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Niner Sir9 Maiden Voyage at Aliso Woods

May 17th, 2008

Update 2012: I have since cracked two Niner Sir9 frames at the rear triangle and chainstays and would not recommend purchasing one unless you consider the frame to be disposable. I am also not as hard on the bike as I show in this ride but I needed to make sure it would stand up to the punishment of CO trails.

Ryan and I have been going on training rides for the last month in preparation for our mountain biking trip to Colorado. Today's ride was Aliso Woods, a short but sweet 23 mi, and it was a scorcher. We had seen forecasts all week of highs in the 100s for the upcoming weekened.

The forecast seemed about right. We pulled up to the parking lot at 9:30 AM and the temperature was already 90F. The parking lot as usual was maxed out and there were tons of riders everywhere. Many riders were on their way back to their cars. Hrmm, why didn't we think of leaving earlier? Oh yeah, because we're lazy.

The heat didn't matter. I was stoked to bring along my new Sir9 on her maiden voyage. This was my first time on a 29er and a hardtail. All I can say is 100% bliss!

(Taken yesterday after I picked up my bike at the Path)

Lets Get Down to Business

After climbing Cholla to Top of the World, we decided to play in the rock garden see if the Sir9 could handle some drops from a 210lb rider plus 20lbs of water and gear (148oz of water plus lunch and lots of extra tools for those what-ifs of a first ride).

The Sir9 held up. It only took about, oh, six tries to get a decent shot (Ryan needed action-shot practice as we normally just ride and leave the camera at home). No worries, each jump seemed more fun than the last! Weee....

So how does it roll? Pretty good I'd say. Those big wheels sure do help.

Ryan giving it a go.

After 45 minutes of riding the steeler and gaining some confidence, we found another nice drop just around the corner. Sizing it up...I have to say this one scared me a little bit! I'm not a free rider, and I normally don't do this kinda stuff. Our style is more or less all-mountain, and we'd rather get out on our own than in a helo. Always remember kids, Cyldes don't let Cyldes ride drops.

But what the hell. There's only one way to see if this bike will stack up to the rigors of the Colorado trip.

Next we descended Meadows. I forgot how much fun this trail is. The switchbacks are a blast. The Sir9 tracked perfectly the whole way down, and the Fox FL29 didn't give me any surprises--it felt extremely plush the whole way down the bumpy, rutted, dried out trail. In fact, the whole bike felt plush. It feels like my Turner sans the rear shock--on rails. By now I am feeling very, very spoiled.

After bombing Meadows it was time to climb Mathis and onto our first and only mechanical for the day. On the way to Mathis I noticed my front derailleur was making a lot of noise. I figured it was just the cables stretching, so I didn't pay much attention, that is, until the big ring started chewing into the XT front derailleur about 30 feet before the climb. Upon further inspection, we discovered that the EBB came loose and was rotating in the bottom bracket shell. After tightening up the EBB bolts we were on our way. Apparently those drops earlier didn't help much.

Back to Mathis. Both Ryan and I forgot just how long this trail was. If you don't ride Aliso for a long time, you tend to think the climb is short and easy like Cholla. But every time you crest a hill you just see another one. Pedal damn it!

The Sir9 climbed like a billy goat, and I'm sure it would climb even better if this Cylde lost another 10 pounds :-)

By now the temperature was in the high 90s so some shade was in order.

Did I mention it was getting HOT? Oh and by the way, where did everyone go? In the last hour we'd only seen a solo hard core chick climb up Mathis about 10 minutes behind us and and 3 riders bomb the fire road from top of the world.

Tip: Bandanas not only make you look like an ex-con who just escaped San Quentin, but they keep the sweat out of your eyes on hot summer days.

The fun part about Mathis is of course that you get to go down Rock-It. I always wondered why they called it that, until I went down it on a hardtail...heh.

This shot is an aproach to a big, tall rock that I would only occasionally attempt on my Turner. Ever since I sprained my right wrist attempting it on my old undersized GT I-Drive 1.0 (large frame only) this rock has been my nemesis.

No longer with the 29er. It was cake! I believe Ryan would say it was in fact peanut butter cake, with peanut butter M&Ms and peanut butter frosting as Ryan would say. Those big wheels really helped again.

At the bottom of Rock-It I discovered I had burned through my 148oz of water. Since it was in the high 90s, we decided to climb Cholla again, bomb Lynx, and wrap it up.

The ride up Cholla was definitely what you could call hot-weather riding. By 2PM the entire park was desolate. Parts of Cholla with perfectly still air had to have been over 100F. It was so hot the air was burning our lungs, and both had stopped sweating about 45 minutes earlier. How the Phoenix guys can ride South Mountain in summer will always be a mystery to me, those guys are tough.

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