Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stewart Mountain High

Victoria is home to some great mountain biking and there is something for every riding style. Here on the west coast we sometimes ride our cyclocross bikes on trails better suited to cross country mountain bikes, but the challenge is part of the fun. However, when you want a light ride you can’t help but grin as you rip fast single track and decommissioned forest service roads on something like my new Giant Anthem X1 29er. These sometimes cyclocross sometimes cross country mountain bike were the trails I visited today.

Today was the first ride on my new rig and I wanted to do something easy to get to know my new friend. 29ers are supposed to be fast and climb well so I decided to put it too the test and climbed up Stewart Mountain. I entered the trails at the end of Bates Road (off Baker, off Highland road winding through Thetis Lake Park). The Anthem climbed like a champion and I was able to clean sections of trail I never could on a cross bike or my 2010 Giant Trance X2. The Shimano Dyna-Sys drivetrain is a major improvement over the previous 9 speed systems. Shifts are clean, crisp and reliable; the feel is more solid and gives a satisfying click. The new system pulls more cable making is less susceptible to contamination and housing degradation. This is a huge plus. As usual the Fox suspension is incredible and I was even impressed with the performance of the Maxxis Crossmark tires. After getting to the top of Munn road the only logical choice was to bomb back down the way I came and head back on Highland road. That was followed by a quick cut back to Munn road on the old Highland road trail and shooting out down to Prospect Lake Road and Home. It’s going to be a good summer of riding on the island. Tomorrow the Anthem learns some more challenging terrain at The Hartland 

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