That Was Fun!

I wasn’t expecting to have a blast on a road/race bike this weekend, but I did. In truth, this was my first time at the Kenda Bikefest and I wasn’t sure what to expect. As it turns out, the weekend was filled with extremes. Mild weather, and incredible blue skies interspersed with intimidating thunderstorms in the night hours. The Dirt Rag crew had arrived on site Wednesday during a downpour that would have Noah looking for building material. Camping that night was under deep darkness, lit up by electrical fire, and the air rumbled with thunder bouncing around on the mountaintops. I didn’t expect that. It was awesome and humbling at once. Luckily, clear weather broke the next day and the site dried out fast. The cooler air the storm brought in set the stage for sweet riding conditions on Friday and Saturday with a nice breeze and the bluest of blue skies.

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Wet roots made for some slick cornering on the trails I rode on Friday and Saturday, but the flow was nice and switchbacks made the climb up less strenuous. There were a few fords to cross on the way to and from the trail. It made for a nice cool down after the ride and a fun place to hang out and snap pictures.

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By Sunday, the skies were clear but threatening and the festival winding down. With a bit of time to kill, my partner Dan and I wandered around the vendor area checking out the demo bikes. I ended up on the road bike out of sheer curiosity. Everyone about camp had been ogling the German engineered Storck Road Bikes available for demo and I guess I wanted to see what was up with the super skinny tires. They looked a bit alien and I was suspicious on how I would adapt to such a high end machine. The kind folks from Hawley USA who were demoing the bikes, set me up on the light weight (1180g/2.6lbs) Storck Scenario C 1.1 and Dan on the Scenario CD 1.0 (1080g/2.3lbs). The run down on both these bikes are impressive; both touting the proportional tubing that Stock feels is key to matching frames to rider’s size and weight plus the Storck Carbon Fiber Technology.

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The two lane State Road 43 runs along the festival site and is newly paved, not too busy and exceptionally well maintained. It took only a few moments of hesitant pedaling-I am after all used to my mountain bike-to adapt to the bike balance. We started out north taking on the rolling hills with ease. To my surprise and delight, I didn’t even have to try on this bike. It just eats up the miles and after awhile you feel like maybe you’re pedaling just for something to do. It feels that nice. All in all, not what I had expected. After a bit we turned around and retraced our route to the festival and then overshot the venue to check out the climb up Brodie Mountain Road.Here is where the only bummer came into play. My seat tube had initially felt ok, but as the ride progressed, I noticed the seat was a tad too high. Unfortunately, it would only drop so far, which was a smidge not far enough. Each of my down strokes became a bit of a punishment a short ways up the climb. It was crushing having to stop because of this. I had already climbed further and gone farther than I had anticipated. But turning around and flying back down the road was a thrill and I’m not one to usually let speed slip through my hands.I did have a fleeting moment of concern thinking how hard I would hit the pavement if something did go awry, but as it turns out, the worst injury I received this weekend wasn’t from riding. It was from stumbling out of my tent in the wee hours and tripping over the rainfly line on my neighbor’s (Andy) tent, falling on the propane canister and gashing my knee. Go figure.So now I know what to expect. A little bit of rain, plenty of sun, good bourbon courtesy of Lee Hollenbeck and music to relax to thanks to Captain Dondo and and Charlie Kelley. Yeah. That was fun.

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