Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2010 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR and Specialized Trail Crew

Over the last couple days since I heard about the Specialized Trail Crew contest I've been thinking about it a lot.  I made a post as an application to join said crew, but they'll have LOTS of people vying for the privilege which makes my chances of being selected pretty remote.  Still, the idea is intriguing and makes me giddy as a schoolgirl.  What I've been thinking about is basically twofold; the bike and the crew.

I'll start with the bike.  Although I'm not really in the market right now for a new bike, almost every day I scour the internet looking at the latest offerings from bike/component manufactures and running lots of "what if" scenarios through my head.   At the top of my wish list has been a 2010 S-Works Epic.  It's Spech's top of the line race bike and since I love racing I'd like to ride the best.  But if I were to acquire the epic I'd probably not ride it every day and save it for the races.  The majority of my time on a bike are spent on regular trail rides; not racing.  Not that the epic wouldn't excel as a daily rider, but truth be told, I like comfort on my regular rides and I'm not sure the suspension of the epic lends itself to comfort.  It's designed for speed.  Plus I'm pretty rough on my equipment (and my body) and I'd be worried about breaking my $8,800 investment.

The new Stumpjumper is a whole other animal.  It's designed to be more of a trail bike.  It's 140mm suspension would soak up everything I could throw at it and is probably more comfortable than my couch.  Plus it's front shock is adjustable and can be lowered to 115mm which is more in line with the epic and would make it more "race like".   The more I look at the new Stumpjumper the more it moves to the top of my list.  I'll never have a stable of high-end bikes.  I just can't afford that.  So I need to spend my money wisely and make my purchase fill as many needs as possible.  Basically I would need a bike that could comfortably take the abuse of my regular trail rides and help me go faster on race day.  Of everything I've read the new Stumpy fits that bill.

Now for the crew.  The idea of the Specialized Trail Crew is a good one.  Having a group of regular joes outfitted with the best Spech has to offer, out there spreading the word and giving them exposure is ground level marketing at it's finest.  The Crew members benefit from the great bike/gear and Specialized sponsored group rides and Specialized benefits by getting their stuff out in the public eye, having people like me lust over the idea of being in the Crew and probably spurring sales in their target market.

Speaking of their target market, who are they trying to reach.  Since the top of the line S-Works bikes are several thousand dollars, they have to be targeting people with the desire and cash to plunk down their hard earned bucks on a new bike.   Obviously the general public thinks spending that much on a "toy" is crazy.  Hell, the general public thinks the whole concept of mountain biking is crazy.  But the Crew has the potential to change some minds.  As I've said many times, I don't understand why mountain biking isn't more popular.  The way I see it the trails should be so overflowing with people.  Mountain biking offers the best of everything in an "outdoor" lifestyle.

It starts with fitness.  Regardless of how fast or how far you ride, getting out there on the trails requires physical effort.  The act of riding a mountain bike makes you healthier.  It pushes you to and makes you stronger.

Next is weight loss.  When you start getting into mountain biking you start thinking about weight.  Hills will do that to you.  The more you weigh the harder it is to climb so seriously start thinking of ways to get your weight down if for nothing else then to make the hill climbs that much easier.  Every time I start to overeat I think about riding my bike.  Then I stop eating.

Then you've got piece of mind.  When I go out for a run I sometimes find myself getting angry.  It's not at a specific thing really; just at things hindering me.  Maybe it's because running doesn't really require focus, it just requires you to keep going.  So my thoughts are all over the place thinking of all the ways I've been wronged or whatever.  I never get that feeling when I'm on the trails.  When I'm out in nature riding my bike I tend to focus on the task at hand much more.  I have to; otherwise I'll end up on the ground.  Sometimes I end a ride in pain (usually when I wasn't paying attention) but most of the time I finish refreshed.  It's a good feeling.

Also you've got the opportunity to test your abilities at the numerous mountain bike races held all over the country with classes for all skill levels.  Entry fees are low and many of them are like large parties where there happens to be a race going on.  You arrive with a few butterflies in your stomach and you leave with new friends and the satisfaction that you did all you could do that day.  Sometimes you even leave with some nice swag.

Finally you've got the fun factor.  I haven't found many activities that are more fun than mountain biking.  I like flying down hills on the descents, I like jumping logs, I like navigating tricky parts of the trail and sometimes I like climbing hills; especially when I'm in shape and full of power.  I like spending time with other mountain bikers.   They will bend over backward to help someone in need and I've just found that as a group they are great to be around.

If I was charged with picking the Crew I know exactly the type of people I'd choose.  I'd go after a mix of males and females (an underrepresented group on the trails), covering the various generations that are passionate about the sport and are willing/able to put themselves in the public eye and spread the gospel of the MTB'r lifestyle.  Sounds a lot like the criteria they laid out on the specializedriders website.  I guess the Crew is in good hands.

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