I woke to the sound of rhythmic scratching, my mouth a hollow, dry cavity that tasted like stale IPA. Subtle chanting in an unrecognizable dialect reverberated as if in confined quarters, putting an exclamation mark on the headache forming behind my eyes.
As the world around me came into focus, my attention fell to a diminutive figure fanning a small flame and rocking fore and aft to the chant, “ummm-se-bah-bah-umm-do-ah”, in the corner of what looked to be a small cave. I tried my damndest to appear asleep but the figure spotted me at once. The chanting stopped and I wasn’t sure whether I should be frightened or not.
Just as I began trying to piece together how I came to find myself without my clothes in a cave, the figure began his chanting anew, but this time in a frenzied and fevered pitch. His eyes widened as the chanting grew louder and its paced quickened. A faint, green glow began to appear in his chest and as he hit his crescendo, he exploded into daylight leaving me temporarily blind and paralyzed.
As I opened my eyes for the second time, the world was wholly transformed. I found myself lying prone in the dirt next to a trailhead, in a forest of towering Sequoias, drool and dirt co-mingling around my mouth and on my face.
Next to me a Niner R.I.P. 9 stood eating berries in the morning light, its coat the same shade of green that glowed within the diminutive figure, just before he exploded.
The steed lightly pawed at the ground as if impatient. I stood and circled the thing slowly, careful not to spook it, taking notice of the patented CVA linkage and the new SRAM XO1 drive train. A RockShox Revelation fork and Monarch RT3 shock let me know that it was up for a little “who’s-your-father”, if I could mount it and dial in the pressure.
They say that the aluminum Niner R.I.P. 9 is the quintessential 5-inch trail bike, what with it’s 29-inch wheels, stable geometry and proven performance. I can’t believe I’ve found one in the wild, and with a Reverb dropper post to boot! Now I jut need to tame it, but how?
Just then I hear the diminutive figures’ words ringing in my head, “ummm-se-bah-bah-umm-do-ah”, “ummm-se-bah-bah-umm-do-ah”, “UMM-SE-BAH-BAH-UMM-DO-AH”!! I’m compelled to repeat them out loud, “ummm-se-bah-bah-umm-do-ah” I say and the R.I.P. 9 perks up. I continue my babbling “ummm-se-bah-bah-umm-do-ah”, “ummm-se-bah-bah-umm-do-ah” until I mount the beast. In a shower of rainbows and fireworks we rear up into the best wheelie I’ve ever done and tear ass down the trail.
What a ride! “ummm-se-bah-bah-umm-do-ah”, I say every hundred yards or so, just to keep things flowing smoothly. And flow they do.
We are one now, two bodies sharing one consciousness.
My headache is gone, my legs feel no pain, I am one with the universe and I taste fried chicken on my lips. I hear the diminutive figure’s voice in my head “ummm-se-bah-bah-umm-do-ah” and I can’t help but think he’s saying “Ride In Peace and let your smile bring inspiration and joy to those you encounter”.
I’m happy to oblige.
Look for my full review of the Niner R.I.P. 9 in the upcoming issue of Dirt Rag.