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Great ride at Mt. Dora; Back to a 70mm stem; Next bike plans.

Thursday, April 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

This is the first time I've seen a tortoise at the Mt. Dora trails.

This is the first time I've seen a tortoise at the Mt. Dora trails.

I went mountain biking again yesterday morning, and I decided to head over the the Mt. Dora trails. I had a lot of fun, but the trails sure are dry! The dry leaves definitely are a challenge, especially on the corners. I washed out on one corner and fell, but apart from that I managed to keep the bike upright. I think I fell in a fire ant bed or something, because I’ve got about a dozen itchy bites on my wrists and legs.

On my second lap I was blazing around a corner and there was a Gopher Tortoise on the trail directly in front of me! Thankfully I was able to avoid him. I stopped to move him off the trail, but before I did he agreed to pose for a picture with my bike. 🙂 He definitely did not like it when I picked him up, but there were a couple of other riders out there and I didn’t want him to get hit.

When I upgraded my bike a couple of months ago, I swapped out the stock 90mm stem for a shorter 70mm stem. I felt really cramped with the 70mm, so a replaced it with a 110mm. The longer stem definitely helped me stretch out a bit more, and it performs fairly well at places like Wekiwa. The long stem flat out sucks at places like Mt. Dora, Soldiers Creek, Santos and Chuck Lennon, which are more technical with faster corners and more downhills than Wekiwa.

For example, yesterday when I was riding at Mt. Dora (which has some nice elevation changes and some great bermed corners that can be taken at pretty a good clip), I had to lean forward pretty far to weight the front tire enough to take the corners at speed. Not only did it feel awkward (especially since some of the corners are immediately after downhills where I’ve got my weight back on the bike), it’s super sketchy to be that far forward because going OTB (over the bars) is much more likely.

At a place like Chuck Lennon, which is basically a 5.5 mile roller coaster, that 110mm stem would be a disaster in the making.

So, at the expense of comfort on long rides, yesterday I decided to pull the Thompson 110mm stem and put the Truvativ 70mm stem back on my bike. When I build my next bike I’ll go with a larger frame. In the meantime, I’ll just have to be a little cramped.

And yes–my next bike I will build from scratch, probably based on a Titus El Guapo frame.

So, I’m anxious to compare the performance difference between the two stems while the 110mm’s lack of performance is still fresh in my mind. I’ll give you one guess what I’m doing this morning… 🙂

John Stone Fitness Comments

6 Responses to “Great ride at Mt. Dora; Back to a 70mm stem; Next bike plans.”
  1. There is a new El Guapo frame coming out in the next month or so with some cool refinements aimed at better handling, 150mm rear travel, & available in 4 colors including raw. I would suggest trying your old 90mm stem as a compromise.

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    • I’m excited about the new frame, and I didn’t even know about the color options. Orange really isn’t my style, so that’s very cool. Normally I’m a black bike guy, but your raw build looks so good that I would have to strongly consider that.

      As for the stem, that 70mm made a huge, very noticeable difference on this morning’s ride. I rode at Mt. Dora again, and the difference was night and day compared to yesterday. I not only improved on my best lap time by 38 seconds, corning felt so much more solid that I could hardly believe it. The bike is so much more responsive now, too. Switchbacks that were tricky yesterday were a piece of cake this morning. Comfort was a non-issue, simply because I don’t spend enough time on the saddle at this trail to notice. More in tomorrow’s blog, but long story short I never should have removed the 70mm stem after only riding at Wekiwa.

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