There was a time, not that long ago, when 29'' wheels were thought of as a tool best suited for tall riders, or at least people of average height rather than the vertically challenged. But things like 1x-specific frames with stubby rear-ends, standover clearance that is nearly on par with a run bike, and lighter weight rims and tires have all made 29'' wheeled bikes a real option for anyone who can't reach the top shelf.
At just over 5' 3'', Casey Brown is on Trek's all-new, 150mm-travel Slash 29 in a 15.5'' size for the Whistler EWS, a race the looks to be very well suited to the new machine.
Interestingly, Brown had never ridden a 29er before this weekend, but she doesn't seem to mind having her first big-wheeled experience at one of the most demanding events of the year. Talk about jumping into the deep end of the pool... And while some pros, especially her teammate René Wildhaber, tend to be quite particular about their bike setup when it comes to things like tire pressures and suspension characteristics, Casey admitted to being on the other end of the scale.
This fact probably plays a role in the Canadian racer's willingness to jump on a completely different machine just before the start of what many people think is the premiere Enduro World Series event of the season. However, it does make for a bike check that's a bit light on information. There's a Float X on the back of Casey's bike rather than a Float X2, and she's running the new Transfer seatpost. No cables here. Casey is racing with Shimano's Di2 drivetrain with a pint-sized MRP chain guide in place of a front derailleur. Bontrager's aluminum rims front and back, and a carbon fiber bar from the same people.
Casey's best bud on the trail is this speed demon that she adopted, Snuff. ''She's previously owned, so she's a second-hand dog,'' said Brown of her pal. ''She's used, but she has a lot of kilometers left in her. She's a 2009 model.''
Rockets need rocket fuel, and Casey's dog is no different, receiving a high-octane diet of organic, free-range beef for fuel.
While her dog is fed only the best, Casey isn't exactly sure what breed she is. ''She's a mix of something, maybe an American Black Lab, so she has a lot of freedom under her paws.''
/ @foxracingshox / @shimano