On MLK day I squoze in a ride with The Dude. We were supposed to be four in number, but attrition took its toll, and our group ride was reduced to a manly bro date in the mountains. On the way up we changed our original ride plan from Heartbreak Ridge to the Wilson's Creek area since... I dunno... since we could.
We played the plan loosey goosey style and hit up short Yancey's first. Such a heinous route once you get towards the bottom, but the fork provided a little extra bravado I didn't have just over half a year ago when I hit the same trail with Big Worm, Tommawicki, and Dejay on my rigid fork.
Dude was hitting everything in sight in order to lift his bike skyward.
Capturing action on a camera phone requires more skill than hucking of a half-assed built kicker with a scary landing... in my opinion. I do not have either skill.
Then we climbed up the energy sapping peanut butter road to the top of 21 Bumps/Schoolhouse Ridge. Both of us lamented riding HEAVY tires in such conditions, but everybody's gotta pay for their fun somehow. I paid The Dude back in spades for crushing me on the downhills, and I had time to take a baby picture of the Death Stick while I waited for him.
At some point in the day I kinda had a problem. I think I've become used to the safety bubble I've had on all my bikes since they've been so similar for years now. With my front end now up inches higher than ever (on my 29'ers) I failed to make adjustments as I tried to limbo under a large piece of deadfall.
I broke my helmet in three places. Fuck (sorry, but this is an appropriate use of the F-word). Yes, I broke the helmet I just got to replace the helmet that I damaged the last time I rode in Wilson's Creek and landed on my face less than a month back. I broke the helmet that I have desired so much ever since I mocked its retail price a year and a half ago. The new helmet even had a story I wanted to tell someday that was associated with its acquisition, and now it's already in the shit bin. I try to remind myself that it did it's job, and I walked away unscathed after seeing the lights flicker on and off a few times. Wear your helmet kids... or just make sure you duck.
The fjork? It was awesome. Bombing down through nasty shit without caring about what lingers under the thick leaf cover?? Priceless. Lofting off everything in sight without a care in the world? Suh-weet. I think I'm gonna like having an extra bike with big squishy parts to go to when I'm in the mood for love.
The Kodiak tire? Let's just say this, for me it has no match in the 29'er world when it comes to bombing down a mountain in western NC when the trail is moist an leaf covered. That said, dragging it up the mountain on energy sapping mushy roads was tasking. Riding locally in Charlotte where constant accelerations are the norm is NOT what this tire was made for. I'm very happy with it's performance in the mountains, and at 15PSI with the WB fjork up front I've never felt better about ignoring what's in front of me. I'll probably take the tire off when things clear up in Pisgah (and save @600 grams), but for now it's quite a nice security blanket.
I'm happy. My quiver is complete. I think I need to stock up on 22 tooth cogs though to get this beastie up the hills in good form, but it really is everything I hoped it would be. I still need to play with the fjork settings and the bar height, but Operation Death Stick is a complete success.