Last weekend I joined some friends up in Cable WI to ride the CAMBA Trail Network. The were up there for the Festival of Trails. I had to work on Saturday, so Meg and I joined them on Sunday afternoon for a few days of riding and relaxation.This was my first time up to these trails. I don't know why I waited so long to get up there. We really only had a day and half of riding, so I only rode a few of the trails. The ones we rode were nothing short of stunning. We rode the full Rock Lake Loop, a bit of the Wilson Lake trails, and some trails off of the Seeley cluster. Of these the classic Rock Creek loop was my favorite. The Hildebrand Lake Loop was just awesome. The high point of the loop for me was the Wall Street rock section. I fell on the first attempt, but cleaned the second. For a rigid bike, I thought that was pretty good! I neglected to take any pictures of the section, but there is a low quality cell phone video proving the attempt. It was awesome.This was also the maiden voyage for the new fat front, Larry tire/Salsa Enabler/Rohloff equipped Karate Monkey freak bike. First off the Larry tire rocks. To say it's a game changed for fat bikes is an understatement. I loved rocking the rigid fat front on this trip. The Larry tire took everything I could throw at it. It is very easy to hold a line. It serial crushed anything in front of it. I was really missing the Woodchippers by the end of the trip though. even the 17 deg Salsa bars are not doing it for me anymore. I know that I hurt in ways I would not have had I been riding my favorite bars. I'm still working on the Woodchipper/Rohloff compatibility thing though, and it wasn't going to happen before the weekend.I brought a 29er wheel built around a Surly hub laced to a Gordo rim to compare the Larry/Large Marge to. It simply doesn't even hold a candle to the traction, control, and comfort the fat front set up provides. With the Larry I found myself pushing hard into corners carrying a lot of my weight forward centered over the bars. I rode very much like riding a motorcycle. I only once broke the Larry's traction bad enough to fall. That was more due to a outside corner soil change to suddenly very loose than the tire losing traction. I thought that the larger tire would be harder to ride, or that I would feel the very obvious weight difference. Neither of these things proved to be true. In a straight line over even ground you would certainly notice a difference, but through the woods over rocks and with ever present corners, it just didn't seem to matter. The fat front was obviously the clear winner through the single track.
The weekend was also my first ride on Salsa's new Enabler fork. I love it. Combined the stout wheel builds and symmetrical spoke lacing, the wide set legs made the bike handle incredibly precisely. The steering responsiveness was very noticeable and made technical and rock sections a joy to weave through. While the fork was plenty stiff laterally, it was also very compliant. This is one of the forks to utilize Salsa's new Kung Fu tubing. They claim that the fork ismore compliant than the older OX Platinum models, and I believe it. I've always said that I think Salsa offers the most comfortable rigid for the money out there. This weekend only confirms that this fork stands up to that belief.I also have to admit that I am totally in love with fork leg mounted bottle cage mounts. I find grabbing the right leg bottle easier and more intuitive than the standard down tube position. Only once did the bottle cage get in the way on the trail, and that was totally my fault. I clipped a low hanging log on the inside apex of a corner. It did bend the cage a bit and I got a little roughed up. Neither I or the equipment was really any worse for the wear though.Monday proved to be stunner of a day weather wise. We rode most of the day in 73 deg full sunny weather. There was not a cloud in the sky, and the air was not humid at all. After riding Rock Creek in the morning, we took a midday outdoor pool break to refresh, then rode at the OO trail head in the afternoon. It really was a near perfect day of riding. I think if all my days of riding could be broken up by a nice dip in a cool pool I could die pretty happy!A huge thanks to Soupboy and crew for inviting us up to join them this weekend. It was a great trip. I got a lot of riding with great people through some incredible places. That's about all a guy can ask for. This was the perfect warm up for the Fargo adventure ride and Salsa Sol Session rides as well. I'm finally feeling ready for those events. A few more days of riding and I'll be back in CAMBA territory. It'll be great to go back!