How the West Was Won at Wilder Ranch

This past Tuesday, The Ride Guides teamed up with Cannondale Bicycles for an exclusive demo day of their newly released Trigger mountain bike. Realizing the importance of a debut, this Connecticut headquartered brand utilized our guiding service in Santa Cruz to showcase their best bike offerings. Participants consisted of Cannondale’s top selling dealers from across the country. The Ride Guides went to work mapping a dirt route with wide open climbs, descents lined with Redwoods and a dowhnhill finish with panoramic views of the Pacific. To be clear, this was not a parking lot parade of suspension squishing, we have trails and we like to ride them. Cannondale brought on The Ride Guides and gave participants a worthy on-trail opportunity to put the new Trigger through its paces.

The Demo fleet

The super professional Cannondale demo team spent the morning tuning every riders’ steed to top notch specs as the coastal fog slowly burned off. I arrived with The Ride Guides as the day continued to warm up. We prepared to show the welcome visitors Santa Cruz’s finest trails. I sauntered up with pedals in hand looking for my chance to get some trail time on a Trigger. In two shakes of a lambs tail, the pros fitted me with a Trigger 29 Carbon 1. The DYAD RT2 rear shock was dialed and felt plush and progressive right out of the gate in both 130mm and 80mm settings. The SuperMax Lefty off the front end performed beyond what was advertised, with its hassle free lockout mechanism. This bike was outfitted with all the trappings of mountain biking modernity: Reverb dropper post, Hans Dampf tires, Magura brakes, SRAM 11 speed drivetrain, and a 12mm rear axle, set in aesthetically clean dropouts.At the top of Wilder

To accommodate this seasoned group on capable bikes, Ride Guides ring leader Dave Robinson, hand picked a crack team of guides for the event. Local professional trail builders (read: alchemists) Matt De Young and Drew Perkins led the front of the pack with the hungriest of Cannondale fans. Professional cyclist and inspirational instructor Kyle Jameson came out and paired up with the helmet honcho, Brian “Sid” Sidwell and spurred the next group out of the lot. Myself and Jim “no rider left behind” Cummins, were in charge of the last wave of riders.

The ascent, boasted ocean views and warm Santa Cruz sunshine. My Trigger allowed me to put the seat up and hammer down on the climbs to spread out the pack of capable riders so we could all gain a little elbow room. Then I discovered the DYAD lever, it adjusts the rear travel and the geometry of the bike, going from 130mm to 80mm was just the giddy up I needed. Pushing the DYAD lever forward, into the climbing specific suspension setting, pedaling and steering became even more intuitive. I reckon with both new bike and new riding buddies, I was feeling great on my home trails.

Smiles were logged and snapshots saved at the top of Wilder Ranch State Park as we consumed proper hydration and nutrition. I pointed it down and promptly released my DYAD bar lever which lengthened my suspension to 130mm, dropped my seat, unlocked the Lefty and released my fingers from the brake levers. Our recent rain has led to some of the best trail conditions of the year. This Trigger knew just what to do as I laid it over in a familiar berm and aired off the available hits. Getting the bike sideways, I wanted to reach out and grab a handful of famous redwood duff. The stability, tracking and stiffness in the overall bike were the shining points. Experiencing this machine on the trails that I ride every day allowed me to appreciate the quality of the bike’s design.

Just before the last downhill

After a classic scenic descent back to sea level, we took the long way home, cruising dirt trails on the bluffs directly above the Pacific. A pair of sea otters swimming in Monterey Bay were just within view. A few more memories and smiling photos were captured as we meandered back to the Cannondale demo trucks and tents where cold beverages and food awaited. That whole afternoon turned up my stoke. A dozen high fives later “my” Trigger was begrudgingly led back to it’s rightful owners. We stuck around long enough to revisit the sweetness of new bikes, chat with mountain biking comrades from across the country and put another solid trail day in the books.

taking it all in

Overall, The Ride Guides thank Cannondale for coming out to Santa Cruz and introducing us to the members of their professional staff. Furthermore, it was an honor to guide their top supporting retailers. The Trigger went up and down with two different personalities that were intuitive to manage. Just like the people who built it, the Trigger isn’t shooting from the hip, instead, it is an all American sharpshooter well-focused on the target, a better ride.

Another successful mission goes down in the books with The Ride Guides providing everyone in attendance a first class sample of the mountain biking experience here in Santa Cruz.

Great riding with you Cannondale,

Sean Andrasik, Ride Guide

fantastic group shot

Check out the bikes both 29 and 27.5 wheel versions available.

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