Specialized Demo … A Perfect Chance to Test Bikes
"Specialized Demo" is the second part of my day spent with the T.O.R.C.A. (Tucson Off Road Cyclists and Activists) group. To read about the first part, please select Poker Run.
As I was saying, the next part of the day was dedicated to riding demo bikes. The T.O.R.C.A. people had a beautiful set-up, as the bike companies (Specialized, Ibis, Devinci, 29’er, and Pivot) were available right at the head of the Prison Camp Trail. I have called this page “Specialized Demo” as those are the only bikes I got a chance to demo.
After the initial Bug Spring shuttles (until 10:00 am) all shuttles picked up at the bottom of the Prison Camp Trail and returned riders to the demo area.
Prison Camp, roughly 2.5 miles in length, turned out to be an ideal length and offered a variety of trail surfaces … packed single track, loose rocky sections, sand, some larger rocks to roll, tight and flowing switchbacks, and just a little bit of climbing.
T.O.R.C.A. Poker Run and Demo Day … Interactive Map.
- The blue “P” marks the Bug Springs Trailhead.
- Click Strava for a GPX Track for Bug Springs and Prison Camp. This track was from a previous ride as I stopped and started and backtracked, etc. on the Poker Run.
Have you done this ride? What did you think of it? How about sharing your thoughts on our Visitor Stories page?
Even though I had bought a 2015 Specialized Camber just a few months previous I had been having second thoughts as to whether I should have gotten the Stumpjumper or the Enduro … so I decided to try them both again. The fellow in the Specialized demo tent got me set up with the Stumpjumper for my first demo. In addition to the demo he also offered to fix my flat while I rode … what a deal! While I was getting the Stumpjumper a couple of other guys were busy checking out the Specialized Fat Bike.
I felt real comfortable on the Stumpie so I rode pretty fast on this “Non” Poker Run. I was surprised when the two guys on the Fat Bikes were right behind me. I had no idea those bikes could travel that fast on a rough, rocky trail. I stopped and asked them how they liked riding their Specialized demo and both gave a thumbs up.
Heather and Tammy
As we continued riding I came up behind two women riders. One was Heather, who I had followed earlier on Bug Springs, and the other was the girl from IMBA (Tammy) who had become one of the prize winners earlier … both on a Specialized demo. I stopped to change my video battery and while concentrating on opening the camera and sliding in the battery, the Fat Bike guys passed by, or at least I thought it was them (I found out later they actually had not passed me).
Below you will find a video the of Prison Camp Trail as I follow Tammy and Heather on my Specialized demo bike.
Video Women Good to Video
With the video camera up and running I took off hoping to catch the Fat Bikers or the young women … hoping to catch some action. Within a quarter mile I caught up with the ladies … no sign of the Fat Bikers. Heather was leading so most of my video was of Tammy, an excellent rider. I like following good women riders as they keep a pace that allows me to get some close video … and because I admire them for participating in a male oriented sport (I would estimate the male to female rider ratio for this day to be about 20 to 1).
After following Heather and Tammy for most of the Prison Camp Trail I peeled off at the bottom of the last descent so I could take some video of riders coming down the hill … then headed for the shuttle pick up.
Fat Tire Flats
When I arrived at the Molino Basin bathroom I was surprised to see the Fat Bike riders. I thought they would be long gone … as the ladies were. I asked them why they were still there and they told me they had had a flat tire.
But I glanced down and noticed all four tires looked good. I was astounded when they said they had fixed it. “Did you bring a patch kit or did you stuff a couple of 29 inch tubes in there,” I asked. The one fella said he had been carrying a spare fatty tube since he had been riding his own Fat Bike earlier on Bug Springs.
After we got shuttled back up to the demo area we were told the T.O.R.C.A. group had planned to allow only the volunteers to demo bikes the remainder of the day. Since I was classified as a volunteer … I got the chance to ride two more Specialized demos!
Prison Camp Run
Tara, Art, Shane, Duncan, and some of the others who had been working all day each checked out a demo bike … and we all set off down Prison Camp. This time my Specialized demo was a Fat Bike. I had to see how those other fellows could ride so fast on the Prison Camp Trail. Duncan, a superb rider, chose to ride the other one.
I found the Fat Bike very easy to ride, and it handled like a bike with more suspension … except the tires offered no damping … landings were quite cushy, but then I continued to bounce down the trail.
My Turn for a Flat Tire
I was having a blast when a “pwhisssssh, shish, shish” sound came after jumping off a small waterfall. A young lady came up behind me and suggested I try to pump up the tire and try to complete the ride. I told her I was sure that would be a wasted effort. Since the tire went completely flat in about 3 seconds there was no way I was going to get it to hold any air.
Below you will find a quick video review of the Fat Bike I chose to ride as one of my Specialized demos.
Unfortunately, I had no spare tube and had to make a one mile walk back to the Specialized demo tent. The funny thing is, I arrived at the demo area only a couple of minutes after Tara, Art, Shane, and the rest arrived back on the shuttle vehicle. As I finished my walk back to the Specialized Demo tent I passed Shane, who asked me why I had taken so long.
Enduro S-Works Demo
For my last Specialized demo I chose a 29” Enduro S-Works … a $10,000 bike. I was once again riding with Tara, Shane, and another volunteer. This last run went very nice … no flats … just bombing down the trail.
While shuttling back up for the last time I felt pretty good, for I decided I had bought the right bike for me. The Stumpjumper and Enduro were nice, but I found them sluggish compared to my Camber. My Camber behaved snappier in all ways, and felt more a part of me. I am sure I would have appreciated the bigger suspension of the other two bikes had I been doing bigger jumps or drops, but on the Prison Camp Trail I certainly preferred the Camber.
What remained for the day was the cleanup. Getting everything loaded seemed like it took an hour, but maybe that was because the cold chilly air had me shivering. The people that had camped out to save the spot, who had hauled equipment that morning, were the same ones involved in making the camp spotless. I wish I could remember all their names. I guess they would probably like to be known as just T.O.R.C.A..
As Shane drove me back to my hotel I reflected on how much fun I had experienced during the Poker Run, and especially during the demo rides. I definitely felt like a winner.
Thanks T.O.R.C.A. Members
I also thought about how much planning and work T.O.R.C.A. members had done to pull off such a well-run event. These people treated me well whenever they took me on past rides, and during this event I realized they treat everyone the same way. This organization is run by a group of highly intelligent, first class individuals.
I have provided photos of some of the T.O.R.C.A. crew I watched work their butts off to provide such a well run event. I know I missed some of you, and I only hope you know I (and dozens of others) appreciate the effort you have put into the 2nd annual Poker run and Demo Day.
I hope I can return for the 3rd annual T.O.R.C.A. Poker Run. Maybe Lady Luck will give me more than a King next time!
During most rides I take many more photos than I can place on ride pages. The following is a slide show for the entire day … 80 photos in all. I suggest you view them in a full screen.
To view all photos on Mountain Bike Diaries please go to our Flickr page at MBD Photos.
Below you will find the an collection the video clips I took at the 2014 TORCA Poker Run and Demo Day. To pause just tap the space bar.
To view all my videos please go to my YouTube channel at MountainBikeDiaries.