Well I had a few things happen in the last week that I didn’t expect. First was my last ride on my Giant the other week. I was so fed up with it that I never wanted to ride it again. This left me with an issue of some races that I think would be very hard on my SS at least at the time that the race is. So, this left me looking for a solution that was geared and would be ready in time for PMBAR. The big problem is that money is a little on the tight side right now and a bunch of extra cash is not there for a new bike. After some talking it seemed that maybe something could happen.
I have to thank Adventures Recreation for allowing me to be on their team this year and to Fuji for supporting the team. This combination opened up the door for a solution that just might fit the bill. It turned out that I could get a geared 29’er in my price range. I have always wanted to try the 29″ wheels, but that was more for my SS. It seemed like that would also be the right bike for the gravel grovel that I raced in last year. The one thing that made me a little hesitant about getting a 29’er SS other then not having the money is that I didn’t want to switch back and forth to the two different sized wheels when I rode the FS. Now this bike will only solve the issue for not swapping to the FS bike, but I will still have a little wheeled SS bike, but with the tires that are currently on there it might not be too bad. I also figure that since Fuji is helping the team out, I would change my ideas about racing my SS in all of my other races this year. It seams that I will race my new bike in most of the races at least for now.
When I picked up the bike it was shocking just how big those wheels were. Moving it about the house made me think that maybe I made the wrong choice and I was not big enough to ride this thing. I ended up taking it out to Ferdinand on Friday since I was off work. I must say that most of the time I really could not tell I was on bigger wheels. At least not in a bad way. I have heard stories about being slow off the line and not as quick for the tight stuff, but I could not tell anything in the steering. I am not up to the condition I want to be so I could not tell if it was any slower. It did roll down the hills better then my rigid SS, but then again it should. It does have a shock on the front even if it is not what some would call a good fork. When I decided to get this bike I was not really concerned about the fork. I am more old school then I like to admit and don’t really care for a lot of the new stuff. I am sure I could get used to them, but why should I have to change. I don’t know if it was the fork or the wheels or more then likely a little of both, but the down hills were a blast. It was probably a little more of the wheels then the fork because more then once I found that I forgot to turn off the lock out until I was done going down the hill. I am not used to having a lockout, but I think I will like it for some of the longer climbs or when I am really hurting I can lock it out and not have it waste any of the energy that I am trying to put to the pedals.
The quick test drive in the driveway let me know that it was probably going to be harder to go over the technical stuff. I had a hard time doing the wheelie test. The good thing is that after only a short while I was riding extended wheelies and impressing my boys. Good thing too, I would hate to have to return a bike because I could not wheelie it. I am still not sure about the real technical stuff, but I am sure I will figure it out when I find some. I was going to make sure and hunt out a tree that I could ride over so I could see just how hard it was to pick up the front wheel. I didn’t have to look too hard as one found me on a section of trail that we have been skipping the last few rides out there. I was going to pass on it because I really wanted to try a smaller one first, but then I figured why should I, it is nothing I would not have done on the SS. So, I went back and gave it a try. I floated over that log way better then I thought I could. I hope it was not just a fluke because I was really trying hard. I guess I will find out the next time one crosses my path.
I am not too worried about making this bike work for me this year. There are a few parts that I would like to upgrade on it, but in all due time. It was not the level of bike that I normally buy for myself, but I am pleasantly surprised with some of the components that I didn’t think were good enough.
Our team jerseys showed up the other week, so here is a group picture of the new team.