Following the fettling on Day 1, Day 2 would be about riding as far as possible. Downside being a did need to spend a full day at work. So decide to string together a 22 mile commute route.
|Elevation Gain||1,173 m|
|Average Speed||11.1 mph|
Things I expected to be good and were
- Climbing up the rough stuff … the VPP is just amazing … the stiffness on the backend means every ounce of effort goes into the up.
- Rolling along single track was as good as I’d hoped.
- Cruising along is great feels so fast.
- The lock out was very useful on road sections but didn’t feel the need to use it anywhere else.
- Main thing was how I felt so much less fatigued than if I was using either my hard tail or trail bike. I only really noticed this well into the ride.
… and of course some negatives
- Avid Elixir make a horrid high pitched squealing noise after a minute or two of not using them. Means constantly touching the front brake to stop it.
- I’m usually more than happy with an XT drive train, but the one on this demo bike isn’t right, gears a skipping. It’s also annoying the back derailleur is the wrong way round.
- Tyre choice is a challenge on the rocky corners, and so thin they are prone to thorn punctures. Had one already and no spare 29’’ inner tube so had to go old school and batch.
… and some things that I hadn’t expected to be good
- Doing the bomb holes up in the woods at Lansdown, the 29’’ wheels really rolled well, felt like I could easily pump them, much fun.
- Some of the downhill’s (especially the long one down the back of Lansdown) felt better on the 100mm 29er than the 140mm Cannondale.
At one stage of the ride, I was peddling in a big gear up a slight incline along a single track bridleway with trees either side of me. When a large bird of prey swooped into the tunnel made by the trees. I put in a little extra effort so I could match its speed. While following the bird I couldn’t help by compare the large wingspan effortlessly gliding along the trail, to my large wheeled bike doing the same.
I had another emotionally charged moment, when peddling hard through corner after corner, pushing hard, feeling so inside the bike. If I can regularly repeat that fleeting experience this bike will be worth every penny.
By the end of the ride I was getting pretty low on energy, having not brought along enough food but even though I was feeling rough the bike just kept flying along. It really gives me the confidence to tackle some big challenges.