RUMOR has it…
I’ll admit, I was a little deflated when I first ever heard about the Specialized ‘Epic’ and all the boys raving about how good it was. The thing is I had barely even ridden a MTB – if a gravel path accounts for anything, that was my extent of riding off road, but it just sounded like so much fun!! When I witnessed one with my own eyes, my hopes of ever being able to ride one evaporated. The sheer size of those wheels, let along getting a frame between them conceded me to the fact, it was always just going to remain a ‘boys toy’.
Though fortunately for me, my luck was about to change. You see, my eagerness when a new challenge was presented to me, gave me little time to think about what lay ahead of me. Before I knew it, I was signed up for an ‘Enthusiast Team’ to participate in the Mark Webber Challenge. Though what excited me the most, was to find out that I would be completing it on the 29er Rumor!! I was pretty eager to see this thing in real life, because for me – standing at 161cm – I was keen to see how they squeezed this all in without me looking like I was riding a tractor. I was shocked to say the least, this graphite beauty looked stunning and I couldn’t wait to get out onto some trails. Having full suspension (for all the newbies out there such as myself – this means front and rear suspension) and a command post (this is a remote operated seat post that can be adjusted to 3 different seat heights while riding. Trust me, this is a great “feel good for safety” option when you are trying to conquer rocks that seemed as big as me and it allows you to get further behind your saddle or have it out of the way to do so). All this certainly increased the point where my actual ability and ambition collided.
Taking it on some test runs out the back of Noosa, I couldn’t believe how quickly I felt comfortable on it. Uphill felt so much more effortless and it just wanted to keep moving forward while taking away some of my previous apprehension in climbing over obstacles with ease. Then came the fun part – downhill. It just rolled with comfort – if I could ever imagine going down a hill in a lounge chair, then I had found my model of choice. Wow, I can truly say for even the non-adrenaline junkies out there, how the thrill of seeing improvement and overcoming inhibitions is addictive.
So it was onto the real deal and still definitely not that much practice up my sleeve as my counter parts competing for the grand prize, though I felt confident enough in my equipment – which evidently could make up for some lack of fitness! As the 5 days progressed I really got to experience a variety of MTB riding down in Tasmania. From some old rocky river beds where I really got to test out the descend option of my shocks leaving them wide open to take in the millions of river rocks to completely locking off both the front and rear to gain as much rigidity and stiffness to get to ‘check points’ quickly on gravel fire trails. Coming from just a road riding background, I really felt like this bike was easy to understand and it just always seemed to make sense to me. Which is quite nice when you are faced with a steep and bumpy single trial descent – the mind found no confusions in the challenge that lay ahead.
Front suspension open for as much rebound (called the ‘travel’ in MTB terms;) as possible, check. ‘Descend’ setting for the rear shock – aka the lounge chair feel over to far left, check! If it gets really steep or you just want to try keep up with the boys and their sheer lack of fear – command post down – right down, check;)
If you’ve ever been inclined to take up something new, try Mountain Biking or any riding for that matter, I would highly recommend giving it a go. There is a sense of freedom, exhilaration and adrenaline of discovering new places in your somewhat familiar environment.
For some more inspiration and motivation. Trust me, you won’t regret it!