By Shannon Mominee
Summertime at DRHQ is a special season around here. Our house/office goes from freezing cold to hot and humid. Stink bugs, ants, spiders and the rest of the insects are in full force. Our resident bird couple make non-stop food runs from their nest built into the brick of the patio, and somewhere around here the black snake is killing vermin that wander on to its territory. At least it hasn’t found its way into the house again.
This is also the time that we take full advantage of the trails right outside the back door and do as many rides on test gear and bikes as possible. On Friday we did a staff ride that included the Bronto Willy, which I’m riding, Matt’s Salsa Spearfish, Josh’s Trek Superfly, and Justin’s Jeff Jones Steel Diamond. Others were using wheels and components slated for future issues.
For a while now, we’ve been pedaling on soggy trails with forest growth that’s been tame. A recent heat wave, strong sightings of the sun and a few storms have changed the trails into hard packed dirt with a top layer of loose, fragmented shale, pine needles, and rock. The vegetation has exploded and heavy winds have brought down many large trees.
Our eagerness to ride in the June sun may have been the fault of 3 or 4 crashes and was most certainly the cause of all our flats. It wasn’t pretty out there and I personally always feel a little sorry when I soar over the bars on the maiden voyage of a test bike. Especially when it’s a really nice bike. Sorry Bronto.
Karl’s arm could have used a few stitches, my bruised leg muscle feels better, tubes have been patched, bolts tightened, and we are going at it again tonight. 5:00 p.m. Quitin’ time is ridin’ time.
The Following Morning
So how did the ride go? Did we get redemption and have a better ride? Well, yes. The humidity and 90+ degree temperature is a beast all its own, but Karl set a good pace and the ride began refreshed and finished with no disastrous crashes.
In between was plenty of sweat and heavy breathing, some suffering in the heat and plenty of laughter. A slow, sprawled out crash by Justin and a tear in my tire that had tubeless sealant spraying all over the Bronto frame and on to my sunglasses were the only mishaps. (I’m still not sold on the tubeless thing. Sure weight is saved and maybe a flat, but it’s such a mess and makes me feel bad when sealant is spewing all over nature).
All things considered, when the group size, eight, is divided by the number of crashes and mechanicals, two, and everyone survived to ride another day, I’d say the ride was a success. It was as exhausting as it was fun, and I even enjoyed hanging my mountain bike in the garage and grabbing my commuter to pedal home under a setting sun. The margarita and chicken mole enchilada was the perfect topper to a good day in the saddle.