RenoThis is an opinion piece by Reno Toffoli. Reno’s opinions don’t necessary represent the opinions of Your Group Ride or its advertisers but I always enjoy his rants. If you’d like to write an article for YGR, please email me at


…or your hat…(my hat). Pick the colloquialism you prefer, it all means the same in the end.

First, welcome to the new YGR. Pretty nice, huh? I like it. I even have a place for all of my silly little ramblings….and a name! Well played, Mr. Porter. Well played.

Anyway, I thought it would be nice to kick off the new version with a little update since my previous musings are now so easily accessible.

Things are different, but not so different. One of the things that is different is that when my wife renewed our cell phone contract, I was essentially forced to get a smart phone. Ok, fine. I only use about .01% of its capabilities and I have only downloaded one app…Strava.

That’s hit number one against my previously strong stances against various things but, I have (had ) a good reason. When I saw the Four Seasons of Horsetooth Mountain Bike Challenge on the horizon, I thought that it would be a fun thing to do. It indeed was a fun thing to do but I needed a GPS tracker to do it and just happened to have a new smartphone and was a free Strava download away from verifying how slow I was in a cross country race.

Well, that was three months, 950 miles and 100,000 vertical feet ago. See, the stats geek in me really kind of digs Strava, especially since I can track mileage on different bikes, name my rides after 90’s underground hip-hop jams, and, dare I say, prove that I really don’t suck because I can rock the top 5, 10, or 25 on a leaderboard when the trail points down. I kind of like that. I’m not a ‘Strava fanatic’ by any means and I don’t throw trail etiquette out the window to move up on the leaderboard. In fact, I don’t even really ‘go for it’ that much. I just ride and track. Sometimes I’m fast, sometimes I’m slow, sometimes I’m like, ‘holy crap, I was top 15 on that descent!’ and then the next time out, I’ll go WFO if I have a clean run just to see what happens. Kind of cool, I guess. So far the crow isn’t all that bad.

Thing number two that’s different is that I have retired my last 26” wheeled bike and am now all on wagon wheels. I kind of knew that was coming and my rant was never against the 29er itself, but more how the industry tends to go overboard with things and force them upon us. The more frustrating thing to me was that all the masses out there seem to just accept this as ‘more gooder’ just because they’re told it is by the folks who are trying to sell it to them.  I’m fine with options but you have to leave the options on the table and not force them in to obsolescence just because. That’s where I take issue.

My mountain bikes are now all 29” and made by a certain locally based company. While I don’t buy completely in to some of their razmatazz , I’ve got to say that I love the way their bikes fit me, I love their rear suspension, and I love their geometry because I really don’t get the whole ‘I ride a chopper with a 56 degree head tube angle’ thing that’s going on right now. I’m probably not going to eat crow on that one, either, because that was one of the reasons I retired my old 26er.

I sort of told myself I’d never have a carbon mountain bike but now I do. I bought the carbon version because it was on sale significantly cheaper than the alloy version and it would have been stupid not to. I do enjoy the fact that the rear triangle doesn’t flex and shift gears by itself when I’m really railing a corner at high speed so, if it proves to be durable, I guess I’m sold on that as well. I still wouldn’t have paid full pop for it, though.

My ‘Quest for One’ is a little bit closer to being complete. My new bike, even though it’s long travel, doesn’t feel like it. It’s nimble and flickable like an XC bike yet has the suspension travel to gobble up terrain…exactly what I’ve been looking for. My XC bike is now a little redundant and I could probably get rid of it but I love it, so I won’t. My CX bike just hangs in the garage and has gone about 35miles in the last 3 months and even less the previous 3 months. My hardtail does get a workout here and there when the weather turns nasty. I could have one bike. I probably won’t, but I could.

I did see a mountain lion cub earlier this fall and then less than a week later saw a bobcat so I have had a couple of close encounters. The mountain lion even jumped on a rock and hissed at me when I stopped to try to figure out what the hell it was. Once I did figure out what it was, I blasted out of there because I didn’t want to mom to pounce on me for checking out junior.

I still don’t have any ‘matching kit’…whatever that is. I was dubbed ‘Captian Baggy Pants’ at Cross of the North by the announcer as I cleared all the wooden barriers on the course with a bike so loaded with mud that I could hardly pedal it.

I still ride for that Zen feeling, I always ride alone, I try to be a good ambassador on the trail, I still suck at cross country racing. I think that’s pretty much it.

So I guess the lessons here are that I’m never going to be an early adopter and I really do know that there are no absolutes in life, I just have to rant in absolutes here because what else would I have to rant about? If I make you think, question, laugh (whether with me or at me…don’t care which) or go ‘WTF?!’ then I guess that’s something.

Enjoy the new YGR.