I love the Professor, I do. He has been a faithful steed, taking me on my journey of being a rubbish mountain biker to being a slightly less rubbish mountain biker. But he won’t be around forever, and sometimes it’s nice to have a back up plan.
So, whereas Saturday saw me spending over two hours walking around the Chase with t’boy, Sunday saw me demoing an Orange Five. For me, there have been two consistent facts on demo days:
1: There will be a cock up with the booking on at least one of the bikes
2: If it’s a Leisure Lakes demo day, I will fall off in spectacular fashion at some point.
These facts held true on Sunday. Firstly was the mix-up – I’d asked to demo a 14″ Orange Five or an Orange Five Diva Long, but I’d been put down for a Diva Short. Fortunately the Orange chap was fabulous – he quickly assembled a regular 14″ Five and let Mr Toast and I go out seperately to the guided ride. So, off we went.
As the demo was at Tackaroo, we got on Follow the Dog from there. The bike initially felt a little alien to me – it’s lower than the Professor and a little longer. The tyres were also fairly horrible compared to my High Roller/Captain combination. The suspension felt lovely though, and it cornered really well – I actually managed to get around the nobbly zig zag just before Werewolf for what I think is the third time ever. Said hello to the trailbuilders who were busy fixing the end of the Tackaroo section, and continued over the road and onto section two.
By this point I felt more comfortable on the bike, but there was one thing that really wasn’t right for me. Handlebars. Handlebars that were as wide as a wide thing. It made me a little overly cautious between some of the narrow trees, but the bike still felt great. Very confidence inspiring. Too confidence inspiring. Onto fact 2…
As I was approaching the end of section 2, I was literally thinking, “This corners really well!” as I washed out on one of the switchbacks. Somehow one leg went in one direction, and gravity and the bike took the other leg in the opposite direction. It’s the nearest I’ve gotten to doing the splits since my Tae Kwon Do days. Fortunately there was no damage done other than a few impressive bruises, so it was back on the bike. As we were on a time limit, we skipped six and seven and headed straight up the fireroad to eight.
At this point, I felt that the Five was at a disadvantage to the Professor as it didn’t seem to climb quite as well. However, I had just battered myself a bit by sliding across the trail, I was a bit achey from my sudden upswing in weekday riding, and I was a bit achey from the previous day’s fairly long walk. Eight was fairly uneventful, but the slippery pebbles were a bit problematic with the horrible tyres. Headed back to to Tackaroo fairly pleased with the Five – a few home comforts (like sensible handlebars and tyres) and it’d be awesome.
Evidently I wasn’t as pleased as Mr Toast was with his 22″ demo, as he’s now got one on order. Apparently he’ll now have to give up trail riding in favour of riding around the car park, and we’re going to have to swap the Vectra for an Audi. Herp derp.
On the 2012 event front, Dave and Andy headed over to Pat Adam’s house in person to hand in our Mountain Mayhem entry forms. They were the first people to ride there and hand in the entries (some others had gotten there earlier, but had driven), and massive thanks go to them for being so utterly bonkers and getting the entries in. Although that thanks might be revoked when I’m doing my first lap, probably in torrential rain…
On the Dog Front, Benny had his first training session this week. There were many puppies – spaniels, cockapoos, many, many pugs, a strangely vicious whippet, rough collies, a chihuahua, a pomeranian, border terriers, an English Sheepdog… and all of them could walk to heel better than our boy. ALL OF THEM. He was kind of the derpy remedial pup. Still, I’m sure he get it eventually…