I ended up going the ride with Ben I was talking about. I got a text from him early asking if I wanted to go. As I have most of my parts on the 29er, I asked for a demo bike to ride from the shop. He came back at me with...how about the Team Replica Rush? I could not turn down the opertunity to ride that thing, so I agreed. More on the bike later.
As we would love to have had a longer ride, we had some issues. We were going to meet at 6:30 at the Valley Green inn and get moving.
Ben had to close the shop, and I had to fight Philly traffic to get out there in time. Neither make for a very specific time. I took a crazy route through some of Phillys worst hoods to avoid the highway traffic. I got to Brian's house to grab his bike, and remembered that it was a Lefty fork...and it does not fit on the rack. Not intending to have many problems and knowing that Ben always has tools, I left mine at home instead of going back in to get them. So, at that minute I was caught without tools and a bike that does not fit in the car. I figured, I have made bigger bikes fit, let me get this guy in the back seat. As I was trying to get it in the car, i realized that Brian was rocking the fancy pants Time peddals. I ride with SPDs these days. Not a good mix. I called Ben to see if he had an extra set of peddals and a wrench. More or less a shot in the dark, unless we are talking about some hardcore shop guys.
Luckily he had the peddals, but no wrench. We tried to make it work with a park multi tool but all the peddals we had to change were all put on by gorillas(us or other shop guys). After some really worn out hands, and frustration, we decided to go back to ben's house to get some peddals.
We got to the house, switched them over and played with his dogs a bit and we were back on the way.
The bike was AMAZING! I am the worst Cannondale critic, but this was the bomb. The only problem was I could not get the sag exactly right and the tires were really skinny and did not have much for tread. Besides that, the rush takes just enough of the edge off, and the Lefty fork is great. I was just blowing through things that I normally have a hard time on my steel hardtail.
We had to cut it a bit short as he has a wife home starting contractions, and I have to teach in the morning. The full moon, the snow, the cool bike, and a good friend made it a great night.