Sunday, May 24, 2009

Canada Cup #2 - Tremblant

Well another voyage to la belle province and another great weekend of mountain biking action. It's a great atmosphere at Tremblant with tons of tourists in the village and a nice expo area of all the different race teams. I just wish for once they had the pedestrian gondola open to facilitate our laziness the day before the race. We had a nice condo right on the mountain so it was awesome to be able to roll over to the race start after lazing all morning. A post race shower was glorious as well.
I was pretty relaxed going into the race. I am pretty confident in my fitness right now and just focusing on staying more relaxed when I race and keeping a comfortable cadence. I believe it really has changed my racing for the better. I feel more in control not always straining against the pedals and it leaves me much more energy to flow the singletrack. The start was pretty good. I got a decent call up to the line and sat probably 4th row. It was pretty impressive how mostly everyone behaved themselves off the line and a major pileup for the most part was avoided. I got shoved around a little in the first 2min as usual. I guess I still have this crazy hangup about crashing and getting run over by 50 cyclists which usually means I don't take too many risks. There was a pretty big bottle neck 100m before the first singletrack on a bridge that had a gate 90% closed on it. Not too sure of the logic of this but that's the way things go sometimes in Quebec. A few riders had bad starts and made their way by me in the first lap but that was pretty much it for the race. In fact I gained a couple of those spots back courtesy of mechanicals. I opted for some more conservative lines through a couple spots in favour of keeping my bike in one piece for the duration of the 6 laps. Working my way forward seems to be a theme of mine and I'm sure my lap times were all pretty close. I am glad the race was 6 laps, pretty much the longer the better right now since I did so many big mountain bike rides while I was down south.
Anyways to wrap it up I placed 25th out of the 50 that finished and 21 racers DNF'ed. So really 25th out of 71 which I think is not too shabby. I'm looking forward to the Hardwood Canada Cup this weekend. I think the inconsistent performances of last year are a thing of the past and I'm back to my consistent ways. I'll post up some pics if I can find any.
Results Here
Over'n out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Testing: 2009 Magura Durin SL100

Out of the box.
The SL stands for super-light and they weren't kidding. I weighed it in at 3.0lbs including starnut and bearing race. Having previously ridden the 2008 Durin Race I was anxious to try this one out. I loved the linear compression stroke and actual 100mm of travel of the Race as well as its stiffness and light weight. I went with the SL this year for a few different reasons. First is that I never use a lockout unless I'm commuting to work. Second is that this fork is about 150grams lighter due to a few tweaks like no lockout and lightened steerer. Third is that I like to try new stuff lol. Out of the box the fork worked well and required no perceived break in period. Adjusting pre-load is very easy thanks to the handy chart decal on the left leg. Rebound was a simple adjustment too via the red knob at the bottom of the fork. Rebound goes from very springy to overkill slow which is nice for users tinkering and wondering what the rebound does. Compression damping comes courtesy of the Albert SL damper which is new to the Durin for 09. It is valved to keep movement to a minimum when pedalling like a tourist or getting out of the saddle at the cost of some small bump compliance.

On the trail.
The Durin SL is quite at home on pretty much anything XC you can throw at it. The Albert SL damper behaves exactly how I imagined I would like it to. Little to no movement when riding smoothly out of the saddle yet still allowing the fork to go deep into its travel on larger hits and still absorbing most small bumps. The very things I liked about the Durin Race have thankfully remained unchanged with the SL. It still uses a real 100mm of travel unlike the big 2. The fork has a very linear compression stroke which matches my riding/racing style perfectly. The dual arch design yields an extremely stiff fork in all dimensions making it very point and shoot on the descents. It lacks the extreme small bump compliance common to Fox and Rockshox and has a slight amount of bushing knock. The open bath seeps quite a bit of oil past the wipers and needs to be topped up every couple of months especially in adverse conditions. This is very easy to do and I will do a How-To on this and post it up the next time I do it.

-Linear compression stroke
-Race oriented Albert SL compression damper
-Lightweight one piece lower casting with dual arch
-Rebound adjust
-Adjustable air preload
-100mm and 80mm options
-3.0lbs for the 100mm disk version
-Integrated disk hose guide
-Post mount disk tabs
-Available in white or black for North America

-Light weight
-Sexy styling
-Actual 100mm travel
-Minimal movement from rider input

-Bushing knock
-Leaky open bath

All said I really love the Magura Durin line of forks. I really don't miss any of the ridiculous adjustments that now seem to be common place on many high end forks. If you are looking for a high end bare bones race fork that is stiff and light with a deep linear compression stroke then give the Durin a try.

Value - 8.2 out of 9.3
Performance - 4.3 out of 4.45

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Intensity anyone??

Another Wednesday night race at Hardwood and another small test of the legs. Well more importantly a development of the legs rather then a test. Analogy time; Intensity for me is like braking for a corner. You want to hold off as long as you can bear and then a little bit more. Finally just when you think it is too late you hit it hard and your timing will hopefully be perfect. It's really hard for me to stick to my plan when you are spending 9 weeks down South (March & April) in optimal weather with amazing mountain roads and trails. Especially when every week you get a new group of anxious riders coming down and cranking it hard on every ride to try and squeeze in some early season fitness to carry them over when they get back to another month of winter. Well it took about 5 years of going down South for me to learn my lesson and create a guideline of what phases of training I should be in. Pretty much what all this means is that I have a crazy strong base from doing lots of tempo miles in SC, even if it did mean riding alone most of the time. Now I get to develop my legs for speed by cutting back a bit on my hours and ramping up the intensity big time. Albion was really the first test and I can feel my speed increasing all the time. With a couple Canada Cups on the horizon I am looking forward to testing my legs some more and seeing how much more speed I can coax out of them.
Anyways time for food. I'll start putting together some more blog features like reviews and how-to's in the next week.
Train to win, race for fun :-)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

O-Cup #2. Albion Hills

Well I had a little more success this time around at race #3 for me of the season. First race I double flatted, second race had stomach cramps. This race went pretty well I thought. Started off strong and wasn't too far back from the front, probably 15th place. Was cruising along fine enjoying another awesome Chico course and a little confused of all of the tales of crazy mud holes. I got the jist of what earlier racers were talking about when I was 1/2 way through the lap. Hit a muddy climb but it was still rideable. I thought ok this must be what they meant, no big deal. Got clipping along pretty good down the other side and hit mud hole #2. Well more like hit a rut and went flailing into a swamp. It was pretty comical, pretty much the worst place to go down. Picked myself up, stuck my mud hosed glasses into my jersey and continued after getting passed by about 10 people. I think in all there were 4 mud holes in the lap, 3 of them I dismounted for. I'm no runner so I think that hurt me a bit as the race wore on but I stayed smart and a little conservative and just kept on top of my cadence and not trying to burn too much energy in the twisties. I kept catching people all race, some would hang on for a little but drop off. The further up the field I got the harder it became to drop people after catching them. Ended up in a good little group of 4 who all had pretty good legs. I think fitness wise I had the advantage but I was painfully slow in the hike-a-bike stuff. I didn't panic and just kept a good rhythm and eventually got a small gap and held it for 8th place. I am really amazed at the depth of not only the Sr Elite field but also the Junior Ex riders. There seems to be tons of support now for junior riders and Ontario is really starting to produce a lot more talented athletes. It's great to see the next generation coming on so strong and I think we'll have some super competitive world class riders in the near future. As for me, I think I am going to take next weekend off instead of going to Quebec. Next race will be the Tremblant Canada Cup on the 23rd.
Over'n out.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Back to business

Well back to Barrie and back to my routine. Boy do I love my routine. I'm off my crazy sleep cycle and feel more energized simply from having stuff to do in a day. I'm telling you it's not as easy to have 2 months off as you think, especially when your job is as fun as mine. Back to work at Hardwood and hitting the trails. So far I am pretty happy with the changes the outdoor crew have made around Hardwood. They've spiced up a lot of the trails and even added a new one. I've only ridden one of them so far but I can say that it was my favorite trail before and I love how they've change the end of it and given it more flow (Gnarly). I really don't know how they've managed to leaf blow, clear the debris, and build all of this trail considering we had over 200 people skiing Easter weekend. I also got a chance to throw down on Sprockids Wednesday night and make good on a bet foolishly accepted in the long winter months. I'm telling you those kids can rip, managed 5th overall which is a podium anywhere in elite.

Monday, May 4, 2009

It's good to be Canadian again.

Well after a pretty uneventful drive it is good to be back in the great green North. Seems like I've gone back in time 2 months weather wise though. There's a certain indescribable something in the air up here. I think mostly it's the strange occurrence of going outside for a bike ride and seeing other people out there actually exercising. As for the drive itself, I headed off at about 9am. The plan was to leave at 5:30am but after staying up cleaning the house until 4am I decided I better get at least 4 hours of sleep so I didn't end up in a flaming ball in the guardrail of a highway in West Virginia. I am always amazed at my car, first of all by the ease of getting 3 bikes and all my gear in there. Second of all by the $40 in gas it cost me to go 1500km's. It was packed so efficiently the only thing in the passenger seat was my smorgasbord of junk food. Whole trip only took me 15 hours including 4 stops and the border crossing. I kept waiting for my car to need gas so that I could stop and empty the bladder but it just wasn't happening. First vehicle I've driven where I have to stop before it.
Well that's about all there is to report for now. Visiting the family in Peterborough for a few days before heading back to Barrie for the Wednesday night Hardwood race then back to work I imagine on Thursday.