Friday, March 9, 2012


Today was my first ride aboard the Niner Jet 9 RDO.  I chose Chilhowee as there is a little bit of everything:  from tight twisty rocky single track to fast and flowy double track.  Every time when Zeke and I ride this trail system, we stop at our trail side sanctuary, add a rock, and say a prayer.  Need less to say, I have been the one in need on many an occasion.

Note the cross Zeke made from sticks and leather cord to the left of the rocks.

We have been doing this since 2007.  We have some pretty big slabs on the bottom, but our rocks seem to be getting smaller and smaller.  If our rides continue we may have to get a BOB trailer to bring in more base rocks!

The climb up to this spot is about 25 minutes long.  Today I thought a lot about what has transpired over the past year.  It has not been an easy road to hoe and I have had to rely on family, friends, and my spirituality.  Simply stated, I have had to "let go" and lean on others.  I've had to have faith that I was making the right decisions; everything from changing to a different bike manufacturer to going gluten free to deciding to have surgery to several other challenges I choose not to go into on this blog.

If you know me, I like the tangible.  I like to be able to hold it in my hands.  Faith is not easy for me, but I have learned that it is good for me.  Faith helps in lifting those heavy burdens from my shoulders.

Testing grounds

And that is how the Niner double squishy rocket machine got her name.  Faith is what helped to get me through last year and now the "tangible" Faith will help me to get to the finish line this year!

There was no transition, no "getting used to"; I hopped aboard and immediately felt at home.  It was like I was riding my Era, only with 29" wheels.  The 100mm of travel is there when you need it and easily turned off when you don't.  As light as I am, most of the time I did not need to engage the lock out up front and Pro Pedal in the rear.  But it was easy to do so when necessary.  The climbing was most enjoyable, especially when it got technical.

I am currently running a 39 x 26 with an 11-36 cassette.  I had no trouble today and only used the 36 cog a couple times, but I don't know if I will have enough on the lower end to get me up and over the mountains at The Ouachita Challenge and The Pisgah 111.

Cleaned the Naked Widow ... both ways.

The biggest thing I realized is just how those big wheels like to keep rolling once you get them up to speed.  Today's small rollers seemed like I was on the flats.  And my Stan's Race Wheels are only 100 grams heavier than my superlight 26" Stan's Alpine wheels.  They are just as easy to accelerate as my little wheels.

I am so glad I made the transition from Specialized to Niner.  Had I been riding an S-Works Epic 29'r, this post would probably have been the same, for Specialized does make awesome bikes as well.  But ... I was unable to purchase an S-Works model from my LBS, an authorized Specialized dealer.  Bruce would have had to have purchased "X" number of S-Works and in a town of 13,000 I am the only one who would ride that high end model.  98% of the bikes Bruce sells are less than $800.  So I would have had to buy an S-Works from another dealer.  Being a loyal customer for 12+ years, I refused to go there.  So ... Specialized lost a customer and Niner gained two (Zeke is a Ninerd, too).

Niner supports the little guys like The Outdoor Store and for that I am grateful.  I also like the 5 year warranty on their carbon fiber frames.  And I love the color!  And I love the "hike-a-bike carrying handle."  And the list goes on and on!

This will come in handy at The Pisgah 111!

If you really want to know how I felt aboard faith on her virgin ride, just watch the video from time 1:20 - 3:00.  Bugs Bunny paints a very clear picture of my first impression.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Woo hoo! Glad to hear this came together so well for you.

My turn to ask: What's your fork setup? We're trying to get Kim dialed on her Reba, but we're having a heck of a time -- we're down to 50psi and it's still not very active!