Love at first ride.
It is no surprise that with working at Trek again that I would get the bug to buy a new bicycle. Some might’ve thought that I would’ve replaced the old Salsa with a brand new Madone. I entertained the idea, but considering that it still, to this day (that’s 5 years now) is going strong despite being crashed, flipped, rashed, dented, sprinted, crashed again, and crashed again for good measure … I just couldn’t get a replacement for her yet. I already have a fairly reliable cross / commuting bike, so that was out. Well … I did have a full carbon framed Trek Top Fuel 100 that I had custom painted, tricked out with the greatest parts, and continued to get compliments on. Obviously … the Fuel had to go. Other cyclists can really understand me with this. Me and the Fuel just never meshed properly. I wouldn’t go on to say rubbish, but if I was to (we’re talking hypothetically here) date a girl and she rode like that? It would be a rather short lived relationship. A buddy put it properly, “Felt like always riding someone else’s bike.” Yes, the bike I built for myself … just never was my own. How to solve this problem? Easy … ditch her and look for someone that could make me happy. (Yes, for those that don’t know … finding a proper bike is very much like finding a proper girl for marriage. In fact, I think it’s even more important.) Bring in the Ferrous. I’ll openly admit I wasn’t so up on the idea at first, I had been lusting after the Salsa Dos-Niner soft-tail frame for years. But a lot of things came together and … here she is. True Temper OX Platinum STEEL frame. 29″ wheels. “Devo Blue” color. MADE IN THE USA!!!!!!!!!!!! She’s gorgeous. I built her up as a 1×9 running a 34tooth front and a 11-34 cassette. Brakes from my old bike, got some beefier wheels, and silver stem/seatpost because it’s sexy. She’s a healthy 26lbs as well. Heavier than my carbon bike, but not by much. She’s been properly built up for a week now and I’ve been itching to get out and actually ride on some dirt. A day went by, a week went by … then even more days went by. Finally today … was the inaugural trail session. Much like a child on Xmas, I couldn’t wait to get out of work today to open my present in the afternoon. I had gone over my hours for the Month again (Mwa ha ha ha ha!) so I took a short day today to help offset that. Two O’clock rolled around (I didn’t get in till 10 … hehe!) and I was out of the office into my car heading for the local trails as fast as my Jeep could carry us. The Northern Kettles were too far away, as were the Southern. I talked to the fine folks at Pedal Moraine and got directions to Glacial Blue Hills Recreational Area. This would be where my first ride would take me. Lets start off by saying that GEARs has done a great job with the trail system there. It’s a spiderweb of flowing singletrack set in a mesic forest on top of glacial landforms. Some nice climbs, fast descents and twisty bits all over. One part has you riding on the very top of a ridge, with steep slopes on both sides of ya — note to self don’t fall. Lots of rocks too, a great place to get the feel for the steel hardtail. I’m in love. From the moment I got warmed up and remembered how to ride a MTB (it has been since last Summer!) it was total zen the entire time. She climbed like a goat, descents were no problem. Over logs, through rocks, every type of terrain just flowed. Handled amazingly, felt every bit of the trail I wanted to, just felt like she wanted to go faster and really handled the corners well. I need to become a much better rider to really put this bike to its limits. This bike is an absolute dream to be on, and with the 1×9 setup it’s really simple to ride too. Not to sound too much like an advertisement, but the 29″ wheels really do help a lot with getting over the gnarley stuff. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to clear some of these rocky climbs with my old bike. 26″ wheels’ days are numbered. Viva la 29er revolution! I was able to ride around for a long time zig zagging through the trail system, and eventually brought it all to an end. I’m looking forward to Iola this Sunday. I’m going to be slow as hell but I think it’s going to really be a blast and I am going to get my training into gear as soon as it warms up a little more. Oh, and one final thing … I can wheelie her easier than my old bike too.