I finally finished building up my new ride. Well almost. It's going to share wheels with the Lazer Cat until I can afford some new ones, but other than that, it is independently finished. It's a used 2011 Rocky Mountain Altitude 29 SE frame, with a few nicks here and there, but everything else is new. I built it up with an X9 2x10 (26-39) drivetrain. It also has a RockShox Revelation 29 fork with 140mm of travel. It is obviously quite a bit different than the Lazer Cat, and that was the idea.
I decided that the Big M would be a good shake-down ride for it. I expected it to be pretty sluggish on the climbs, and I noticed a slight sluggishness as compared to the Lazer Cat, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought, and I left the suspension fully active the entire time. I made it up Clawhammer and Maxwell in no time.
At the top of the short hike-a-bike up Black, I figured I'd take it easy since I wasn't used to the bike yet, and still walk the couple of spots I've always walked, but then I started actually riding this bike downhill. I felt instantly comfortable and confident, and flew down all of Black to Thrift with no problems, no stopping, and no dabbing for the first time ever. Woot!
At the bottom of Thrift I decided to hit lower Sycamore instead of my usual upper route. Despite being much shorter than the upper side, lower Sycamore is a bit more challenging with a couple of crazy root sections.
Starens Branch looked cold.
After crossing the creek, I hit the aforementioned root sections and made it through without issue. Normally, I'll at least dab here and there, or my back tire will slide completely out on the greasy roots.
For a first ride, I was really impressed with this bike. There will still be a little tweaking, but it felt good from the get go.