Gravity's Rainbow

Gravity's Rainbow

Today's title is one for the Thomas Pynchon fans out there. 

Having happily reduced the bike fleet to 2.5 (2022 Crux for road and gravel, 2014ish Scott Spark for mountain and trainer bike for Zwift)), I was forced to a crossroads over the Labor Day weekend last month: the Scott died landing one of my increasingly perceptible jumps. Researching things a bit afterward, this was a known failure mode of these bikes, snapping towards the front of the drive side chain stay. So in an instant I went from 2 bikes that covered mostly everything I want to do and 1 bike that sits on the trainer for Zwifting, to no mountain bike. 

A bit of a backstory to my increasingly perceptible jumps is in order. If you ski, you know that Epic Pass has issues. Long story short, we had teetered on the brink of switching to Killington passes from Epic last year, and made the move this year. Killington's K-1 base is 26 minutes from our house, and Skyeship is even much closer, the pass is expensive but it comes with a ton of summer perks and you also get an Ikon pass so we can go to other places and ski with friends etc. 

For "ton of summer perks" you should read "unlimited access to the bike park." It took about 2 seconds to get all fired up about that, but the 100mm travel Spark with its extraordinarily fast-rolling and supple yet fragile Maxxis Ikon 2.2s was always a fish out of water in the park. I'd done most of my mtb riding this year at the park, though to be fair I had mostly ridden to the park, which can be a bunch of gravel roads and is always a big big climb to get to the lifts. 

The week before I broke the bike, Mike had been up for Vermont Overland (which we failed to write about. That can be a later post). The next day, we went to the Killington park and riding with someone better than you always makes you go harder, and I finally cleared one very small baby double jump while Mike was following me. After that, you know the story - I was instantly obsessed with jumping. Oddly enough, it was this same jump on which the bike broke the next weekend. 

So here it is, Labor Day weekend and a good solid month and a half of park season left and a week long vacation (which I'm now on) during which we planned to give our Killington passes a workout, and I've got no mountain bike. Even with pass discounts, renting bikes soon becomes a spending tragedy, and now I've got the jump lust. Bad. And an Ibis Ripmo AF followed me home the next day. 

This bike is an absolute howl to ride in the park. I've gone from being a complete scaredy cat to riding this trail about as fast as these guys do it - although they jump higher and more stylishly than I do. There's a berm transition about 44 seconds into that video that confounds me every time I ride it, and they crush it.

But I've also ridden it on non-park trails and while it's quite fun, I know I miss the heck out of a fast cross country bike. As an avowed exponent of "one bike, two sets of wheels," this presents a small dilemma. I'll make another set of wheels for it (the wheels that came on it are absolute tanks) with tires slightly less tank tread-is than the 2.4" Maxxis Assegais that it came with, but I don't expect a transformation from it. As much as I enjoy this bike park itch, asking the Ripmo to double as an XC bike is too much to ask even with exceptional alt wheels.

After all, I have everything but the frame left from an XC bike that I absolutely loved. So I think I have to break ranks with myself and order up a hardtail frame and build it with the parts from the Scott. The two bikes will share a "between" set of wheels for days when I want to push a bike's range a bit. 

Since Mike has done such a good job of reviewing bike parks in some of his posts, I suppose I have to post a review of Killington sometime soon. 

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