Decided to nip up to Pitch Hill for a quick blast before the weekend's bad weather sets in - such an awesome afternoon that just have to share it - and GIVE A BIG PLUG TO THE NICE GUYS AT GIANT!
Early bit - parked at the top car park and popped up towards the summit. Thought it was time to test myself a bit, so took the (middle) route down to the pub. Ok so this is right on my limit (and my old bikes limit). Back up to the CP and up to the summit. Watched a couple of guys take the straight route down to the pub (LH fork at the top) so decided to give at a go. Wow, great little run with the switchbacks etc. Ok fell off part of the way down but that was just a little blimp. Easier than the first, middle route IMO. Then a quick blast down all the Ts (I think - never sure of the names). Someone has done an amazing job on these routes since I was last there especially the final s'backs on the middle bit! Thanks for that.
Then the best bit. Down from the graveyard to the Walking Bottom CP and there is a bike demo session going on for the staff of Cycle Surgery. Had a quick chat with the guys at Giant and they very kindly let me have a demo on an Anthem X1 29er. Incredibly nice and trusting of them, as I had no ID/deposit etc. Left them with my basic, old Trek HT (hmm, good trade especially with the car at the top car park :wink:)
OK so I am a newish rider and this is my first go on a FS and a 29er, but what an awesome ride. Rode straight back up to top of Pitch and decided to have a crack at the direct Windmill run again. Was this wise given that I have never ridden a FS before. Was the technique different etc?
Incredible, I felt a completely different rider. Now I know what "skills compensator" means. It felt so easy to ride the steep stuff and to flip the bike around the corners. The large wheels actually felt more manouverable?? This is an XC bike and took my down a run I had only ever tried once before. I was grinning so much by the time I hit the road. I have found the bike I was looking for.
Back up to the top and then another blast down the T trails. Incredible to compare with my old HT. So much faster, more responsive, more comfortable ....awesome. Hit the descent from the graveyard much faster and much easier to arrive back at the Giant Van. It took me 30m to stop smiling. Incredible bike - does everything. Easy to climb, transformed my riding and confidence on the steep stuff and so much faster down the T trails.
Sadly gave it back for old faithful and back up to the top of Pitch and another crack at the direct route. Nowhere near as nice - the contrast was horrible (as was my riding 3x down!!).
Can't believe that an XC bike can be so versatile. I think I have found my do-it-all machine. And how trusting and kind were the Giant reps (and they declined my offer of some cheese straws!!)?
Next bike decision sorted. Now to stop the grinning - my face is starting to hurt.
THANK YOU GIANT TEAM