No problems. Clean and clear shifting. Then I wiped the chain clean, re-applied for good measure and took it to La Milagrosa in Tucson to give it a lengthy test of durability. Four and a half hours in the saddle, treacherous and dry conditions all around, and my shifting was butter, smooth as can be.

From one to 27 gears, Squirt lube will get the job done and keep you chain happy. A happy chain is a happy rider. Don’t just take my word for it either…read what others are saying about Squirt in the links below.

Squirt Lube Reviews | review | review |
Squirt for Cyclocross CX Magazine

biodegrade green

Review: SockGuy Socks

I scored a pair of SockGuy EliteTech no show socks at Interbike this year. Thanks to Ken at the SockGuy booth. SockGuy is one of the most recognized brands in the sport sock business.

I didn’t start wearing official bike socks on rides until Interbike last year when I picked up a pair of SockGuy Garmin socks at the Garmin Booth. Before then, I didn’t think special socks for riding was really necessary. It was probably that I didn’t want to shell out ten bucks for one pair of socks when I already have a drawer full of them.

I was wrong. I love bike socks now. I like to wear them even when I’m not riding. For one they look cool. For two they are ten times more comfy than your standard socks, and for three, they make it so at a moments notice I can strap on my shoes and be riding in a jiffy. That’s worth ten bucks right there.

Having worn the SockGuy Garmin 1″ socks for over 600 miles, I can say that my feet love them, and they are still in great shape. Not one complaint.

Testing out the new Elite-Tech has been very enjoyable. The Elite-Tech is so vvvvery comfortable. They are built for the “serious athlete” so I have no business wearing them. The Cool Comfort Formula actually is cool, in every essence of the word. Riding in the heat of AZ (yes, it still hot here even in October), I can really feel the coolness difference. My only gripe about these is the no-show style. With the elasticity so low on my ankle, there is a little gap that is wide open for sand to creep in. And creep in it does, especially if I am walking through a wash, which I often do. Even if I ride the wash, the sand kicks up in there. I’ve never had a sand problem with 1″ or higher.

A biker can never have too many socks. Birthdays are always around the corner. Surprise your friends with the gift of sock this year. Christmas is coming up, and what better stocking stuffer than SockGuy? Zappos has free shipping.

MTBR SockGuy reviews

A Silver Touch SockGuy review

Stans NoTubes Tubeless Sealant

I made the switch over to Stan’s from Bontrager Super Juice nearly 8 months ago, when I put on a brand new Maxxis Larsen TT rear tire. I also cleaned out my Specialized Roll X front tire and filled it with Stan’s.

Still no flats, no bead burps, and I’ve been off the beaten path exploring primitive cactus infested rock strewn singletrack. I have refueled each tire once.

What I really like about Stan’s is that I rarely have to pump my tires before rides. Pressure stays right where I want it, between 28 and 30 lbs.

Stan’s lives up to all people say about it. Plain and simple. That said, seeing Stan’s is a whole lot less expensive than Super Juice, I will choose Stan’s. Even though I really do like the Juice, I can’t pay nearly four times the price for practically the same performance. 32 oz Stan’s, $15.00. 8 oz Super Juice about $15.00 (I’ve seen it between 10 and 20 dollars). No brainer.

I run Bontrager Race Lite Tubeless rims and tubeless tires. I have not converted my singlespeed running 1995 Mavic rims to tubeless yet. I run Slime tubes in there and it’s been great. For a tutorial on setting up the NoTubes system visit Team MWC…

My next tubeless sealant review will be the new Slime Pro-series tubeless sealant. I picked a demo bottle of it up at Interbike. But the way the Stan’s is running it may be a while before I get to it…

Stan’s versus Superjuice on MTBR

Stan’s Review on MTBR

VeloNews comparison of sealants

Specialized Demo at McDowell Mountains

A couple Saturdays ago I headed out to the McDowell competitive loops for the Specialized demo day. It was a beautiful morning to be out riding expensive bikes. Garth was there with his crew setting riders up with the top of the line 2008 bikes. I started the morning off with a bagel and a side order of Enduro SL.

I’d been on the 2008 S-Works Enduro SL once before, but only for a few minutes. This time I got to spend a few miles on the Enduro. The terrain at McDowell Park is all XC, so there’s not enough sustained steep downhill to really let the Enduro shine.

I gave it a few laps around the sport and tech loops and was happy with its climbing ability. My buddy really liked the Enduro he demoed at Interbike. While I enjoyed the plushness, I did feel a little awkward in the cockpit. Even though I rode a large frame it felt like I was scrunched just a bit. I was thinking I need more time and more challenging terrain on it. Then just yesterday, Global Bikes of Gilbert/Chandler (who were there with their Specialized demo fleet too) sent an email offering a free couple days rental to anyone who attended the demo. That is some sweet marketing. Now I can ride the Enduro down Geronimo like it was meant to be ridden.

Next I gave the Stumpjumper Comp 29 hardtail a spin while I waited on a Stumpy to come back.

This was only my third time rolling on the big wheels. I honestly enjoyed it. I’m not ready to make the jump quite yet though, I’d say I’m closer to going singlepeed than 29er at this point. This 29er would be a good choice if I ever decide to ride both, the frame is rigged with singlespeed sliders that make conversion simple. Riding hardtail really puts the mountain back in mountain biking.

My final ride was on the S-Works Stumpjumper FSR.

Two crank arm rotations later and I was in the zone. I immediately felt at home on this bike. I hit the tech loop for the climb, and sailed right up. Feeling so good, I connected to the Long Loop and hammered on. I didn’t quite have the suspension dialed in for plushness as much as I would have liked. Not knowing how the Brain worked I didn’t bother to try and adjust.

Didn’t get a chande to ride an Epic, except for a short spin in the lot on a customized singlespeed Epic that was someone’s baby. He wasn’t letting it out on the trails.

Specialized put on an awesome demo day. I’m sure the South Mountain demo went just as well if not better. Thanks Garth and the whole Specilized crew for the granola bars, bagles, oranges, and oh yeah, the sweet bikes.

Test the Best: Specialized Demo Days in the West.

From Specialized Demo Day

Review: WTB Pure V Race

From WTB Pure V

I first sat on a WTB Pure V Race saddle while demoing the Nomad at Interbike. The seat felt like I was sitting on a couch. It was the most comfortable saddle I had ever sat upon. I knew then and there I had to have it. My buddy and I both ordered the Pure V Race when we got back from Interbike and we’ve been riding in lazy-boy comfort ever since.

I’m a light rider, at 150 lbs, so the chromo rails suit me fine. I’ve never had trouble sliding on and off the back of the saddle on tech spots. I actually like the grippiness of the cover material.

The seat weighs 355g so it’s not the lightest seat in the world, but I will argue that it’s one of the most comfortable. The stock Bontrager Race Lite Lux I’d been riding for almost two years pales in comfort. I wish the rails had broken sooner so I could have replaced it sooner. The serfas LOLA I have on my hardtail is like riding on a brick. Until riding on the Pure V I had no idea what comfort was. I’m finally going to have to get another Pure V for that hardtail. Upgrading the hardtail to the Pure V will be like getting an inch of travel in back.

I am sure there are other saddles that are as comfortable as the Pure V, but I sure won’t be looking…until Interbike 2008. Thank you WTB for getting my back.

MTBR Reviews of the Pure V Race

Review: 2008 Trek Fuel EX9

This bike is my baby. I own the 2006 edition of the Fuel EX9. The new features of the 2008 model – the Active Braking Pivot (ABP), Full Floater, and EVO Link – offer a huge step-up in performance.

My 2006 EX9 is a medium size 17.5 inch, but I demoed the new 18.5 size because it’s all they had available (Trek was a popular booth both days at Interbike.) This new size is perfect for me. The geometry has changed quite a bit since 2006. I only got a few good turns and drops in on the 2008 EX9, but it was enough to keep me smiling. I didn’t want to spend all my time on Trek at Interbike since the Ride the Best Tour will be in Phoenix next month and I can ride to my hearts content at South Mountain.

For what I rode, I really enjoyed the new technology. Trail 3 was a short spot of twisted burmed downhill, so I really got to feel the ABP technology in action. It felt smooth around every corner, every bump, every rock. I got the most out of the suspension. It felt like my 2006 Fuel on suspension steroids. No complaints at all. I wish Trek would take trade-ins.

I’ll give the EX9 another spin in a few weeks and write up a more detailed report. Maybe the new Remedy they unveiled at Interbike will be at the demo?? I’d like to see how it handles riding down Mormon, Geronimo or Holbert. Till then.

K-Man’s EX9 Review at the Dirt Rag Blog

Cycling News Fuel EX Review

2008 Trek Fuel EX9

Review: Santa Cruz Nomad

I got the most saddle time on the Santa Cruz Nomad. I didn’t want to let the bike go, so I kept on riding… and as soon as I turned it back in I felt instant regret. The guy who was waiting for it was sure was happy though.

On the Nomad we wandered up to the less ridden XC trails at the top of Bootleg. I gave the Nomad a shake on Skyline, Boy Scout, the East Leg and Girl Scout. Taking the shuttle up was almost as fun as riding down. It’s a mountain bikers’ paradise – sandwiched in the back of a flatbed between hundreds of thousands of dollars in bikes and their respective riders, driving toward destination downhill.

Since the trails up top are so much better than the lower trails, I absolutely loved riding the Nomad. I’ve heard the stories about how awesome the Nomad climbs, and how awesome the Nomad descends, but now I really believe them because I lived on a Nomad for just a few short hours. The six plus inches of travel in the rear coupled with the freeride style geometry and seven inches up front really empowered me. I learned quickly to trust the bike over the technical spots. I only fear that riding this bike will tempt me to ride stuff I really shouldn’t…

The marketing copy for the Nomad from the Santa Cruz website is no lie:

“It’s plain and simple folks. Here we’ve got two bikes for the price of one. On one hand, we’ve got a peach of a trail bike that will allow full immersion in your masochistic love affair with the climb without any bothersome bobbing or mushy feeling. On the other hand, we’ve got a rip-roaring, dyed-in-the-wool freeride bike that will devour any rock garden or log-drop like hotdogs at a Coney Island eating competition. Proudly possessing a full 165mm of rear wheel travel, room for a front derailleur, and a QR-ready rear drop out, you won’t know if you’re Mark Weir climbing, or Mark Weir descending.”

If you have any doubt and are considering the Nomad for your personal riding pleasure, you can at least take my word for it…The Nomad will give you all you dreamed for in a downhill bike, plus everything you didn’t expect in a climbing XC machine.

Santa Cruz Nomad

Santa Cruz Nomad

Santa Cruz Nomad and the Rocky Mountain Slayer 70

Review: Titus El Guapo

My first demo at Bootleg Canyon was on the Titus El Guapo. As an XC rider, hopping on a 6 inch travel bike felt like sitting on a freeride. But as soon as I start pedaling uphill it felt like I was riding XC. The geometry and I got along perfect. I’m 5’11” and rode the medium frame. I spun the El Guapo around the XC loops a couple of times and got a few good climbs in along with plenty of jumps and drops.

With so many riders out on the standard demo trails 1-4, it felt like a race…so I stepped up the pace and didn’t let many people pass me while riding El Guapo. There is always the singlespeeder that just blasts on by. They come out of nowhere, and then they fly by and out of sight. Impressive.

I didn’t get to take the El Guapo on any of the more techy XC trails — Boy Scout, Skyline, the East or West Legs or any of the downhill trails. But I am sure it would have handled well on the XC downhills. Spending more time climbing on El Guapo than going down, and still loving the ride, is a testament to the climbing abilities and comfort of the bike. When I make the jump to a bigger travel bike, El Guapo is on the short list.

I have nothing but praise for the El Guapo. Truly a handsome and sweet ride. I’ll demo El Guapo again on the home turf in Phoenix later this year. The Titus guys said they’d give me a tour of the production line and I think I’ll take them up on it.

2008 Titus Demo Tour

The Legend of El Guapo Continues…

More El Guapo Reviews:
El Guapo review by Competitive Cyclist
Mountain Bike Action Review of El Guapo
Bike Radar review of El Guapo

Titus El Guapo

Titus El Guapo

Titus El Guapo

Review: Rocky Mountain Slayer SXC70

This was by far my favorite bike that I demo’ed at Interbike. The 2008 model hasn’t been updated on their website but I don’t think there are too many differences between this year and last years models. I had no problems adjusting to the feel or geometry of this bike. It was just like butter. The more I rode it the more I loved it and I truly did not want to return the bike or test ride any others.

The bike climbed smooth and even though it is not a true cross country bike I found myself longing to take it climbing. Mostly I stayed to some downhill technical trails and was amazed as I flowed through rugged sections of trail with little more than minimal effort. Because of the performance of the ride I oozed confidence and didn’t back down from highly technical sections of trail that normally might have tested my limits. I think I have found my next bicycle to purchase. This bicycle would best meet the rider who wants all around bliss being able to handle some big time downhill and still allow for climbing ability.

Rocky Mountain Slayer SXC70  

Slayer 70

Slayer 70

Slayer 70