After about 10 days of excessive (my fault) school work, family obligations, and/or record breaking freezing rain I finally took my new bike to the dirt, running Lone Cactus, Bunny, and Xmas at Fantasy Island. I got the GIANT XTC 29er 2 from the recently opened There and Back Bikes – a commuter-theme bike store near UA. The story of its purchase was sort of hilarious, I hadn’t expected to find such a bike at such a store but one day I walked in and there it was – in my size and marked down considerably.

The bike is excellent. Granted, my only previous mountain bike experience was on a comically terrible internet warehouse bike, one whose frame I can visibly bend with hard pedaling and whose fork is a stack of rubber disks. That aside, the new bike does seem legitimately excellent. After a brief period of getting my balance back (it’s been a while since I hit the trails) and feeling out the gear selection, things went extremely well.