I think we were in the Enchanted Forest or something, or at least the 100 Acre Woods. Marti and Stella bounded through the tall grass collecting all the ticks they could in a short period of time.
Liz: I don't like this forest! It's — it's dark and creepy! We probably need bells or something to keep away the beasts.
Me: Of course, I don't know, but I think it'll get darker before it gets lighter. That is usually the case with night time and day time, but hey - who knows.
Liz: Do — do you suppose we'll meet any wild animals?
Me: We might, and they will meet us. When you say Wild, do you mean like the Game of Thrones wild?
Liz: Oh ... Will they be like, dangerous animals?
Me: Some — but mostly lions, and tigers, and bears.
Me: Some — but mostly not.
Liz: And tigers?
Me: Some — but mostly not. Oh, but definitely bears.
Liz: Oh! Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!
It goes on from there, but you get the picture. I do not think we will go to Camelot, it is a silly place.
If I allow my mind to take me back to the beginning of the week, it all started there. (It seems so often that these stories start at the beginning.) A monday evening flight was meant to get me, and my gear, to NC to attend the global media launch of the new Fuel EX and the new Re:Aktiv suspension technology. It wa going to be a ripsnorting affair, complete with Oskar Blues IPA (thank god it is served in a can, because then I do not have to listen to people tell me that it comes in a glass why do you need a glass?), Burritos, Brevard NC, a boy, a bike and a trail. Bike and trail are key to all of this of course, although you know that a bike and trail are most often followed by a burrito. It is all wrapped in tortilla goodness after all.
Of course United decided that I did not really need all the gear I had brought with me. In fact, they decided I did not need any of the gear I had brought with me. I think they sent my gear to Croatia or somewhere afar like that. It came back stinking of cigarettes and speaking some sort of language I could not understand but my olfactory kinda recognized.
Nonetheless, a tour of Penske racing facilities started out the trip. Charlotte - they call themselves race city or something like that. The whole NASCAR thing is a pretty big dealeo there. I get it, I tend to make better left turns on the motorbike than I do right. I always prefer a first turn that is left. But seriously, Penske racing is something worth seeing. You cannot believe how many chassis that it takes to keep one racer going all season. Before you come to racecity, you want to quote Cal Naughton - "I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-shirt. 'Cause it says like, I wanna be formal but I’m here to party too. I like to party, so I like my Jesus to party." After you have been there, you will think differently. (At least about NASCAR, maybe not about religion.)
The reason Penske is involved is actually the suspension arm of their company. They make suspension for Formula 1, and they have some of the coolest technology anywhere. We borrowed some of their technology and worked with Fox to put it in a suspension damper. We call it Re:Aktiv, I call it through and through superscrandangiousness.
If you follow this link to Vital MTB, you can get the whole lowdown on the bike. Formula 1 Meets Mountain Biking. While there you will see pictures, and get graphs and stuff. They are all telling you something, and if you follow along it probably makes sense. But, I decided to boil it down even further.
After all of that, it was time to go ride. We made our way up to Brevard NC - 1. Because the riding there is awesome. 2. Because the Oskar Blues brewery is there. 3. Because the name is Brevard. There, we took a beyond awesome 4 hour ride on the new EX and the Re:Aktiv boingers. I promise you, you have not seen anything yet. After all, schnozberries taste just like schnozberries.
In all seriousness, you really have not ridden anything like this. (Unless you were at the launch and have ridden one now.) Suspension will never be the same. Plus, it is yellow.
If you have not ridden in Brevard, you should. Even if you have ridden there, you have not yet ridden a bike equipped with Re:Aktiv suspension parts yet. You should. If you could do both, then that would be even better. Follow that up with a trip to Oskar Blues and you will be complete. Tell them Joe sent you.
When I got home from Brevard, Liz and I hopped in the car and blasted up to Hayward. I had not had a chance yet to ride the really good flowy trails in Hayward yet this year. The winter was amazingly long, and it has been a long time coming. The trails have only been open for a few weeks, so not much was missed just yet. I did miss the Mt. Borah Epic, but that is all so far this year that has gone on up here.
I had snagged a Re:Aktiv damper from the launch in Brevard (somewhere there is a bike saying - hey, where is my shock?) When bolted up to my existing Fuel EX 29 that is in my garage, the same silky crazy fun performance was translated over to that bike. Holy cow - are cows really holy or something?
Anyway, Liz and I did a big 4hr-ish ride ALL on singletrack on Saturday. It was glorious fun. Fast, flowy, super buff trails. These trails make you feel like a hero always. Not because they have a lot of vertical, but they just keep going forever. If you have not yet ridden here, you should because until you experience 100 miles of flowing singletrack, you just do not know what it is like.
There is a sign on the trail somewhere along the way that claims the CAMBA trails are the longest piece of singletrack in the midwest. I do not know if that is true or not, but it is on a sign.
Late in the ride, Liz was in front of me and we were just gabbing about the trail, the cabin, the dogs what the bike was doing, where the kids were and what they were doing, how to use the front brake through a turn, where we hope CAMBA would build a trail next, how we were going to get out and do Rock Lake trail or not on this trip etc... It was all just basically the stuff you talk about while on a MTB ride. (We managed to avoid talking about bodily functions though.)
Suddenly, while I was in mid sentence about if Sculpin, or Deviant Dale or Resin was the better IPA (these are all important theories after all. In fact, the world does not turn most days if those kinds of things are not answered. Stock prices and politics really do not make the world turn - beer opinions or in my case facts - really do make the world turn after all. Life is too short to not have good beer, after all you have a limited amount of burritos that you can consume in your life.) Suddenly, Liz came to an abrupt halt, screeching Bear! There he was, right in the trail. Big, black, scared looking and smelly. I nearly smashed into the back of her, and nearly went right over the bars trying to stop and avoid her. The Bear, he had had enough. He bounded off through the woods, crashing through bushes and trees like they were not even there. Out of sight in a flash.
The bears are there. Just beyond the edge of the forest. Waiting for just the smallest of mistakes, and they will pounce. Just beyond the bears - Lions and Tigers.
Out - Joe
Watch these 2 videos below. In a nutshell they show what is dorky about cycling and what is cool all at the same time. It shows how your hairstyle matters, how the piano by itself is in fact a solo instrument, and how we all can get a little bit full of ourselves.
Please try to hold down your gag reflex while watching the first video. Do your best. I promise, the next video makes it all worth it.
"Made of corn and dog". I just wish I could do that wrapping.
Oh, by the way my bag never did show up in NC. But, as a bonus they called me and told me that they would just have it meet me back in Madison. So I had that going for me. Avoid Chicago.