Last Thurs I stopped by Phat Moose just to see the boys. Nothing really specific in mind but was in the area and hadn't seen the guys in forever. Good times, of course we talked about bikes and bike stuff and whats new and more bike stuff etc.
I mentioned I was doing the Wakefield, Phillipe loop the next day and in a separate conversation later I was expressing an interest in the whole 29'r thing. Before you know it without even asking I'm all kitted up with their super sweet Salsa Dos Niner for my ride! Magic! Those guys are diamonds, the pair of em'. Thanks guys!
So stoked! The weather was calling for more cold and meh, and I was doing the ride just to get out and enjoy the rugged isolation of the parc before it gets all snowy and cushy likes. (it's super beautiful now with all the leaves down, you get to see all the exposed ridges, ravines, outcroppings etc. that are usually obscured by leaves or snow. Striking difference)
And, having a chance to demo new equipment suddenly brought a whole new element of woo-hoo! to the ride. Even better, it was set up with 1x9 which is something I've been considering as a destination when all my 8spd IG cassettes finally get pooched (and are irreplaceable).
So, I got to run my first proper ride on a 29'r and also test out whether I dig the 1x9 as a next step from 2x8.
Unfortunately, with all the cool temps and rain we've been having the ground was mega saturated and really slow. Some sections had a deep sopping wet carpet of leaves too so it was really mucky and slow. The DosNiner did climb really really well though. Even on thick matted soggy leaves on top of rock it never had any trouble hooking up.
The bike was set up with Continental Mountain King tires 2.4 front, and I think 2.2 on back running 28psi in both. I would have liked to have run a higher volume tire in the back but Kent explained that the flattened stays of the Dos Niner softtail was just a bit tight for the Mountain King 2.4 so it got the 2.2 as it was on hand. Fair enough. I'm pretty sure if it were mine to setup for my self I'd put something a little larger with low rolling resistance in the back. ..but it was run watcha brung time so I got on with it as it was.
As said the bike hooked up on the climbs really well and when I picked bad lines up mossy rocks to test it out it would only rarely break loose, but in a really predictable way. Nothing explosive so very manageable.
Really when it came down to it, the climbs and descents were the most enjoyable riding. Anything approaching level ground was so sodden that it bogged down the tires with suction and made for loads more work and slower going than it should have been.
Descending on the Dos Niner was fantastic. Very confidence inspiring and despite the wet leaves on rocks and loose gravel I was letting it run fast into sweeper corners without feeling like I was getting close to the limit. That was nice. The bike felt wonderfully stable and even on a couple occasions where it started to drift a bit it still felt safe.
I did have trouble with working the bike under me though. Normally I move the bike around under me a lot and pop water bars without much thought or effort but I never got the timing or weight transfer sorted out for that sort of play on the Dos Niner. Maybe just needs more time to acclimatise or maybe it's an inherent trade off for the stability and other aspects that the bike excels at. Dunno. More time will tell I suppose, but I did miss being able to work the bike around under me.
The timing issue finally caught up to me on one of the downs closing in on Wakefield where I drove the rear wheel into the backside of a water bar and shredded the tube. oops.
I only had a 26" tube with me too, but it stretched out ok with only a modicum of cursing and a couple pinched fingers.
This happened on the cleanest, fastest section of trail too. oh, well. It wasn't raining and all went well.
I did however run completely out of steam towards the end due to not being as diligent about taking in calories as my current fitness would warrant. I used to be able to get away with being a bit lax on nutrition for a 4hr ride but these days, not so much. not yet.
<- During happy engergetic
But, it felt great to spend the day on the Salsa turn myself inside out and leave it all on the trail.
Thanks again to the guys at the Moose for the loan of their ride and also mucho apologies for returning it in the state it was. Yucky mucky! After happy dead ->