Category Archives: Offroad

How you got so skinny martinsillo?

hehe no..I just rode a skinny bike for a while: 😉

Fellow rider Santiago and I went to Mina today…we wanted to ride the track we are going to be racing next week. (which I wished to be a bit different to the last one there, but it wasn’t 😦 )

Santiago had  some fun with La Pugsdozer over some sandtraps and a river bed…he called the bike “The Buggy” hehe. I had to walk to get out of the river bed btw.

but then I broke his Epic..

hehehe no..it was just a Mini-flat….somehow a little rock got into the sidewall of the rim letting some air from the tubeless got out….I was having too much trouble passing the techy parts with those skinny tires….but I must confess I liked when it was flat and I could get some speed easily…in fact, we switch just when I was starting to loose my strengths and it was very nice.

After pumping some air back he took his bike again…just in time for the big sand trap…. (devil laugh here) hehe

Santiago leaving the longish sandtrap

but then he abandon me hehehe and I saw him back in the car where he was waiting for about an hour maybe 😦 …Temps were at least 42 ºC …I got a little dehydrated…let’s hope the weather gets fresh next Sunday! just below 40 would be nice.

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“The Mountains 1 – Martinsillo 0” Mini-Tour

Day 1:

Everything was ready on Friday for a great mini-tour.  I left home at 4:40 am with all the energy available, happy, confident and fully loaded. Actually this year I tried to left some weight at home, not packing too much food and just enough clothes for the 3 days I was going to be out there.

The goal was Mesa del Oso Cabanas, where I had my reservation for two nights of camping. The place is located deep into the mountains and to get there I had to pass/climb a very step hill, the 3000 feet in 9 mi type of hill. I knew it was going to be tough but I expected that after that everything was going to be smooth or with very little hills going up. I was wrong.

The ride trough Carretera Nacional, the road one have to take to leave MTY, was pretty easy, I just stop twice, one to have a little breakfast and the other to take some pics.

At 7 am I was taking the road to Cola de Caballo, a waterfall, and one of the major touristic points of Santiago, N.L. from this point on, I was going up.

All until this point was pretty easy. That statue was there for a reason, for me it was clear, it was there to let me know what I was getting into.

From Carretera Nacional, it took me an hour to reach Cola de Caballo Hotel. I was stopping a lot. I just couldn’t do it at once. Here a couple of stops I made:

From that point on it was pure punishment, stops after stops, it was exhausting but I was confident that after El Manzano (the peak) everything was going to be ok.

A waterfall over Cola de Caballo.

When I was passing Cola de Caballo, a guy with his son (probably 10) passed me at an amazing pace. I told them where I was heading to, and they wished me luck.

I think I wasn’t even close to half way, and I was starting to zig zaging taking both lanes on each zig and on each zag.

It was tough, very tough, but I couldn’t stop.

It was 10 am when I reach Las Adjuntas, a Y point where you can go down the mountains to see some rivers, or keep going up. 3 hours had pass, and had 3 hours more to go.

I took a 20 min break there, eat an orange, bought some water and kept going.

I saw a roadie and another mtb biker going up.

I kept going, zig zags, stopping, resting and repeating all over and over.

Some stops where better than others…one for me and one for rodar:

I just had to wave to the Paletas seller.

Then the roadie showed up going down. We had a nice chat. He told me he does that climb twice a week. 50 min from Cola de Caballo to El Manzano. My respects.

 I kept going and when I was 2 kms from the top the guy and his son showed up. By that time they have reached Cienega (the next town after El Manzano), have had lunch, rest, ride a couple of kms and were going down already. The guy told me they didn’t think I was going to make it, and really gave me some positive encouragement to keep going. And I did it.

It was 1 pm, 6 hours going up. I took another 20 min rest and then started to go down to Cienaga.

It was easy to reach Cienaga, I made another stop, bought some water and kept going.

After Cienaga, the road was all messed up due to last year Alex rains. Here is where I knew I was done; the pain caused for every single little rock was unbearable. Still, I rode a lot of it, until I reach a little canyon were cars were struggling to pass. I reached a Pick-up truck and asked…

They left me 3 km far from Laguna de Sanchez…it was close to 4 pm…guess what? Yes, those 3 km were going up.

The climb wasn’t that bad, but those 3km took me another hour. I was officially done, physically and mentally done.

Then a few drops started to fall…great, now some rain… I was thinking my luck wasn’t the best…in Cienaga the woman at the little shop told me they haven’t had any rain since Alex…. and just today with me on the road was going to rain!… I was pleased it stopped…for a while.

I reached Laguna de Sanchez. I was really worried about how to get to Mesa del Oso, Mesa del Oso is 14.5 km far from Laguna, off road and going up. Lucky me a guy from Mesa del Oso was in Laguna and he gave me a ride to Mesa del Oso.

The road and the scenery from Laguna to Mesa del Oso is one of the most amazing views I’ve ever seen, truly amazing cliffs, mountains…just stunning.

I refused to even think to take pics from the suburban I was in. Sorry guys. One, I would have had to ask the guy to stop to do it and second I wasn’t happy with the result of the day to take those pics from a non ridden road.

I got to Mesa del Oso, and just when I was starting to set the tent it started to rain again, I had to do as quick as I could…then ran to take a warm shower, ran again to the tent…and of course it stopped to rain just after that.

The view from the tent

The day had some light still to go but I got in my tent and didn’t get out untill the next day.

Day 2:

My night wasn’t the best, I had some trouble to sleep, I think I was over thinking what to do after what happened the first day, something that was clear to me when I got up.

I knew my plan to stay for a day and explore the surroundings by bike, go back to Mesa del Oso, stay for a night and then go back to MTY, just couldn’t be done, my legs wouldn’t allow it.

I also didn’t want to stay for a whole day in the camping site doing nothing, heck I didn’t even packed a book with me. In the end I knew what I was going to do, I was going home the very second day.

My camping site

As a breakfast I had some bread with sardines I had with me, and orange and a bunch of water. After that, I went to the camping office and asked when someone would be going down to Laguna. They give me an hour.

I took another warm shower, packed my things and was ready to go.

When I was waiting for the ride, a couple of riders appeared coming from Laguna, we chat a bit, great guys, they stopped to wait for 2 more guys. We exchanged some info. They were really happy about the ride there, as I said the ride from Laguna to Mesa del Oso gives you some great scenery. It just wasn’t my time to enjoy it.

They left me in Laguna close to 11.30 am and from there it was all down to Cienaga.

From Cienega to El Manzano I walked every single little hill…go figure!

Once in El Manzano I adjusted my rear brake which was a bit long and then the 3000 feet going down were….well, fast! hehe

I reached Carretera Nacional at 1 pm I think or close to it…I didn’t want to ride up to MTY and actually started to ask for a ride right there…no one was giving me one so I rode a bit…..glad a I did it….I found this on my way:

 Rest for while and then started to ride again…just for a while…again, I found a parked pick-up truck and the nicest couple in it gave a ride to an OxxO just one block far from home.

That was it…I got home, took a shower…bought some Pizza…talk a bit to the family…and slept for almost 14 hours!

I got to a couple of important conclusions after this Mini Tour trial:

– I really really need to get in better shape if I want to enjoy the bikepacking I want to do in Nuevo Leon Mountains. I know I was carrying some extra weight with me, but I really need to loose those extra 40 lbs I carry WITH ME all the time.

– Even when I get in better shape, never, ever again, include a 3000 feet of climbing on a 3 days mini-tour. It just won’t make it enjoyable.

Numbers of this “Mini Tour”:

day 1: 44.9 miles, 7 hours 23 min pedaling.

day 2: 32.5 miles, 3 hours 43 min pedaling.

Mini-Tour 2011 #1

First, a short apology note from  martinsillo:

Sorry guys, I’ll try to stop neglecting this blog!

……………………………………………………………….
The bike is ready! I’m leaving tomorrow…

…and will be back on Sunday!.

Hiking and Biking Weekend

This weekend was a round one..yesterday I went with the Wife for a hike on Cerro de La silla:

It was our first attempt, our plan was to climb half of it, 2.5 kms walking up to climb around 500 m. The taller peak is around 1300m above Monterrey, so 500 is a good guess ( I haven’t been able to find good info about it)

The destination at 2.5kms are the remainings of a Teleferico (Cable Car?) that was running in El Cerro in the early 1950s.

one of the first views going up

one view to the city

the morning was a bit foggy so I didn’t care much for taking pics, and I left the 40D at home so we were more focused on hiking than on taking pics. 😦

Once we reached our destination we rest for a while…

our resting point

and we shared the spot with this little guy:

a Coati (or Kudamundi)

it was a good hike, 2 hrs up and pretty much the same down. I was impressed with my conditions, this time I was in front of the Wife all the time 😛 cycling is paying off!

The wife need some real hiking shoes, and we are probably getting ones later today. Our plans is to do this hike every saturday so is kind of important.

Then I had a solo ride today…I tried the more techy section of the trail today…

I believe this pics says it all:

it wasn’t the most difficult section but my right pedal hit the big rock and I couldn’t do much after that… it didn’t hurt so bad, but seconds later (literally) I found a little tree on my way:

that one did hurt….at that point I had to switch my RD shifter to friction since the RD was all messed up.

After that I entered a switchback section which was kind of difficult for me on la Pugsdozer, well, this was the first time I do something like that actually, so I really can’t compare the ride against anything.

It all went well for a while…but then..

three was enough for me..I took la Pugsdozer out of the trail, did a quick fix…by that time the rear brake rotor was touching the caliper…and went home.

I need to check on the RD, but not today…hopefully it is just a matter of adjusting it.

Guess today wasn’t my day to ride 😦

Race Report #2: 67 Km Challenge

The official race name was “Desafio 120K”, because you know, some crazy dudes did 120 kms, but I’m not going to talk about that here 😛

67 km was going to be a real challenge for me, I was going to be doubling my longest MTB ride on my almost 3 years of riding since I got back in the saddle.

It all happened last Sunday, and must confess I was actually thinking on quitting the night before, I didn’t even tell the wife about it of course, I knew it was going to be tough, and I’ve been felling my body a bit weird/tired due to my nonstop commuting month on La Trurly.

We were waked up not by the usual clock alarm but by a gunfire a couple of blocks from home. Once again, bad and good guys solving their issues with guns here in MTY.  I left home a bit late, once we didn’t hear any more shots and I convinced the wife nothing was going to happen to me (like if I really knew it).

Once I got to Mina (a 30 min car trip), riders were getting ready and we were soon ready to depart. From my point of view, the organization was flawless, we even had a helicopter from “Guardia Civil” checking on us, well, mostly checking on the 120 k guys.

The go was given; the whole bunch (77 riders for the 67 k´s and 21 for the 120 k’s) leaved at the same time, and it seemed like everyone leaved with an easy pace. I managed to get in the tail anyways 😛

After the first little hill the whole bunch next to me turns into just two guys in front of me. Behind me just the sag 4 wheeled motorcycle. The first 15 km passed pretty much uneventful, the three of us having our little race, changing positions from time to time. But this was going to change.

Finishing a road section, (do I have to mention I hate road sections?), entering the trail there was a mini sand trap (funny thing, how skinny tired guys call them Sand Traps 😦 ), one of the guys felt, he was ok, but now behind me…there was a little long techy downhill section, la pugsdozer loves downhill…we passed “the other guy” and after the little downhill we saw a rear wheel.

Do not stop pedaling was the only rule for me.

After the little hill “the other guy” reached me and passed me, but not for long. At around km 20 we reached the first long sand trap, 200 to 300 m may be, when we reach it there was two guys in there…that was the last time I saw “the other guy” during the race.

One of the guys in the sand trap passed me a bit later, but like in Km 25, I’m not sure exactly, we entered the river bed… (do I have to mention I love river beds?)…I reached and passed this last guy and also the “rear wheel guy”, and when finishing the river bed section, which was may be 500 to 600 m long, I saw three guys leaving the riverbed.

I knew this river bed from my solo ride in Mina, and I remembered the little hill to get out, I rode it out that time, this time, with more than 20 kms on my legs I couldn’t, and this was the only time I walked la Pugsdozer. Another thing I noticed was an unbearable pain on my ass. Why? Well, the day before I changed the tilt on my handlerbar and on the Brooks Flyer to a position that felt right on the mile I tested them, and that I thought it was going to be good for my race, well, I was wrong. My ass still hurts and to a less degree my hands too. I could have stopped to play with the saddle, but I just didn’t. I lift it up from time to time and shake it ;).

After this big “Sand Trap” 😛 , like in the next 5 to 10 kmr, the same guys passed me and I stayed alone for a long time…I caught them in the river bed on our way back.

the guys passing me are in this pic

I can’t say I really caught them since one of them asked me If I saw his car keys. 😦 He said he was going back to the entrance of the river were there was a checkpoint to ask for help. I don’t know if he found his keys.

After that, I was alone. I didn’t pass anyone else for sure and I don’t remember getting passed after the river…….. most likely someone did it, hehe.

I was focused on finish and on keep pedaling, and actually never felt like I needed to stop. Of my total ride time, 5:30:55, I may have been stopped for 10 min, adding the time when at the checkpoints I was getting some water.  I think my energy or stamina was good during the race, not my body neither my legs.

The night before I ate a nice plate of pasta, I had a banana and half snickers as a breakfast and during the race I tried to maintain myself well hydrated and not hungry.  Every hour I was getting a Clif Shot Block serving, and every 45 min I was getting half a snickers or a banana. Or at least I tried to do it that way.

Once I passed the last sand trap my legs were not responding as they should, even though I felt sort of good. That was like in km 52, so the next 15 kms were hard to accomplish.

But I did it!

And I’m glad with the results!

We were 36 finishing riders on my category, I placed 34, 73 out of 77 😛

”The other guy” was behind me just by 6 mins!

Any other race with no sand traps and the story would have been a whole different one.

Race Report #1 – Higueras 2011

Everything was set for a great day of Marathon MTB racing. For us the beginners, a humble 30 km (18.6 mi) ride.

As usual on this type of event, the higher categories started first, giving to each category a loose starting and not a crowded one by the at least 400 total riders in the event.

My seconds of Glory

When our time came, I was ready, and when the go was given I found myself passing a few riders. The start was near to a road section, so you would need to enter the road for a quarter of mile before entering the trail, a double track for us or a path for cars any other day. When I reached the trail I instantly got in the middle of the trail, riders on each side and one in front of me fighting to keep up on the loose rocks not packed by cars. When the rider moved to one of the sides, I felt in heaven, I wasn’t worry that he would fall in front of me and I was passing people easily on my own path, it was like meant for my big tires. If that path lasted half a mile I’m exaggerating. I wasn’t in heaven anymore.

My 3 hours of shame.

As soon as we left my heaven trail the road started to be a bit more packed and a bit stepped too, riders started to pass me, men, teens, women, grandpas, kids, the guy on the wheelchair, pretty much everyone. I just couldn’t keep up the pace.

I was going as hard I could, my legs were complaining but I tried to never stop pedaling. I had to lower my gears a lot to do so. When the road started to get a bit stepped on some parts I was downshifting for sure. I was behind in the tail of the beginners group, I can see them. There was some hope. Not.

I reached the fist mud pond. I tried to go for the more transited path, the “cleaned” route left by the riders in front of me. It wasn’t enough, my big tires would get everything and the weight added to the bike could be felt. I remember a guy complaining about the issue after the race, little did he know. At that point, I saw the tail of the group disappear.

I didn’t stop pedaling, I didn’t stop to clean my tires, I just kept going. I saw a rear wheel again; I thought I could, at least, follow it. We passed a sobbing woman getting back on her bike, I bet those were rage tears more than pain tears, seconds after that she and her partner were passing us like if we were going in the opposite direction. (I heard the fall wasn’t a soft one and that she did a great job after all).

I wasn’t felling that bad, I was behind but not that far. I saw the first checkpoint (the only one for the beginners), it was at the top of a little hill, when I saw some riders hiking it I told to myself that I could came closer to the group. There was some hope. Not.

As soon as I thought that, I got a flat. Not on my front tire but on the rear. For those who have a 09 or older Pugsley frame, you know what that means. The rear dropout is not meant for easy rear wheel removal, you need to get your rear brake loose to be able to do it. I did it all as fast as I could, the tire that at home came out of the rim easily, this time gave me some fight. I saw a couple of guys passing me, weird; I thought I was the last one. Well, now I was. Once I was ready my legs felt funny, may be me being crouch for a while had something to do. I start pedaling again with the purpose of not stop doing it and at least, finish the race. The big tail group was at least 20 min far from me, there wasn’t any hope left.

passing by with my inner tube (7km to the finish line)

There is not much to say after that, I kept riding until the end.

–        I did those 30 km in 2:43 min (flat time included)…last in my category by at least 27 min…the difference between the last 5 racers was 17 min…the winner of the category did 1:25 min….I wasn’t the last to cross the finish line.

crossing the finish line

–        I knew I wasn’t going to be close to a podium, but I wasn’t expecting to end that close to the tail, well, be the tail exactly.

–        220 pounds is a lot of weight to be carrying on top of a bike, some of it need be out, seriously.

–        It was a great experience for sure and I do think some things need to be changed on my setup for the next race.

–        I know I may had some handicap with my big tires, but is not an excuse for such a bad time. Certainly my 55 miles a week due to commuting is not enough training for this type of event.

no grin?

To the guy who approached to me at the end of the race and said: “So, this is the famous Pugsdozer”…Thanks dude, you made my day!

A desert ride…

Two weeks ago I found out there was a sort of desert in North Nuevo Leon…Garcia’s Desert…what was the first thing that came to my mind?…yeap…Pugsley Ride!!

That very same weekend I invited the Wife to check it out…we found some nice cabins I could use as a base to take an exploring ride on the desert early in the morning….this report is the plan came true 😉

it all started from San Felipe…

The little cabins have names of States or Ports from Mexico. San Felipe is a Port in the State of Yucatan.

Just behind the cabins the fun started…

The one and only “obstacle” on my ride was crossing a deep river bed…nothing but fun with La Pugsdozer…

Once I crossed the river this was the view I found…

(this pan is better to open it on a side window 😉 right click on it)

I knew from a previous google map search that I wanted to go to the little mountains on the right of the pan view…these ones…

The road was soft and easy, a rest from those big rocks La Pugs is used to hit on La Huasteca…

at some points even Larry’s pimples got marked on the sand…beautiful.

it took me a bit more than 2 hours to get there…a roadrunner crossing the road…some birds having fun…some beautiful plants…some like painted mountains…

I liked the desert…softy terrain…yummy…if this is going to be the feeling on the beach…I ceartainly need to get La Pugs there!

Once I got there…

I had a snack…

enjoyed the view…

(this pan is better to open it on a side window 😉 right click on it)

and then, realized I needed to get back in time to take the Wife to a Museum located in the little town of Mina, N.L…so… here I am on my way back  😦

The Museum visit turns out nice though… there have been some really interesting archeology’s finds in the area…finds including Mammoths!

For those snow fatbike readers out there…I’m still jeolous of your rides!

PS: I was using a DoubleTake demo to put together the panoramic pics…if you can recommend me a good not too expensive software to use on my Mac…please do!