Boy howdy, it was cold this morning. Not as cold as yesterday (the thermometer outside said 27.5 yesterday). But compared to yesterday, that extra 5 degrees made all the difference. It had warmed to 39 when the dog, the Rawland (shod with the 650b Wolverine tires), and I packed into the car and headed over to Inverness for our ride up to Mt. Vision.
While there doesn't seem a lot that can be gleaned from a ride that goes straight up and then straight down, you can actually learn a lot from a ride like this. First, the bike immediately felt like my dog when he gets to run - all frisky and rarin' ta go. The Rawland felt snappy and was a'wantin ta climb. Being tall, I find a lot of bikes (especially 26" wheeled bikes) tend to have a vague, wandering feeling in the front end where it makes it challenging to stay on the straight and narrow during a steep climb. The Rawland exhibited none of this. It was a pleasure to climb and with the drop bars, the multiple hand positions made this a great climbing bike.
Up at the top of the fire road, we turned tail and headed back to the bottom. This is where this bike shone. The larger diameter wheels floated over the decomposed granite trail surface. I was actually quite surprised at just how fast the bike wanted to go. Have I mentioned how much I like drop bars on mountain bikes? If not, I love these bars on this bike. Perfect position, comfortable. The bike just feels "right." Natural is how a friend described it when he rode it for a bit.
I don't know how much it weighs (the frame weighed 5 pounds even), but it's a great riding bike. I think this is my new favorite bike and with only this one ride, I know it will rank as one of my all-time favorite riding bikes. With its versatility, it's sure is hard to beat for someone who can have only one do-all bike. I've got a 3 hour ride scheduled for early tomorrow (if the rain holds off). I'll report on that ride too.
One more bit on the build of this bike. I've seen a few photos of built up Rawlands and their theme seems to always be a build of classic nature: silver parts, square taper cranks, almost Rivendell-esque if you will. This is how I initially was going to build this one up too, starting with a set of old Ritchey Logic cranks. Then I saw the M95X series derailleurs and cranks I have stashed and thought, hmmm, maybe silver isn't the way to go. In the end, I did go for a black theme. I like it and think it makes the bike look "tough."
And because I like pictures, here's some from yesterday morning.
(What's playing: The Carpenters Close To You)