Big day last Friday. I collected the Giant Trance Advanced 1 I will be riding in the BC Bike Race from Bicycle Superstore in Mornington.

More than collected, I got to help build it with shop manager Justin.

Well, build it is a bit of an exaggeration. The bike is three-quarters assembled when its pulled from the box.

The big job apart from cutting off all the wrapping was installing the dropper seat post, mounting the front brake caliper, bolting in the handlebars, installing the front wheel and setting the suspension.

We also took the decision to swap the front tyre from a Maxxis High Roller to a slightly less aggressive Minion DHR. The tyres were also Stansed – no tubes for me thanks!

Now, I’m a bit ten thumbs with all this stuff, so my contribution included dropping all the Allen keys on the floor and screwing in the stem cap so the Giant logo was upside down.

Justin watched on patiently, intervening only when I was on the verge of disaster.

Build complete, the bike went on the scales and came up at 13.1kg. I’d love to get it into the 12s and that’s probably going to be an outcome of tyre choice.

Next step was a first ride on my home trails at Red Hill. I am coming off a 100mm XC bike with 2x10 gearing, so swapping to a 150/140mm trail bike with 1 x12 gearing and a dropper was always going to feel a lot different.

The bike park at Red Hill is steep. Doing 1000m upwards in 20-25km is entirely achievable. I quickly learned that climbing was a different challenge. Get low down over the stem and grunt!

That steepness gets paid back in spades on the way down. Trails like Rock Salt and Pins and Needles have lots of gnar (as the Canadians say) and the Trance ploughed right through it all.

That’s encouraging, because the whole idea of getting off the XC bike for the BC Bike Race is to have a safety margin for the steep technical downs that are common in the race.  I might not climb as fast, but my primary objective is finishing each day in one piece and being able to turn around and do it again the next day … for seven consecutive days.

Just as I was beginning to get the hang of the Trance the Fox DPX2 shock decided it didn’t want to play any more and dumped out its air. That was a bummer, primarily because it was a long walk back to the car.

The fault itself is a simple fix of a faulty seal. Justin and the guys at Mornington had it done and the bike back to me in 24 hours.

Thanks guys, the countdown is truly on to July 7 now. Got to keep riding!