Although I’m in love with Hellga, I have some big bike races this summer. After carrying Hellga up Jackson’s/Jacob’s ladder in Moab over New Years, I decided that maybe I should at least look in to a more traditional mountain bike for my summer bike races. Luckily Golden Bike Shop has an amazing demo program where, for the low price of $225, you can demo four different bikes for a 24-hour period each. They’re closed on Saturdays so if you pick up on Friday afternoon, you have until noon on Sunday to return the bike. That’s almost four 36-hour demos! Plus if you buy a bike from them with a certain window after starting the demo program, you can apply your demo price to the purchase of the bike!
I have never ridden a full suspension mountain bike, and wasn’t exactly thrilled with my old hardtail Trek Cali, so I decided to go big and demo a full suspension mountain bike for #1 out of 4. I’ve heard really good things about Juliana bikes, since they’re built specifically for women (as opposed to just adding more pink and shrinking the men’s bikes). When the guys from Golden Bike Shop emailed me saying they had a Juliana Furtado in a size small available for demo, I jumped at the opportunity. I flip-flopped whether I wanted clipless pedals, but eventually asked them to just put flats on the bike. I’ve never ridden Hellga with clipless pedals and only recently switched to them on my road bike. I wanted to really experience the bike without having to worry about being attached to it!
I picked up Juliana as soon as I finished work on Friday and immediately took her out for a spin on the trails behind where we live. I mixed it up with a (very small) bit of pavement, gravel roads, and flowy singletrack. The bike handled like a dream! They warned me that the brakes were very responsive, and I almost flew over my handlebars a couple of times when stopping because I pulled on the front brake lever to quickly, but that didn’t dull my enthusiasm. If we didn’t already have plans for a Thai cooking class that evening, I would have ridden the bike all afternoon. My only complaint from ride number one was that my butt was sore from the saddle. I think I eventually narrowed it down to the saddle being too wide because I’ve never had that problem with my other bikes.
Although we stayed up later than normal at the Thai cooking class, we still woke up bright and early to take some photos of me on the Juliana wearing my awesome new Qloom gear. Jason used his new camera to take the photos and didn’t want to carry it while riding his bike so we just went to Heil Valley Ranch for the photoshoot. The only other time I’ve been there, there was 7″ of fresh snow on the ground, I was there for a Blueprint for Athletes photoshoot, and we only made it 200 feet up the mountain biking trail because it was so cold outside and we were on a tight timeline. As a result, I was pretty surprised when we got there and were walking/riding along a dirt road for almost a mile before getting to the singletrack section. As soon as we made it to the singletrack, the road section was worth it. The section of trail I did was sooooo much fun and I’m already salivating about going back and riding the whole thing. Jason took some amazing photos of me (almost all of the photos in this post are from the photoshoot) and then we headed home so he could pick up his bike for a joint ride.
Once Jason exchanged his camera for his mountain bike we headed out on the trail behind our house. The day was getting hot so we only rode for a couple of miles, but I was able to clear some uphills and downhill switchbacks that I haven’t been able to clear in the past. The dropper post on Juliana really helped me clear the downhill switchbacks. After a couple of miles of fun bike riding, we headed home to clean the apartment and wait for the heat to die down a little bit.
Around 5 pm we packed up the bikes and headed to a trail that I’ve run countless times but have never mountain biked. It’s a fun, flowy running trail so I assumed it would be a fun, flowy mountain bike trail. Luckily I was right! The trail was amazing! The views were great, the trail was a little rocky but not too technical, and we were able to really enjoy the rolling hills on the loop section of the route. The trail is accessible from our house, although it makes for a long loop, and we’ve already discussed riding it from home next time we have more time to ride bikes.
Overall Juliana and I enjoyed about 30 miles and almost 3,000 feet of climbing and descending. I was sad on Sunday when I had to return her to Golden Bike Shop. Luckily I have demo #2 out of 4 already lined up so I have something to look forward to. I also went for a run at White Ranch to cheer myself up. On a related note, if anyone is selling a Juliana Furtado in a size small, let me know!