The Carbon Enduro Chronicles: Lookout Mountain

Last Friday I was rolling through Golden on the way back from a meeting in Littleton. My clients and I are working on a 60-page partnership proposal: the kind that determines how I pay my mortgage. It’s a fun and relaxing process. So so fun and relaxing that I was crawling out of my skin needing a ride.

I always see riders parked on the side of Highway 6, and I wonder what they’re up to. Turns out they’re riding a sweet trail.

Quick adjustments
The Mighty 2010/11 Carbon Enduro is feeling better and better, and I’m down to subtle tweaks.

36 Float RC2 fork: I’m running 60 psi with five clicks of low-speed compression and the stock one click of high-speed compression. No change there.

X-Fusion O2 PVA shock: With 185 pounds of pressure, the bike has been feeling a bit wallowy in the rear, which is making it harder for me to connect with the front. I added 5 psi to bring the pressure to 190 psi. This seems to balance things out.

Funny: 190 psi is what both both Lars from Trail Head Cyclery and Matt from X-Fusion suggested when I first tested the bike at Sea Otter. I’m back where I started, but at least I know why.

Saddle: I pointed the nose down a bit. Oh man, what a relief on the steeper pitches.

Tires: I’m still rocking the sticky 2.3 Chunders. They are slow, grabby overkill on hardpacked trails.

Chimney Gulch Trail starts climbing right from the highway. Good thing warmups are for sissies and people with free time. I settled into an easy gear and tried to keep ‘er smooth. A sprinkling of steep pitches, tight switchbacks and rock gardens — not to mention the big views from Lookout Mountain — made for a pleasant hour-long climb.

Without other trail users, this descent would RIP! With other trail users, well, be careful. I let ‘er roll in the open sections — super fun! — and took it easy in the blind areas.

A shuttle-able trail near a major city is a recipe for user conflicts. Some of the hikers scurried off the trail, obviously expecting me to be out of control. But lo! they don’t know about my 8-inch rotors, grabby tires and perfect braking technique! I rolled by everyone at walking pace, said hi, wished them well then resumed rocking down to the van.

Bike performance
Up: As I’ve been saying, the bike climbs well — especially with a stiffer rear end and a downward-pointing saddle. I kept the pedal platform at setting #1, almost all the way open. Some goof forgot to oil his chain; other than the squeak, the climb was all flowers and puppies.

Down: Oh man, that was sweet. I’m finding the setup where I can pump the stuff that needs pumping yet relax and charge through the stuff that needs charging. Example: Pump a banked corner, then settle into the middle of the bike and let it skim through the rocks.

The tighter switchbacks required some kung fu, but that’s to be expected.

Next: The bars feel just a bit low. I’ll try switching the headset spacers. Plus, it’s time for quicker tires.

Know more. Have more fun!

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