With the temps in the 20s Fahrenheit, and with recently 2 inches of powder, the season is drawing to a close.
Most of my bikes are in winter storage, only the two 29ers are easily accessible.
And may I say, what a season. It was my first on a 29er, and I rode over 210 miles total.
I decided to put together a "Best of 2013" thread, so if you want to post, you may.
I bought my Cobia on the first or second week of January last year.
I walked it up my steep, snowy, and icy driveway, the sticker still on it. What a moment of excitement. My 29er, My Cobia. The bike was sweet, and better than the Mamba I had been eying previously.
I rode it around a bit on my snow covered lawn, until I started to change over a few parts here and there with my F9; first was the seat and pedals.
This was in late February, during a thaw. I remember the "warm" air blowing across the valley and slamming up against my hill. I had a close call, for my bike almost blew over onto the gravel driveway.
Before I knew it, it was mud season, and summer was almost here. Once the trails dried up, and I successfully flipped my stem to the flat side, I began to ride at Pine Hill Park again.
This was in June, the prime time to bike. Man, was it fun. The whole feel of not too hot or humid, but not cold or wet was amazing. I forgot how miserable late fall and winter riding is.
One of my favorite pictures of all time. One of the last pictures before I became mod-mad.
About the time of mid-June, I started to go to STAB on Mount Ascutney more often. This trail network is closer to my house than Rutland, but it is more demanding, so I didn't go there after mid August.
The trails are beautiful, and wicked fun once you point downhill.
By this time, I had already had the F9's stem on my Cobia, but also a 180mm rotor up front, and new Cannondale dual lock on grips. Not to mention the new rubber. In almost a blink of an eye, I became mod-mad. I never looked back.
I attempted Kingdom Trails in July, but it was so muddy that I had no fun (waste of $15 plus gas, for Kingdom is 2 hours north of my house).
Later, in July, I stopped by at my LBS and rented a Rumblefish to ride at Pine Hill. What a machine! I rode faster, and took rougher lines than on my Cobia. How badly I wanted that bike, and how badly I knew I just couldn't afford it. By the end of the day, I was sad to return the bike, but what a day it was.
Summer came and went, with the riding more and more epic as I became better and better at riding over obstacles and such. But soon, it was fall, and the terrain changed dramatically. I found a new obstacle: wet leaves. Many times have I slipped and not fall, but still, leaves took a big hit on my self confidence and morale. I have possibly slowed my speed by riding in fall, but hopefully next year I will be faster than ever
September 29: My birthday = major upgrades.
My bike was changed so much after one day that I could hardly believe it. First went on the new Rear Derailleur, and then the new bar ends, then the new brake rotors, and after a week's stay at Start House Ski and Bike, and some work on it by Nate the mechanic, I had my new crank and bash guard on.
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On my Birthday, some neighbors and I went to a local trail system, and my F9 was again useful. These trails were unkempt, but they followed the rolls of the hillsides of Pomfret, and it was beautiful. One field on top of a huge climb let you see all around. I could see Mount Ascutney down south, and Killington away west (and past that is Rutland).
I rode here once more before the leaves and cold were too much to stay on the narrow, fast, and bumpy trails.
But I still had one thing to do: defeat Kingdom Trails. Not too long after this, a nice day popped up and I made the voyage north. Sure, it was muddy, but not as bad as that one day in July. This was October. I tried new trails that brought me up higher onto the hill, and after a blast down a nice trail past a sugar house, I was on the mountain. A dash over the hills and trying to avoid the "cold" wind blown fields, I ended up at the southernmost point of the trail network, a road crossing. The trails on the other side were sandier, and fast. This one downhill of trail after trail that led to the riverside was twenty minutes long at least. But the climb back up was hard. Climbing on sand is hard, and the fact that I was exhausted didn't help either. This climb was long, and after the inn at the top, a fast paved road led to the trailhead. If I were smart, I would have ridden the road down to the village, but I wanted to ride the trail I climbed back down. I missed the trail and had to climb again. By now I was completely exhausted and could barely ride any more. Before I left, I stopped at the bike shop and purchased a new stem; a 60mm Raceface Respond. This was my longest ride of the year, at about 13 or more miles.
Only a month more of riding at Pine Hill, and the leaves began to be ground down into the trail, or were blown off. Riding became easier, but on the back side, the rocks began to pop through leaves that were settling down. It was obvious not many people were using these trails (primarily Lonely Rock). Last week, Furlough (a fun exit) was so covered in layers of leaves, I was forced to walk my bike down, and even then I slipped down one corner.
I tested my friend Todd's Stache 8, and I liked it. After that I wanted an All-Mountain hardtail instead of a Rumblefish or Full Suspension equivalent.
Near the end of the Season, my LBS closed for good. Yes, The Start House Ski and Bike. I was sad. It was the only bike shop within 20 minutes of my house, and I became friends with everyone there. Nate, and Fred.
75% off of EVERYTHING! Once I heard that come out of my friend Todd's mouth, I desperately wanted to stop by and purchase the Rumblefish, or the Superfly 100 Elite they had. Once I finally showed up, the 2012 X-Cal was all they had left. So, for $320 I bought the bike, and then spent a few more $ on two XR4 29 Bontrager Tyres, some bike supports for storage, a bottle cage, and a few things here and there. Voila: another epic 29er.
My line of Treks:
Well, that was my MTB season. What an epic year, and I even got out on my almost free Cannondale R300 road bike, but for only a month or two. I had new tyres put on it (Schwalbe Lugano with Kevlar guard), and new cables. Perfect!
Feel free to post your adventures if you'd like.
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Thread: End of Season. Best of 2013.
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