I took the below photos while on a ride trying to follow some of the route I did 10 days ago. A new local riding buddy took me on a pretty sweet loop after meeting at the top of my street. I have been lucky enough to connect with what I believe to be the only other mountain biker in this lil town – as far as I can tell. Lots of people in Auburn, and some roadies live in town, but I think I’m one of two mountain bikers in Foresthill. The ride he showed me looped around the moto/ohv trails just a few miles east of town in and around Sugarpine reservoir. He is a super strong rider and has much greater fitness than I do so he pretty much half-killed me riding a short-for-him 50 mile singletrack/dirt road/some paved road loop in under 5 hours. It was a ton of fun though and great to meet and ride with someone with similar riding passions like touring and exploring. I learned that in just a short few miles from my house I can hop on some nice moto trails and ride for a long time. I always am not sure how moto trails will turn out since lots of time (in my experience) they are poorly “built”, end up as erosion ruts, and really just suck to ride when you have to pedal. But I was wrong for these trails like I was on Georgetown’s trails. Most of the trails have those ‘braap pits’ for lack of a better descriptor (the dips in the trail which make it hard to pedal seated), but the trails are really pretty sweet. Most have a good number of bermed turns and more roll and whoops than anything bad. We stopped on the reservoir dock for a snack before riding the singletrack around the Res. He mentioned to avoid this trail in the summertime as it’s full of drunk fisherman. Good call. I couldn’t stop thinking while riding partway around the reservoir that everywhere else I’ve lived a trail like this would be off-limits to bikes. Being in the boonies definitely has its perks.
I only snapped two photos during that initial ride, but on my solo venture on the singlespeed Knard bike I captured a few more. I just converted Rabbit Hole/Knards to tubeless and it wasn’t too hard to get the tires to hold air (I have a pretty sweet air compressor though). It took a couple of wraps of Gorilla Tape to fill enough space so the bead would set. I can run lower pressure but I didn’t go there this first ride since 8psi already seems too low especially when the Stans is still setting. Normal duct or Gorilla tape barely fits in the rim so you have to be really careful to not let it ride up the sidewall and into the bead, or use thinner tape and run it side-by-side. I left the Surly vinyl rim strip in there and taped on top of it. Even with the tape the rim strip is bulging out like a balloon wanting to pop. Not much you can do about it except run lower PSI or more tape I guess. Seems to be holding air fine for now.
I haven’t had a singlespeed built up since my green #3 frame that got dismantled over a year ago. I signed up for the Solo Singlespeed class at the 8 hours of Cool (20 minutes from my house) at the end of June so I kind of have to get singlespeed-fit now. (In order to do the Tahoe Sierra 100 mile race next year i have to do a qualifier this year to register or else I likely wouldn’t be putting myself through a multi-lap 8hr event…).
I didn’t change out the crankset so I’m running a 28 x 18 which seems really easy but this gear ratio results in 47.8 gear inches because the tire diameter is actually 30.6″ (so why are they called a 29 plus…?). I usually ran a 32 x 20 on my 29ers in Colorado which is 46.6 gear inches and a slightly easier gear, so will have to see what works for this new state of mine. I can definitely say that even though the singlespeed makes you earn your turns a bit more it’s also really really nice to be back on board, at least for one of my bikes. The wheel mass of the RH/Knards is noticeable, but it’s such a fun bike I really dig it as a singlespeed. No worries about chainline and gear crossover, I just have to worry how to get my scrawny legs to get me up the hills without too much walking.