Whew! Long title!
My wife’s birthday is coming up in October, and I had been thinking about what to get her. I had my eye on some Shredly shorts, which she really wants. I was about to pick a pair when my wife dropped a MAJOR hint. She had found a sweet bike in a classified ad for a really great price. Almost seemed too good to be true. I asked a lot of specific questions, and got very specific answers, and plenty of extra pictures. Seemed like a solid deal. We went for it. She wanted the bike for the Brown County Breakdown epic weekend of riding and fun in a few weeks. The bike came, and it was exactly as described, with a box full of extras. Awesome.
Unboxing and assembly proceeded thusly:
This bike is pretty much top of the line everything, except maybe the fork. It’s only a Fox 32 Float RL and not one of the spendier models. It’s plenty good. I’m still rocking the same model fork except 7 years older. But it’s got a full XTR drivetrain, XTR hydros, DT Swiss Tricon wheelset (with RWS thru-bolts which stiffen things up nicely). An amazing bike, by all accounts.
After this, I tossed on a basic set of platforms (a set of matching purple ano Blackspire Sub4 pedals will arrive Wednesday) and took it to the shop for a scrub-down. It had trail on it, and a pretty significant amount of Stan’s spooge on it. I picked up a few odds & ends to take care of this bike (that differ from current bikes in the house), including carbon paste for adjustments/cleaning, a bottle of Stan’s, and a 5Nm torque key to make sure I don’t crush the carbon bars or crack the Thomson X4 faceplate (though it may not matter for that – I read that lots of them crack).
Saturday was her maiden ride on the bike, at Fort Harrison State Park. She loved it, but there are no pics. There was a lot of discussion about bike setup, making sure it was good for her. The brakes didn’t have enough stopping power, so after a visit to a nearby shop, we made some adjustments that seemed to work. Sunday would be the next test.
We had volunteered to help clear some trail corridors through Yellowwood State Forest on old fire roads and such for the Brown County Breakdown in a couple of weeks. Bikes were needed to reach the work site. So we brought ours along. Yellowwood is full of STEEP old school backcountry trails, for sure. They kick your tail in short order, and some of that stuff requires you to get off and push because your granny gear isn’t enough.
We opened up a nice corridor in the Lucas Hollow area. Should be nice for the Breakdown folks doing rides over 60mi or so. The folks who ride the off-road century are going to be BEAT.
Cutting through the brush, you pick up a lot of little hitchhikers. Desmodium seeds, aka “beggar ticks”. Cling to you with fuzz that’s a lot like Velcro. So sticky that they will even adhere to bare skin (like the palms of your hands). Scientists needs to replicate THIS stuff.
The end of our scouting operation for the day. A clearcut that’s a few years old.
Back to the bikes for our grind back to the cars. The climbs AND the descents tended to be STEEEEP.
After lunch, we had an itch for some flowy singletrack. We hopped over to Brown County State Park (where the Brown County Breakdown is set to begin and where camping and all the live music will occur) to hit some of the beginner trails.
My wife REALLY started to love her new bike at this point.
She was ripping it up out there, hanging with me on the downhills on many occasions.
That made it difficult for me to get pictures. I’d be working to get ahead, and I think I’d be far enough up, jump off the bike and reach for my camera, and she’d zoom by, far closer than I expected her to be. I did manage to get these two, which I think are a couple of the better shots of her actually riding that I’ve managed to get. I especially like the one of her on the skinny. That’s something she has never tried before. She came around the corner so fast she didn’t have time to think about going around it. She was already lined up for it perfectly.
It seems one of my wife’s favorite things to do after a long ride is to get her yoga on. Today was no exception. Here she is at the North trailhead, with the beginning of Pine Loop at the top of the picture.
Here’s our route at Brown County State Park today. Stuck to the beginner trails. We rode at least that much at Yellowwood, plus all the hiking actually working. Still a super fun loop.