Yesterday was one of those days that you'd want to end on. Not that I'm anywhere near wanting to end this great ride called life, but I'd be hard-pressed to have a better day.
The day had a non-ride beginning...doing some planting with my wife, knocking the soccer ball around with my daughter, checking out the latest 'frankenbike' that my 15 yr old son had built (yeti DJ with 650b's ?!?!,...what?)...then my brother calls and says two words...Santa Cruz. So we packed up and headed over the hill - about a 40 minute drive...I took the Ripley and he rode a YBB...his mojo SL was still en route back from Bend with his wife (he'd flown back early after 6 days of riding in Bend)...I'd just gotten back last week from 5 days riding my HD in Mammoth.
It was the first time I'd ridden the UCSC area on the Ripley. 20 minutes into the ride, I run into a solo rider sitting at 'the bench' on the climb in...he's on an HD and he's got Ibis socks...yep, an Ibis employee. And, just like all the other folks I've ever talked to from Ibis, he was super nice...we BS'ed about bikes...he was the kind of guy I'm sure I'd enjoy riding and hanging out with.
The weather was amazing...USCS was amazing (giant redwoods, amazing soil, great trails, views of Monterey Bay)...the Ripley was amazing. UCSC has enough super-tight stuff to test 'nimble' and enough super steep stuff to test 'confidence-inspiring' and enough climbing to test 'efficient'...and the Ripley was all of that.
I've got a lot of respect for Moots - and I've had some amazing times in Steamboat Springs...it's really such a great town...and, hey, I still pull my hardtail Rocklobster out every once in a while...but for the pieces where I was following my brother and watching all 1.5" inches of 26" wheeled travel dance through the trees, I marveled at the beast I rode in on. I never felt out-matched in 'nimble'...I never felt out-matched in climbing 'efficiency'...and I never felt out-matched in 'fun.' I did feel stable. I did feel connected. I did feel confident in hairy tech sections...almost like the bike was designed just for that stuff ;-)
So it all came together for me yesterday. The Ripley's a great bike...I got to ride in it's 'natural habitat'...I rode it with my long-time riding partner / best friend of a brother...I met people who had a hand in making the bike...in the place that shaped the bikes development. And it was magic.
I'm a lucky bastige.
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