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"The biggest change has been my mentality. I used to REALLY care about making every steep punch or technical move on my single-speed that my friends could make on their multi-speed bikes and now I don’t. So short of changing priorities I’m not sure what would motivate me to clip-in on the trail."
This. The only tinniest of motivation for me to return to flats would be to pull through technical punchy climbs that I have more trouble riding flats on. However that has opened a whole new window of challenges that I have to work on. These for a descending fan primarily have been oddly satisfying when I nail them. I speak of clearing 1.5-2'+(0.6m) root/rocks across an already steep incline midway through a technical climb. All of this has been aboard my hardtail as I wait to build up a new full suspension bike. That I could nail and be completely comfortable down janky descents on flats with that bike has also been enlightening.
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