Man life has been hectic for the last month as I was doing my first solo project at work and it consumed a lot of my time and mental energy. Now that I have successfully gotten my first notch in the belt with the new career, I am looking forward to getting back into a routine that has some balance and normalcy. Over that last month, I have been thinking about some of the cool riding I did while back in Virginia in September. I still have trail reviews to get around to but it was my bike that is on my mind at the moment. Over the last two years or so my Intense Spider has been getting less and less action as I have been favoring the more aggressive type trails and have generally have been willing to lug the extra weight of an all-mountain bike around. It seemed I was either on the All-Mountain rig or a Single-Speed most of the time. It got even worse for my Spider at the beginning of this year when a Intense 6.6 found it’s way into my bike stables. All-Mountain performance with light trail-bike weight, man I was in heaven.
When I was preparing for my trip to Virginia I wanted to take the 6.6 because well, I love that rig. Then the airline rules of flying with a bike came into play. The recent rule changes on baggage force even a bike box to be 50 pounds or less to not get charged an overweight fee. In the past I could throw all my stuff (Maybe 70lbs) in the bike box, pay $75 each way and be good to go. That is not case any more. It cost $125 each way for a bike box if it is 50lbs or less. If it is over 50lbs you get spanked with an overweight charge of an additional $125. $250 each way is just freaking insane. Now the bummer part, the really nice airline baggage certified bike box I have had since 2003 weighs 27lbs EMPTY! Even with my 6.6 weighing 31lbs and change, it was not going to make weight. So in comes the Spider. I had to put the tires and tubes in with my other luggage along with rest of my biking gear, but 49 lbs and 15 ounces got checked on the flight. The cool thing was they only charged me the regular second bag rate of $25. Murphy’s Law here dictates that if I had tried to sneak in a little extra weight I would have gotten spanked.
So the Spider and I end up in Chesapeake, Virginia, elevation – maybe 20 feet. The max elevation I would see during my visit – maybe 200 feet. What I did get to see was plenty of twisty, tight single track that just seemed to go on forever in some places. These trails had more turn per miles that any stuff I have ever ridden anywhere.
During this trip I fell in love with my Spider all over again. It was the perfect weapon of choice. It’s steep head angle, short chainstays and light weight were a joy in the winding rooty stuff of coastal Virginia. This is one singletrack carving machine that just begs you push a little harder in the next turn, get in that one more stroke before you have to hit the brakes. Snap, flick, accelerate and go, this was a freaking Porsche on these trails. I was just as giddy on this bike as I was the first time I hit some sizable air on my 6.6.
I got to thinking about how many cool places I have been on that Spider, the Philippine jungles, Copper Canyon in Mexico, Hawaii, hike-a-biking Mount Fuji, and all over Southern California.
Geez I have really been neglecting my old friend. I am going to have to dedicate a bit of time to give my old friend some TLC in the form of a good cleaning and lubing. Maybe even slap on new cables. One thing is for certain, I’m not going to let her stay idle for so long again.