It has arrived!
As part of the Bach Builders MTB race team sponsorship that I enjoy, we get access to Specialized products – so in December I ordered a 2010 Specialized Marathon 29er…last week (after putting up with much harassment from me about ‘where is my bike’) I got the call from Sports Garage in Boulder that it was ready!
The irony was that when the call came in, I was actually in Prescott, Az racing (on my 5-yr old Yeti AS-R)! So exciting!
First though, I certainly want to acknowledge Sports Garage (mainly Chris and Stacee) for putting up with my whining about it not being delivered, and then making things happen to get it when they did – I am extremely grateful and appreciative of their efforts and commitment to getting it too me as soon as they could. I also enjoyed getting the fit dialed in just right, and making it as comfortable and smooth as possible. Thanks!
The bike is fantastic – it is light and very stiff, and those big wheels roll really fast – in fact they roll faster than I am used to, so in the first couple of rides I have been going into corners hot and overshooting them, resulting in rapid braking (read, mild panic) and scrubbing off all my speed – plus, being a little bit higher up on the bike has made me feel taller and slightly more top-heavy. I am sure this will go away as I get used to it, but for now, its weird!
People who have seen the bike, though, have asked about the Sram XX setup – with the two chainrings in the front, and the 10 rings in the back. It certainly is different, and initially I was concerned about my ability to climb without a granny gear – especially on long, sustained climbs. The rings up front are 39/26 – so a little smaller than a middle ring, but larger than a granny – how would this work out in the big stuff?
So far, I have not bogged down on a big climb. Now, I have not done a really steep, sustained climb on it yet, but I have done rolling and sustained, and it was fine. What I did notice was that when you roll over the top of a climb that you just completed, that there will be a need to shift quickly, as the gears are more spread out than normal. So its odd in that I am used to being able to roll out of a hill and stay in the same gear for a little bit as the speed picks up – with XX, I have to shift more immediately. Interesting.
Getting use to the big wheels again is taking a bit of getting used to – the rolling speed of this bike is amazing, and seems effortless. Shifting is amazingly smooth and crisp, and the bike overall is silent. Its really a joy to ride – and I can’t wait to put it through its first race (FrontRange 50) this weekend!