I wanted to get out on the SS Rockhopper for an extended ride to wrap up my testing before it goes back to Specialized and I needed to try out the Camelbak H.A.W.G. pack on a longer day.
The ride is 12 miles of climbing in one direction...not sure how much there is all told...and a lot of that is on singletrack that is a gymnastic workout, techy, twisty, pedal-brake-turn, pedal-brake turn, etc. On the SS it is quite the ride. Then the swoop begins and it is bliss - a ribbon of moist dirt that beckons you to leave the brakes alone and trust in your abilities and the rolling of 29" sized dice.
I spent the hours on trail with KT the Man, maybe one of the few rides left before he moves away to take on a cool job driving the demo van for a bike company. KT is someone I respect very much. Not just because he makes me want to be a better rider, but for the way he has faced some hardships that would have stopped many folks from keeping on with life. After all this, he still rides a bike better than I do and likely ever will, and that is fine with me. He deserves it. Good friends never really leave you, but I will miss the rides.