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

10 replies
  1. Nathan says:

    Hi Lee, was the Demo7 you were on running the Solo-Air Totem fork, or the Coil version? Really impressed with that weight figure. I’m guessing it was the Solo-Air so with a Coil up front and out the back it would probably be more around 39lbs which is still not bad for a lot of bike.

    I have the Demo7 I on order and can’t wait to get my hands on it, even though I’m nursing a broken wrist at the mo 🙁

    Anymore details you could share? Any insider piccies?

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    The D7 I rode has the air Totem. Other details:

    – 2.5 Chunder tires

    – Gamut guide

    – Specialized Enduro Carbon bar

    – SRAM drivetrain

    – Kid’s grips. Brandon runs ’em because they have a smaller diameter, and they’re easier to hold onto. Not a bad idea.

    – I rode a small. I usually ride a medium.

    No pics — and every time I leave Specialized’s inner sanctum, they erase my memory.

  3. matt says:

    nice to hear u enjoyed the norcal, cus the norcal rocks! what trails were u riden on the demo 7, some of those santa cruz trails, its ok if u cant say most trails like that ur not really sposued to name names anyways

  4. albino rhino says:

    Nice, although I have never met you it is good to hear you use those nor cal words! I’ve followed you website for a year or so and am stoked at the opportunity to have you back in our neck of the woods! Keep us posted and good luck on the job side!

  5. Colin says:

    Was the Specialized suspension on the Enduro SL the final spec or a prototype ? Can you say more about how it rode. I expect to be buying one of those or the Stumpy FSR in April.

  6. leelikesbikes says:

    It was proto.

    I’ve ridden a few of the new rear shocks, all pre-production. They are very firm and efficient for pedaling, yet they absorb big hits. It seems like S is trying to create the ultimate XC shock.

  7. Dave says:

    Hi Lee,

    I know you’re a big fan of the SX Trail and was wondering if you’ve tried one with a totem? Mine is set up with a VAN 36 which is great for most of my riding but I’d like to run it with a longer fork for uplift days at the local DH tracks. I used to have a Boxxer Ride on my old (05) SX trail and that worked really well so I’m guessing the Totem should be a good fit.


  8. leelikesbikes says:

    I haven’t tried that setup, but the Totem sure is a fine fork. I think it’ll slacken your Trail, which will be fine for DH but might make it a handful elsewhere.

    I’d run it stock.

  9. Tom says:

    Hi lee, Just snapped my frame so I’m looking for a new one and i’m stuck between the sx trail and the demo 7. I ride a fair bit of uphill but I hammer it on the downhill. I live near Les Gets and Morzine so its going to get some stick. But as I said i do sometimes like to ride to the top. Any ideas or am i asking the imposible question?

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