Off the clock

Just got back from an hour “off the clock” at Valmont Bike Park.

What a great little adventure — and a test of the new 2.3 Specialized Renegade.

Captain America: the perfect tool for today’s job

Things are busy — 2-year-old twins, a pair of young adults, software design, business consulting, track building, skills coaching, hot wife — and I am blessed, but I am really freaking busy — to the point of pain — and I miss riding just for fun.

I worked until about midnight last night, hammered work at 7 this morning … then the skies parted and I had a window to run errands and Ride. Yes! I live to ride trails, but I can’t justify the drive (or even the ride) to the nearest legal trailhead, and I’m frankly sick of pedaling up the hills around my house. Thank goodness for Valmont Bike Park.

Bank, check. Home Depot, check. Get to Valmont Bike Park, swap my trusty rear Eskar for a 2.3 Renegade (with the Eskar going extinct, it’s time to experiment). Start banging out laps.

The first few laps felt like work. Intensely focused on perfection, aware of each micro error, not all that fun. Dude, that’s not why you’re here. Relax. Enjoy the feelings. The more I relaxed, the smoother I got. The smoother I got, the faster I went. The faster I went, the better it felt.

Today’s route went something like: main pump track x 10, large slopestyle x 3, sprinklers!, corkscrew x 10, large slopestyle x 3, sprinklers again!, dual slalom x 10, drink water, dual slalom x 4. I tried to keep moving, keeping the effort high, but not so high I lost smoothness. Riding time: about an hour.

By the end of the session, I was warm and loose and feeling pretty good about things.

It’s the bike. I gotta say Captain America, the experimental Stumpjumper HT EVO, is perfect for this duty. Raise the Hilo post, pedal to the top, lower the seat, upshift, rip a run, downshift, repeat. The bike is light and quick and stiff in a good way and flexy in a nice way. The Captain is making noises that worry me, but that might be terrible maintenance.

Specialized Renegade

No, it’s the tires. I’ve been running Specialized Eskar 2.3s for several years. Road, trail, pump, jump, P.3, Captain America, Stumpjumper, Enduro, everywhere. Chris Wyatt from Specialized just sent some fresh 2.3 Renegade Controls. He thinks they’ll be great on the pump track. It’s my duty to find out! For experimental sake I only changed the rear tire … and …

1) Whoa the Renegade rolls faster than the Eskar. That’s a big duh, but wow it’s noticeable. I cruised my 10 laps on the pump track — and I took 15 seconds off a good time.

2) The Renegade corners pretty darn well, at least on today’s hardpack, loose over hardback, moist perfection and mild slop. The tracks I left on the slalom course look so rad. It makes me wonder: In the right dirt, do all those little knobs add up to more traction than the Eskar’s massive side knobs? Hmm. Stay tuned for a more detailed report.

Not that I should worry about these things, but I do so I’ll tell you I climbed about 1,500 feet, maintained decent power for 60 minutes and refined some skills. So the ride was “effective” and “efficient.”

More importantly: I had fun.

Have fun out there,


Know more. Have more fun!

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