Thursday, November 18, 2010

The NEW wheels on the bike go round and round!!

I managed to get out for a 6km ride this morning as part of some trail maintenance duties here in Cornubia Forest. My first impressions of the new wheel set is how light the steering feels now! I didn't think it would be so noticable but I guess the laws of physics are pretty rigid. As a test, the next time you have your front wheel out of your bike grab it by the axle, give it a gentle spin then walk around changing directions as you go. Notice the force on your hands? The faster it spins, the stronger that gyroscopic effect. If the wheels are lighter, less force is required to change direction!

The second thing I noticed is how strong the wheels feel. Zero flex so far. I was running a bit much air pressure to start with (about 30psi) which I dropped to about 20-25psi on the trail and the grip level was impressive especially as it was a little wet this morning.

I am not really sure how they feel for climbing yet. Although I climbed about 350m, I am still feeling pretty weak from more "man flu" and will reserve judgement on their climbability until another day.

Very pleased with myself, I must say!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

New Hoops

I decided several months ago that some lighter wheels were in order for my XTC 29er. The standard Giant rims are just that. Giant! To their credit they are very stiff, but popping them on the scales reveals that they are porky as well. 2.41 kilograms(5.3 pounds) with tubeless rim strips! Another good reason to change the wheels is from an aesthetic point. There is just too much GIANT branding all over the bike.

I wanted a reasonably light wheel set, that could still handle an 85 kilogram rider "floating" over some rough terrain. After quite a bit of research I decided on a set of Stan's ZTR Crest rims rolling around a pair of Hope Pro II hubs, laced up with DT Swiss Competition spokes. The Crest rims have a recommended maximum rider weight of 80kg, hence my opting for the heavier gauge spokes than if I was going for an all out lightweight wheel.
Once all the parts arrived I had the wheels laced up by a reputable local bike shop. Then a friend introduced me to the finer points of wheel building by showing me how poorly tensioned my new wheels were! The old axiom, "If you want something done properly, do it yourself" came to the fore. So I now know how to tension and true a wheel. Pretty simple really! Thank you Chris for the assistance. I guess that means a truing stand and  tensiometer will be on my shopping list.
Set up with Stan's Yellow Tape it was time for the scales. A very pleasing 1.67kg (3.67 pounds) for the pair indicates the effort to source the parts and oversee the build myself were worthwhile.
Putting the finishing touches on I elected to use the current tyres I am running on the Giant rims. A Maxxis Ignitor front and a Crossmark rear. I have had all sorts of problems to get the Ignitors to seat on the Giant rims (I run tubeless) and just quietly I was dreading pumping these tyres up. To my delight they both beaded instantly, as though they were proper UST Tubeless tyres, not the folding bead bretheren that they are!

Now it is just up to me to shake the cold that I acquired at work last week and to get out on the trails. Stand by for the low down on the high end wheels.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Life is for Living III

Some more time away with work was book ended with another two days of riding. Monday saw me with some free time and the weather on my side, so a road ride down to Cabbage Tree Point and back before picking up the kids from school fit the bill.

Steve and I are on an unofficial tour of Brisbane mountain bike trails. Tuesday saw us at the Gap Creek car park for an assault on Mt Nebo. Steve's first time up Nebo and I "apparently" mentioned that it was a 25km "nip" up to the cafe. Funny. I am sure I mentioned that was 25km each way with 1800 metres of climbing!

My weapon of choice for the day was my XTC 29er, while Steve had his trusty Stumpjumper. I will get him on some big wheels with my constant sniping :) The 29er is the perfect machine for a fireroad climb on a pristine November morning. The temperature should be in the low 30s(celcius) by now with moderately high humidity, but the days are in the low 20s and dry. It is a gift from heaven for mountainbiking here in south east Queensland and we are trying to make the most of it.

We quickly warmed up as we attacked the lower slopes of South Boundry Road and really appreciated the slight chill in the air. I had only managed one Mt Nebo ride so far this year, way back in May, when training for the Epic was beginning in earnest. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control, we didn't manage to get back for more hill training. Hills closer to home had to suffice.

"The Shelter" is a welcome sight as it indicates that you are succeeding in the battle of mind over legs. Placed about 2/3 of the way up it would be inviting if you were stuck up here in a thunderstorm, but we push on as our stomachs are starting to feel a little empty and the cafe beckons.

Boombana cafe is closed! WTF?!! Who cares if it is Melbourne Cup Day. We busted our humps to climb up here for a coffee! Once the shock wears off I wander into the Post Office next door and ask if there is another cafe? Yes, is the reply. Another five hundred metres over the hill and we were resting the bikes on the fence above and shortly after biting into a toasted ham,cheese and tomato sandwich. Ahh............the simple things in life are simply the best.
Saddling up for the run down the hill and I am suddenly aware of how sore my butt is! I have not been riding anywhere near enough these last two months. I will be making up for that though. Living life is my new motto. Our time here is fleeting and I want to make my dash count................

Back down Sth Boundry and we met a ranger armed with a chainsaw, attacking some of the many gum trees that were blown down across the road. We stopped for a chinwag and he quickly established he was a MTBer too. He lamented with us the lack of foresight that the Brisbane City Council have shown with regard to MTBing in Brisbane Forest Park. It could have a mass of world class singletrack snaking it's way up to Mt Nebo........................

One last pinch up Highwood rd to the start of "Dingo" and our legs were pretty toasted. Steve looks far too happy that the ride is almost over!

Another awesome day on the bike, in good company and absolutely knackered. It must be time to head to work to let the legs recover before then next installment of our "Tour de Brisbane", Bunya.

Oh, I almost forgot. I have finally put some of the bush in my back yard to good use with the beginnings of a junior MTB trail.

A certain little red headed girl approves but is asking where the north shore equipment is.............

Life is for living part II

Work,weather and life in general have interfered with having fun until last week when Steve and I were finally able to sneak out for a ride at Nerang.

Maybe it is time to take some risks.

Ride Today

It was awesome to be back in the bush, on my bike chatting with a mate about "stuff". This is one of the reasons I ride..............................................

Heal tomorrow......................

Life is for living

The last three weeks have been a reflective time around here. Since my last post we were informed that my father-in-law's cancer was far more advanced than any of us thought. Unfortunately he succumbed to it all too soon, after only being diagnosed in February. He fought with all of his considerable strength and remained dignified, at home, until the end.
The day of Paul's funeral turned from the miserable rain that had persisted for days into one of those spring days in the Southern Highlands where the air is crystal clear, the gardens ablaze with colour and a crispness in the air that makes your skin tingle. Just the kind of day we were hoping against. Why, oh why, couldn't the rain stay for one more day?

I took my little boy for a walk, obstensibly to remove him from the house, but in reality probably to help me collect my thoughts.There were gardens in bloom everywhere you looked and I turned the camera over to my six year old for a while......