Garth Honhart // Mini Epic
Disclosure: I did a pre-ride of the Mini with our illustrious organizer in February. Adjustments were made. Both by the organizer and myself in choice of bicycle.
Having ridden almost all of the Mini on my gravel bike (T-Lab X3) during the pre-ride, I opted to do my official ride on my XC Mountain Bike, aka Syndrome, a Cannondale Scalpel Carbon 2.
True to the nature of the Epic, I paid for that choice on the paved portions of the epic and didn't quite make up the time in the dirt. For me that meant an extra 8 miles from home to the start at REI in Saratoga.
A later start that I would have liked at that, but still one throws a leg over the top tube and starts pedaling.
I was quite happy to have the knobbies on Jones, but was slower up black and even JNT, where I thought the knobs plus gearing would have gotten me up faster, but Strava says that wasn't the case.
Once up to the top and on the trails on either side of Skyline, Syndrome started to shine. I had the bike for all of a week and this was its first real test. It passed with flying colors.
The weather was quite a bit nicer than the roasting we got in February. It even clouded over once I got into Montebello OSP and up to Black Mtn.
I don't think it will surprise anyone that the descent down Steven's Canyon is quite a bit more relaxed on a full suspension XC bike that it is on a drop bar gravel bike, but the party was over once I hit the tarmac again. Up Eden and down Pierce, cut over to Cox and back to Saratoga is a standard route for me and Syndrome did not help me set any PRs.
I was curious to see what the full route was Like and did the front half (from REI to Jones through Calero and Quicksilver) I would suggest for my fellow Mini riders. Set some time aside and do the front half of the full Epic. It really is a great ride. Doing both halves I have that much more respect for those of you that did the Grand and the Big. Both are a LOT of riding for one day. Even the pros that have done the Grand indicated it was quite substantial.
Thanks to Dave for setting this up and good luck to those readers that feel inspired to do it next year.