Well, the Sea Otter race and exposistion are over again for another year. It seems that with it's perfect timing of about six months after Interbike that alot of companies are choosing to introduce new products at the popular event. Shimano unvieled it's new XTR group, SRAM unvieled it's production road groups, and several bicycle manufacturers were on hand to show some "mid-year" model introductions. The over riding theme of the weekend; however, was the slew of 29"ers that were shown. This is really interesting when you consider that the news of the weekend has Shimano competing for attention with a bunch of big wheeled bikes. Then there was the racing.........crickets.........which wasn't very well covered, or was just not that interesting- you choose. I didn't see many headlines on it.
The numbers of new introductions of 29"ers was surprising. Here is a short rundown of what got shown: Niner Bikes full suspension R.I.P.9, Orbea's Alma 29"er, Redline's Monocog 29"er, Salsa's 25th anniversary "El Mariachi" steel hardtail, and Haro with two bikes, the SS Mary single speed and geared. That's alot of big wheeled goodness all at once!
So, what does it all mean? What is going on here with all these new 29" wheeled bikes getting all the "media time"? I had posted last year about how 29"ers were about to hit the "big time". (appologies to Mr. Gabriel!) Maybe this is what is going on. Perhaps the days of people saying, "What?", when 29"ers are mentioned are coming to an end. What with all these new models, and more tires and other 29"er specific gear coming later in the year, what other pssibility is there? 29"ers are not just here to stay, but dare I say it, they are poised to become as mainstream as 26 inch wheel bikes. (!)
Your Inbred Update: My 29"er Inbred is now a "rolling chassis"! I got the wheels finished with the tires and tubes mounted to the wheel set. The saddle, seat post, temporary stem, and handle bars are mounted. I also re-strung some Nokon cable housing in blue and silver annodized colors for brake housing. Ever strung beads before? ......for full length housing? Yeah, my days as a jeweler came in handy there! It was like stringing pearls! Anyway, I've got all kinds of annodized bits going on there. With the addition of the Avid BB-7's, I should be about ready to ride the thing. That'll happen later in the week when I can pay for the brakes! (It's payday on Thursday! Wahoo!)
Trans Iowa Course Update: Well, we got some early week rains last week which made the course even worse for awhile. Since then it's been relatively dry, with high, gusty winds. That should have the gravel pretty dry and fast by now. The B roads will take a bit longer to recover. Fortunately, the weather looks to be dry and warm for at least a few more days. I hope to actually get out on course shortly before the event. I'll try to update regularly right up to the event. 19 days and counting!