|My brother's giant Surly Ogre, and my Stumpjumper FSR, perhaps slightly-too-small for its rider.|
My bike for the trip was my 2006 Stumpjumper FSR. I still haven't decided whether I'll keep it, so I thought that it might be a good opportunity for further evaluation. Plus, it was a lot easier to fit in the van than the Pugsley. I made sure I was equipped with tools, tubes and water, but somehow overlooked until too late that there would likely be any number of things along the trail to make pincushions of the tires. The Stumpjumper has non-slimed, standard-tubed tires. I decided to tempt fate anyway.
|The dam at the trailhead.|
|Cholla: beautiful but barbed.|
|Prickly pear in bloom.|
|Embedded rock gardens to keep things lively.|
|Lots of rollers, but trending unmistakably upward.|
|A bull snake sunning itself on the trail.|
|The area has a vast network of well-marked trails, some of which are part of the Albuquerque Parks system and others of the U.S. Forest Service.|
|I found these concrete waffles to be an ingenious tool to mitigate erosion and maintain trail integrity.|
|My brother often runs these trails, though I can't help but think of knobby tires when I see views like this.|
|One of the few places on the way back down that I had to stop and wait for Chris to tell me which way to go.|
|Difficult to see with my lousy phone cam pic, but there's a lizard in the lower right third of this photo.|
|A view of town below.|
|We took a few minutes to mess around on a concrete drainage ditch with slanted sides.|
|As kids on BMX bikes 30 years ago, we would have been all over this thing. As 40-something old guys, we were a bit more measured, but still had some fun.|
On the positive, it is a well-engineered superbike (at least for 7 years ago, which is new enough for me) that I picked up on the cheap; something of which I would/could never buy the full-priced new equivalent. As a full-suspension bike, it really can do some things that I have to acknowledge a rigid bike can't. It is incredibly fast and fun to ride.
On the negative, it's a size large, which is borderline too small for me, and I remain convinced that a 29er is better proportioned for my height. As a full-suspension bike, it also has the hassles of shock and pivot maintenance. Though I've owned suspension before, there's a reason I gravitate back toward rigid. But it is cheap and fun.
So, I remain undecided, and will probably keep it for further evaluation, for at least the time being. That is, unless some fervent (size large) reader out there wants to make an offer I can't refuse to take it off my hands. Perhaps its parts will someday make their way to a 29er frame, for which I'll sell the Stumpy and Fox fork to finance.