Since the Burger MTB challenge on my 26 inch GT Zaskar hardtail (aka Green Tiger), I've been riding up a storm, on average between 6 and 8 hours a week with the odd 10 hour week thrown in. I have since sold Green Tiger and after loads of research, shopping, web-browsing and deliberating, I ended up buying a Specialized Epic Comp 29er. I got a good deal from the LBS and so far am loving it. The very first ride I did was a baptism of fire. We did a 4h30 ride in and around the Tokai, Simonstown area but I had decided to ride to the start and back again, adding on at least another hour to the ride. Got home a bit broken but very happy with the new bike. I've since done the PPA Idea Fruit MTB race (55km) and came 3rd in my start group and 38th out of 84 in total. I'm still getting fit again so I was happy with the result but what really stood out was the confidence and speed I had on the new bike. Going from a hardtail carbon 26 inch to a full suspension 29er has made a huge difference to me...a little bit like going from a Bic razor to a Gillete Mach-3...the Bic is light and nimble but the Gillette, although heavier, cuts 3 time more with one smooth effortless stroke! Anyway, the new bike has subsequently been named Black Mamba.
Here are some pics of the Burger MTB challenge and also of the new 29er.