We've created a monster!

Quick - what's scarier then Grandma out driving around on some of the high mountain passes in Colorado? Grandma on a decked out mountain bike!
Some one's getting an upgrade.... 
In 2007, Mom (who is actually a grandma - my sister has four boys) decided she wanted to get a mountain bike so she could explore some of the dirt roads and really easy single track trails. We decided to get her the best (and smallest) bike we could at the time, the Specialized Era. It was the same bike I had, a nice race worthy bike that fit her and could handle everything she would throw at it. Which wasn't much - she would still get off the bike to walk down curbs. That took a little time for her to realize that she could ride over some of those things. In 2009, she came with me to the Xterra North West Championships in Idaho and raced on the short course. She wasn't fast, but she was having fun. Skills improving ever so slowly, she started wanted to try more and more on the bike. We took her to Lake Pueblo to ride. She signed up for a few more Xterras. And she started doing the Women's Mountain Biking Association of COS rides. Always in the beginner group, but she was out there, riding that reliable blue Era.

This year, she decided to sign up for the RMES - racing the beginner races. And she had a lot of fun. But she was starting to complain about the bike - about feeling like the rear wheel was stalling on rocks that she should be able to just ride over. Nick explained that it was because of the Brain suspension that Specialized uses on the XC race bikes. It's awesome for me and him for racing because the bikes climb so well and are very efficient. We can stand up and attack a rock garden or climb without worrying about pedal bob or loosing power. But Mom doesn't stand up - ever. So for her, the Brain was making the bike behave like a hard tail. She was also starting to ask about replacing this component and replacing that component. Which, given the age of the frame and the fact that the Brain wasn't working well for her riding style, didn't make sense.

Finally, she went to Colorado Cyclist and test rode a Giant Anthem 26 XS. Yep, extra small! And was in awe of how well the bike handled for her. So we got to go the Colorado Cyclist with her to pimp out this tiny little bike. They don't normally strip a pre-built bike and rebuild with new components, but made an exception for her. Nick was having a blast. "I get to spend some of your moldy money" he kept saying as he marked up XO everything, Stan's wheels with Hope hubs (Mom did customize her wheels - blue hubs, black spokes, silver nipples, black rims) - pretty much the works! She took her new ride for a spin on Saturday and was gushing about the handling, the lightness of the bike, the way she was able to ride over rocks in Zook Loop at CMSP. Pretty much in love with the bike. I think she's gonna be dangerous in the Women's 65+ Cat 3 races next year! We might even get her up to Cat 2...

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