Continuing from the post yesterday, the first day that the five of us were together, we didn't do a great job of taking photos. We don't have a single photo of the Sovereign Trail and that's too bad because it's a cool trail. On the Sovereign day, we ended up riding 4:00 hours, but we were out 6:20. There were NUMEROUS occasions of map checking.
The second ride day was the Flat Pass loop. This trail includes several large and small ledge sections. (Photo 1 I am on the left and Dennis Andersen on the right.) In addition to the ledges, there is loose sand and rocks. Maintaining a certain, relatively high, speed is critical so you can float over the terrain. Going too slow leads to augering the front wheel in the sand. The LOOK full suspension bike just floated over the rock gardens. Fun! To see how deep the sand is on these sections, double-click on the second photo.
One of the nice things about the trail/jeep road is there are usually options to ride an easy side or a more difficult side of most sections. This helps minimize walking by tired or less-skilled riders.
Back to the ledges, double click on the third photo of Todd Singiser. Look at how compressed his front tire and shock are. Though not easy to see in the third photo, this was a good-sized ledge he climbed.
The fourth shot is a view of the La Salle mountains from Flat Pass.
The final shot in this post is a timer-shot taken on the overlook of the last big rocky drop on Flat Pass. Left to right is Dennis, Bill Frielingsdorf, Todd, me and Scott Ellis.
In the blog a couple of weeks ago I told you I got a new mountain bike, the LOOK 996. Last Saturday was the first day I rode it after Roy got it all dialed in.
On Saturday, I didn't have much time on the bike - just 45 minutes. The sun was going down, I was chasing the light and had to deal with the inability to see the trail in some spots because the sun was drilling into my eyeballs. Even with the challenges of the light and not being able to pick my line, I was impressed with the maiden voyage.
Because I rode only 45 minutes on Saturday, I wanted to give the bike a good test before reporting back to you.
First, know that I've ridden a TREK Fuel 98 for the last four seasons. It is a nice bike that has served me well. Also know that the trail I rode today with my buddy Todd is the same trail we ride about one a week all year long, until the snow makes it unrideable. For locals, the trail is Devil's Backbone.
For non-locals, Devil's is primarily single track with a mix of terrain. It has multiple long sections of rock gardens, some loose climbs, some long, steepish climbs (aka Heart Attack Hill), some drops, some sweeping turns with drop-offs (aka The Horseshoe of Death), some tight turns, some smooth sections of trail and it can get talky this time of the year. For those that want "more difficult", there is a loop that has three or four sections combining most of the elements mentioned above within each single location.
Below is a photo of one of my favorite sections. Behind me is a small rock garden, then this nice drop. I don't know why, but I love to ride down it. The main drop is about 1.75 feet with the landing sloping away from you. We took some video today and if I get a chance, I'll upload that too.
Some of the big differences between the LOOK and the TREK are completely different suspension designs, the LOOK has two more inches of wheel base and it also has an additional 20mm of front shock. Roy speculated that I would love the way it handles on fast descents. He suspected I would like the suspension system as well. Both of us thought the extra two inches of wheel base might give me problems in the tight turns. (I stink at tight turns anyway.)
The first thing I noticed today is that the LOOK just floats over the rock gardens. Sweet! Some of the places on the trail that normally cause me some problems if I'm not on the best line, were no problem at all today. I can best describe it as the difference between smooth and stable (the LOOK) and twitchy (TREK).
In fact, on the outbound trip I rode two sections of trail I've never ridden before! The LOOK allowed me to power up a step I've had trouble with and through a rock garden on a climb. It held the trail and was stable. How great is that?!
As we traveled to the back loop of Devil's, I kept having more and more fun. I was able to talk Todd into extending the ride twice. I just didn't want to quit.
On the homebound trip, I was able to ride up another section I've never cleaned prior to today - a climb with multiple rock steps. I told Todd that it feels like I can shift my weight to make the bike pop up over the steps.
Todd (current Yeti rider) gave the LOOK a try and said "This is a nice ride. It really tracks well. What a nice bike."
I've test ridden a number of bikes on Devil's when the demo trucks come to town. I've been on some nice bikes. Not one bike has allowed me to clean sections of the trail that I haven't cleaned in four years of riding - until today.