The last ride of the trip was to be Agate. Its an epic and fitting to finish off the trip. After the standard climb out the Crest, Agate drops off to the west side of Monarch. As it is also a moto trail, it is wide, straight, and fast. I have been struggling with my Fox 36 chassis forever. The sag measurement is inconsistent and as a result it throws the geometry off. It also tends to ride too low in the travel and results in a whole mess of other ride quality issues. It was particularly bad on this day and I was pretty fed up with it. I got pretty angry and tried to take it out on the trail. I got a top 5 time on Strava, but what could have been if the fork had been working properly.
So I ended up talking to Craig at Avalanche about it and turns out the issue is the positive/negative equalization. Fox relies on a transfer rod through the middle of the piston to accomplish this. In ideal conditions, a dimple at full extension allows the two chambers to equalize. At times that dimple has clogged with grease causing too much air to get trapped in the negative chamber. But ultimately the o-ring seal on that rod doesn’t have enough squish to work properly. Therefore air moves from chamber to chamber in an unreliable fashion giving very inconsistent performance. Of course Fox has moved on from this design, but for those of us still on these forks it is still a huge problem. Craig offers a rebuild kit that adds a harder o-ring and an additional washer to provide better squish on the o-ring. I have subsequently preformed this modification and hope to get better, more consistent performance.
For the last day of the trip we spent the morning in Buena Vista. We had plans to ride there, but everyone was pretty tired. We ended up just walking around, buying a few gifts, and eating at Eddyline Brewery. They have really good wood-fired pizza, great beer, and incredible root-beer for the boys.