Not afraid to admit I was pretty down on MTB in the last few months, the motivation to drag myself out on the same battered and soggy trails that I've been riding for ten years just wasn't there.
This translated into a bit of a jaundiced view of all the new kit that was coming on to the market, dropper posts? p'ah! 6" full sus frames? Pointless! Big powerful hydraulic brakes? No need!
But still, I bought a second hand Pitch in preparation for a trip to Vancouver, couldn't really be bothered though, a previous short visit to the north shore to ride the 'beginner's trail' (Bobsled) just seemed to be to be a glorified Spooky Woods, nothing wrong with that but not enough to inspire me really.
However, this time I had another day on the shore. A misty damp looking day, figured it would just be like any day's riding in Scotland. However, within 1 run of Bobsled, and 1 run down 'Floppy Bunny' I was getting a feel for the trails, lots of rock work, lots of easy woodwork and lots of wee drops and jumps.
I then got chatting to some random dude on the winch back up and we rode Pipeline together. It started with a lot of woodwork, I've never had to concentrate like that for so long (it was wet and slippy) and the sweat was pouring off me, reminding me of the taste of hair-filtered helmet sweat (horrible, but reminds me only of good rides). After that it was pure rocks, roots and occasional mud. My new buddy was a bit slow but I owed him this trail as I wouldn't have ridden by myself (no-one knew where I was) so I was happy to wait for him.
The new (to me) Specialized Pitch, which on the Edinburgh trails had seemed like a ponderous squashy lump, came alive, I felt I could just pick it up and place it whereever I wanted on the trail, and had to check the urge to drop off every lip I saw as I never knew where I was going to land. Thanks to those who recommended a medium, I was dubious, but on those trails you want something small that can be turned on a dime. The Maxxis ADvantage tyres seemed perfect for the job. I can also, as an aside, recommend Black Tusk Jerky Mountain Mix as a trail snack, teriyaki flavoured nuts, berries and jerky? Knocks 'omni flavoured' Clif Bars into a cocked hat!
By the end though, I was hankering after a dropper post (the locals all swear by them but usually run Reverbs as they are cheaper in Canada!) and am already thankful for the big new SLX brakes I put on. I could even be persuaded to fit a shorter stem and some wider bars.
I've potentially got three or four more day's riding out there next week so might try and get some pictures. With Canadian affiar doing return flights for £350-£500, and the North Shore trails accessible from the city centre via the excellent public transport system, I would SERIOUSLY suggest a trip out, I've not been this excited about MTB for a long time!