Notes From the 2013 'Outside' Bike Tests

The Mountain Bike LineupFeeding and making notes between laps at Starr Pass.

Lesson number one from this year's Tucson test: A full week of hard riding is tough this early in the season. Six straight days was nothing that a hot tub, some ice plunges, and a little bourbon (more on that in a second) couldn't remedy. But on day seven, I felt like an abused bike racing action doll—my legs seemed to come off.

For those of us who attended the whole test (precisely two riders), it wasn't just the volume that hurt. Every single day there were new riders on hand (meaning fresh legs), continued fast pace, and no chance to sit in. Nope, we weren't just riding around down there. My stats for the week: seven days on, 252 miles, 19,609 feet of climbing, 30 bikes. Multiply that by the 12 to 16 riders on hand each day, and you get a sense of the scope of our testing.

Lesson number two: a 26-foot truck might be good for transporting 61 bikes, but it's not useful for much else. We never got stuck (thanks to the expert driving of my wife), but threading the sinuous driveway was a time-consuming affair and we could only get within 200 feet of the garage, meaning lots of running bikes back and forth to the truck each night.

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