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Discussion Starter #481 (Edited)
Some Stuff

Well, I did manage to get a couple of rides in on Tuesday and yesterday (Wednesday), after checking the air quality advisories. Unfortunately today the air quality in Whistler has graduated to shitty. Predictions aren't looking great for the next couple of days, so we've made the decision to head home. If we're going to be stuck inside because of the air, we might as well be stuck where all of our stuff is.

The ride yesterday, Sept 16th, was my 100th riding day this year, which is a pretty cool milestone for me. Last year I have only 67 days recorded, although I don't appear to have started before June. Odd.

Anyway, I've avoided too strenuous of riding, because even though the air quality has been moderate, that's still not great. And I can feel the difference. I run out of wind that much sooner, and it takes that much longer to get it back. I also avoided No Horses because it's been a bit wet, and I don't think my first black trail should be attempted with the additional issue of wet roots and rocks. (The other day doesn't really count as I made a wrong turn and missed most of the trail.)

I'm also seriously eyeing that rock roll at the top of the Toads rock dome. I seem to be just this side of ready to try out rolls like that. Really, having mastered the ladder roll on Jo-Jo, I shouldn't have a problem.

So I don't know what the next couple of days (or weeks?) are going to be like. I can't go riding when the air is crappy. There's some rain come up in the forecast, which is good for the smoke and fires, but bad for the trails. Who knows?

On another subject, I bought the family passes for Seymour today. So now I'm covered for all three mountains: Seymour, Cypress, Whistler. Only Whistler has announced the reservation system, so far. I might conceivably end up staying in the lower mainland for most of the winter if things work out a certain way.
 

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Discussion Starter #482
Things are getting better

They've lifted the air quality advisory for the lower mainland as of today. The rain the last couple of days helped a lot, no doubt. Fortunately, it wasn't the normal biblical all-or-nothing deluge that we normally seem to get around here. A couple of showers, some overnight rain, no biggie. And more importantly, no puddles and mud on the trails--although the roots were a little zippy.

I'm continuing to fool around with my Insta360, trying to find the perfect way to take videos. I 've discovered that the 4K module takes really great videos, even if I can't pick a POV. I tried mounting it in front of the handlebars this morning on my ride. The result is pretty good, although the brake and dropper post cables ended up getting in the way. I'll try again with an extender to get the camera in front of the cables. I'll also try the 360 module in that position. I also need to try the chest mount and helmet mount again, although as mentioned, the helmet mount only really works with a full-face helmet.

Anyway, the actual ride was pretty good. I fell off the long skinny on Jo-Jo, but 'fell off' just means dropped off the side this time--no spill involved. The drop at the bottom of Jo-Jo was a good news / bad news kind of thing. I landed flat, which was good, but I landed almost off the right hand side of the trail while struggling to get my left foot back on the pedal properly. So a kind of a close call there. Nevertheless, the landing felt good, so I think I'm getting it.
 

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Discussion Starter #483
Another good day. I did the usual trails, and hit all the features that I normally try, and nailed all of them. I'm becoming more comfortable with the ladder roll, the two skinnies, and the drop on Jo-Jo. I'm even becoming, well let's say 'less uncomfortable' with the section of Hett Creek just above the bridge. I've nailed that something like 3 of the last 5 times, and the two fails were just dabs, not falling into the creek.

I mounted the camera at the front using the short extender, and that makes a difference not only to the video but also to convenience accessing the camera. Unfortunately, it still looks like a stroll in the park because of the stabilization, so I'll wear the chest mount the next time out, just for comparison.

I still need to add North Starz to my regular ride route. There's no reason I haven't already, except inertia. It's not even particularly difficult, except in the getting-out-of-breath sense. And speaking of which, I did the entire ride up Heritage Mountain Boulevard in 2nd today. That's a new high.

Sadly, there may or may not be any more rides this week. The predictors are not looking optimistic. Even actual thunderstorms. We shall see.
 

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Discussion Starter #484
I managed to get in one last ride before the waters of hell descended upon us. I did the full route including North Starz, which was great.

Now we have what looks like a week worth of rain, in the form of several storm fronts coming in one after the other. There will be no trail-riding for a few days, I think.

I did manage to get in some Insta360 videos on my most recent ride. I really don't think a handlebar-mounted camera is the way to go. It just doesn't give the proper flavor. The chest mount is much better, but not perfect in that the front of the bike blocks some trail detail. I will be trying out a helmet mount with the unicorn/rhino extension. That might do better, but as mentioned before, it requires a full-face helmet to prevent wobble.

More to come.
 

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Discussion Starter #485
Yeah, so assuming I can ride tomorrow (the predictors are optimistic), then I'll have gone 4 days between rides. Jeez, I'm even more addicted to mountain biking than I am to snowboarding, I think. Of course, my early snowboarding career involved waiting 5 days between snowboarding sessions every week, so maybe I've got herd immunity to that. Or something. 🥴

Something I forgot to mention in my previous post though... I discovered a technique while riding up the hill towards home on my last ride. As I've mentioned previously, I practice precision riding by trying to stay between the expansion joint lines on driveways as I ride up on the sidewalk. I think they're maybe 4-6 " across. Some days I've been really good, some days I've sucked. But the other day I figured out the variable. I suck when I sit up straight with my arms mostly straight, and I do much better when I'm crouched down (even when seated). Mechanically, it makes sense. Being crouched gives me more slack with which to extend my arms to the right or left to make adjustments. I just never realized it was that important. Note for the future.

I'm currently watching rock roll videos on youtube. There are a couple of rock rolls, one in Whis, one in Coquitlam, that I've been avoiding because rock roll. But at some point, I have to bite the bullet. I'd be happier if I could watch someone go down them first, but I have to accept the fact that my timing is never that good. So, videos. So far it doesn't look bad. The Coquitlam roll is probably the preferred starter, since the bottom is mostly loam, which should be relatively painless to stop my face with if I bugger it up.

And one last item, I did manage to get all the way up Heritage in second gear the ride before last. So the improvements are real.
 

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Discussion Starter #486
Argh!

Riding through Bert Flinn today, and my rear brake started to squeak again. Same as last time. I cut my ride short and headed home before it got too bad. I washed the bike, just in case dirt was involved, and played with the pads. The pads are definitely both moving, so it's not a seized puck. Or maybe it was seized and has released. Either way, I rode it around the parking lot afterward, and no squeak. But if it starts to go again, I'm going to ask the tech to just replace the entire assembly.

I made a decision today while riding to not avoid rocks and shit any more. I've tended to ride around them whenever possible, and I think that timidity has slowed my progress. Yesterday I saw a guy deliberately roll over the rock that's dead center in the walking trail. And he wasn't that good otherwise. So now I'm running over everything. Hopefully I'll gradually get more aggressive with what I aim at, and hopefully it'll help my stability.
 

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Discussion Starter #487
The wash didn't fix the squeak, sadly. However, I've figured out the pattern. Hard peddling and/or compression of the rear suspension seems to cause the squeak. That leads me to believe that the caliper is slightly misaligned and/or the wheel has some play. I'm going to try the following:

1. Realign the caliper.
2. Check the wheel for tightness and play.
3. Remove the brake pads and clean them.

If none of that fixes it (I am not going to disassemble the brake system to the point where I'd need to bleed it), I'll take it in to Trek and just ask them to replace the entire rear brake assembly. (As mentioned earlier).

This is a long shot, but there's a zip strap around some of my cables in front of the handlebars. If that's causing some kind of change of geometry that forces the hydraulic fluid to close the pucks... Yeah, I dunno, it sounds dumb to me too. But I'm going to cut off the strap anyway. It was there for keeping the cables out of the way of the camera, and I've given up on that option anyway.

On the subject of my actual ride today...

I did North Starz again. Wow, that trail is an ass-kicker. It's not a particularly hard blue overall, but it has several short, punchy first-gear climbs with switchbacks. Those will work the skillz, you bet. I spun my rear tire on the first one, but learned to modulate a bit after that. There's also a pretty impressive rock roll at one point in the trail, which strangely doesn't look quite as big as it did the first time I examined it. The ride-out worries me a little, though.

There's another rock roll on Starz Line 2, which isn't quite as big and has a better ride-out. I finally hit that one today. As usual with such things, the reality wasn't as scary as my imagination painted it. I don't think I'll have trouble with that one. And with a little bit more desensitization, I'll probably be able to do the one on North Starz soon.

Other than that, I did all the usuals, except Hett Creek, because the squeak was getting bad. But that's okay, I was pretty wiped after the North Starz ride. I think the drop at the bottom of Jo-Jo is getting to be routine, and there's another drop on Starz Line 2 that I'll be trying out in the future. It's a bit close to the rock roll though, so I have to make sure I can come out of that feature dependably, so I can get the momentum going.

One last very small issue... the trails in the Starz Line area are all interconnected, and I think some of them don't show up on Trailforks. So I've gotten lost a time or two, although I do always seem to end up down at the bottom of Jo-Jo anyway.

And I'm now dependably coming in under 195 and 38" waist, so that's another milestone.
 

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1. Realign the caliper.
2. Check the wheel for tightness and play.
3. Remove the brake pads and clean them.
Take some fine sandpaper to the brake pads for just a few passes, and cleaning the rotors themselves with some isopropyl alcohol should do the trick. Make sure to re-bed in the brakes though, just a few roll downs gentle on the brakes to get pad material back onto the calipers, trying not to come to any abrupt stops.
 
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