Norco Fluid FS and Sight :: Bringing the heat to a trail near you

I’m terrible at updating this portion of our website which admittedly sucks because of the near constant flow of incredible bikes and gear we have rolling through the door. That said, this post in particular is long overdue. Many people have never heard of Norco. A brand whose name is synonymous with adventure. From a ripping line of world class mountain bikes to one of the most diverse gravel offerings, Norco has made their presence in the US known more and more with each passing year. And this year, we’re bringing some of that off-road squishy goodness to you fine folks.

NORCO FLUID FS

The Fluid HT series has been a standard in our shop since we first became a Norco dealer and when we heard about the planned changes to the Fluid FS we began moving some pieces around with the expectation that these bikes were gonna be rippers. Norco did not disappoint. Ladies and gentlemen I introduce you to the 2019 Fluid FS. With a completely redesigned alloy frame, upgraded suspension package, modified geo and ability to get either 29” or 27.5” wheels this bike is ready for just about any rider. And with 130mm of travel up front and 120mm of travel out back it’s the ideal bike for NEO trails.

If you want to do a little more digging on these sick bikes check out what our friends over at Pinkbike had to say. Also, follow Pinkbike because it’s a legit review site with some incredible riders giving balances feedback.

NORCO SIGHT

More travel can be a lot more fun and we don’t really shy away from bringing in some of the bigger travel bikes. When Norco released the revised Sight and Range in 2018 we were salivating. And with each passing review, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on some of these beasts. Well, we have some and while it’s a limited selection there is a reason. In March, Norco announced their ‘Build Your Ride’ program for the Sight and Range giving riders the ability to not just change colors but choose suspension and parts packages to better suit their riding style and/or budget. But back to the bike - am I right! Boasting a trail smashing 150/130mm travel combo for 29” wheels and 160/140mm travel combo for 27.5” this bike will surely leave you wanting all the rocks, roots and other ‘natch our beloved east coast trails tend to offer. This is the perfect bike for the person who likes to spend weekends at Windrock, Seven Springs and Snowshoe. But fear not, with a balances geo and incredible linkage, this bike will still leave you smiling on our local trails.

We hope you like the bikes as much as we do.

OMBC Race Recap :: Lake Hope

STU_0139.jpg

Shredd Mobb Captain Michael B. tripped down to Lake Hope to tear up some dirt. Check it.

The first of two times I've been to Lake Hope was for the OMBC race in 2015. The second time was when I lined up at the start line for the annual OMBC Race to the Hills at Lake Hope, this past weekend. I believe ours was the biggest field of the day: a combination of the Men’s Sport Open, 30-39, and Clydesdale classes. In 2015 I rode off the front from the get go and had a substantial lead on the pack by mile 1.7 when I was forced to DNF due to an unexpected drop-off out of a sharp right turn.

 This year, determined not to repeat my 6.5 hours driving for 9 minutes of racing experience, I took a decidedly more measured approach. My plan was to go into the single track in the middle of the lead pack and then pick off riders one at a time. The start of Lake Hope is characterized by a half-mile long road/gravel climb and attacks usually fly right out of the gate. My plan in mind, I lined up in row two. I had to go way into the red, just to hold on to the back of the lead group and hit peak HR for the day before we ever saw singletrack. At least I was in the race though.

 We descended some freshly cut single track to the treacherous drop-off but this time I was prepared and nearly clipped the wheel of a less fortunate rider in front of me. First position made up and only many more to go, I thought to myself. Until this point, I had been holding back a little. In part, because I was weary of the drop-off but also because I had only ridden my new Rocky Mountain Element 970 once before and very briefly at that. The Rocky's geo speaks to me with 120mm front travel, 100mm rear, and an adjustable head tube angle that ranges from 69-70 degrees. For Lake Hope I had it set at 69.25 degrees or a quarter degree slacker than my previous Cannondale Scalpel SI Carbon 3 and .15 degrees steeper than the Yeti I rode before the Scalpel. I find that this is setup is pretty close to a Goldilocks setup between my two prior bikes and truly reflects my preferred riding style. That said, I'd likely go a setting steeper at a tamer trail and a setting slacker on a rowdier one.

 Speaking of trails, can I just say that Lake Hope is way up there with Mohican State Park as far as quality Ohio single track goes?! It features tons of rocks, roots, and all around chunky gnarr that are often neglected on more modern flow trails, but also manages to reward riders with epic, high speed, white knuckle descents that challenge even seasoned riders to grow and progress. Some of the numerous climbs feature tricky rock features and washed out runoff channels, which I will make a point of riding until I clear them when I head back down for recreational riding soon. Like Mohican, Lake Hope is fairly long (the race loop is 17 miles, give or take) and the river crossings make up for the lack of an FU Climb. Actually, who am I kidding? Nobody misses that climb. In short: If you haven't been, make the time and go. Hell, there is an onsite State Campground, make it a weekend!

 Back to the race though. We were about 3 or 4 miles in and the field had started to spread out. I was able to pass another rider who went down but we were catching up to some of the slower riders in the Expert Women's field. As sometimes happens when the back of an earlier field is caught, we began a game of cat and mouse with a couple of the guys in my field. Tom Svec from Flat Tire Co. led the chase group and made his move to pass the first lady we caught. Next went the middle wheel, who now had to chase down Tom, and finally me a minute or so after him. I caught the third to last Expert Women and our middle guy, whom I passed and dropped, but never saw Tom again until the finish. 

 At one point I lost position to one of the riders from the 40-49 field who had started in our wave but were scored separately, when I nearly ran into a hornet's nest that had been flagged for a ride-around and only realized that I was about to do so when he called it out to me. Thanks, dude; that could’ve hurt!! I spent much of the rest of the race by myself picking off one more expert single speeder and one other guy from our field, mildly annoyed with myself that I hadn't gone harder in the early break. At this point, I caught up to Jen Toops from Paradise Garage, the reigning Women's OMBC Champion and a contender for this year's NUE Series. Happy for a fast wheel to ride I decided to ride behind her for some time and to regain my composure. When the trail widened she called for me to move around and I did. We rode together for a bit longer until I saw the 40-49 rider who had passed me earlier and gave chase.

 I clawed away at his lead, precious seconds at a time, until I was nearly back on his wheel, just a half of a river crossing behind him. True to rowdy riding form, I cut the turn coming out of the crossing tight and through the brush and promptly sunk my wheel into a concealed hole. Whoomp-Whooomp. Somehow I managed to stay upright and re-positioned on the trail to give chase once more when the trail took a sharp turn to the left. So this was it. "That nasty, steep, rocky, rooty, rutted out climb at the end" Tom Weaver from KSD had warned me about. It was all of that and then some. I rode about 3 quarters of the way up but eventually, my rear wheel slid out and I had to push the rest of the way. I looked over my shoulder and saw some riders in the distance lining up for the climb. Determined not to give up a position this near the end, I doubled down, took a running start to jump onto my bike and get riding again. I'm still not sure how, but I managed to do so and got going. I dragged myself up the last bit of road back to the finish line, for fourth place.

 Lake Hope is a truly epic trail system and if you have never ridden there I highly recommend it. This magical place somehow manages to combine flow with old school gnarr. In light of this, the BC Shred Mobb intends to host an open 4-day training camp there in the Spring of 2018. The camp will consist of a 3-nights stay at a local cabin and 4 days riding. We will ride mountain and road bikes. We may also decide to do some gravel rides if there is interest. The exact cost is TBD but will go toward the cost of the cabin. Any surplus will be donated to the Athens Bicycle Club which maintains the Lake Hope State Park MTB trail system. You are responsible for your own food but we will do our best to find a cabin that has a kitchen and/or grill. We are a race team and this is a training camp, participants will be expected to be of intermediate to advanced skill level - if you finish midpack or better at most OMBC Sport races you enter, you should be good. Please get in touch with the shop in person or by phone if you would like to be added to the email list for forthcoming details.

 

 

CAMBA Winter Social :: Recap

You know a party was good when it takes 3 weeks to write a recap. I honestly don't know if I've ever seen that much pizza, beer and cookies consumed in such a short period of time so before I begin I just want to give everyone who came a huge shout out for their eating and drinking prowess. 

As many of you may know we had the honor of hosting a Winter Social for the illustrious Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA). For those of you who haven't heard of CAMBA they are responsible for many of the trails you ride in Northeast Ohio. Their organization, comprised entirely of dedicated volunteers, is responsible for much of the trail building & maintenance and advocacy outreach. For those of you who were unable to attend, here are some of the talking points mentioned in the presentation. 

1. Join CAMBA/IMBA - Now, more then ever, is the time to support the things you truly care about. Becoming a member of CAMBA/IMBA ensures our region stays on track in becoming a mountain bike destination. Plus, the people are f*&$ing awesome. 
2. CAMBA has a new president - welcome Steve Metzler to the highest office in CAMBA-land. A big thank you to Greg Spickard for all your hard work as president. Thanks to all the CAMBA leadership. 
3. Ohio IMBA/CAMBA Weekend at Ray's Feb 18th - 19th. This is sure to be an incredible weekend - don't miss out. 
4. Trail Building Activities resume on January 22nd. Get some dirt under your nails and appreciate our trails that much more by helping with repairs, maintenance and building.
5. CAMBA WANTS YOU! If you're interested in being a part of the leadership team at CAMBA hit up President Metzler and sharpen your shovel. Steve can be reached via email - president@camba.us.
6. CAMBA Spring Campout - June 2 - 4

We want to thank everyone who came out to show support for mountain biking in Northeast Ohio. From West Branch to Vulture's Knob, Ray's MTB to Austin Badger - we truly do have an incredible group of dedicated individuals whose vision for riding has enriched us all. Thank you, thank you, thank you.