Waaaaay back in May of this year, I launched a contest to raise money for LiveStrong: An Ibis bike of your choice, outfitted with awesome Shimano components, and then a trip out to Utah, where SLC Bicycle Company would professionally fit the winner for that new bike. And then we’d head out for a weekend of riding.
On June 23, I did the drawing for this contest, which I won. Sadly, I was not eligible, so I had to do another drawing. Ed Perrey of Austin, TX won, and then waited — oh-so-patiently — while I tried to find a weekend where I was both home and available to go riding.
Last weekend was — finally! — that weekend.
Where to Ride?
When we talked about where we ought to go riding, Ed had initially wanted to go to Moab. Then he saw my recent videos of rides I’ve been doing right at home. “Let’s just ride your local trails,” he said. “The singletrack you’re riding is like nothing I ever get to ride in Austin.”
An excellent choice, if I say so myself. Not to mention one that made my life considerably easier. And, as it turns out, cheaper, since we just had Ed stay in our guest room. In my defense, it’s a really nice guest room, with a bed and electricity and everything.
Oh, and free wifi, too.
I picked Ed up at the airport and we went straight to SLC Bike, where Ed’s bike was all built up and sitting on a trainer, ready for him to be fitted on.
Ed and I took a moment to just stare at it, giggling. The Ibis Mojo SL is a beauty, especially up-close and in real life.
I got a picture of Ed with his new bike before the fitting got going:
If you look closely at my reflection in the mirror, you can see that I was wearing my Ibis t-shirt (which is 18 years old, for reals), special for the occasion.
Then I took a couple minutes to get some close-up shots:
The current Mojo frame design has been around for about seven years. I’d say it’s aged pretty darned well. It’s just gorgeous.
Mmmmm. More XTR.
And then the pro bike fitting — expertly done by John McCool — began. Ed talked with Joe about what kind of riding he did:
And got measured:
And got his cleat position tweaked:
Then John made adjustments to the bike, got Ed comfortable on it, and told him he was ready to ride.
As a testament to what a great fitting John had done, Ed was instantly more comfortable on his new Mojo than he had ever been on his previous mountain bike, and remarked as he was riding that he was easily cleaning things he would have had trouble with before.
So was it the fitting or the new bike that was responsible?
I’m going to go with the obvious (and probably correct) answer: both.
My original plan had been for Ed and me to go from the bike shop straight to Corner Canyon and get a ride in right away.
But as we started driving south toward the trailhead, the rain began. And by the time we got to where the exit would be, it was raining hard. Riding would have been bad for the trail, and I’m a fair-weather rider anyway.
“Let’s put the first ride off for a bit,” I said, and we headed to my house to wait out the storm.
Bad News Becomes Good News
I was scared. Scared because I had brought this guy out for a weekend of riding, just in time to be here for the firs serious rainstorm in 60 days or more. Would the rain let up in time for a ride his first day here?
Would the rain let up at all?
And even if it did, what kind of condition would the trails be in?
I tried to calm myself the best way I knew how: with food. “While we wait for the rain to stop,” I said, “Let’s get started on boiling some brats in beer. We’ll grill them for dinner tonight.”
I dumped bratwurst and chopped onions into a pot, while Ed poured in can after can of PBR.
By the time the brats were done boiling, the rain had stopped.
“I think Lambert Park might be OK for riding,” I suggested. “It’s sandy soil and drains fast,” I continued, exuding a confidence I didn’t feel.
We headed out. I was stressed out about the possibility of mud bogs that would swallow bikes and passengers whole; Ed was just stoked to be riding his new bike.
As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about. The rain had served to turn the previously dusty trails into perfect, tacky, grippy trails. And to cause most of the leaves on the trees to fall, creating an unbelievably beautiful carpet for us to ride on.
Looks like The Hammer was enjoying the ride too.
We got in ninety minutes of riding before it started getting dark. Time enough for us to ride most of the good trails in Lambert Park, time enough for Ed to absolutely totally fall in love with his new bike, and time enough for me to consider how lucky I had been in my random selection. Not only is Ed a strong rider who could appreciate a good bike and a good trail, he’s also an incredibly easy-going guy who was stoked to get in as much riding as was humanly possible during the weekend.
After finishing the ride, we ate bratwurst. Lots and lots of bratwurst.
I then forced him to join my family as we watched the second half of the second movie in The Lord of The Rings.
Sadly, Ed fell asleep. Which was probably a good thing, since — weather permitting — we had a big ride ahead of us the next day.
Day 2: The Big Ride
I woke up at 1:30am, to the sound of rain. I knew that American Fork Canyon was simply out of the question. We wouldn’t be riding there.
But — but — Corner Canyon was still a possibility. At least I sure hoped it was, because the thought of having someone fly all the way out to Utah to then go riding nowhere but in Lambert Park seemed a trifle . . . underwhelming.
I figured the trick would be to stall a little bit. Give the trail a little time to dry out.
So we went to Kneaders for breakfast and got their famous Cinnamon Bread French Toast, which — on Saturdays — is an all-you-can-eat proposition.
“I had kind of thought maybe I’d lose a little bit of weight during this trip, what with all the riding,” said Ed.
I snorted in reply. “Nobody loses weight when they hang out with me.”
We put Ed’s Mojo — no longer looking like a brand-new bike — on the Bikemobile’s rack (I have fork mounts for only two bikes in the truck bed).
It was overcast and cold, even though the forecast had promised us no rain for the rest of the day.
We got started on the trail, with me staring suspiciously at the trail, which was wet, but not muddy.
And that’s the way it stayed, getting better and better as the hours went by. Up Anne’s Trail, which is unfortunately very ugly right now, due to the fall colors:
And then Rush, followed by Canyon Hollow and Ghost, finishing up with Creek View:
Oh, and while I had the camera out, I took a self-portrait, too:
I like this picture mostly because I look very handsome in it. And also because it looks like my helmet is the exact same color as the sky.
In the end, we did 3800 feet of climbing in one big ride. Not at all a bad day for a flatlander / sea-level-dweller.
But that wasn’t enough for Ed.
After we got home, I grilled burgers, after which Ed suggested we head back out to Lambert park for a quick ride before it got dark.
I believe that Ed may like that new bike of his.
I’m happy to report, however, that after we got back from that second ride of the day, I countered any calories burned with The Best Cake in The World, topped with homemade ice cream.
We then watched the first half of the third movie in The Lord of The Rings, during which Ed fell asleep.
Ed had a flight to catch in the early afternoon, but we still had time for a quick ride in Corner Canyon. We rode up Clark’s — the only trail Ed hadn’t been up the previous day — with the intent to continue on up Jacob’s Ladder, then down Ghost and back to the parking lot.
To my delight and relief, when we got to the top of Clark’s, Ed reported he’d had enough climbing. He was tired out.
Which was pretty much exactly the measure of success I was looking for.
We bombed down Rush one last time, Ed catching all kinds of air on the hundreds of whoop-de-doos on the way down.
We returned Ed to the airport on time and uninjured.
I’ll ship his bike to him once I’m finished riding it myself for a couple months.