After hearing that the Ullrich Park trail cleanup on Saturday went well, I decided to pack up the Mary XC and run over there late Sunday afternoon. It was about the only free time I had all weekend, so I took advantage of it!
The trails were well groomed, but were a bit muddy in a couple spots. The high water did take its toll on the far end of the first section, but everything else was rideable.
The Geax Saguaro tires I have on loan from Twin Six of all places are holding their own in the sticky Iowa mud. They don't shed the goo quite as well as the Michelin XC AT's do, but they aren't total slicks when balled up with mud either. The trail was loamy where it wasn't muddy, and the Geax tires always seemed to dig in and find some traction. Not my first choice for these conditions, but not bad in them either.
Steering provided by Salsa and the new 17 degree bend Moto Ace bar. If you think they look funny and don't try them based upon looks, you will be missing out on one comfy handle bar. I'm willing to bet that if you try an 11 or 17 degree bend Salsa bar your upper body will be thanking you. The ergonomics of these swept bars is noticeable and it improves your ride.
........and speaking of ergonomics. I have to mention that these grips are also incredibly comfortable. Ergon makes these grips and more styles besides which I have posted about several times here. I can't say enough about how they have saved my hands from numbness and worked as advertised. Thanks Ergon, and thanks to Mr. 24 for the Team Green version he let me try out.
So, the Mary is a pretty fun ride. I have some tweaking to do yet, as the handlebar height and steer tube have to be adjusted once I am convinced where everything should be. One thing about the Mary, it's got the lowest head tube height of any 29"er I've tried save the Raleigh XXIX single speed. Lots of headset spacers on there!
The Bontrager Switchblade fork is fun and handles well offroad. The combination of the Mary and this fork are pretty good, making for a quick handling but not overly twitchy bike. I'll hold out on the final judgement of that until I can get on some fast, twisty, flowy singletrack. That might be a bit as wet as things are around here!