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I wimped out and used the granny gear on and off after about half way point on climb to Kennedy-Priest Rock junction coming from Kennedy Road entrance. About half-mile from the top, I had to get off my bike and walk it up in two different spots. Whoever can pedal up that portion got my deepest respect.

Now that the climb is over, I thought that coming down would be the relatively easy. ...wrong... I fell/crashed twice in Priest Rock Trail, and did a face-plant after hitting a loose rock coming down on Limekiln Trail. I was not a happy camper on a Limekiln Trail as it was too hard for a novice like me.

Now that I'm having a beer after a shower and cleaning out flesh wounds, I'm already looking forward to heading back to this trail... after practicing the necessary bike handling skills first. Since I started riding "real" trails this month, my bike handling skills ain't worth a dime.

Any suggestions where or how I can build up my bike handling skills first?
 

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Great Pics:thumbsup:

Oh, welcome to the local training ride called kennedy. It's quite famous for taking the average joe mtb rider and making him question why he is living. It's an awesome training hill. Those 2 walls at the end after the "false summit" are a great test of your technical climbing skills while dead tired.

Now, that upper part of Priest Rock is nick named "dog meat" for a reason. If you crash on it, you get turned into dog meat:yikes: . It has weird off camber turns and the dirt make up changes every 200 yrds.

Lower Limekilm is "fun". It's is difficult to manage at any real speed because the ruts, rocks, poison oak and slipperiness of it all. Keep working it, it's a real good trainer for building skills. Just watch out for me on Thurs afternoons, I like to climb that thing. I always question why about half way up.

Keep on going with Kennedy, Priest Rock and Limekilm, you will be a better biker real fast..:thumbsup:

As for where to build some skills, try Saratoga Gap at the top of Hwy 9. Some climbing, some down hill, but nothing like Kennedy or Priest Rock. There is also Fremont Older. You can also climb St Josephs at Lexington too. It's a good work. Just watch coming down. The rangers like to hang out with their radar guns and there are some people.
 

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You might try a rear tire with more tread than the one you have. You will get better traction and braking. Build up you skills first and then use a racier rear tire on this trail.
 

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light_monkey said:
Any suggestions where or how I can build up my bike handling skills first?
I would think that bombing down dry gravely fireroads is not the best way to improve bike handling skills.

I recently picked up on BMX in an attempt to get better.

For MTB I teach my daughter to ride in a local spot here with a bunch of dirt bumps that make sort of a pump track. Helps me as well it seems..

Kennedy is a nice ride. Those steep spots on the top are not bad - but you do arrive at them tired.
 

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jmelani said:
You might try a rear tire with more tread than the one you have. You will get better traction and braking. Build up you skills first and then use a racier rear tire on this trail.
If that is Small Block 8, it has plenty of traction.
 

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Curmy said:
I would think that bombing down dry gravely fireroads is not the best way to improve bike handling skills.
What he said! Start with the Gap and then go to Skeggs when you feel the Gap is too easy.
 

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There are a few good ways to ride that area that you might want to try. When I used to live in the area we regulalry rode the creek trail to Lexington reservoir and then climb lower Priest Rock to Limekiln. Hang a right and after a small dh, a very hearty climb to the top of Limekiln. Reverse back on Limekiln all the way back to Lexington Reservoir. I was never a fan of Kennedy or Dogmeat but rode them as well from time to time. Hang tough.
 

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Curmy said:
If that is Small Block 8, it has plenty of traction.
It does look like a Small Block 8. That's an XC race tire. He did crash twice and a beefier rear tire would definitely help him out.

We have a novice rider on a steep trail that's really beat up this time of year. An XC race tire doesn't have plenty of traction for this application.
 

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Glad you lived to tell about it. Don't be hard on yourself, that trail/climb is the biggest painfest in the bay area. That DH is steep and super loose right now and rutted. You need to used brakes with a lot of care and stay slow rather than build up any type of speed.
That rear tire is a small block 8, and is about the worst tire to run right now in the south bay. Great tire when dirt is good a tacky, but when loose like this you need big beefy knobs. Most tires don't do well right now, so get as much tire as you can, it helps dig in on the climbs as well.
That last wall on Kennedy is very doable, you'll get there. When loose like this, you need low gearing and stay seated to get enough traction.

Welcome and good luck with the mountain.
 

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Keep practicing the hills; there's no other way around it.

A year ago, Kittytrax asked how to ride up Dogmeat, and there were many good suggestions offered in this thread.

I took some video, shown further down in that thread, that attempts to demonstrate some of the techniques necessary for successfully riding some of the steepest and loosest sections.

Good luck!

-D
 

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There's two ways to look at it...

One is you're in the wrong place with the wrong equipment for what you're ready for.

The other is you're in the biggest challenge of your mountain biking experience and you will learn leaps and bounds every time you go there. You'll get so good and hardened that every other place and every other bike will seem so nice and easy.

Personally, I spent the first 9 months of my mountain biking infancy climbing a 2200 foot wall called Mission Peak in Fremont. I used an ill-fitting $150 beater bike. It didn't kill me so it made me stronger and more appreciative.
 

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jmelani said:
It does look like a Small Block 8. That's an XC race tire. He did crash twice and a beefier rear tire would definitely help him out
.

We have a novice rider on a steep trail that's really beat up this time of year. An XC race tire doesn't have plenty of traction for this application.
SB8 has more then enough traction. It is not a "race" tire. He will be just as likely to wipe out on some Big Betty - just at a faster speed and more of a sudden. It is also a good idea to have. SB in the rear and beefier tire in the front.

Those steep sections are hard on any tires - and can be cleared on semi-slicks, which is my normal ride there (Kenda's 345g ones). Just ride in control, that's it.
 

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rensho said:
...
That rear tire is a small block 8, and is about the worst tire to run right now in the south bay. Great tire with dirt is good a tacky, but when loose like this you need big beefy knobs. Most tires don't do well right now, so get as much tire as you can, it helps dig in on the climbs as well.
...
I'm an SB8 rider. And it is a miserable tire indeed for those conditions. There are dozens of tires that are way better and safer when conditions get loose and marbley. In the Kenda line, the Nevegal and the Excavator are winners.

fc
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
respect!

Diesel~ said:
Keep practicing the hills; there's no other way around it.

A year ago, Kittytrax asked how to ride up Dogmeat, and there were many good suggestions offered in this thread.

I took some video, shown further down in that thread, that attempts to demonstrate some of the techniques necessary for successfully riding some of the steepest and loosest sections.

Good luck!

-D
Just watched your video after coming back from 60-mile "recovery" ride. Your climb was very impressive, indeed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
tire choices...

francois said:
I'm an SB8 rider. And it is a miserable tire indeed for those conditions. There are dozens of tires that are way better and safer when conditions get loose and marbley. In the Kenda line, the Nevegal and the Excavator are winners.

fc
Hey, Francois. Part of the reason I have the Nevegal 2.1 in the front and SB8 2.1 is the rear is your comments from your past posts.

I noticed that there were quite bit of rear-wheel slippage when I pedaled hard. I have another Nevegal 2.1 and ExiWolf Race 2.1 stocked. Which would you guys choose from the two?

Thanks.

Edit: Any of you know how to resize or delete already attached photos? I hate seeing super wide pics on posts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
thanks for the rec...

ziscwg said:
Great Pics:thumbsup:
As for where to build some skills, try Saratoga Gap at the top of Hwy 9. Some climbing, some down hill, but nothing like Kennedy or Priest Rock. There is also Fremont Older. You can also climb St Josephs at Lexington too. It's a good work. Just watch coming down. The rangers like to hang out with their radar guns and there are some people.
I guess I'll be going to Saratoga Gap often to practice bike skills, and repeated climbs to St Josephs for a cardio. This is working out good. I live about 5 miles from St Josephs and work couple of miles from Saratoga downtown. :D

I've been doing St. Josephs both from Jones Road side as well as from Lexington Reservoir side. I am very careful not to exceed 15 mph, and come to near crawl speed when I'm passing hikers. Part of my reason for doing Kennedy was to avoid heavy people traffic in St Josephs.

Thanks for the rec.
 

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light_monkey said:
Hey, Francois. Part of the reason I have the Nevegal 2.1 in the front and SB8 2.1 is the rear is your comments from your past posts.

I noticed that there were quite bit of rear-wheel slippage when I pedaled hard. I have another Nevegal 2.1 and ExiWolf Race 2.1 stocked. Which would you guys choose from the two?

Thanks.

Edit: Any of you know how to resize or delete already attached photos? I hate seeing super wide pics on posts.
I would put the ExiWolfs on the rear for the summer. If that's not enough and you're descending Priest Rock a lot, then try the Nevgals on the rear.

The SB8s are great on the rear during Spring or Fall when traction is good. Also, if you ride Skeggs, Gap, Demo, Wilder a lot, conditions there offer good traction. What the SB8 offers is good speed and that is a good to have on the rear when conditions allow. Also, some experience is learned when riding a tire that is not so knobby. You have to weight the tire at those key moments. The other thing aside from climbing and cornering is tires like this don't offer the best braking. So modulating becomes key.

Descending Priest Rock in the summer is best handled by a big, soft, low-pressure big-knobbed tire.

The other piece of advice is get your air pressures right. Get it low enough so you don't pinch flat. Anyone can ride at 50 psi but if you find that you have no flatting issues at 28 psi for example, then you will have more traction and comfort.

For resizing photos, download Picassa by Google and export them to the size you want. I'll resize your photos now.

fc
 

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Curmy said:
SB8 has more then enough traction. It is not a "race" tire. He will be just as likely to wipe out on some Big Betty - just at a faster speed and more of a sudden. It is also a good idea to have. SB in the rear and beefier tire in the front.

Those steep sections are hard on any tires - and can be cleared on semi-slicks, which is my normal ride there (Kenda's 345g ones). Just ride in control, that's it.
Well Kenda says it's an XC race tire, so I'm not sure why you think it's not. Sure you can use them for anything, I used 29er SB8 front and back today at Wilder Ranch and had no traction problems except for a few spots in sand.

You are able to ride down dog meat with a 345g tire, good for you. But I was giving advice for a novice.

There is a huge difference in safety and control coming down between SB8 and a tire with aggressive tread. I've seen people bomb down on cross bikes. But they are experienced riders.
 

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jmelani said:
I've seen people bomb down on cross bikes. But there are experienced riders.
I call them more crazy :D
 
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