Monday, October 5, 2015

Bike Chequamegon

The roll out through Hayward is a sight to be hold

 I haven’t written too much lately about my bike tech or setup but thought I would take a little time to go over my Chequamegon ride and my F-si hardtail.  For those not familiar this race is more of a road race on mountain bikes than it is a single track shred session so the race often sees some unique setups.   While most of the year I chose my Cannondale Scalpel dual suspension bike as my race rig I had been putting in some good training miles on the new F-si hardtail and was waiting for the chance to race it.  While the components, carbon layups, and tech on this bike are all top notch it is really set apart by its unique geometry.  

XC Race weapon

Specifically what makes this bike unique is the combination of:
Short head tube (important for us shorter riders)
Super short chainstays
Slack head tube angle (for an XC bike) and
Large fork offset 

I won’t go over the exact numbers here but if you do some digging on the interwebs you can see that this combination is something really unique by Cannondale for this model and represents what I believe is the future in mountain bike geometry.  After riding the bike for a year I can see why this is a winning combination.  The acceleration is super snappy but what sets it apart is the ride stability on the rough trail or downhills.  In some cases it feels even more stable than my full suspension. 

It adds up to a perfect weapon for Chequamegon.

I put a good amount of thought and time into my setup, especially for an important race like Chequamegon.  The week prior to the race everything is cleaned, assembled, ridden, and re checked multiple times.  Tire pressures are dialed down to the 0.5 psi.  Bolts are torqued to the N-m.

These are the nitty gritty details of my build: 

Frame: Cannondale F-si Hi Mod size medium
Fork: Lefty 2.0.  85 psi.
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1
Crankset: Cannondale Hollogram Si XX1
Chainring: SRAM XX1 36t
Rim: NOX Composites- Skyline 29
Hubs: DT Swiss 240 rear, Lefty Front
Spokes: DT Swiss Revolution.  32 count, 3 cross
Rear Skewer: DT Swiss RWS
Brakes: SRAM XX1
Rotors: SRAM HSX- 160mm F&R.  Ti bolts all ‘round
Bars: Truvativ Noir T40.  680mm width.
Seatpost: Zipp Service Course SL carbon

Saddle: Fizik Tundra- carbon rails
Grips: ESI racer’s edge. Right side cut to ½ length for grip shift.
Stem: Cannondale OPI 100mm, -17 deg.  No spacers.
Pedals: Shimano XTR
Rear Tire: Schwalbe Thunder Burt 29x2.25- Snakeskin (18.0 psi)
Front Tire: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29x2.25- Liteskin (16.5 psi)
Bottle cage (1): King Cage stainless
Bike weight as pictured: 19.20 lbs
Rider height: 5’-7”
Rider weight: 133 lbs

Leading the pack up Firetower Hillclimb

Tucking in behind Jordan for a nice draft
Podium Time!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Year in review

Well, I am putting the finishing touches on the oaf-est period of my off season after Cyclocross nationals in Austin.  Since I left before the major rains came, I wasn’t fortunate enough to be part of the cancellation/non cancellation of the elite races.  I opted for the 35+ Masters race with the goal of going for a stars and stripes jersey.  In the end a poor start meant that I never made contact with the front group and I had to settle for 9th despite a great ride and some hot lap times.  One thing that race drove home was that I need to devote some specific attention to starts next year.

Here is a look back at 2014 in pictures:

Nothing great is achieved alone and I had a lot of great help along the way

Many miles were logged

Sometimes in sun
 sometimes in rain, sometimes in blowing snow 

Until I wore the tread off my tires

But always aboard some of the most sick and dialed bikes out there

 I rode in the woods

and on the road

and even sometimes indoors

And I raced

In old haunts 

and in new territory

 I raced a lot 

Sometimes I won

Sometimes I lost

I raced with some people I hadn’t yet met

and new friends were made

And sometimes we celebrated

 sometimes more than others 

This year I learned that sometimes it is just as satisfying to watch someone achieve their goal as it is to achieve my own

And I am one hell of a lucky guy

And at the end of the year I was ready for a little nap with the one I love

To be ready to do it all over again next year

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chequamegon and Trek CXC

5Nines guys patrolling the front

 Chequamegon Fat Tire has been a fickle beast for me in the past.  I try to come in each year with legs primed and it seems the physical part comes through but lady luck and tactics have not.

It turns out this year would be no different.  Despite a shortened course the lead group of men hit the firetower hillclimb about 12 strong.  Jeremiah Bishop had launched his first and only attack of the race a couple miles earlier and was riding off the front over the climb.  I made sure to get into the hill climb section in front and hit the gas.  I wasn’t sure I would be able to catch Jeremiah but I thought it would be a golden opportunity to bridge up and maybe work together.   Each tier of Firetower I could see the gap shrinking and hear the chasers fade away.  About half way up I was confident I could catch Jeremiah and the two of us would have a nice gap.   Over the top I made contact and we bombed the downhill full gas.

Sitting in mid race

At the bottom I pulled through and put in a good pull.  Jeremiah turned to me and muttered something about Cannondale but I think he was more gassed than I had anticipated.  Brian Matter shortly caught us and the three of us headed into the big grassy Birkie Trail hills.  Here it seemed Brian and Jeremiah were content to watch each other and let me ride off the front.  I was trying to meter my effort to save something for the finish but also ride away if it was in the cards.  It was not. 
The lead pack getting whittled down

Sure enough the three of us were caught and swarmed right before the last 2 mile section of trail.  I was able to salvage a very hard earned 6th place finish but of course I was thinking about a little more.  Brian and Jeremiah had a little more left in the tank and rode in for 1st and 2nd.
Coming to the line with Mike Olheiser

The very next weekend I was back at it only this time on skinny knobby tires.  Each year it gets a little easier to make the transition from MTB to cross.

The new Cannondale SuperX’s were in and built up just in time for race day and they were looking sweet!  I had the new bikes out next to the car and had trouble getting my warm up in because of the amount of attention they were getting from people stopping by.  I had to agree with most in that this year we truly have the ultimate setup!

Not only do the new SuperX’s look sweet but Cannondale really nailed the geometry.  They feel stable at speed and still take the tight corners with ease.  I’m riding a 48cm frame and don’t have any issues with toe overlap.

Saturday was the UCI C1 event and I had a top 15 as my goal for the day.  I was a bit bummed to arrive and find that I had drawn the last number (#47) for the start grid.  I was going to have some work to do.

Thankfully I got a great start and was sitting close to 20th after lap one.  From there I was on a mission to smash it….riding 100% effort for as long as I could.   By lap 4 I was sniffing that 15th spot but was totally gassed.  I had to go to maintenance mode for a few laps to recover and save energy for the final push.  With 2 to go there was a group of 3 riders in 14th-16th.  One of us was not getting points.   Then to my surprise Andrew Dillman signaled to the pit that he was thirsty and pitted for a drink(?) with 2 laps remaining!  I sensed my opportunity and attacked.  We never saw him again.  

Craig Ethridge and I locked horns and worked our way past a struggling Brian Matter on the last lap.  Craig held me off in the sprint but we rolled in 13th and 14th.  Welcome to Ranked Rider Land!  Those UCI points are going to come in mighty handy the rest of this year for preferred starting position.