Day two started very early with a 6:30am shuttle to reach Bootleg Canyon in-time to do the Tour de Lake Mead, a 27 mile out and back road ride.
Fuji had kindly found an Altamira 1.0 for me to ride, equipped with Dura Ace and a load of the new Oval components they’ve been working on. The bike was incredibly light, torsionally stiff when you got out of the saddle and didn’t feel too brittle like some super light road bikes do. I did have some reservations about the braking but that could be down to numerous factors however it made for a slightly uncomfortable start to the ride with a reasonably high pace through around 5 miles of descending in a big group of riders. When we made it to the turn, as much as I fancied getting involved in the race back up the hill I figured and stop off and wait for a photo with my fellow traveller.
On the way back I took a detour to go and see the Hoover dam, only being 4 miles away it seemed like the perfect opportunity. The ride there was pretty cool as well with some more significant undulation and an opportunity to test the bikes handling (good, if a little twitchy for me) and climbing (exceptional) – sometimes carbon wheels can be a bit flexible but this first time effort from Oval seemed pretty good. We should have the Altamira in a few iterations early in the new year so keep your eyes peeled – it has all the features of the best new bikes and is supremely light.
By the time I got back to the demo it was getting really hot again. I took a bit of a breather and then set out to find some new bikes to ride. After an hour of going from booth to booth with no luck I decided to just be patient at Pivot.
Unfortunately I then ended up being more bloody minded than patient as it took another hour to actually get a bike. Pivot are a US brand from the man originally behind Titus, they use the DW-link suspension platform and I was very impressed with the mach 57. Easily to most confidence inspiring bike I rode – once again, you’d need to try and ride it all day to get an idea of just how well it climbed but no issues on my short loop. I followed this up with another long wait at Trek for a Fuel Ex – just as good an all rounder as it is reputed to be, light and fast and easy to control.
After this I rode a BMC Fourstroke FS01, this a 100mm race bike and you could tell – it really wanted to accelerate the whole time – it would’ve been nice to have had a 5km climb to really get a feel for a bike like this, the undulation doesn’t really allow you to do it justice. Finally I took out an Intense Tracer 29er – billed as a true all mountain 29er with 5.5″ of travel I was keen to see how it would compare to the XC 29ers of the day before and the genuine all mountain bikes of today. The answer? Well, with a relatively long stem and a riser bar the handlebar was probably higher than my waist. There was no way I was going to be chucking this bike about! I’m not convinced it’s possible to make an AM 29er for somebody under 5’10″ - I just don’t think you can move around the bike enough. Sometimes I struggle to shift my weight on a 26″ bike, with the 29er you just roll into (and over) stuff – there’s no way I’m about to manual through a tricky section because I can’t shift my weight far enough back on the massive wheels! 29ers have a place and maybe it’s different if you’re taller but for me they’re a racing a distance covering steed for sure.
Although it was only mid-afternoon, having been out in the heat since 8am I decided to call it a day. Of course, it wouldn’t be the outdoor demo if you didn’t have to queue for everything so I was only too pleased to join the back of the shuttle line to get back to Vegas.
Back to the hotel, a shower, a two hour power nap and I woke up feeling awful! Still the fun stops tomorrow and it’s time for the show proper – watch this space for further updates…