I've been sleeping a lot since we got back in town because I'm trying to shake what's left of this bronchitis but I did get a chance to make a few more adjustments to the Alma today. I'm still struggling with seat height a bit but I think I'm close now. Initial impressions are that this bike is amazing. We still have some snow on our trails and I feel terrible so I only rode them for a few minutes but it sure was fun. The Alma just begs to be ridden. I'm using 2.1 Crossmark tires and I'm really glad that Orbea made that downtube like they did because that wider tire really kicks up some serious pebbles. I think I ate a few of them. I love the Reba fork. I actually locked it out while climbing today and it still felt better than my old Manitou. It really is amazing how comfy the bigger wheels are. I am running 22 lbs. right now but I suspect I will have to run a bit more when I'm fully loaded.
TK showed me these Salsa bars he had kindly set aside for me to use and, honestly, I thought they were a complete bill of goods when I first saw them (sorry TK). They are about 4 inches wider than my Monkey Lites and they sweep back 11 degrees. I clearly heard circus music playing in my head when I picked them up. Even Sparky commented about how wide they were. But...this thing is not being set up for XC use. I need it to be very comfortable first and foremost. They are. Good call TK. Also need to give Jeff Kerkove of Ergon props for steering me in the right direction on what grips to get. I had these GC2's on my singlespeed and, again, heard the distinctive sounds of Ringling Bros. but I think they'll work prefectly.
One thing I found while scouting out some of the trail over the summer is that it becomes really easy to get disoriented when you're tired, dehydrated and have been on the bike for 6 hours. While the trail itself is very well marked, some of the detours can be tricky (at least for me) so I thought it might be a good idear to have some cheat sheets with me. It's a real pain to keep them in your jersey pocket or backpack so I made a simple holder out of Lexan and I can hold all my directions there and read them while still riding.
I should be getting some more gear in this week so I'll update as that happens. Thanks everyone.