Friday, November 06, 2009

How Far Did I Go?: A Year With Salsa Cycles Fargo

A year ago on November 5th, 2008, I got on a Salsa Cycles Fargo at the first Salsa Fargo Adventure Ride in the Twin Cities. Salsa Cycles graciously provided me with the Fargo for testing/review for Twenty Nine Inches, and this ride was my maiden voyage, (not counting an Interbike test ride) on the newest 29"er from Salsa Cycles. It was a great ride with great people, and I'll not soon forget things like the breakfast in the woods, the great folks, and the beautiful day.

After the Fargo Adventure Ride, I started riding the Fargo in earnest. I was bound to for the review, of course, but I was also really enjoying the bike. I took it all over the local area despite the coldish temps and wetter weather we were experiencing in November last year. The Fargo even helped spark a bit of the "shutter bug" in me as I explored for things that caught my eye aboard the Fargo to take pictures of.

Well, it wasn't long before winter set in, and I and the Fargo were pretty much relegated to commuter rides for awhile. I modified the spec by this time to include some personal preferences in the saddle and handle bars, along with different wheels with tubeless tires and a 185mm front rotor. The Fargo only got better. Unfortunately, the weather only got worse!
Getting rides in was hit and miss during the cold, blustery, and very snowy winter we had, but I busted out the Fargo when I could during the deepest part of winter.
I had envisioned doing a bikepacking thing with the Fargo, and had been experimenting with a rack, but unfortunately, the attendant gear purchases never materialized, so I've yet to pursue that part of the Fargo. I'll get there though!

February was pretty brutal, and I didn't get much of any riding in. (Actually, I cross country skied quite a bit during this period) March finally got warm enough to melt the gravel roads clear, and I started doing some gravel grinders in preparation for Dirty Kanza.
But before that, April and a lot of Trans Iowa stuff had to be done. Oh yeah, did I mention I had to go to California and cover Sea Otter too? not much Fargo-ing during this period.
Then after those two big events, I spent a lot of time on the Fargo. I had to hit the gravel in preparation for Dirty Kanza, and I was taking a vacation directly after the event to Nebraska. So, I was tweaking out my DK 200 set up most of early May. Gone was the rack. A new set of lightweight wheels went on it, and I slammed five cages with full water bottles on for training. Lights that I cobbled from a department store headlamp were fashioned into my light set up, and I had some great rides. One in particular with my T.I. partner in crime, d.p. That was a night ride out of Traer and one of the funnest rides of the year with a good friend and that Fargo. Good stuff! Then it was off to do the Dirty Kanza 200, and although I was pretty sick with a bad head cold, the Fargo was one of the best bikes I could have ridden for that event for me. Perfectly comfortable, capable, and it handled those ol' flinty roads like a champ!
Then it was on to Nebraska, where I sampled some totally sweet single track, and I hooked up with my good friend Matt Gersib. We had a fabulous day on Fargos doing Jewel Park and Platte River State Park single track. The Fargos ate up the miles and handled the challenging trails with no problems.
We hooked up with Kyle who was there from the Brady, Nebraska area and had a great ride with a nice post ride brew and chat session right in the parking lot while we watched the moon come up in the East. Killer ride on an awesome day! Thanks again guys for that totally sweet memory. I'll be back in Nebraska again to sample that single track, and I wouldn't be surprised if I showed up on a Fargo!

Well, I got back in June and turned my attention to some other needs, but the Fargo was not very far from my mind. In July I had planned on doing the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational and that was going to be done on the Fargo.
Planning for that and doing a ride here and there on the Fargo was mixed with a lot of testing on other stuff and then the news that another Fargo Adventure Ride was planned for the week after GTDRI! Man! I just had to make it, so I finagled my way outta a few things and did a lot of sweet talking to my wonderful wife to let me make all of it become a reality. The GTDRI went off without a hitch, but at just barely shy of 10,000 feet of climbing in 118 miles, that ride and those hills kicked me in the jimmy! Wow! I almost ate it on the first big downhill of the day too, but somehow I and the Fargo held on to ride it out till the end and live to tell about it. Good times!

The next weekend's Fargo Adventure Ride was totally awesome! Great friends, good trails and roads, and an epic rainy start to the day were capped off by a hot, humid afternoon with some of my closest friends all aboard our Fargo rigs, kicking out the last few miles to a campground in the Twin Cities. Beer, good conversation, and friends made for a perfect end to that epic day. One I shant soon forget, and a perfect end to the summer for me. Thanks Jason, Matt, and Captain Bob. Oh yeah, and all you other Fargo-nauts and riders that showed up that day. That was sweet!
Then I was whisked off on a two month whirlwind that saw me in Utah, Nevada, and back home where I was scheduled to appear in Nebraska again. Unfortunately, the Nebraska trip never materialized due to a family emergency. The Fargo was limited to commutes and shorter area rides during this time.
Fall set in, and I haven't had the opportunity to get in a big adventurous ride, but I still am getting the Fargo out on local single track and commuting. Now a year has swept by since I have had this bike around. Amazing!
I can honestly say that the Fargo is the best fitting bike I have around. It is super fun to ride. It ranks up there as one of my favorite two bikes I have here. (The other being the OS Bikes Blackbuck) and if I had to get rid of all my bikes but one, it would be really hard to do it, but I think the Fargo would win out. It is just sooo versatile, fun, and it rides really well.
All I know is that I can't wait to see where the Fargo takes me in the next year! I want to go farther and do more with it. It's gonna be a good time!

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