Sunday, May 30, 2010

New Bike: Scott Scale 10

So after riding lots of different bikes, I decided that a full suspension bike was not going to be the best fit for what I want to do in the immediate. I also like to stand up when I climb.....whatever.
I will also concede that my sense of vanity and wanting something different drove the decision to go with a Scale. I hold a very unpopular opinion that most hardtails are pretty much the same based off of geometry. Sure Frame materials, quality and weight create categories, but a XTC is to a Stumpjumper HT, what a Scale is to a Trek 9.8. They are for all intents and purposes the same. The marketers will try to tell you otherwise, but the Specs on a bike tell the real story

Race bikes are dangerous things. Many younger riders feel the need to have a race bike, but lack the skills that only experience can bring, to really be able to liberate the potential of a 20 lb hardtail. They are not stable or comfortable. They have one purpose, go fast.
My first Mtb was a 2001 Gary Fisher SuperCaliber, and I can honestly say that it was too much bike for someone with my (lack of) skills at that time. I found it twitchy, TT was too long, and it was not really fun to ride. 4 years on 29er singlespeeds taught me alot about how to appreciate handling and gears. In the equestrian world you don't put little kids on the back of 2 yr old thoroughbred, just as a profession rider will have little interest in riding a a docile petting zoo pony.

My decision to get a geared bike is due to many factors, but was largely a result of my desire to take XC racing a little more serioously.

So here is the build and a little bit about why I spec'ed the Scale as I did:
  • Scott Scale 10. Carbon fiber frame with a Ritchey Inset HS. Size Med. I wanted a very light, very stiff setup.

  • Fork: Fox F100X. The inertia valve technolgy has been aroud for some time now, and after riding TWhets Epic with the Brain susp. technology I decided that reachiing down to fiddle with lockout was for the birds. I can set the threshhold and reboundvery quickly and easily. It is not plush, but thats the whole point.

  • Cranks: FifteenG by The Hive. Be real honest here, I wanted be able to stomp on the pedals and feel the bike leap from underneath me. Stiff cranks facilitate that sensation, coupled with a stiff frame, and you have the potential for a bike that is a extremely input responsive ride. They are pretty light (less than XT), low key, and allow no deflection under load.

  • Wheels: Industry Nine Ultralite laced to Stans ZTR Race rims. This is the lightest setup that I9 sells (~1400 grams). I-9 is a local company back in the old country, and I have been wanting a set for a long time.

  • Tires: Maxxis Crossmark 2.25 front and 2.1 rear setup tubeless with stans sealant. The extra volume of the 2.25 up front is very nice when you are in the thick of it. I have been exclusively riding Maxxis tires on my MTB since 2007. Its not a sense of brand loyalty, they just meet all of my requirements (ubiquitous, reliable tubeless, relatively affordable, uniform bead size, durable sidewalls, grip, etc). If you own a Ardent, a Ignitor, and a set of Crossmarks there is no course that you are not ready for.
  • Brakes: Hayes Stroker Trails. I am in love with the shape of the levers. There is just enough sweep of the lever that I can easily get "the nub" around the lever and not have to resort to double finger rear braking.
  • They have plenty of power. Not real light, but have a very attractive pricepoint (you could spend 4 times as much on other hydro's and not lose 50 grams)

Shifting: SRAM XO gripshift to X9 rear (XTR front) derailleur turning a SRAM 980 11-32 cassette with a SRAM 991 Crosslink chain. Lets face it drive trains are disposeable. I expect to break parts of my drive train before it wears out. This represents a compromise between weight, technology, and price. The price for XT/X9 components essentially doubles going to XTR/XX, but weight reduction is going to be less than 5%. not a viable investment in my mind. A penny saved is a penny spent on race entry.

Contact Points: Ritchey WCS Stem, Bar, and Seatpost. Scale Frames use a 34.9 seat tube, and this is not a size that has a lot of options. WCS fits the bill. light too!

Saddle is a WTB Rocket V SLT. A couch for your grundle.
More thoughts tomorrow.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

One lap more than I was prepared for

That what summed up the Training race that Flatwater put on at Branched Oak this evening.
I raced Cat. 1.
on the SS.
Good enough for 4th....out of 4.
Peterson and Nate rode away early, and I chased a Cycleworks rider for 4 laps. Got within a few seconds several times, but then he would slip away in the open sections.
I do realize that I can realistically no longer race sport, but its kind of disheartening knowing that I cannot make the time commitment that it requires to be competitive at this level.
I never really gave Categories much thought since my interests have alway been more endurance leaning. However the demands of my time have been very great this year, and I am deferring all my long races to late in the season.
The good news is that I got into the Laramie Enduro!
Get the email a couple hours ago.
Gotta head down to Manhattan tomorrow to pick up a load of new parts for the bike whose name cannot be mentioned and some Call Hall Bacon!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

lost ramblin'

It has come to my attention that the ol’ bloggie has been slowly slipping down the sidebars of many other blogs. Honkies, best rest assured that fast planting and low living have not been able to hold us down.

I never thought that may ability to calculate gear inches and set up a straight chainline would ever have any bearing on my noncycling pursuits.
I can take a gear ratio and the number of kernels that it plants in 17.4 row feet and quickly calculate the planting population per acre for any other gear ratio. This blew the collective minds of my supervisors.

On other fronts big Al was rocking some new hippie kickers. White. It’s the new Bad Goat Black.

Saturday morning had me rolling to the otherside of the mighty Missouri River for some THOR organized trail rerouting at the Lewis and Clark Trail “neverrest” (not that NeveRest).

Martin getting all sawhappy.

Whiskers walks nasty on the new ascent of “Supermodel” at L&C.

Whole lotta bench got cut. Later there were smoked pork sandwiches, Schlitz, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts. It was almost like being back in the old country (we invented pigs, then pork BBQ, and are the home of KK) .

Another round of Platte all to myself.
Maybe it’s the fact that after having had to drive at least an hour to get to really great singletrack while living in KS, I think that Platte is the most underappreciated trail in NE. I am planning another Gentlemans race one evening in the next few weeks. Be prepared.

WTH? (what the hump?)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

my aspirations

So I have secretly thought about:
  • buy a walmart bike (a mongoose!)
  • swap out the pedals to Times
  • Put it in the big ring (cuz I don't expect it to shift more than 5 times)
  • show up at a XC race were no one knows me
  • in cut off jean shorts (hey nate, can I borrow that Iron Maiden Shirt?)
  • And crush the hopes and dreams of a dentist on a $6000 bike

I really don't have a good explanation for this image
Because I like Irony (If I could I would put I-9's on a Trek 820)
I hope that this does not make me a bad person.

Seriously, I have been having some really wild thoughts recently as I have been spending many, many hours standing, counting and sorting seed to send out. Couple this with a affinity for Quaaludes and things could get all "fear and loathing' real quick. Last week I worked over 70 hours.
Hump. I don't even like working 40 hours!
And this was 70 hours of standing in one location doing a mindless, menial task.....INSIDE!
It will make you crazy.
Everybody I work with is now waiting for things to dry out so we can plant.
Its kind of like that calm before the storm.
Everyone is jumpy and on edge.
I don't care, as long as I don't have to count or sort any more seed.....and think about racing on a Mongoose.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Psycowpath #2: Swanson River City Shootout

After the abject race fail that was going to Syllamo's Revenge, I was able to console myself with a win in the 2nd round of the Psycowpath Series in the SS class. I was really up in the air about this, since I was not sure if I would be able to get away from planting for a few hours in the middle of the day. However, under the guise of having family in town (my other mother, Laura rolled into the 'Loo for the weekend) I high tailed it down to Bellevue with a few minutes to spare.
I had never really done any of these races before so I was not real sure what to expect. I was afraid the they were gonna have us going down the "gravity cavity of death' that would have resulted in an huge backup in the first 2 minutes, but we were able to detour it.
SS field (8 deep?) rolled out right behind the Pro/Cat 1 group (15 deep?), just ahead of a very large Cat 2 group. On some courses being sent off in front of a big cat 2 group meant you might get caught, but at Swanson its a SS'ers course with little opportunity for power riding.
Its all about the flow at Swanson.
Right from the start I played real conservative and sat in right between the bike shop titans of Chris Wolff and Sean Licari for the first mile or two. Chris was working some sweet lines, but lost his back wheel in a corner right in front of me. I was faced with a situation like this

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Sorry, Chris.
While we were untangling ourselves Sean came around, and I was able to give chase. I chased until we got to the top of the bluff, and was able to slip around. Once I got into open territory, I really felt great, and was able to open things up. The legs have not felt spectacular the last few weeks due to all the standing on concrete floors while counting and packaging seed, but I really felt like I was on rails into the corners On courses as winding and curvy as swanson, it makes such a huge difference to be able to stay off the brakes and really carve into the corners. The best type of speed is when you can carry it all the way through the turns. What a feeling.
The second lap brought me up to Cornbread who looked to be on his last lap of the 3 hour marathon race. As always, Corey had encouraging words, but sounding like he had, had all the fun he could stand for the last 3 hours (and I believe he won the marathon class).
After that it was a matter of riding the Swanson roller coaster through the trees and going to the pain cave in the open field section for 2 more laps.
After the finish I only had time to speak to Sean and Chris before heading back to Waterloo to finish planting my Planting Date study. Was kind of sad I was not able to hang out for the awards and hear how everybody elses race went.
Later that night we got together at Rafals for burgers, where I proved that I am tone deaf and will never be good at Rock band (as an aside, sounds like it be a moonshine and hot-dog soiree at our house after the Battle Royale next week, consider yourself invited).
Then it was another early morning today as I had to get a pre-emergence herbicide over our corn acres while it was dry and the wind was calm. Then managed to sneak out to Platte River for a couple of laps, but I was feeling pretty beat. I always see the same cars parked there on sunday afternoons, I never see the other riders?
What a great weekend!