Sunday, April 21, 2013

Spot Rocker SS: Initial Review

The last time it will ever be clean

My offroad season is finally underway.  Looking back on Strava data I was consistently on dirt almost a month earlier last year.  Last year global warming was real this year it is a hoax.  We got the team together again at Russell Mill to hand out new kits and meet new racers.  We've got another good group this year, should be a great year.

I was very excited to get my first ride on the Spot and Russell Mill is a great proving ground.  Fast and flowy with some decent tech mixed in here and there.  Good all round spot to get a good mix of terrain.  Long story really short...IM PUMPED.

Biggest difference between this frame and my old Redline is probably the angles on the seat and head.  I forget the exact numbers but this frame is about 1-2 degrees more slack and a bit more compact in design.  I love Redline's geometry but I'm really digging this setup as well.  I would say this frame is definitely more comfortable descending and is super nimble and playful in the tight and twisty stuff.  I'm also really digging the Niner fork.  Steering accuracy is ridiculous, best I've ever experienced.  Solid in the corners, tracks amazingly well.

Most of my time was spent just getting a bit familiar with limitations and behavior as well as getting my trail eyes back on (I was looking at my front wheel for probably the first 5-10mins).  Some of my lines were less than ideal but I'll get those kinks worked out.  This setup and me are going to get along just fine.

The only 'issue' that I might need to address is my super long 180mm SS cranks.  There was plenty of room for them with the geometry on the Redline, not so much with this frame.  Combined with my big boy 2.4 Ardent up front when my foot is at about 45 degrees in the rotation of the crank there is a tiny bit of overlap with the front tire.  I probably only touched a few times in the course of the ride and it doesn't really create issues when it does but its not ideal.  I was also pedal striking a bit more than I would have liked.  I think the BB is a bit lower on this frame and the extra 5mm on the cranks over the more standard 175mm I think might be just enough to cause enough annoyance that I might need to look into stepping back down to 175mm.  I'm gonna wait it out a bit to see if some of the pedal strike was just me being rusty, plus it will only really be an issue in more technical terrain which in the grand scheme I ride a bit less often.

But just in case anybody got 175mm crank arms just sitting around?  Preferably with a 4 bolt 104 BCD?  Truvativ would also be nice so I don't need to get a new BB.  I'm a choosy beggar.

PK was on hand taking some sweet pics.  Maybe I'll even get another cover of SingleTracks.  At the very least we got this sweet 'band pic' of the team.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Brace Yourself...Race Season is Coming

Crap its been a long time since I've updated this jam.  WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BEEN UP TO?

Part of the problem was I finally pulled the trigger and reg'd for the Wildcat 100(K) and then immediately realized I was staring down the pipe at 66 race miles in early May and it was basically April and I had just about 0 actual real world miles in my legs.  Its kind of hard to blog when you are trying to jam as much saddle time as you can into most of your free time.

Happy to report I can take a blog breather because the last few weeks have gone pretty damn well.  Commuting got underway, trying to get a few days a week where and when I can.  I've gotten some good road rides in around here as well as one bigger one down south with Bully and Matt C.  My legs have felt pretty ok for April.  Some of my Strava numbers are promising, VAM on a few of my climbs is already looking mid-season and energy levels are still decent even after long hours in the saddle.

Confidence level is pretty good for the Wildcat.  The 100K SS field is pretty small right now (only 5 of us) and after a bit of internet stalking I think I should probably be battling for the win.  Unless we've got a darkhorse roadie who can throw down serious watts but never races.  I know my body at this distance and I recently found a bit of info on the course and I think it will suit me.  Nice easy warm up to about mile 15 and then two enormous climbs back to back...almost 15mi sustained to about mile 30 then big long descent and what looks to be a predominantly flat drag to the finish.  They are claiming 6265ft total elevation gain.  About on par with the NH100 but this looks like climbing that will be much easier for me to manage.

Still trying to figure out my nutrition plan.  An email to the promoter about whether or not there are going to be any drops has gone unanswered so I'll probably have to prepare like there won't be any.  Shouldn't be a huge problem.  The NH100 has only had drops for the last two years, I've done this distance without them.  Figured out a way to turn my little top tube mounted bag into a Stinger Waffle dispenser.  Haven't tested capacity but I bet I can get at least 8-10 in there.  Good thing too because it kind of looks like there is a pretty big gap in between aid stations mid course.  Race management is going to be pretty important.

I'm swinging down to Chainline after work today to sit over the bike with the new fork installed to get the fit comfy then we'll trim the steer tube and finish that all up.  After that its just bolt some brakes on and cable them up and its rideable.  I've got some new rubber I'll eventually need to mount as well but I'm gonna wait a week or so so I've got fresh Stan's in there for race day.  I'm extremely pumped on this build.  It's definitely going to look WAY faster than I actually am.  Which is good.  INTIMIDATION IS KEY.