First off, let me start by apologizing for the lack of pictures. Trust me, I kicked myself over and over for not having my camera while on this ride. So, in consideration of the fact that I have no visuals for you I will do my best to paint a picture in your mind.
Here's the scenario from a practical stand point. I have a 100 mile mt. bike race this weekend and I was really hoping to have the Spearfish 1 built and ready to go for this race. As you know there's a lot more that goes into getting a bike ready to race than just building it. In some ways the building is the easy part. It's the tiny adjustments, shock set up (i.e. pre-load, compression damping, rebound damping, etc.), brake lever reach and position, saddle height and position, grips, stem length correct?, it just goes on and on. I have found that sometimes it can take many rides before I've decided the bike is "ready". If one adjustment is bothering you, it can play with your head or make you sore in some way as you plow through miles and miles of a race.
Well, the bike was built and after about 40 laps around my house, ruining the lawn, I felt I had the suspension close, but I needed to get it out on the trail to be sure. Cut to yesterday after work...
The second I walk in the house, "Hi honey, I'm going to turn a couple 'hot ones' in Piedmont, be back in a few, gotta check the bike out." Piedmont refers to the "Piedmont Trail System", which happens to be a 3 minute ride from my house (I LOVE DULUTH). I grabbed a spare tube, couple CO2's, allen wrench, and I was out the door. The plan was simple, ride WIDE OPEN for several minutes at a time while conscious of the bike's handling and note any changes needed. "Piedmont" is notoriously rough, it would definitely test the full suspension of the bike. It was a business trip. Cut to me as a little boy...
"Dad, my favorite day of the year is when the leaves first turn into leaves." My Dad simply replied, "Yeah Tim, that's when the woods wake up from a deep winter sleep ... I love it too." It's been my favorite day of the year ever since.
I started turning my laps when it donned on me...it was that day! A lush green color surrounded me, fooling my eyes, as they were accustomed to the shades of gray they'd been processing for the past 6 months. Soon, I reigned the bike in, so I could absorb the changes that seemed to be taking place at that very moment. The sun was beaming through a loosely knit canopy, the ferns that usually blanket this section were straining to fill the lower two feet of the forest. The baby leaves, ultra green, fresh and filled with strength, were fighting their way into the open air. I could smell them...it was good.
A distant voice came to my ears, "Heads up, someones on the trail ahead", I said to myself. Then, a middle aged English Setter came dancing up to me. Hot on her heals was a young pup of the same breed. The toddler seemed to be laughing hysterically as it followed her older mentor through the open under brush. Just then, a good natured guy called them close in a manner that showed me he wasn't worried about their behavior or mine for that matter. As I slowly rolled past him I remarked, "Looks like you got a 'fresh one' there." A grin crossed his face as he stated, "Yeah, she's a rookie." A few pedal strokes passed and I picked my eyes up from the trail, taking in the longer view and thought ... just like this day.
Don't forget to look, it's goin' on, all around you.