Last few weeks I've had the opportunity to do some riding in some beautiful places. In Park City/The Canyons I rented a 26" BMC full suspension bike:
I flipped the stem, adjusted the seat up and back, moved the brifters inward and put on my pedals. This was the first time I've been on a 26 in a couple years and it wasn't bad. The riding at the Canyons was superb, the tires on this bike were a liability and the weather was beautiful.
A couple days later we arrived at Grand Targhee Resort to teach a music camp for a week. Fortunately I had afternoons off and I made friends with the guy at the Activity Center who loaned me his Santa Cruz Tallboy. For those of you who don't know, this is probably one of the highest user-rated bikes in history. It's carbon and it's magic. It climbs like a hardtail, rails rolling singletrack like you'd expect a full-suss 29er and when you point it downhill it rides like a downhill bike. I was seriously amazed.
The next day we got out on some of the resorts downhill bikes and ripped up the downhill-specific trails there. I didn't take a picture of the bike, it was a Rocky Mountain with 8 inches front and rear. We started on the easy stuff, then I ditched the band and hit Sticks and Stones complete with 15-20 substantial jumps and a few serious 4-8 foot drops. It was really ridiculous. I was tempted to rip the downhill again the next day but I knew I dodged a bullet coming out of the day unscathed, so I borrowed the Tallboy again and explored the remaining trails on the mountain.
I was able to squeeze in one more ride yesterday in my hometown of Palmer Lake. There's an epic ride, called the Airplane loop that takes you way way out to an old airplane crash from the 50's. I'd only done the ride once, back when I was 15 (that's my half-life) so I was going out on a limb thinking I could find my way out and back on my own. To add a little difficulty I accessed it via Limbaugh Canyon, my old haunt. It ended up taking just under 6 hours of solid riding. Fortunately my friend loaned me his Specialized Stumpjumper 29er. It should have ridden a lot like my 'Hopper, but I had a hard time steering it on the steep climbs and the tires were crap (I'm spoiled by my big 2.3 balloons). the bike felt great and the 2x9 drivetrain was brilliant once I figured it out. the bike:
Added my pedals, moved the shifters and brake levers, per usual. Here's the crash site:
It's been nice shifting gears a little. I wouldn't have been able to do yesterdays ride without them.