Saturday, November 28, 2009

Epic Ride, Epic Bike.

It seemed like fate, that an epic ride (or close enough to epic for my fitness level at this point in time) would come onto the calendar just as I took delivery of the Epic Marathon 29er.

The organizer was jeffj, ringmaster of the Dirt bags, a local riding group. The course was in the semi-nearby hills of Ojai and consisted of an 8 mile paved climb to the beginning of Sisar Rd, then around 9 miles of pure uphill fireroad, first along a running creek under the Sycamores, then on open mountain side, a few more miles of faster ridgeline fireroad, and then around 7 miles of downhill singletrack, twisty, loose, narrow, rocky So Cal singletrack. 31 miles and around 5ooo feet of climbing. Sweetness.

There were several of us...9 all total...and the weather was perfect with temps in the 60s to the 70s with no wind. Once the pavement connecting part was out of the way, we hit the dirt and began the climb along a running creek under the canopy of sycamores and poison oak.

There were two water crossings before the real climb began and they were just deep enough to be a concern for wet feet.

Chuck is worried his new Giant will shrink to 24" wheels.

Todd goes for shrinkage happened.

From here, it was head down and pedal...and pedal...and pedal. maybe two hours? Not sure. The Epic is a superb climber. I am an average climber. The bike is light enough and all that, but the Brain shock, combined with a lock-out on the Reba fork make for a hardtail-ish experience that is the real deal for long climbs like this. But, the rear shock will open up and take all the sting out of any roughness in the uphill path unlike a true hardtail. Niiiice. Then, for all that hard work, ya gotta stop and enjoy the view.

That arrow is pointing to islands off the coastline of Ventura, CA.

Can you hear me now?

We hit the saddle and took a well deserved break. Much past here my camera batt expired so I cannot show the singletrack, but it is typical So Cal stuff: Narrow, sloughy, off camber, switchbacked, loose, rocky, covered in oak leaves, brushy, fast in places, and steep. The Epic was all I could have asked for. I really expected it to be a bit of a nervous race horse, but not so. Very competent and more.

jeffj (aka circus bear on a bike), stage left.

The Epic in repose.

Smile for your close-up.

Singletrack zoomage.

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