• The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
  • The Eki Chronicles
    The Eki Chronicles A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.

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A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.

Searching for Salsa

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b2ap3_thumbnail_8FVDbVyDfrcWwaJjr30KdRejlfkUuzjqH5kEhe1ayWs.jpgUnless you've been hiding under a rock you know by now that Salsa Cycles has just launched their 2014 Spearfish and Horsethief full suspension bikes in none other than MY HOME TOWN! I was super pumped to find out that Duluth would be the "launch site" as I knew the media assigned to cover these new additions to Salsa's line up would love our trails and our city, I just hoped the weather would hold up. Duluth is notorious for unpredictable weather, thus we "townies" really cherish the good days.

Day 2 of the 3 day affair took place in my home trails, known as the "Piedmont Trails". This trail system is a mere 3 minute ride (uphill) from my driveway. I tore out of work as fast as I could on a clear blue bird day in order to join the Salsa crew as well as the gaggle of media from the "who's who" of cycling magazines and dot coms. It seemed like seconds before a Salsa mechanic had me fitted for a super sweet 2014 Spearfish that begged me to ride it hard. I called out to my good friend, Ryan Horkey, an employee of Quality Bike Parts to turn a "hot lap" with me. Immediately, he suited up and grabbed an available Spearfish. Together, we headed out for my regular training lap. Salsa had routed a "mini lap" for media to test the rigs. I wanted Ryan to see and feel the lap that I've turned hundreds of times. Now, Ryan's a better mountain biker than I am so the only advantage I had was that I knew every rock, root, and turn. Also, I should mention that Ryan just ate lunch, so if I could keep him in the red zone for at least a little while I knew I'd be pushing him. Three quarters of the way through the lap, the bike feeling good under me, Ryan called for a short stop as his meal was finding it's way North out of his system. Our break had us speaking freely about the new Spearfish and it's special rear Split Pivot design. I admitted to him that I often don't notice the subtleties that are found in bikes from year to year, but this time I REALLY COULD feel it. The stability of the bike on fast descents, the stiff rear end during sustained climbs as well as hard acceleration was obvious. I was smitten and I really felt like I could go FAST on this bike.b2ap3_thumbnail_81D2HEXOdnDgzFvHrD6Jjxwb-UVBEB2T8xlRpbiqiEc.jpg

 

Cruising into the parking lot I was all smiles. I was greeted by Mike Reimer and I began to spew my ride report to him. He smiled as I behaved like a 5 year old on Christmas morning. Eventually, he got me to slow down enough to explain to me the mechanics of all that I felt while on the bike. My emotion represented the vibe that buzzed throughout the parking lot as bikes left for additional laps and others returned. I'd love to bottle that feeling and sell it!

Day 3 was about bikes and Duluth's trail systems. This day would allow the media to test the rigs throughout the many facets of what the city has to offer mountain bikers. It was my hope to join this ride midway through the day. However, I arrived 10 minutes too late, the crew had departed. It was up to me to catch them. Previous trail route "recon" prepared me and I was confident I'd find them. Spinning out on the prescribed route with a couple corners being cut I was certain that I'd see the back end of the group rounding the next bend, but they never appeared. Threatening rain clouds loomed ominous to the west, I was glad I had doubled back earlier for my rain coat before getting too far from home.b2ap3_thumbnail_PcL9qAVZG0ZsAzVv_oNEjOSDkkrOzSOVoWsbzNqYUj0.jpg

I continued through the route, becoming increasingly perplexed as to why I wasn't seeing bike tracks in the wet dirt. "You must be out ahead of them", I thought. It wasn't long before I was convinced I was in front of the group, so I figured I'd double back and catch them as they dropped down toward Lake Superior. Just then, I bumped into Katie, who informed me that the group was indeed behind me and offered a time estimate as to how far behind. "Sweet I found them!", I thought. I jumped on a paved road in order to cut some time, but this decision caused me to miss them once more. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

The skies had let loose with a fury that reminded me of the rains of one year ago, the rains that caused the flood! Determined to find the group I pushed on. The trail went from tacky to greasy, make that icy. The super hard pack of the Lester trail system was not allowing me to sink into the mud, but rather skate around on top of it. Things were approaching miserable. At times I'd stop and listen, thinking maybe I'd hear voices and be able to cut through on a different trail in order to hook up, but it was not to be.

Eventually, I was literally sb2ap3_thumbnail_wCOcpxo8RLe9zazcY5ihetxd8wQTKR4eaZIHw0sK5jA.jpgpit out the bottom of the trail system near the big Lake when I spotted the big white vans and moving truck that hauled the bikes. "Well, there they are, all finished up", I thought. Pulling in I spotted my buddies, Sean Mailen and Ryan Horkey. They were all smiles as I joked about how I finally found them. It wasn't long before we were joined by Pete Koski, (the guy responsible for the desing of these rigs) who promptly handed me a cold one. Graciously, I accept the beverage as it was exactly what a guy like me needed at that time. I was soaked to the bone, filthy, slightly chilled and looking at an hour road ride home in a torrential down pour, why not have a beer first.b2ap3_thumbnail_QCXNyWDkqetOaVFzfZKU6wM-9xi7zwLXzU41neqeplU.jpg

We said our good byes as the boys headed off to their hotel and I clipped in, riding off into the rain, but not without a short stop under a pavilion to enjoy that beer.

Thanks guys for the rides. See you next time...

Ekib2ap3_thumbnail_4RyoYk10p7MvsNuKr62nEJ2cUj1wmE5DmJZHmSBjD1g.jpg

 

 

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A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.

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