Rock Hoppin’

Rock Hoppin’

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In keeping with the retro thread from Frank and his MB-Zip, here is the bike I spent my weekend on:

For those of you squinting, it’s a Specialized Rock Hopper, circa 1988.  This museum piece is my ride of choice when visiting my in-laws in Boise, ID.  It’s perfect for the miles and miles of dry single-track in the foothills outside of town.  Well, perfect if you consider your joints to be disposable.  Anyway, I logged a few thousand feet of vert on this puppy, and enjoyed every minute.  A few details, like the threaded headset that need two full turns to tighten and remove the “death rattle,”  as well as the luxurious combination of running shoes and flat pedals.  Hey, take what you can get, right?  A day on a bike is a good day.

// Mountain Biking // Nostalgia

  1. Dude, I remember those brake levers, built completely of lead. Helpful for keeping the front wheel weighted.

    That is a sweet ride. Are those the original plastic box pedals? That thing looks stock.

  2. I don’t know if “ride experiences” are appropriate here. But, damn, I just have to gush about my latest ride. I was bored with my same old road ride, and decided to really go for something new. I decided to ride my road bike, with 23 C tires and all, up a famous mountain bike trail in Orange County, CA. It’s called the “Blackstar trail.” It’s like a couple of miles from the place where the two mountain bikers were killed by a mountain lion in 04. It’s mostly a dirt fire road, with about 2k feet in climbing with some fairly serious grades. Many 15 to 20% pitches. The dirt road ranges from hard and compact, to soft with lots of gravel and rock. The first pleasure of the ride is blowing by MTBers on a 6.8 kg bike in a 38 x 21, 23 or 25 gear. They’re riding in triple-chain-ring pussy gears, and hence barely moving. Then, you get a real power workout for climbing out of the drops and a skill workout at the same time. With only a 38 x 25 gear, you must really put some power into it, while at the same time you must smoothly and consistently stroking the pedals, lest the rear wheel slip in the soft dirt. Plus, the ride demands severe concentration, or else you’re gonna hit big rocks and puncture your thin little tire. The second satisfaction is seeing MTBers aghast that a road biker is up there on the trails blowing by them. Says one, “Wow, you’re on a cross bike.” I say, “No, it’s a road bike.” Of course, the hard work of the ride was rewarded, not with an espresso at the corner coffee shop, but a magnificent view of just about all of So. Cal. This is a definite advantage for MTB rides. Any way, I was doing this, besides being bored, because some road races in Nor Cal, where I’m living, have significant sections of dirt, and it pays to get comfortable on the dirt. I felt like I was riding Paris-Roubaix and the Strade Bianche at the same time. Just a fabulous ride.

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