April 6, 2005: 'Fine's favorite frejoaquin Fruitvale fride

I took care of some business issues earlier in the day and then headed over to the Fruitvale neighborhood of Oakland to meet up with CrankenFine and take a wheel around his home course.

Trail obstacles #25 and #26
CrankenFine -- up, up, and over
Frejoaquinin' in the JM

Before setting out, we worked on Cranken's Klein Palomino a little bit. Seems his chain was rubbing on the lower part of the front derallier cage when using the smaller cogs, and this was making a very disconcerting noise. My first thought was to physically lower the front derallier on the seat tube, but the Palomino has an odd design, with the derallier kind of built into the seat tube, so that option was out. Crank' wanted to adjust the inner and outer throw screws, but that didn't seem right to me. I advised that Crank turn the barrel adjuster on his front derallier cable a few turns counterclockwise. After some trial and error, this proved to be the solution.

CrankenFine is slowly devolving his new, state-of-the-art Palomino back to the old FrankenFine days. The poor gal is coated with at least two different rides worth of dried mud spatter. Failing his pre-ride safety evaluation, Cranken made a fine mess of things by applying a generous portion of heavy, wet lubrication directly to the caked, powdery, dried-mud plaster covering the working metal portions of his bike.

Out of Fruitvale we headed east up the Fruitvale Squirrel Nutcracker, a multi-tiered climb up to the Mormon temple on the hill. From there, we noodled through a parking lot and across one major street to a nifty little singletrack stitch that took us right into Joaquin Miller Park.

CrankenFine always takes his helmet off on climbs. No. Today I had to tell him to get that Eurotrash bullshit out of here. This is mountain biking -- helmets and leg hair are in full effect.

Cranken' took me to the Log Jump, which apparently is a rite of passage for riders in the JM. It's really more of a large, large obstacle made of numerous fallen branches and logs than it is a jump. I'm sure some ballic freeriders are launching themselves off of this 5-foot tall behemoth, but XC 'ers are doing well just to clear it in one piece. After reviewing the lines on foot, I pedaled up to the approach lane and without any hesitation, just went for it. That's the best way. The more you think about it, the harder it is to pull the string. I cleared the obstacle nicely, but not without a split-second or two with my heart in my throat. I asked Cranken' to go over the falls for a picture and he complied, but got leaning too far forward coming over the apex of the obstacle, did a front-endo track stand on his front tire for about two seconds, and pitched headfirst down the back side of the obstacle. Fortunately, he executed a perfect shoulder tuck, and rolled right out of it, uninjured. I can't say it enough times, falling is an art form that every MTB 'er should perfect. It will save you countless broken collarbones -- just ask Krusty about that.

The Joaquin Miller ride is a relatively short one, but it features some extremely challenging technical trail. Early into the park, Cranken set me up with the scouting report on a particularly difficult uphill climb, but I was tentative and feeble, and barely made it past the ladies tee. This seemed to wake me up a bit, and I did quite well on the technical stuff the rest of the way. In particular, we both aced some very gnarly downhills with large, hairy, slippery roots on the Cinderella trail. Later, I made it through all the tight downhill switchbacks coming down into Dimond Canyon without tapping down once. Down in Dimond Canyon, Cranken' had another mishap after miscalculating a three-foot dropoff in the trail. Live and learn.

After the ride, I gave the Palomino and the Hoo-E a good dousing with the house while CrankenFine zipped out for some Chinese food. After dinner, Cranken', KMac (his betrothed), and I played some virtual reality video games for an additional workout factor. Quite an enjoyable little evening out in the East Bay.


Mileage: 12.49 Time: 1:37:25 Avg: 7.7 Max: 38.0 Weight: 168

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