Well, lets start with the goal.....
Every year, all my friends head to Arkansas' Syllamo Trails for Syllamo's Revenge. It is a 50 mile cross country mountain bike race. It turns into a real all day effort for everyone.
Last year, I had planned to race the late season (fall) races, but work got in the way and I was unable to participate. So this year, I decided to try some earlier races.... Syllamo is one of the first I could hit, so I thought why not. Then at the last minute, sanity took hold and I backed out.
The following morning, I decided to see if registration was still open. Registration for this race is very limited, and it sells out quickly. I checked the registration the morning after it started and sure enough, I got in........ Ohhhhh boy......
Then reality set in. Yes, I used to be a pretty fast racer. Yes, I used to do well. Unfortunately, that was many years and many pounds ago. I'm a lot bigger, a lot older and a lot slower. However, the entry fee is now paid, and I have a cabin already with a bunch of fellow racers, so there is no backing out now.
That evening, I went for a night ride with my team, and we were really flying. I was handling the trail really well and was pretty proud of myself. However, I noticed that when we got the bumpy stuff, I was not able to keep up. I was getting banged around and they were floating through the stuff (stuff that I used to handle extremely well).
I looked at the difference between all of us and quickly noticed that everyone else was either on a 29'er, or a full suspension bike. My mind immediately started jumping and thinking of all of the videos I'd seen of the Syllamo trail and of my past experiences racing in Arkansas, and I quickly realized that Syllamo was gonna beat me senseless on my old hardtail bike.
Digging in my mental memory banks I started thinking of the good full-sussers that were around when I was a bike shop geek and building and tuning bikes for folks. The Gary Fisher Sugar 1 came to mind really quickly.
Amazingly enough, within a week or so, an OK lookin Sugar 1 popped up on ebay for sale. I figured I'd never get it, but why not try. The bidding ended, and I was the owner of the frame (which included fork, seatpost, headset and stem)
As I waited for the bike to arrive, I was getting worried. I have the worse cases of buyer's remorse of anyone I know. I began looking at the size and wondering if it would fit me. I wondered if it would be worn out.
All my worries were for naught. The bike arrived today and after a couple hours with a polishing rag, it looked pretty doggone sweet! The wife was not home, so I decided to start building it and decided to just take it as far as I could during the evening. Amazingly enough, I was done in about 1 1/2 hours!!!!
In all, she went together very smoothly and it looks great. Everything works well, and it feels good riding in the street. I still need to learn to tune the suspension, but I'll figure that out quickly. The rear derailleur hanger is bent, but a replacement is not too expensive.