Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2013 Spark 900 Hotness

When Fitzgerald's Bicycles generously offered the team a chance to buy a 2013 Scott bike/frame on a "one-time only" offer" I knew exactly what my choice would be.  I wanted to lighten up the race bike for 2013 and the Spark 900 PR definitely saves some weight over my previous Giant AnthemX 29.  I really like the way the AnthemX 29 rides so I was a little nervous about whether I would like the Scott as well as the Giant.

After four rides, I can say that I really like the way Spark 900 rides.  It took me a few rides to dial in my position and the suspension (more on that later) but now its feeling groovy.  As pictured below, the bike is not quite "race ready" but you get the idea. My sexy race wheels are getting a little love at the moment.

I think it is pretty crazy, in a good way, that I have a large, full-suspension 29er that weighs just under 23lbs without resorting to stupid parts that will break.

2013 Scott Spark 900 with a mix of new & old parts

Pretty clean cockpit considering the dual remote

First bike with a 142mm x 12mm rear axle, and I dig it

SRAM XX1...does this cassette make my ass look big?

Cockpit Favorites:  Enve Bar, K-Edge Garmin Mount, Ergon GP1 Grips, and Thomson Stem

The Fox Float CTD Remote Shock replaces the stock DT Swiss Nude2

Very clean internal routing and exit port.

This DT  Swiss 190 hub is at least three years old and still smoove like butter

The Fox remote is meant to be run on top of the bar, but works very well under the bar
I will have more thoughts on the suspension and the SRAM XX1 drivetrain after a few more rides. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

2013 Barking Spider XC Race - Nampa, ID

Based on my experiences, there are now two mountain bike races I will never do if the forecast is calling for rain: True Grit in St. George and Barking Spider XC in Nampa, ID.

The mud from the Hemingway Butte OHV Park is by the stickiest I have ever seen. My garden hose and spray nozzle wouldn’t touch it after the race. I finally had to load the bikes back up and find a self-serve car wash with high-pressure warm water to get our bikes clean. The real damage won’t be known until I pull the cranks off and check all bearings…I am expecting the worst. Oh well, shit happens.

Michelle and I were having good days until about 1:10:00 into the race when the rain started to come down.  We had good warm-ups, the temp was pleasant, and we both felt pretty strong after our respective first laps.  Then Mother Nature dropped the hammer and the course turned into a sticky mess like that of which I have never seen.  If you poured peanut butter, maple syrup, flour, gravel, and sand into a big-ass mixing bowl you might be able to duplicate the mud that we encountered.  Both wheels on the bike were locked in place and you had the choice of carrying or dragging your bike.  I DNF'd after my second of three laps and Michelle pulled the plug after 1 3/4 laps. 

Lessons Learned: 
  • Even for short races, throw a light jacket in your jersey pocket if it looks like rain.
  • Skinny tires are your friend in the mud. 
  • The rear tire clearance on my Scott Scale29 is very poor and not mud-friendly. Grrr.
  • Gore Sealed Shift Cables work amazingly well. It is a bummer they are discontinuing them. 
  • Being able to push fresh grease into a Chris King bottom bracket after a race like this (using the Chris King BB grease tool) makes me happy. 
  • In contrast, trying to service Press-fit Bottom brackets after a race like this does NOT make me happy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Boise "Around the Block" Ride

I have a new favorite road ride and I have affectionately named it the Boise "Around the Block" ride.  I am sure the Boise locals have a proper name for this loop but it reminds me of the classic Around the Block ride in Jackson, WY so that is what I am calling it. Both rides are a little over 100 miles, both have multiple smaller climbs, both travel along a reservoir for a while, and both have one big signature climb.  I completed this loop last Sunday and it took me six hours (341 TSS) to complete it, solo.  It feels good to be back in a training groove after a bit of an inconsistent winter.

Boise "Around the Block" Ride

Jackson Around the Block Ride