Voodoo x 2

The Nakisi gets its closeup at Trail 366.

With the holiday in the rear view it seemed a fine time to do the Voodoo that I do … mmm, not so well sometimes.

On Monday I took the Voodoo Nakisi out for an airing on the Elena Gallegos trails and promptly stuffed it in a rocky section that a drunk monkey could ride on a unicycle.

The Wazoo takes five against a wall back at the Chuckle Hut.

No harm, no foul — there was a nice big round rock within reach of my left hand and so I never actually went down.

But still, damn.

Today it was the Voodoo Wazoo’s turn. We covered much of the same territory but without incident.

Well, almost without incident.

In the last 20 minutes of the ride I somehow managed to pick up a tiny cactus spine in the left bird finger, and it stung like a bee whenever I squeezed the brake lever. Probably a souvenir of yesterday’s miscue that hitched a ride on my glove. I didn’t have any tweezers on me, but I couldn’t see the tiny sonafabitch to grab it anyway.

At times like this a smart fella might question the viability of the rigid steel bike and the 42mm “fatties.”  But what the hell? They’ve gotten me this far. And anyway, you know what I say about the chances of me ever being smart.

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17 Responses to “Voodoo x 2”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    The 700-40’s on the LaCruz are nice except when you get into the really rocky sections around here and then one asks “why the F am I riding a hardtail here when I have a perfectly functional double boinger?”

    Sprained my thumb on a bad hit riding that bad boy a few weeks ago so I decided to use it on the less rocky trails.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The Elena Gallegos trails are mostly groomed and sanitized for your protection. But there are a couple rocky bits and naturally I ride those too, because doctors need boats and Maseratis and hot playmates in their second houses.

      I hear you on the sprains. I’m starting to think about turning the Nakisi into a flat-bar bike for that very reason. I spend most of my riding time on the tops anyway.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Yeah. The Big 3: boats, 2nd homes, and the hottie to go with the spare home. I knew I shoulda studied, got the 4.0, and gone to med school.

        • JD Says:

          Wouldn’t trade places with a healthcare worker now for any of that. They’re heroes and the PTSD that will follow so many of them after this pandemic will be long-lasting IMHO.

  2. JD Says:

    With all due respect PO’G, these are not the times to be pressing one’s technical bike handling skills … thus risking injury and a trip to the hospital/ER.
    We have a neighbor who slipped and hit her head, necessitating a trip to the ER, where she spent 10 hours awaiting treatment due to: maxed out healthcare workers; no beds available because of COVID; other people (e.g. COVID) with understandably much higher priority; etc.
    I’ve personally scaled back my “gnar level” bravado for just those reasons.
    Someone has to stand up for wimps!! C’est moi!!! 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I hear you, JD. We likewise have a friend who took a digger — on the way home from seeing a doc for another issue — and had to go right back to the hospital. Hard on my friend, hard on the medicos.

      So I choose my trails very carefully these days. I don’t ride trails on weekends or holidays (mostly) because traffic is heavy. There are a few technical trails I won’t ride at all. Most of the iffy bits I ride are climbs, not descents, and unless I really intercourse the penguin the worst that can happen is a quick dab.

      And I always yield trail on the assumption that the other person won’t.

      One upside to riding rigid steel, narrow tires, and rim brakes — you have already placed some significant limitations on the bits you can tackle. And an old cyclocrosser never feels any shame at proceeding on foot as need be.

    • khal spencer Says:

      I keep repeating myself. Save the Hold My Beer shit till next year.

  3. mike f Says:

    Have you thought of dropping the number of spokes? I used to get nervous when I got less than 36. If your riding in a rough area I wonder what would happen if the wheel potato chipped?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Mike, the Voodoo Nakisi has some burly wheels now — Velocity Cliffhangers, LX hubs, 32 spokes — but it used to roll on a mismatched set of Mavic Open Pros, with some 1990s Hügi hubs salvaged from an old mountain bike, and 24 spokes front and 32 rear. I beat the snot out of those wheels for 10 years and never had a failure.

      Running those weirdo Shimanos on the Voodoo Wazoo makes me a little nervous, but I raced them in cyclocross Back in the Day®, and I’m not a particularly aggressive rider; so far I’ve been OK. They’re on the Wazoo at the moment because I needed its wheelset for another bike.

      I’m going to get the Nakisi’s old wheels checked out and serviced (front hub’s sticky, rear freehub body is a bit chewed up) and if they pass muster, I’ll put them on the Wazoo. Either that or I’ll pull the wheels off my Soma Double Cross and put those on the Wazoo. The DC mostly hangs out in the garage these days.

  4. katholoch Says:

    My personal opinion, but you might enjoy the scenery more if you were on a mountain bike (even a rigid bike) and not have to buck the terrain so much. Some parts of Elena Gallegos are fine on a cross bike, but others are more fun on a straight bar bike. Just sayin…

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I’m actually more comfortable and confident on a cyclocross bike, Kath’. I was never much of a mountain biker, but I’ve been riding a ’cross bike pretty much everywhere for years and years.

      On a 22-pound, Nineties-era Reynolds 853 ’cross bike with 700×35 tires, Paul’s brakes, and an eight-speed drivetrain with a low end of 36×28 I can ride almost anything in Elena Gallegos and the rest of the foothills network. There’s a rock garden on 341 just north of the Pino Trail that I can’t manage, but I can’t do it on a mountain bike either. And 365 from EG to the Tram is too much like work; a lot of hike-a-bike there.

      The Voodoo Nakisi is a 29er with drop bars, your basic monster-crosser. It has a triple crank (42/32/22T) and a 12-26T nine-speed cassette for a much more forgiving low end, and I run 43mm knobbies on it, so it’s a bit more versatile than a straight ’cross bike.

      Both Steelman ’cross bikes and the Nakisi have top-mounted auxiliary brake levers that let me get pretty far back on the saddle for iffy descents (see pic, below). I don’t need to be on the hoods or in the hooks.

      Anyway, nobody’s making a mountain bike I want. Seen any rigid steel rim-brake bikes on the market lately? Me neither.

      The Nakisi's ultra-modern brake/shift system.

      Dig the Voodoo Nakisi’s ultra-modern brake/shift system. For a larger version click here.

  5. Pat O’Brien Says:

    One word mi amigo, Jones. I assume it is still on its hook in the garage. Katy speaks the truth.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The thing about the Jones, Paddy me lad, is that it takes up a lot of real estate, and we have some very narrow trails here. The bars are too wide for most trailhead gates, and if you meet someone coming the other way on a skinny track things get crowded really fast.

      The thing to do would be to ask Mark Nobilette to build me an old-school 29er hardtail. The cheap thing to do would be to put a flat bar on the Voodoo Nakisi. I’d still have two Steelman cyclocross bikes for when I feel like scaring the Clif Shots out of the double-boinger crowd.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        I keep forgetting about those bars buddy. Can I plead old age? I should have sold you my Niner MCR. If you had put. SOMA steel fork on it, then you would have been in Reynolds 853 heaven. But, one of the boys at the shop snatched it up.

  6. SAO' Says:

    On the tree-hugger spectrum, I like to think I’m somewhere left of an AOC/Al Gore human-computer hybrid, but then someone mentions cactus, goat-head thorns, or anything in the puncture weed family, and then all of a sudden I’m defending Napalm and advocating mixing RoundUp with gasoline and dish washing liquid to make bike-trail-defense IEDs. Where you stand depends on where you sit, they say.

    • Herb from Michigan Says:

      Haven’t chained myself to a tree as of yet but might if we don’t get Momma Nat’ some for real protection. I too almost succumbed to the scorched earth methods of removing unwanted intruders although mine was rodent not plant and wasn’t trying to kill any bike tires. Moles went berserk in the onliest real lawn I have and I was about to use these deadly poison ground spikes when a timely missive from Audubon related how the khacked moles would often get eaten by foxes and hawks and it would be curtains for them as well. So the yard remains lumpy and I am becoming more so with time.

      • Dale E. Brigham Says:

        Get some house cats (i.e, “Lawn Lions”) to go after those moles. We used to have moles in our yard, but our little crew of rodent assassins caught and killed all of them. Mice are likewise slaughtered on a regular basis. Youngish female kitties are the most efficient killers, but even our old palooka male cats get their share. Think of them as domestically-subsidized predators/exterminators.

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