Sunday, September 14, 2008

Out with the Old.........

...In with the new. After a couple years of throwing around the idea of going 29'er, I finally did it. The final part, the Niner EMD frame, which showed up on Friday. Ya, I know, it's been about 10 years since I've raced a hard-tail but what the hell. The Niner EMD frame is fairly light even though it looks big and appears to be seriously tough. Trying a few new things out, and i'm not one to try new things out when it comes to bike setup. I've ran almost the exact same setup (seat height, bars off the ground, seat tip to bars, ect) for the past 6-8 years. I figure since everything in my life seems to be changing for better, it was just a matter of time that I did something with the MTB. Trying a single ring 32 by 11/34 setup. I've ran the single setup in cross and wouldn't go back to a double for anything, but I'm still on the fence how this is going to work off-road. I build the bike up Friday night with the tornado sirens going off. Saturday I took it out for a 90 minute spin. WOW. IT IS EXTREMELY DIFFERENT. Could only do the paved trail since 6" of rain in 48 hours doesn't do the Shawnee Missing Park mtb trails any favors. In fact, it might be a while before I can try out some single track on it. I did do the kitty-litter trail around Lake Lenexa (Blackfoot Park)but that's the only dirt it's seen so far. The 32/11 seemed a big small on the paved trail and the 32/34 might be a hand full on super steep stuff but how often do we see that out here. I've got all winter to get this thing figured out. You definitely notice the bigger mass of the wheels when starting from a stop but once you're going it didn't seem that bad. The Manitou Minute 29'er fork will take some tweaking. The Sun Ringle wheels are nice and tight (although the rim seems a bit narrow) and the Hayes Stroker brakes work great. Maxxis Crossmark tires seem perfect, except they fit very loose on the rims so they wouldn't setup tubeless so they are tubed for now. I've always ran a narrow bar and very LOW in relation to the seat. Looks circa late '80 Tomac'ish, but that's what I know and have always ran it that way. After 20 years, the lower back is begging me to fix this, so I'm going to move the bars up a little bit at a time over the winter and hopefully by the start of the '09 season, i'll be sitting a bit more upright and comfortable. I'll selling all the old 26" stuff so this is all or nothing.
I ended my commuting season with 57 days. I might fit a day or 2 in here and there for not much more. With 'Cross season here, I needed to be a little fresher and I need to focus a little bit on work right now (more on that later). The 'cross season opener in Hermann Missouri just a few days away. I have a descent 25th place call-up out of a big field. There's at least 15 guys up there that are fast so I need to move up fast and get onto those wheels and away from the guys that will just be in the way. Should be epic under the lights. Training has been tough given all the rain. I've spent more an a few rides doing intervals in the rain and covered in freshly cut grass clippings. Stayed up all night to get signed up for CX Nationals. It's amazing how many people are ALREADY signed up when they turn registration on. There were already 55 guys in the Masters 40-49 before the system even let me in. That's still better than last year. I was called up in 97th or something and finished 16th. I have a legitimate chance at the podium if I can get through enough guys quick off the start and onto the right wheels. Last year I spent the entire first lap going from 90th into the top 20, but the front runners that had a clear course were already gone.
For the Elite race, I'm 25th signed up but that's before they stick all the UCI points guys up there. I'm not really worried about that race. Even the back-markers are relatively fast. I'll contest this year on the same duel 3D Racing custom bikes.