Chestnut Ridge, Colorado, Valve Core Removers, Pedals & Other Mish Mash

Chestnut Ridge Race

James Knott, Max Tanuma and Michael Whaley at Chestnut Ridge Metropark

I rode with Max Tanuma and Michael Whaley. They are both upper-level sport riders and they pushed me to go very fast on my one-and-only ride at Chestnut Ridge this year.

The OMBC race at Chestnut Ridge is this Sunday and I’m excited.  In theory, this is my home course, but that’s far from the reality.  Even though I think it’s a great place to ride, I have only been there once this year.  I’ve been so busy racing and visiting different trails for Quickdirt that I haven’t had the time to enjoy this local favorite.  When I do squeeze in a mid-week ride, you can usually find me at Alum Creek because it is so much closer to my house.  I can actually ride my bike to the trail and get a great workout without wasting a lot of time in the car.

So, there won’t be any home track advantage for me.  Most of the guys that I am in close contention with, like Vince Urichich, Gary Hocke, Chris Knapp, Auston Francescone, and Jeremy Larson, are also from the Columbus area, and I assume they have ridden Chestnut Ridge more than I have this year.

Last weekend I rode there with Kunihiko “Max” Tanuma and Michael “Mike” Whaley (rhymes with “Bike Daily” or “Bikel Daily” if you are feeling formal).  I rode one lap by myself before they got there and then two laps with them.  They definitely pushed me way harder than I would have gone on my own.  My lap times were approximately 51, 43 and 44 minutes with a short break between each one.  Depending on who you are, these laps might sound super-fast or super-slow. No matter what, you can see that having a rabbit to chase made a big difference in my motivation.

Chestnut Ridge is a fun place to ride and I think most people will like it.  It’s way easier than Dillon, but still not a walk in the park – especially at hgh-speed.  The singletrack is twisty and keeps you on your toes.  Average speeds should be fairly fast.  Watch out for the tight, rocky, downhill switchback about halfway through – which is the one feature that is probably worth a pre-ride.  If you’ve made it to the apple barn, then you are close to the high point for the course and can look forward to a few nice downhills in the second half of the lap.

Thanks to Combo for taking such great care of the trails.  I hope to come out and help maintain them more in the fall.  Also, I’m excited to see the new pump track that’s being built at Chestnut.  I heard it will be ready by race day – but don’t hold me to that.

Hope to see you there on Sunday!

More info on the race here

James Knott in the parking lot at Alum Creek State Park

Now that my kids are in school I’ve been able to get some midweek mountain bike rides in. I’m loving it!

Yes Colorado, No Scioto Trails

Denver_MapI will be missing the OMBC race at Scioto Trails.  This makes me a little sad because it’s where I had my first sport win ever and I’ve posted some of my best results there.  But, the exciting news is that I will be traveling to Denver, Colorado for the first time and getting to experience some of their world-class, epic singletrack.  I’m so stoked.  I’ll be there for 5 days, but I could definitely stay a whole week.  It sounds like the perfect city to me.

I’m heading there for the Great American Beer Festival, so I will be squeezing my rides in between beer drinking sessions.  I’ve reached out to Chad Braunbeck, which some of you may know because he used to race mountain bikes in Ohio.  He is going to show me around and maybe even track down a bike for me.  He lives in Buffalo Creek and says that he has some amazing places for us to ride.  I can’t wait.

I also reached out to Sean Launder, who moved there from the Zanesville area, but his work schedule matches up perfectly with the days that I will be in town and he is unavailable.  Booooo!

I’ve already gotten some great advice on Facebook, but if you have any more then please leave it in the comment section.  Which trails?  Which towns?  Which beers?  Which breweries?  Preferably close to Denver.

There will definitely be a blog post coming soon from this trip.

Valve Core Stem Removers

Stan's Notubes Valve Core Remover - 21

This is one of three valve core stem removers that I hope to compare in an article on Quickdirt. Let me know if you have a favorite one in your toolbox.

I am fully committed to running tubeless tires now.  (Hey Grandpa, Welcome to 2015.  It’s about time!)  And, because of that I need to get a valve core remover to remove the valve core and insert the Stan’s Tire Sealant.

I started to wonder if there were big differences between valve core removers.  So I ordered 3 of them and I plan to do an article on the differences and which one I decide to carry with me in a race.  It was supposed to be my article this week, but I am still waiting to receive one of them in the mail.  (I actually received it after I typed this sentence.)

The three I have to study are:

  1. Stan’s NoTubes Core Remover Tool
  2. Park Tool Valve Core Remover
  3. Origin8 Presta Valve Core Remover

Are there any other good ones that I should consider for my article?  The Velofuze Presta Valve Core Remover?

Have you used any of these?  What attributes do you look for in a valve core remover?

Alum Creek State Park mountain bike trail

This is one of the newer features at the Alum Creek P1 mountain bike trail. I haven’t ridden there much this year because it has been so wet, but now that things are drying out I’ve been going about once a week. I wish the OMBC race was still being held at Alum. That was my true home course.

Switching Pedals

The end caps of these pedals disintegrated when I tried to unscrew them with a screwdriver. It was the final straw for me. I'm going to give Shimano SPD M540s a try.

The end caps of these pedals disintegrated when I tried to unscrew them with a screwdriver. It was the final straw for me. I’m going to give Shimano SPD M540s a try.

I have been mountain biking for 8 years and throughout that time I have been fully committed to Crank Brothers.  I can still remember the first time I saw Eggbeaters on a bike and how sleek and cool they looked.  I loved the simple design.  My non-biking friends are always surprised that I can ride on those dainty little sticks.  Where are the platforms?  I’ve ridden Eggbeater 1, 2 and 3.  I’ve also destroyed plenty of Candy’s at Alum Creek.

But, now I’ve decided to make a change.  I’ve worn out several pairs pretty quickly and it seems like they always need maintenance.  The final straw happened this week when I was going to do that maintenance and the plastic end caps disintegrated, got stuck in the pedals, and made this “simple” chore into a complete pain in the butt.

But switching isn’t an easy choice.  I have the pedals on all three of my bikes and when I change I won’t just be buying one set of pedals, I’ll be buying three.  That makes some of the more expensive pedals seem like a poor choice.

Everyone says that the Shimano SPD pedals are bullet-proof and I’m ready to test that claim.  I ordered a pair of Shimano PD-M540 SPD MTB Pedals.  These were recommended to me by my friend and Breakaway Quickdirt teammate, Chris Boyle, who is a bike mechanic (Several other mountain bikers I know have them as well).  I figure he sees a lot of different pedals and which ones are holding up to the rigors of mountain biking.

If that goes well, then I plan on buying two pairs of Shimano PD-M520L MTB Sport Pedals to go on my Garage Bike and my Cyclops spin bike.  Maybe I’ll need one more pair in case I get a new bike.

Why? Because I have been infected with new bike fever…

New Bike Fever

I haven’t pulled the trigger on anything yet, but here are a few bikes that are on my radar:

  • Trek Procaliber SL 9.7  – This would become my new XC race bike.  My current bike would become my back-up.
  • Trek Superfly SS – I don’t plan on racing singlespeed, but I think it would be fun to train on.  I also love the simplicity of this bike.  Fewer parts to break and less expensive.
  • Trek Crockett 5 Disc – This cyclocross bike would be awesome to race this winter.  I’m hoping to do at least one cyclocross race.  Downside – it wouldn’t work well for bike touring, which I like to do at least once a year.
  • Trek 520 Disc or 720 Disc – These touring bikes would be good for road training.  They have disc brakes.  And, they would be perfect for my yearly bike tour.

They are all different bikes that I want for completely different reasons.  What bikes are on your list?

You can order any of these bikes at Breakaway Cycling in Delaware, Ohio

Trek Stache 8

I found this Trek Stache 8 at the Trek Store in Upper Arlington. This bike has been discontinued, so I doubt if I’ll find another one. But, I thought it would make a really cool XC race bike.

Make sure you like Quickdirt on Facebook.  Happy trails!

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10 thoughts on “Chestnut Ridge, Colorado, Valve Core Removers, Pedals & Other Mish Mash

  1. Just ordered a Felt verza speed 10. It’s a flat bar adventure/gravel road bike. I have used stans valve core remover without any issues. Can’t wait to see if you like the park tool version better. I dig their tools. I vote for buying a slick new mountain bike James. Look forward to riding together soon. I’ll remember my front wheel next time.

  2. Thanks for the great post (as always) You also smell really bad. Seriously….
    As far as the bike you buy just make sure the tires are HUGE!

  3. Putting the sealant thru the valve stem does have the advantage of not unseating the bead. However, I want to know the status of any current sealant before I add more which requires breaking the bead anyway. Then I just dump in what I need and air back up. I admit setting the bead occasionally requires an air compressor though.

  4. For presta valve core remover, you can use pliers or a spoke tool though I don’t recall the size since I use the round combo tool. Also, you can hand tighten them & remove by hand thereafter (watch out when unscrewing the cap portion when adding air, you may unscrew the core)

    • Thanks for the advice. I’m going to take a second look at my multi-tool and see if it has the right size wrench. This is mainly for my race day set up, so my goal is light and fast.

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