Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Endurance Gear Review: Trek Remedy 9 29er - Fun and safety maximized.

I'm regularly asked why I've chosen the Trek Remedy 9 29 for VES events and as my daily whip and the simple answer is that it's a mountain biking fun maximizer. Pinkbike concurs:

"I was a pretty big fan of Trek's aluminum Remedy 29er when I reviewed it back in September of last year, with the bike surprising me with just how capable it is. Such was the chrome machine's adeptness that I didn't hesitate to put in 70km death marches with 9,000ft of climbing on a Saturday before heading to Whistler on Sunday. Sure, it wasn't the best at either task, and it isn't intended to be, but I can honestly say that it might have been the most fun for both jobs. You can't say that about many bikes, can you?"

The other very important aspect for me is that I do *not* like crashes & injuries. I'm closing in on 45, so I
don't recover from injuries as quickly as I used to, but I still enjoy riding technical backcountry gnar. The more slack angles of the Remedy (67.5° head angle) combined with it's 140mm of dialed-in travel result in a bike that helps keeps me out of trouble ... and the Remedy often saves me when I inadvertently ride myself into a situation beyond my skill set.

While the Remedy 29 is not a climbing KOM killer it is a very capable and comfortable ascender. Leave the rear suspension in Trail mode and climbing traction and stability are incredible. You'll find yourself riding technical trail climbs that you've never cleaned before and you can comfortably climb and climb and climb ... staying on your bike more, pushing your bike less.

A truly unexpected and fantastic surprise for me was how well the Remedy 29 rides tight switchbacks - especially uphill. The bike turns back on itself with stability and control like no 29er I've ridden. 

The only subtle handling mod I made to my 21" Remedy 9 29 was swapping out the stock 750mm handlebar for a Spank Spike EVO 777 and in my opinion the slightly wider bar nicely compliments the Remedy's layout and handling. I opted for a white and black 777 but Spank makes a chrome and black version that would be a crazy perfect match for the bike's oem aesthetics (if you're into that).

Tire clearance is absolutely outstanding on the Remedy 29. When Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.35s are mounted
to American Classic Wide Lightning rims (look for a full review of these wheels in the coming weeks) the casing width measures a massive 2.407 inches and the Remedy 29 easily accommodates these large aggressive tires with gobs of room to spare!

Since Trek's Remedy 29 introduction earlier this year, the rave reviews and its popularity speak volumes for the bike, but I highly recommend taking one for a test ride at your local dealer or during a Trek Factory Demo Day near you. 

Bottom Line: The Trek Remedy 29 enables people to ride longer with more comfort and ride more technical terrain with more confidence and safety ... which conflates into very high levels of mountain biking fun!

For 2015 Trek is adding lighter carbon framed models to the Remedy 29 lineup. Click here for a preview from Pinkbike.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

7.27.14 "The Gamut" (Ride Every Trail at Carvins Cove) | FREE Event #8 in Virginia's MTB Endurance Series

When: 9am Sunday July 27th
Where: Carvins Cove - Bennet Springs Parking Area

What is the Virginia Endurance SeriesLINK

Roanoke is the "2013 Best Trail Town" for one reason ... the singletrack at Carvin's Cove.

Download & Print: PDF Map & Route Guide (11"x17" recommended)

With the sweet trail offerings continuing to expand, riding "The Gamut" at Carvins Cove (every trail in the extensive singletrack system in a single day) has become quite a challenge: 43+ miles with LOTS of climbing.

The absolutely incredible trails, and the corresponding high most mountain bikers experience while riding them, keeps the accomplishment of riding "The Gamut" seemingly within reach (though very few have people have actually done it).

On Sunday July 27th we will meet at the Bennett Springs Parking Area for the 9am start of VES #8 an attempt at riding "The Gamut".

Loads of shorter options are possible.

Monday, July 14, 2014

8.10.14 Star City Vicious Randonnee "Any road cycling." 6 mettle testing routes from 12 up to 115 miles!

8.10.2014 - Any road cycling.

Once a year cyclists have a chance to get their name added to the short list riders who've completed "The toughest group road ride in the history of Virginia" ... the Suiride route of the Star City Vicious Randonnée.

Climbing, adventure, dirt road climbing, astonishingly beautiful terrain ... and it's FREE!

There are 6 route options, and whether you're making history by attempting the Suiride, or enjoying the Vicious, Gran, Medio, Challenge or Prologue routes ... you are in for an incredibly beautiful and physically challenging experience. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILED ROUTE INFORMATION

Arrive at 8:30am, all rides start promptly 9am from the East Coasters Bike Shop, 3224 Brambleton Ave, Roanoke, VA 24018. 540.774.7933


Cue sheets will be provided.

*FREE* To enter simply "Join" the facebook event:

Ride at your own risk.

Randonneuring is long-distance unsupported endurance cycling. A randonnée is an organized group ride, with some emphasis on speed, but it is not a race, and self-sufficiency is paramount. When riders participate in randonneuring events, they are part of a long tradition that goes back to the beginning of the sport of cycling in France and Italy. Friendly camaraderie is the hallmark of randonneuring.


The 15 rated climbs of the Suiride route:

SUIRIDE Route - 115.0 miles / 15233 feet - CLICK HERE FOR CUE SHEET

Refuel Points at miles 28.8, 44.8, 65.1, 84.5, 90.7, 99.9.

VICIOUS Route - 95.9miles / 12389 feet - CLICK HERE FOR CUE SHEET

Refuel Points at miles 28.8, 44.8, 65.1, 84.5.

GRAN Route - 68.9 miles / 8858 feet - CLICK HERE FOR CUE SHEET

Refuel Points at miles 28.8, 44.8, 65.1.

MEDIO Route - 38.0 miles / 5292 feet - CLICK HERE FOR CUE SHEET

Refuel Point at mile 29.1.

CHALLENGE Route - 24.8 miles / 3251 feet - CLICK HERE FOR CUE SHEET


PROLOGUE Route - 12.4 miles / 1372 feet - CLICK HERE FOR CUE SHEET

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

6.22.14 Big Schloss Epic | FREE Event #6 in Virginia's MTB Endurance Series

Full resolution PDF:
36.49 miles / 6596 feet of climbing

This incredible VES route features the northernmost section of the VA MTB Trail and finishes with the legendary Big Schloss downhill.

Start Time: 9am

Start Location: Little Stoney Creek 571 Trailhead on Route 92

[Alternate Start Time / Location = 7:45am / Wolf Gap Campground. It's a 5 mile sweet singletrack ride from Wolf Gap to the official start location above. Map:]

GPX File:
2014 Drawn File:
(Note: this GPX includes the additional trail sections to and from the Wolf Gap campground. Drawn GPX files are not as accurate as actual GPX data files.)

2013 Route *DIFFERENT from 2014* Actual (Ridden) GPX:
Note: this actual 2013 GPX is a good navigational reference for portions of the 2014 route.
2013 Strava: Route Description:

CAMPING: Wolf Gap Campground. Campers wishing to pedal to the start from the Wolf Gap Campground simply ride up the 1004 Mill Mt Trail for 2.75miles to the 415 Big Schloss Cutoff DH and downhill to the ride start. Riders also have the option of taking the short spur trail to check out to Big Schloss proper 1004A! Info on Wolf Gap Campground: LINK

Critical Note: The Big Schloss Epic route is VERY challenging from start to finish. **Please come well prepared.** Bring a water filter, plenty of food, bring all gear needed for basic bicycle repairs and a first aid kit (minimally, something like this In 2013 an exceptional group of more than 20 cyclists attempted a variation of this route, moving time was roughly 7 hours, elapsed time was 9 hours ... and it was an awesome day of epic backcountry adventure mountain biking!!

3 Shorter Options. All start and end at the same location:

Monday, May 5, 2014

6.21.15 SVBC Project Showcase - Lookout, Wolf & Narrowback | FREE Event #5 in the Virginia Endurance Series

(If you have pictures to add to this DropBox folder please email and I'll add you as a contributor.)

Date: Sunday June 21, 2015
Start Time: 9am
Start Location: Wild Oak Trailhead Parking
PDF Map w Cue Sheet (ideally printed on 11x17 paper): LINK

Mark your calendars, this VES features 3 route length options (13, 30 & 43 miles) and some of the very best mountain biking anywhere!

Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition (SVBC) continues to make a huge impact on trails all over the Harrisonburg, VA region and particularly in the George Washington National Forest. Through SVBC's model partnership with the USFS, some amazing results have been produced. SVBC's work in the North River District of GWNF is ongoing, with the club maintaining even the remotest of trails. Also, monetary contributions secured through the RTP and other sources have funded projects a grand scale and optimized the riding experience.

Great article on the riding in this region of VAVirginia's new mountain biking mecca |

Support the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coaliton Recreational Trails Program! from Shenandoah Bicycle on Vimeo.

3 Length Options: All Start at the Wild Oak Trailhead Parking area.
Install the MTBProject APP on your Android or iPhone: LINK and download each of the above rides!

What does it do?
            • Complete maps, vertical profiles, descriptions, and photos for every Ride and Trail
            • Send a Ride or Trail to the phone, and it will be there next time you open the app
            • Sync your To-Do list & Check-Ins
            • Out on your ride, your location appears right on the trail - you will never get lost!
            • Works with no cell signal, including all mapping and geolocating features

Friday, April 18, 2014


we DOUBLE DAWG DARE you to ride this...

New and improved starting location, same great ride with a bonus Old Farm start/finish!

This is a 2 day VES event. Folks will start to roll into the beautiful Slamhouse located at 2700 Meadowbrook Drive, Blacksburg on Saturday afternoon. Sharing this amazing location are our hosts this year Graham, Tommy and Stephan. In addition to the sweet events on the flyer we will likely be rolling a 10-15 mile road bike party (road bikes not required) on Saturday as well. NO pace lines, NO bitchin about terrain choice. Also, bring your game for some dual slalom downhill slopeside racin behind the barn next to the pump track as well.

If interested, bring food for the grill for after the delicious ride on Sunday. We have volunteer(s), JP Gannon (the oh so liberal croquet official himself) that is willing to get the goods ready as we finish up the ride! Bring what you like, he'll "allow it".

See you there!

We hope to pull together an updated VES quality map soon...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Thank you! And, I'm thrilled to announce ... jerseys that are even cooler!!!

Thanks so so much to everyone that came out to the Terrapin Mountain Predicament. I especially want to thank Bill Hazlegrove our VES cartographer superhero and the legend Kyle Inman, the creator of the TMP route.

I can't tell you how many revision, enhancement and tweak requests Bill has to endure and parlay into a thing of beauty for every VES. The Narrows map was the most beautiful we'd made at that point, the TMP map is even more gorgeous AND it adds a number of outstanding navigational assistance features which enable mountain bikers to only carry this map and successfully navigate loads of unmarked backcountry trails. There's no way to thank Bill enough for the massive amount of time he invests / volunteers so that we all can have a blast in the woods on our bikes.

And, a little over a year ago Kyle Inman crafted the TMP route expressly for the Virginia Endurance Series by masterfully linking together rides that he and his friends have secretly enjoyed for years. I trust Kyle like none other when it comes to course creation. He knows what's best, he knows where it is and his routing optimizes the experience of the rider. Don't take my word on this though, go race the XXC at Kyle's "Middle Mountain Mamma" on May 4th

I've been telling everyone that we're going to do another order of VES Factory Team clothing, and we are, but since we're moving toward the hottest months of the year, today I asked Bill Hazlegrove to create a new design using white as a primary color expressly to optimize rider comfort and performance during hot weather.

Not only did Bill deliver, but he took the bold, distinctive good looks of the VES Factory Team jersey to another level of "cool". I couldn't be more excited to introduce the 2014 VES Factory Team "Cool" Jersey:
The *new* VES Factory Team "Cool" design jersey has also been FREE upgraded with 4-way stretch lycra side panels (the same material used in the F1 Aero jerseys) by Starlight to further optimize rider comfort and performance when its hot outside.

And, we're also re-ordering shorts and bibs. These will be unchanged (see below) and will look phenomenal with all three VES Factory Team Jersey designs. 

This round of VES Factory Team clothing will just consist of the "Cool" jersey design, bibs and shorts. Women's, Men's and Youth sizes are available, and all items are club fit. 

Regarding fit, we want you to look fantastic and for your gear to fit and feel exactly the way you'd like, therefore I highly recommend stopping by Starlight Bicycles (1502 Grandin Rd SW, Roanoke, VA 2401) and getting fit / trying on their club fit gear. Also, I will be bringing a fit kit to the 4/28 Double Dawg Dare VES Event so you anyone interested can try on items.

We would love for you to be part of the VES Factory Team. 
The VES Mission = reveal and celebrate the very best backcountry mountain biking destinations in Virginia | offer FREE monthly ride events in these destinations, with volunteer ride leaders and various distance options (something for everyone) | GIVE riders the maps and information they need to explore these areas | help create, enhance and preserve Virginia’s great mountain biking experiences.
Our VES Factory Team is a completely inclusive group of riders, adventurers and titans of mtb fun! If the VES mission sounds and feels good to you, then we would love for you to join the VES Factory Team and you're welcome and encouraged to order team clothing at cost. VES Factory Team members can also be on other club, shop, race, junior or high school teams.

In addition, for every VES clothing item purchased, Starlight Custom Cycling Apparel will donate $5 to IMBA the International Mountain Biking Association!

PRICES: (All prices are cost and Starlight will donate $5 to IMBA for every VES clothing item ordered.)
  • SS Jersey = $50
  • Bibs = $65
  • Shorts = $60
To order, email, include the items, quantities and sizes that you want and a shipping address if you would like the item shipped to you upon arrival (shipping is $6).

This order will be placed Monday 4/29, the turn around time is roughly 4 weeks, so we should have our "cool" new jerseys before the end of May!

Thank you so much for your support! Let's Ride!!!!!