Monday, June 10

Getting back in the swing

Stage racing gives so much.  Unfortunately it also taketh away.  An incredible experience for sure, but one that takes you outta life's normal day-to-day for more than a week.  While trying to get back into the swing of things and reconnect with the family unit, I still needed to go through a week's worth of disheveled equipment...

like a set of wheels tagged with Pro Gold decals.

Who woulda thought that if I didn't get around to removing them in an ASAP manner, I'd have to spend so much time removing sticky residue from my machined aluminum spokes?

Not only did I have to deal with the piles of shit left over from the Trans-Sylvania Epic, I needed to get ready for the Pisgah Enduro and start thinking ahead for the BC Bike Race in less than three weeks.
Pisgah Enduro... obviously I'm taking the Meatcarver.  Since the last time I rode the bike at the Pisgah Eleventy-one, I've added the Thomson Elite Dropper.

I went about enjoying its first ride yesterday.  More in a moment.

I also cashed in my Thomson certificate and finally replaced my placeholder stem.

For those keeping stats on my quiver, that makes two bikes with Thomson stem/post combos, two bikes with ti post/Shimano stem combos, and one bike with full old school Syncros.  Please update your records.

So yeah, the bike needed a shake-down ride before next weekend... some time to get used to the new drooper post and make sure everything was squared away.  Only two or three trails nearby even close to open after all the rain we've been getting, so I went with the nearest one.  The first thing I noticed once I got into the woods was that my rear brake lever went straight to the bars.


Just because I cleaned my bike after the Eleventy-one and installed my new Thomson parts DOES NOT MEAN that I went over the bike thoroughly.  I had apparently wasted yet another set of brake pads racing in the Dirty South this spring.  I just hadn't done anything about it.

I went back to the car, adjusted my lever way the hell out to maybe get just one more day's worth of squeezing outta the pads and then headed back out into the woods.

The drooper drooped as advertised.

Things I like about the post (so far)...

* Infinite adjustment.  Sure, lots of other posts have it as well,  whatever.  My last one didn't and that was stupid.

* The cable guide swivels on the post to keep the cable from jutting out and getting kinky.  Well played.

*  The rate of return was spot on and the fact that the last portion of up-travel is damped so there's no "thunk" at the top?  Very nice.

*  It's buttery smooth and easy to find the sweet spot.  The spring is easy to overcome and the amount of drop is smoothly controlled.

*  The lever is small and intuitive.  The only downside for me is that having any kinda gizmo on the bars tends to make me think geared thoughts.  Some latent lizard brain thinking going on, but I can't help it.  I found myself touching it in moments of weakness expecting the riding to get easier.  My seat just dropped.

With the addition of a bell (a must for enduros... at least in my mind), this is the most complicated cockpit arrangement since my failed XX1 experiment.  Here's to me not trying to drop my seat only to hear a *ding-ding* in response.

The only sad part of the day, other than the fact that it was stupid steamy in the woods, was that the trails I sought in the location I chose may or may not exist in something close to a legal manner.  Where I thought the drooper would be most useful was on a screaming descent that is still there but not entirely legal'esque... or not not.  I did not seek proper beta before leaving the house, poked around, turned around at a few NO TRESPASSING signs, and got in minimal schralpage.  I'm not saying there was no schralpage, just none that should be STRAVA'ed or discussed.

Upon returning to the parking lot after a day of slipping on the roots, phantom shifts, sweat in my eyes, and drooping whether I needed to or not, I ran into Chico in the parking lot.  Some chatting about the enduro, some discussion of the stupidity of doing it on a single speed, and while talking I looked at my bike lying on the pavement.

I had two SRAM PC-1 snap links in the chain...

That means that while I had the wheel out to swap my brake pads, I could easily remove two links, swap the 20T out for the 16T on my "cross bike" without adjusting the sliders, and up the speeds I could possibly reach on the the Jarrett Creek road segment.

So why not?

It took all of ten minutes to do and will keep me from scratching my ass coming down Jarrett Creek... maybe.  Not sure what the entire point is since I will be racing in the expert class on this not-really-meant-for-enduro-racing machine, but whatever.  Boredom will be killed this weekend with the biggest bullet I have.

And I'll have some lovely hiking moments on the climbs.

That will be nice too.


AdamB said...

Which brake pads are you burning through so quickly? Organics or Sintered?

dicky said...

All the above... organic is wearing much faster though. Ti backed sintered are much more expensive.

It's the miserable conditions we've been racing in down here.

Sonya said...

It's a ploy from ProGold. You need to buy their cleaning products to remove their stickers!