When we sent writer Paul Tolme back to his old stomping grounds in Nederland to write on the local MTB scene (“The Ride of the Nedhed Dirt Club“), we also set him up with some essential gear for the trip. Here’s his take on how it worked on the trail.
There’s no need to look like a road dork when mountain biking. Enter POC’s Receptor Flow helmet, which looks at home in a skatepark or on a BMX dirt track. It weighs a little more than a traditional helmet, but its heft translates into more protection for your melon-piece of mind when ripping down the rocky Ned trails. All my riding buds wanted to wear it; of course I didn’t let them. Call it the latest in NedHead fashion. $88, www.pocsports.com.
With a 100-ounce bladder and 450 cubic inches of stash space, the Big Sur is ideal for go-big days. It’s Hydrapak’s answer to Camelback’s Mule. On big climbs the zippered front pocket expands to hold your helmet-ideal for long climbs up through Eldora and beyond. Hydrapak’s reversible bladder is a cinch to clean and it opens wide for easy filling, though the bite valve took time to get used to. The white version attracted lots of attention from mountain biker chicks (never a bad thing), though you may want to dirty it up to squash any questions about your sexuality. $75, www.hydrapak.com.
Despite being a Smartwool junkie who wears stink-free and itch-less merino whenever exercising, I was nonetheless skeptical about the Rambush shorts and their wool chamois. It’s one thing to wear a wool jersey, but sheep fur all up against my junk? Now I’m sold. The merino chamois kept me feeling light and fresh as a summer breeze during a five-hour epic. My only complaint is with the outer shorts: I would have liked a second side pocket for easy access to my Little Debbie snacks. $140, www.smartwool.com.