Hello, from the Jersey Shore. It's been a long while since I checked in--actually this is the first time I have checked in--despite promised reports on my 650bs (short version: inconclusive, but will probably notice the difference when I reinstall the 26"s). The transition to Jersey (or back to Jersey--in my case, the first time since college) is about as radical as you'd expect and its taken me a while to get (mal)adjusted.
The extended version of my 650b report will have to wait. Instead, I had a chance to attend my first 'cross practice of the season at Otto's Farm, very close to the Van Dessel HQ (along with Jamis, Jersey's other bike manufacturer-take that Portland bike artisans). It was a huge turn out, a fun course, with a long downhill that could be ridden at speed if you had enough skill, consisting an of a long s-turn, ending in an abrupt chicane and 90 degree angle that funneled riders into a dry creek bed that required a dismount. The bunch was competitive and I arrived moments before the start, rolled over to the back of the pack just as the "gun" went off. After seeing and figuring out the course on the first few laps, I started to move up a bit, especially as I got more comfortable dismounting and on the downhill.
We kept riding in circles until it got dark, which made me nostalgic. Unlike my childhood, however, when I could grab dinner, hit the pillow, and fall asleep without the worry of the weird dreams I now have after exercising later in the evenings, last night I was not so lucky. Sort of like this:
Where's Mike's tiger?