First, I'd been toying with the idea of picking up a new rig with 29" tires on it just to see what the hoopla is about. since I didn't want to spend a ton of money and didn't know anyone willing to lend me their bike, I picked up a very inexpensive Raleigh XXIX from my local bike shop. With my track bike as a trade in, I practically stole it.
Yeah, rigid, single speed, 29" tire mountain bike. So far my impression is that 29" tires roll over small obstacles better than 26" tires, but they're heavier and less nimble. A 29'er might be better for a larger rider, but my 5'5", 145 pound body has to work hard to get this bike to climb or corner like I want it to. This bike is a nice diversion and I'll be riding it to school and on group rides, but the 26" "Soft Tail" will remain my race bike.
Saturday I went out to Vail Lake to thoroughly thrash myself on the single speed. The Spring conitions surpised me, lots of greenery and blooming wildflowers. Spring-time growth narrowed double-track to single and single-track and single-track to tiny ribbons of trail; awesome conditions.
The "Dam(n) Climb" The yellow color is all blooming Wild Mustard
The race director for the local race series has been hard at work cutting trails that are super-fun. Here's looking back at some challenging switch-backs. The ladder bridges he put in aren't visible but huge thanks to Rob Herbert for all the work he's been doing. I should patronize more of his races as payback.
As for the redemption part, last month I attempted to re qualify for my job as a State Park Ocaen Lifeguard; a 1000 yard ocean swim in 20 minutes or less. I mimsjudged the conditions and my fitness and got swept past the bouy by the current and surf. Yesterday, I drove up to Crystal Cove in Orange County to have another go at it; success! A little slower than last year, but a minute faster that my race time last week for the same distance. I finished in the middle of the pack; I was shocked by how many people went out too hard and wound up doing backstroke or breaststroke trying to catch their breath. At least it's over with. Failing that test weighed heavily on my mind for the past month; my lousy swim at Xterra REAL amplified my worries.
Overall, a good week.