As you can see, like last Friday, I went up Alba Road today. This time I brought my N36 with 150s, and it seemed easier than last week with the KH29. The more I think about it, I think the main difference is the tire. The Wheel TA tires handles so much better on the road than the Kenda offroad tire that is on my KH29. I still ended up walking several of the steeper sections. I think I need to try again when the weather is more ideal for cycling, or maybe I’m just too tired from all the night work I’ve had to endure for my job lately. One of these days I’ll get it.
The good part was that after getting to the top, I continued for a mile or so along Empire Grade and found one of the trails that I was looking for–the Lost Empire Trail. What a fun trail (although it’s technically bike-illegal)! It’s miles of mildly technical single track. For the locals, I would compare it to Magic Carpet, only longer and with more up sections interspersed throughout. I think it would be good fun on a 29er, and it’s a bit on the challenging side on the 36er. It was a little sketchy in some sections, and there were some pretty exposed sections. I definitely wouldn’t ride such a big wheel on the trail without a brake and 150s–there was plenty of opportunity to use both. I UPD’d on one narrow section and my N36 stopped just short of plunging 30 feet into the rocky creek below!
Shortly after starting down the trail, I passed some hikers. The lady asked me, “Are you practicing for the circus?” I responded, “Yeah!”
Midway along the trail, I passed the Big Ben tree–here’s a picture. It’s probably the closest really big old growth redwood tree to my house.
So, I think, next time I’m going to ride up Felton-Empire, which is only about an 8% average grade, and it’s also just down the road from home. The profile is also viewable here. I’ve ridden it before with my N36 with 140s with only one “lapse of concentration” UPD.
On a related note, has anyone else experienced knee pain with longer cranks? The last two times I’ve ridden, I’ve ended up with a tweaked right knee that makes it painful to ride uphill. I’ve never really had chronic knee problems, and I haven’t had any unusually hard bails. Both times were the first two rides I’ve ever done with the longer 150s on my N36. I’m thinking I should avoid rolling hops with my N36 from now on.