Tuesday, January 20, 2009

29er Love

I have been riding my cannondale 29er for over a month now and while I knew it was a perfect fit for me on the very first ride, I can now say for sure that I am in love with this bike. Since Cara has inherited my old hardtail, when I gave back my team bike last fall I decided to get the 29er as my own bike for training and what I thought would be a "different" bike to use for some of the endurance races I am planning on doing in 09. It didn't take but a few rides to determine that I wanted to race the 29er exclusively for the coming season. Why?...and why would I rather race this bike than the scalpel I raced last season??? Good questions.
The scalpel is an amazing state of the art race bike, no doubt...but there are several things about the 29er that just fit my rider profile even better. What is my rider profile? Well first off I am NOT a "punchy" rider.....basically I seem to have a switch that is either "on" or "off"...steady if you will. The 29er seems to carry this sort of momentum that just feels right for me. I was afraid that the big wheels would be slow on climbs...but I was wrong. In fact I feel like I can climb as fast , or faster on the big wheels...again, I think this has to do with my steady riding style. Next is that I am a bit slow in the handling department. I am not the kind of rider who comfortably flicks the bike around direction changes on a twisty course....I have a tendency to do more "carving" around turns....and again the big wheels give me that flow. Confidence: In general I am not the most confident in my technical abilities...or maybe I would more accurately characterize this as too much of a survival instinct. When I dive into a rocky/ rooty technical section, or go over a drop-off I usually have a sense of tentativeness....and this is where the big wheels seem to help me most. The 29 inch wheels give me a sense of confidence in the rough stuff and taking on bigger drops. The wheels roll over rocks and roots substantially easier....with less tendency to "catch". On technical uphills I seem to be able to get up and over obstacles with greater ease....and I can say for sure that I have been able to clear more tough, steep uphill sections than I could on any of the 26 inch bikes I have ridden.
Is a 29er the best choice for everyone or every trail/ course? Certainly not. Punchy riders will find the acceleration slower with the big wheels and the handling "sluggish" while trying to make quick directional changes on tight twisty trails....but for me it is perfect...and I am very happy to say that I will be racing the c-dale 29er all year! Now I am basically using the stock 29er 1 model. I did have to change the stem to a longer and steeper down angle ...and get a longer seatpost....and of course change the saddle....but that is it.
The pic above is from the first of the snake creek gap TTs a couple weeks ago. It was foggy, rainy and wet.....yet I felt fully confident on the new bike...even on the rocks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome!!! I have ridden a 29er single speed a couple of times so much fun!! I a thinking about buying a Gary Fisher 29er. Like you I also am pretty careful on the technical stuff and the 29ers make it so much easier. Thanks for the info