Thursday, October 1, 2009

Riding in and around Black Butte Ranch

I had to take care of some stuff in Black Butte Ranch and while I was there I got to go on a couple of rides. The first was Peterson Ridge just outside of Sisters and the other was a ride to Suttle Lake and then around it.

I took the picture below at the Peterson Ridge Trail viewpoint.

And just think that earlier that morning on the way to Black Butte Ranch I passed this scene at the top of Santiam Pass:

Amazing that these two pictures were taken only about 7 hours and 20-ish miles apart.

On both days' rides I was experimenting with tire pressure in my tubeless setup. Running Mavic Krysium Elites with Hutchinson Bulldog tires. At first I tried no tubeless tire specific rim strip, just some Hutchinson sealant--that didn't work at all. Because I didn't feel like spending the money to order a set of Stan's Rim Strips to convert it to tubeless just used some 26 inch mtb rubber rim strips. The only purpose of the rim strip is to take up some space between the bead of the tire and the bed of the rim. If there is too much of a gap when the tire is hit hard with an object the bead won't be able to keep a seal against the rim and air and sealant is pushed out. When that happens it looks like this:

The above tire still holds air just fine, but when I hit square-edged or large roots hard enough the tire would burp. On this particular ride I started at between 30 and 32 lbs of pressure. When I finished the tire pressure was around 22 to 24. Way too low...I had to be pretty careful on my way back after a few too many burps coming back down. I ended up finding that on rides with sharp edged rocks that probably between 38 and 40 psi will work best. On many cyclocross courses I am certain that in the low 30's I will be fine. The main culprit of the burping was the sharp edged volcanic rocks I hit at speed.

Today I had lots to do but I was determined to get in a ride if at all possible. I chose to do something different--the Suttle Lake ride which is really quite close to Black Butte. I had done this ride before on a mountain bike and it was a yawner. But on a cross bike it was quite enjoyable. I was able to go as fast as my legs would take me on quite a few stretches of the trail that takes you to the lake loop. It really felt good. I rode for just a bit over an hour. I didn't do the entire loop of the lake, just the west side of the lake which I found to be particularly enjoyable. I was surprised. Actually the same could be said of Peterson Ridge the day prior. I find that trail to be sort of boring for a mountain bike, but for a cross bike is both fun and challenging at times.

Pictures of the Suttle Lake ride:

There's even a barrier to dismount over...coming back it was easy to ride off of though...

The singletrack around the lake is not difficult but it is fun.

Trees are abundant and provide instances where on a cross bike at speed they seem to be magnets, drawing you into them...

Suttle Lake itself is in the final two pictures...the trail hugs the lake quite close most of the time.

I had a great time, too bad I was there solo.

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