This ride was a test of several things: to see what happens if you climb hard, full out, as suggested by my friend John; to see if I could find enough water sources along this remote 65mi ride; to see if I could climb some of the steep trails on my 29er with the lowest gear of 22/27; and finally to test my new Ergon GR2 Leichtbau grips.
Here are the results:
1. Climbing hard early in the ride means you pay for it later. I knew this, but perhaps it is a way to get faster.
2. I found a new building with water faucet outside and had to make a nice ~ 6mi detour to the Tunitas Rd. bike hut to refill my one bottle, so it worked.
3. The tall gearing of my 29er was not low enough to make the steep pitches at the top of the Whittmore Gulch trail. Otherwise, the noticeably better rollability of the big wheels make climbing over steep obstacles better than one would think.
4. The grips are great for hand comfort on roads and jeep trails, the bar ends are excellent for climbing, but the palm rests get in a way of proper braking on steep technical downhills, to the point of being quite scary. The grips also weigh about five times more than the Bontrager foam grips they replaced, so I am not yet 100% convinced. I am glad I did not buy the $100 carbon version.