Norcal Jan. ’07: Three days, two bikes and three rides

The past few days have been a nice mix of tra-la-la and WHOA BABY! Not to mention a barrage of job interviews and rides on a new Enduro SL and Demo 7. I have no images, but here are some words:


Last week I got a fortune: “Pleasures await you by the seashore.”

The HR specialist sat me in an office, then waves of interviewers pounded me. 8:30-noon was a non-stop high tide of “We expect a lot out of our people,” and “What can you do for us?” I guess you can say I paddled out and dropped into every wave that came my way. In intense riding situations I tend to be timid, but in the realm of the intellectual I’m almost fearless.

Bring it!

That afternoon I joined the crew at a local motocross track. While they buzzed around on Honda CRF150s — mini MX bikes about the size of MTBs — I rode around on a Demo 7. The authorities wouldn’t let me ride the trails, so I railed down a long, steep paved road then climbed back up.

I was all balled up with undirected energy, so it was nice to settle in, find my balance and dance up the asphalt. (“McCormack is dancing on the pedals!”) About 30 minutes later I reached the MX track and watched the boys have their fun. Oh man, I hella wanted to BRAAAP!


I borrowed an Enduro SL with the Specialized fork and shock, and I met my old buddy Scott for a ride in Santa Cruz. Ten years ago, Scott and I made it our job to destroy freehubs on my mountain tandem. That guy was an outboard motor — he’d just put his head down and pedal. I used to drag him through manzanitas and slam him onto the dirt, but he never stopped pedaling.

Recent rain created abundant traction and no dust. I released everything and let it all happen: up, down, left, right, over, across and around trees, roots, stumps and jumps. Oh man, it’s been months since I’ve ridden trail — and it’s basically my favorite thing.

And it was great reconnecting with Scott. Our ride was shorter and slower than BITD (Back In The Day), but it was perfect.

About the bike:

This was basically identical to my Enduro SL, except I run a FOX 36 FLOAT fork and FOX RP23 shock. The Specialized suspension made the bike much firmer and more efficient. It pedaled very well — like a Stumpy — but when I hit hard, some sort of blowoff opened up, and the bike absorbed the impact. So the bike was super-efficient on the smooth stuff yet it handled the unnecessary roughness. Very nice.


SX Trail Day. The crew rode SX Trails. I rode the Demo 7, with a FOX DHX Air shock and a Rock Shox Totem fork. The stock bike (except for the shock) weighed 37.75 pounds.

We rode big-bike trails: lots of speed, lots of steep, lots of jumps, lots of drops.

Brandon, Wyatt and Buck were killing it! They were lofting a good 20-foot drop on their SX Trails (and climbing like champs, too boot). Wyatt was hitting a 40-foot step-down road gap. He sprinted in, boosted the lip and flooooooaaaaated to a perfect landing. Then he pedaled back up. Super impressive.

I skipped the biggest stuff, but I had a great time on the “small” stuff: a 10-foot drop off a mossy rock, a 20-foot road gap and countless railed corners. What a treat, to hang out with my friends, give the occasional coaching tip and watch them excel.

About the bike:

The Demo 7 was super fun. As you might expect, it rides somewhere between an Enduro and a Demo 8. As such, I felt immediately comfortable on it. It’s low and slack, planted yet nimble. And, to my surprise, I was hanging on the climbs, even with low-seat, stand-all-the-way status.

After riding the Demo 7 and watching everyone rock their SX Trails, I can see why more and more smart, skilled riders are getting away from full-DH bikes in favor of these versatile weapons.

Anyway, it was an exciting weekend. I hung with old friends, rode some neat bikes and reconnected with my hella sick dude sweet Norcal roots.

Filing from Terminal C at the San Jose airport …

– Lee

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