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Monday, March 19

Hooray, cherry poppin' bike ride!

I got out for the first ride on the By:Stickel on Saturday.

We started the day with a long climb up to Heartbreak Ridge in NC. Old Toll Road (which is no longer a road) is a slightly taxing grade that has plenty of sections of chunky rocks.

image shamelessly borrowed from Eric "PMBAR Honcho" Wever

squiggly lines courtesy of Jerry

That blue line shows you just how looooonnnnggg the climb to the top is and just how much of a nutter descent you get as a reward.

The bottom bracket seemed as stiff as any I've experienced before (even aluminum), and it was plenty easy to get up and over obstacles.

The front end seemed to wander a little more than I was used to, but at the top of the climb I lowered my stem 4-5mm. That seemed to help me keep some weight on it... gonna mess with that position some more before I go cutting my steer tube again. I should mention that mine own laziness would be to blame for that ill-fitting position, not the bike.

Heartbreak Ridge is a hell of a place to make friends with a new bike. When you climb Old Toll Road to get to the top, you begin the descent higher up than you do at the Off Road Assault on Mount Mitchell (a race I've done seven times in the past). The upper non-raced portion is a chunky, blown out, rock-strewn mess. I've only seen folks rip it on big bikes, so I went ahead with the usual caution. Once we hit the race course portion of the descent, I was able to let it go a little more.

From there, things went pretty well. I got more and more comfortable the lower we got, and I even made one of the switchbacks towards the bottom that I haven't bothered trying to ride since 2007 when I went tumbling way down side of the hill because I just couldn't keep my bike tight enough. Locals would recognize this switchback as the one that has a cleared landing zone from many failed attempts.

I did chicken out on the slanted-towards-possible-death log overs. I usually do anyways. Ever since I saw a highly skilled friend of mine mistime one and end up way down the mountain with his bell rung hard (broken helmet, black eye, swollen elbow, serious brain rattling), I avoid trying to repeat his performance. I could probably make them 99% of the time, but I am not prepared for the consequences of that other 1%... yet.

We headed over to Kitsuma, and that's where the bike and I got along just fine. I made the climb from bottom to top without walking (normally I end up off the bike for a couple of the steeper sections). You do Kitsuma twice when racing ORAMM, so I'm quite familiar with the trail, especially the downhill portion. I was able to really open it up, and although the rain started coming down, I ended up in front of everybody just wailing away. There are a crap ton of poorly executed rolling grade dips all the way down, and the By:Stickel effortlessly manual'ed through them all.

Full-tilt boogie in effect.

Am I digging it?

Hell yeah.

I've still got some anal tweaking* to do, but this is definitely going to be a good time

If you see me out and about and ask nice, and I might let you pedal it around for a bit... or at least look at it.

* That does NOT mean shoving meth up my ass.

7 comments:

John said...

I wanna touch it.

the original big ring said...

Fuck a duck! That is fugging hot. I have a boner, and not the kind I had sleeping next to you while in Moab.

tbone! said...

Damn I love the pink, evereything is better that is pink inside. I'm not man enough to ride the single speed but would love to ride that bitch.

Shane S. said...

Did you try the death roots on it on HB?

What's wrong with a good anal tweaking by the way? That's where I like to inject my epo!

dicky said...

Nope. Did it once before, and that may last me a lifetime.... not to mention my bars are more than an inch wider than they were back in January when I defied certain death on HB.

pv said...

Barbie Bike works...way cool.

Don't look now, but, yer seat post's bent.

AdamB said...

Steve does some beautious work, for sure. But did you have to go with so much white??? You make white all the whiter when offset with black. :-}
Enjoy your new baby and congrats on a sweet rig.