Wow. This race is finally here and while I have had some ups and downs with training, work, and my bike self-destructing, I believe and am finally fully ready to hammer on some of the best singletrack that the west has to offer.
The course is slightly different from last year with more singletrack riding on the first day by starting the race in Shawnigan Lake rather than in Sooke. Day 6 in Squamish is going to be similar to the Test of Metal route (which means more singletrack) and Day 7 is going to be a longer day of riding in Whistler compared to the short time trial that last years course offered. Check out the course map below:
The best news of all is that Oak Bay Bikes seriously hooked me up! In the meantime, while the Niner Jet9 issue is being worked out, Oak Bay hooked me up with a Rip9 frame! The Rip is very similar to the Jet except that it has a bit more rear end travel , slightly different geometry, and is a bit more beefed up for harder abuse. The good thing about this, is that the bike feels pretty much the same; an amazing ride where the bike simply disappears under you while you flow through the singletrack. I don't find the suspension to be too much and does a great job of hooking up while climbing. As I have been away on work trips, I only just built the bike this past Saturday, got in a solid ride, and again pushed this bike to the limits last night.
I know I keep raving about these bikes but for me, I can't get over the amazing feeling of finally having a bike that was designed for someone my size. I am so glad that I am no longer riding a 26" circus bike. The smaller wheels make no sense for tall people with a high centre of gravity. I now know how a bike should feel and I love it. If your over 6' and your riding a 26er, you simply have the wrong bike and do not know what you're missing.
Bryan Tasaka will be covering the race and doing up a full daily blog report on the MOMAR site so be sure to check it out!
Wish Gary and I luck!