|Here in the Pacific Northwest goggles are a highly recommended piece of equipment, especially during the winter. Of course, choosing to go the goggles and a half-shell helmet route is a matter of function over fashion, since there's no way you'll ever win any style awards with this outfit, but it sure beats the alternative of spending evenings trying to get chunks of mud out of your eyes.|
Over the past few seasons Ryders Eyewear's Shore goggle ($54.99 USD) has become one of my favorites, and the option I'd recommend to fix your fit issues. Designed specifically for mountain biking, the frame isn't as bulky as moto or ski goggles, which helps keep them from pushing awkwardly against the helmet. The Shore's double lens is also highly fog resistant, and although replacement lens are more expensive than what you'd typically pay for a single lens, they also seem to scratch less easily, and thus last longer. I'd recommend trying to find a shop that has the goggles in stock, and then heading down there with your helmet to ensure that they'll work. - Mike Kazimer
|Considering that you still want a bike that will climb well and having ridden in the Pennsylvania mountains, I can understand why the Stumpy Evo 29er works well for you. Big wheels are a plus for the irregular rocks, gnarled roots, off-camber sections, and numerous steeps that seem to be signature features of your trails. Sorry, but adding ten millimeters to your fork travel will not earn you enough suspension performance if your intent is to ride with your big-bike buddies on DH trails. I'd suggest you go with plan B and buy up to a more capable bike. Your choices: the Slash and Reign, are respected bike park descenders in the hands of good riders and both are proven winners as trailbikes. I'd also suggest that you consider the Specialized FSR Enduro 29. It is one of the more nimble steering trailbikes in the AM/enduro realm. It is an excellent climber, and as far as its descending abilities, it is fearless. Mitch Ropelato races one at pro DH events, so that should suffice for a resume. You already have 29-inch wheels dialed, so the logical step would be to jump up to a longer travel version with better geometry that will let you go big, while retaining familiar performance traits that are better suited to PA trails. - RC|
The Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 is a perfect choice for thel rider who needs a machine that can bust out a four-hour technical trail ride on Saturday and then shuttle DH runs with the big bikes on Sunday.
|Personally, I've had great success with workout programs from BikeJames.com. I first found his site around four years ago, and I remember thinking back then he was way ahead of his time. There are warm up and stretching routines, mobility and foam rolling, dietary advice and of course guidelines on how many times you have to pick up something really heavy or pedal really fast. You also gain access to his Inner Circle Forum where you can ask questions directly to Coach himself. In the beginning, the programs might not be what you are expecting if you're of the 'no pain no gain' mindset with a huge emphasis being placed on form and body position which can seem too easy at first when you think you should be 'training hard', but in the long term it will pay dividends, not only with your strength, but also by helping your riding technique and skills, balance and much overlooked off the bike well-being. I have mainly followed the Kettlebell Program as it is simple and you can start with one bell, but it sounds like you have enough equipment to go for the full Ultimate MTB Workout which includes specific programs for DH, enduro/trail and XC, depending upon your discipline. - Paul Aston|
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