Monday, August 27, 2007

The IF Versus Mt Spokane

The IF got some mileage on it and I got a chance to see if my choices were good ones. Since there are so many small factors that go into putting a bike together it is difficult for me to pinpoint the degrees of effectiveness for companants but I can say what how my riding feels different.
Mt. Spokane is a rounded nob of a hill that rises to 5800 feet from the 2000 foot countryside around it. A paved road goes to the to the top during the summer and Ben, Drew and I took advantage of that fact to get a couple of shuttle runs down the mountains Southwest flank. The 6-7 mile long downhill starts off fairly steep with lots of root drops and narrow trees. For the first time ever I felt comfortable negotiating this section. In the past I felt as though at any minute I would dive over the handle bars against my will. The new sense of balance I am attributing to the new frame geometry. It was easier for me to ride behind the seat so I could not only get my weight back but also down a bit.
On the second run down we went through a freshly cut trail that chicanes through some tightly spaced young pines. Either due to complacency or fatigue I managed to catch the outside of my barend on a tree while trying to slalom through. It is good to get the first wreck out of the way and aside from a sore place on my side, it was pretty harmless. The accident made me think about how wide my bars really are. The Surly Instigator bar is a whopping 26.2 inches long with a 20 degree bend. This is not the best choice for tight singletrack but the rest of the time I was loving the comfort of the scorcher like steel bar.
After a good sleep with some fresh alpine air, I biked out to my folks for a family reunion. The three hour ride with a full back pack was a good test for the bikes comfort factor. All signs point to yes. I was happy to stroll along into the wind with my hands out at the end of the bars, pushing my 34x17 at 14-15 miles an hour. Later when the wind got behind me I could keep a reasonable cadence and roll at 18 mph.
Without a doubt I could not be happier with my new bike. I have no doubt that it will keep me happy for a long time to come. I was additionally pleased my Dad looked the bike over and said,"looks like a normal bike". I have had one or two flashy bikes in the past and never felt at peace with them. This black bomber may not be fancy looking but that is a good thing.

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