As I said last week it’s the riding not the kit that counts. Or is it? Let’s define a few things first. I am, foremost, a fitness fanatic, following that I am a cyclist as it’s an easy way to enjoy the former, everything else falls into activities (walking, running, paddling, skiing....... living). The more you do the fitter you are. A cyclist is a cyclist. Full stop. You can break it down into specifics: road, TT, mountain bike, track etc but these are just sub divisions (and there are subdivisions of these subdivisions). To me one is not a mountain bike rider or roadie you are simply a cyclist. Call yourself a mountain biker and like so many others you may find yourself on the road 90% of the time or like the local road club some are taking up mountain biking for the first. It is amusing to hear their stories of mud and wipe-outs 30 years on from when we started going off road around here. I wonder if they fully appreciate how easy it is on modern gear?
This brings me to my riding, more specifically my mountain biking, or lack of. I love mountain biking and have been doing it a long time. Whilst it is not any less fun than before, in fact with all the new local trails, trail centres and modern kit it is much better than before. But after 30 years of riding and practising and trying to get better I now sometimes lack the motivation. It’s not an aversion to mud but some of the challenge has gone so having a goal (important in any aspect of life) is what I have needed. Riding the South Downs Way has proved to be that goal. Gnarly single track and wild descents are still fun but it is a bit of been there done it!
So contrary to everything I have written about riding I find myself inspired by the kit and what it can do for me. My new passion is building up a new bike. It needs to smash my time for the South Downs Way. This is both distracting and exciting. The bike must perform exceptionally well but, just as important, it must also be black and orange. Fortunately every brand today seems to have adopted Quest Adventure colours for their top of the range models so the colours choice is not a problem.
I want a shorter bike and I still want to stick with a 29er because of the speed. I will keep the Rotor cranks and Q-Rings so I will not go 1 x 11 preferring the wider range of a double and the added power of oval. I still have some super light wheels (BOR)but will probably have to have carbon rims again. As it’s a custom build I will fit Rock Shox SIDs over Fox and, under pressure from my staff will use XTR over Sram. Brakes will be Sram Guides but these will change to XT or XTR when it goes on its pre event diet.
I have been umming and ahhing over Niner, Scott, Whyte and a few others but at the time of writing it looks like Scott will be the one: Scott Scale SL 900. The choice is down mainly to colour and availability. All bikes these days are so good that you should not be afraid to admit that colour is often the most valid reason for choosing a particular model. Geometry counts but most bikes ride OK provided that they fit. Specification? Spec doesn’t really matter so much unless weight is your thing as the difference between one component and another is often barely noticeable. Of course bragging rights count for a lot amongst all too many but does it make you ride better?
I can’t wait.
No ride this Sunday as I wanted to spend time with my wife. Tougher than expected as we ran 13k, my longest run in the last 30 years..... Pounding along in the mud made me want to get out on the bike again.