Takin' What They're Givin'
My last day at the Trib ended rather anticlimactically. Sign paper, put paper in interoffice mail, done. Then go out with Wifey and a bunch of chickies I work with to Mad Mex for drinks, where a dude that I never met before, but is "friends" with one of said chickies picks up the tab. Thanks dude.
The night was in no way near as "wild" as you would think, given the fact that I was leaving a job after 16 years. Sure I had a few beers, but nothing ridiculous or dangerous. Came home, made some whole wheat pasta with fried eggs and watched an episode of Flight of The Conchords OnDemand.
Conditions were not great. In fact on a scale of 1 to 10 they were about a 4, BUT last week they were a bout a 1 or 2, so I'll take it! I find myself absolutely LOVING the Big Mama. I'm sorta shocked. There is just so much about her that works for me. I think the big thing is is that she handles SO differently than I expected.
I expected, sluggish and slow to get up to speed, but that's not the case at all. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's as "snappy" as a 26" bike or a 29er like the Mamasita, but to ME it in no way handles like it's a 28 pound, full suspension 29er. Maybe it's the low top tube clearance, or other geometry but it just seems more "flickable" to me and really easy to carve the trail with. Granted my speeds on the trails today were about 1 MPH shy of standing still, but it still rocked!
This is now my second ride on the Big Mama, and I'm getting REAL used to the full suspension, REAL fast. Example: I was climbing a section of single track with a good deal of roots on it, on the Mamasita or even the Dos Niner I would have to shift my weight etc., to get the rear wheel up and over the roots and maintain traction. All that body english adds up over time and takes a toll on my back and bod. Today I just pointed the Big Mama forward, kept a nice cadence and let the bike's big wheels and suspension do all that work for me. She took in like a champ.
The trails at Boyce don't really call for a FS bike at all, and doing a two hour ride like today really didn't require one either. BUT I had NOOOOOO back pain at all (I wish you all knew how much that meant to me!!) and felt no fatigue at the end of my two hours. Now I think about doing a 12 or 24 hour race and I'm CERTAIN that no matter what the course, the Big Mama is my girl.
The ride was not without it's issues. Some of the trails were UBER muddy, and then said mud froze to my down tube, rear derailleur, chain stays, etc., There was also a LOT of sticks on the trail too. At one point it seemed like every 100 yards I had to stop an take a stick out before it ripped my derailleur off! NOT FUN!
My rear shifting was f*cking horrible! And NOT when you would think. It would skip all over the place when on the RIGHT side of the cassette when I was on the flats, or service roads. WTF? I made a few adjustments and by the end it got better, but I'm staring to think I have a chain line issue that Pro Bikes is gonna have to look at.
I think my rear brake needs bled too. I made some pad contact adjustments the other night, and it improved, but it's just not where I want it. The front brake is PERFECT, but the rear just feels a little bit soft. Stops no problem, but just doesn't have the feel I want.
Even with those little ride flaws, I can't complain. Two hours in February on a new bike, in temps that were cold, but NOT not cold enough to freeze my bottles was pretty nice. I felt good fitness wise, but it was hard to get a gauge on it given the trail conditions though.
This time next week Don, Brad and I will be hurling ourselves towards Camp Hilbert for Sunday's 5 hour. I can't wait! Time for a some beer, some Mexican and some lovin' I hope.