I’ll make this post short and sweet.
Last time we spoke, I left you with a mysterious photograph of a dismembered, matte-silver hardtail frame. That frame has since metamorphosed into this beast:
Equipped with a flat bar, a Rock Shox SID SL, and a fully rigid rear triangle, this bike looks as if it just escaped from the 2001 Sea Otter Classic XC race. My beautiful, new, aluminum hardtail rides almost exactly like my late Soulcraft, but with the added bonus of hydraulic disc brakes.
Two weeks ago, I had no intention or riding–or even thinking about–mountain bikes. Now a shiny new steed lies at the top of the pile of bicycles packed into my room. The speed with which the mountain bike has reentered my life, and the emotion elicited by its arrival, is akin to bumping into an ex-girlfriend at a coffee shop: a few awkward moments at first, followed by a flood of emotion tainted by the quickly fading memories of a messy breakup.
Suffice to say, we’re back together again, the mountain bike and I. We’ve been on a few dates already, and it’s easy to see why we were such a good couple in the first place. Sure, we’ve both changed in the years since the breakup, but mostly for the better: the bike now has disc brakes and more supple tires; I pay more attention to the lines I take, I listen to what the bike is telling me. We’re a better fit for one another now than ever before.
Wow…that last paragraph got a little weird, eh? Let’s move on.
Last Saturday morning, my friend Billy and I headed to Camp Tamarancho–the entirely singletrack trail in Marin that I discussed previously–to compare my new bicycle to the Cannondale Rize I had borrowed one week before.
The new bike was sublime. I’ve not felt so alive on a bicycle in a long time, and it’s safe to say that I’m a hardtail rider at heart. The bike was crisp and responsive as I whipped it around switchbacks, hammered out of the saddle over sharp climbs, or threaded the needle between trees at break-neck speed. I never felt as if the short-travel SID or lack of rear suspension altogether was a limitation on the varied terrain of Tamarancho; if anything, this park is more conducive to fast-steering hardtails than slack suspension bikes.
Here’s a fittingly blurry photo of Billy, aboard a hardtail even more “old-school” than my KHS, ripping down the best section of trail in the park:
What a perfect way to spend an off-season: mountain biking with good friends, tearing through the dense forest with bright rays of Sunday sun glinting off a perfectly manicured trail.
With that, I take my leave for the evening. It’s been a long day, and I’m hoping to sneak in a bike ride before work tomorrow.