June 15, 2011

Trek Mountain Co-op Ride & Superfly

I LOVE MY SUPERFLY! I know what you’re thinking, you just read a post that said I was almost in tears because I hated the Superfly. Well things change and boy they did for me. I planned a Trek Mountain Co-op ride with about 20 of my closest friends, and this ride was going to be my second test of the Superfly

If you read my last post on my new Superfly you will remember how I hated the tires, handlebars and seat. So I took the bike back to the Cyclery and told them about my misadventures with my new bike, that’s when Andy flew into action.

First thing he did was a sit test, so he could figure out just how large that seat was going to have to be to make sure my junk was comfortable. When he showed me the seat, I gave him the “there is no way I am going to like that seat, it isn’t the same as the one on my Top Fuel” look. He told me to trust him, he was a professional after all. Against my better judgment I decided to try the seat, knowing that he was wrong and I was going to hate it. It’s kind of like when I program my Garmin to go someplace then tell the Garmin lady, better known as Australian Karen, that she is wrong, drive a different route and end up lost. This has happened several times or well maybe, possibly more times than that and every time it happens, my kids tell me “mom you have to trust Karen, she is a professional”. So I chose to trust Andy and get this, he was right, I loved the seat, not one time during my ride, did I complain about my big trunk hurting.

Andy took the handlebars I had on my Giant and swapped them with the stock bars on the Superfly, and then I sold my Giant. That’s Right! I am now a completely Trek Mountain Girl, no more Giants in my stable. I love those handlebars too, Andy cut them to fit me perfectly when I bought the Giant a few years ago.

Last and probably most importantly, Andy ordered some rim strips from Trek and put a couple of my favorite tires, the Kenda Slant Six, on the Superfly and made it tubeless. Now I can ride it with very low tire pressure, which helps the tire grab, which keeps me on the bike.

I thought a Trek ride would be the perfect time to take a second shot at riding the Superfly, I had no preconceived notions that the bike would be good or even great, in fact I had it in my mind that it was going to suck and I would be crying by the end of the ride. I kept telling myself, just give it a chance.

We met at the mound at Weldon Springs, Kate, Patrick and I carpooled from Edwardsville together and it was such a beautiful day, I couldn’t help but be in a great mood and ready for some mountain bike action. We met, Mark, Chuck and Bill there and there were tons of cars with bikers at the mound, there were only six of our group at the start of the ride, but I thought we may come upon some late starters once we got on the trails because I had 10 or so replies from people saying they would be there.

We zipped down on the Hamburg Trail and turned onto the Lost Valley trails. LV starts out with a steep, long, gravel covered downhill, it’s fast and sketchy. We hit it fast and bombed down it. Kate hung back riding her brakes a little because she is new to mountain biking and was being a bit cautious. At the bottom of the hill we headed straight up a hill similar to the one we came down, it was tough, but the Superfly was beating this hill. When we made it to the top we stopped and waited for everyone to get up the hill so we could regroup. This was a no drop ride so we stopped at every trail intersection and regrouped.

This was also the place where I realized my gloves smelled really bad. The first time I wiped my face with them, I got a wiff of the awful girl sweat from at least a few past rides, it almost knocked me off my bike. Yeah, those gloves went in the wash when I got home.

We rode through the first big dip, it was short, but steep, but it was dry so riding it almost felt like being on a roller coaster. At the top of the dip was a rocky area where on our last ride at LV, Patrick blew a tire, a rock sliced into his sidewall. The good thing was he booted it with a Honey Stinger package and was able to finish the ride. Chuck and I both yelled watch the rocks to Patrick on our way through. The picture is a little blurry, but this is Patrick jumping out of the dip.

We rode for a while then I rode past an intersection where the gang was waiting and shot a cool picture of them coming down a hill toward me.

We started flying through the trails and all was well, I made a quick pit stop and pulled out just as Patrick and Kate were coming by.

I got on behind Patrick and in a tight rocky spot, he had a bit of a problem and ended up on the ground, it’s a good thing I was camera ready and was able to get the shot before he got off the ground.

Patrick is such a trooper, plus he crashes more than anyone I know, he has it down and he doesn’t crash because he doesn’t have skills, he crashes because he is trying some crazy stunt. He isn’t afraid to try anything, so we always try to talk him into everything. Most the time he will try it too. Once he was off the ground, we caught up to the others, I was bringing up the rear and we had to move over for a gang of about 15 riders coming through, I knew some of them, they were the GORC guys and some adventure racers.

We talked briefly as they came through, we were headed down through the creek and they were coming up the other side. About half of them made it, while the other half put a foot down or pushed up the hill from the creek. It is a kind of squirrely little section that is hard because you have to ride across some flat rocks then through the creek, to a steep little climb into narrow single track over a large root and around a big tree. It’s not as easy as it may look at first. We got the chance to try it on our second loop. Chuck, Bill and Mark seemed to make it without a problem, but I didn’t make it, so I wanted to try it again. As soon as Patrick came across I went back across the creek to try it again, Patrick pulled out his camera to get a video, I think he was waiting for a spectacular crash, which is exactly what I thought was going to happen.

Can you believe it, I made it, I was so happy. Next Kate came across, but she opted to take the safe route and hop off not wanting to give Patrick a chance at the video of the year award. Smart thinking Kate!

We finished the first loop and decided to do a crazy eight loop, I call it that, but it’s really just a figure eight with a killer climb. We started up the climb and I was in front with Bill and Chuck, and Mark was right next to me, they soon rode away from me, and then Kate just rode past me like I was standing still, then Patrick came around and by the time we got to the top of the hill I was chanting I love hills, trying to make myself believe it, but the gang was way ahead of me and my only saving grace was that the GORC crew was coming through and everyone stopped to talk, so I finally caught up. We then realized the reason so many people were out was because it was Mountain bike weekend in Missouri. LV, Mattson Hill and Klondike all had rides going on. At first I thought maybe GORC was having a work day and that’s why all the riders were out, but it was just a have fun riding mountain bike weekend and having fun was just what we were doing.

I was having so much fun, I loved chasing the guys down on the single track and chasing Kate down on the double track. Its funny no one was chasing me down, but then again, I always have the excuse that I had to stop for blog pictures. I’m not sure who was the fastest in our group, Mark, Chuck and Bill seemed to always be upfront, but the position kept changing at every stop. I think everyone was just having fun. At one stop we looked for blood, you know its been a good day if there is both mud and blood, we all had mud, but Patrick won the blood contest, he out classed Bill’s bloody knuckle with his knee puncture.

Although, we had made a couple stops to eat Honey Stinger waffles, I was starting to get hungry, I looked down at my computer to see we were almost 17 miles in, so we decided to finish the loop and head back to the van for some lunch.

We rode some more single track where we went under some low hanging branches, I hit my head pretty hard on a limb, but lucky for me I had on my Hardnutz Rock Hard helmet which has a visor and the visor prevented me from being smacked in the face by the limb. Next it was on to some double track then we made a stop to discuss which trail to take back. When we were stopped the bugs were starting to bite and that was after we had all doused ourselves in bug spray before we started. I think my ankles were starting to show vampire mosquito bites all over them.

Our choices to head back was some fun single track or a long steep climb on double track, we opted for the single track. As we rode through the trails we came upon the place where I once crashed and Chuck yells, “I think I know someone who crashed there once” that would have been me. It’s funny how I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can remember every single, stop, crash, sound, or comment made on every mountain bike ride I have ever been on. I’m sure I am not alone in this skill, I know everyone riding with me can probably boast of the same skill. Sometimes I think I spend more quality time with Mark, Chuck and Patrick then I do with my own family, they are like my extended fun family. We just have all the fun together without all the responsibility. The only responsibility I have on the trail is too make sure I tell their family that they died with a smile on their face or in Patrick’s case he died taking a dare we challenged him to. That is the promise that all mountain bikers make when they ride together.

We headed back to the van and had lunch on Trek, it was Subway sandwiches, chips and assorted drinks, and although it was just sandwiches we were so hungry that if felt like a feast, I was going to offer some to the GORC guys in the parking lot, but we pretty much devoured it all.

I know you are waiting to find out about my final thoughts on the Superfly. This is why I now LOVE my SUPERFLY

1. It rolled over every rock and root, like they weren’t even there.
2. I flew up and down the hills as well as on the flat, it just rolled smooth as butter.
3. I never once felt the seat, it was like I was sitting on air, thanks Andy!
4. The handle bars felt like they were made specifically for my build.
5. The tires grabbed the dirt and just took me where I wanted to go.
6. It was the bike that everyone told me it would be. I was almost too happy for words by the end of the ride.

So it might not have been Love at first ride, but it was definitely LOVE at Second Ride.

I want to give a big THANKS to Trek for allowing me to be part of a great program. The Trek Mountain Co-op is a fantastic way to promote mountain biking to all walks of life not just the pro riders. And it’s always nice to have free food and drinks after a great ride. And thanks to Andy for making me fall in love with my bike and of course a big thanks to all my friends that came out to ride with me on such a beautiful Sunday morning.

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