Wednesday, November 6

I wouldn't call it love...

I have a bad tendency to write things off based on an early bad experience.  This is especially true for tires.  When I first got on the Rekon 2.6 tires, I went with the 120 TPI with the Maxx Terra rubber compound.  I didn't even get a few months in before I flatted on a rock chundered descent on the first timed section at the Giro d'Ville, and I automatically swapped over to the 60 TPI version with only a dual compound.  Essentially, I gave up this technological marvel of earth grabbiness (and took an 80 gram penalty) in the name of increased durability:

And I stayed that way for a very, very long time.

Well, until I started getting super psyched on the grippy 2.5 Minion DHF with Maxx Terra that I ran on the Vassago Meatplow V.8 in the Fall of 2018.  It was just hot glue on felt.  It got me to thinking...

When I flatted the Rekon at the Giro '18, I wasn't alone.  I'd seen scads of riders at the side of the trail fixing flats before I completely bottomed out my tire in the thunder chunder.  What truly had scarred me was the semi-catastrophic, multiple issue fix that took me forever to address, seeing me down to the finish long after everyone else. 

Never again.

That certainly was some short-sighted thinking.  Flats happen, and when they're happening to loads of other riders, it might be more the trail's fault and less the blame on poor tire selection (see the Ledges Trail at the OZ Off-Road for example).

So upon further reflection, I went back to the 120 TPI version in 2019, and thousands of miles and tons of bike cycle racing later, I've not had one flat since swapping back to the lighter and waaaaaaaaay grippier version of the Rekon.

What we'll refer to as the "meat" of the "season" of 2019.  Everything there aside from the Bootlegger and the Pisgah Enduro™ on the Rekon, and a whole lotta other riding in between.

Da doi.

I've made the same sorta mistake before.  Back in even earlier 2018, I was trying out new rear tires.  I was interested in the Forekaster 2.2 for something a little knobbier to handle shite conditions.  I got four rides in before this happened:

Dumb me blamed it on the open spaces between the knobs making the casing more exposed to damage. 

Smart me, who took a long time to realize it, remembered back to when we had cut the fresh trail through a swampy scab of land for that year's Tour duh Charlotte.  Some of the ubiquitous bamboo had been cut off at a perfect, tire-spearing length.  Once again, it might be more the trail's fault and less blamed on tire selection.

So flash back to way earlier this year and the Forekaster was made available in a 2.6 size with a 3C Maxx Speed compound.

I mounted it up, used it for a slimy Whole Enchilada, took it off for some short track racing, put it back on for an even slimier Ride and Seek... and then took it off because it was time for "serious" racing. The venerable Rekon was put back on, and that was that...

until I headed to Greensboro for the JA King and Queen of the Watershed race.  I was still running the Rekon, but Watts had Forekasters on front and rear (2.6 and 2.2).  Trading notes after the race, he mentioned how confident they felt in the slick conditions, the exact opposite of how I was feeling.  It's worth noting that Watts didn't actually make a conscientious decision to run these tires on this given day.  They were just the tires that were on there the last time he touched his mountain bike...  weeks ago?  Months?  One never knows, especially not Watts.

Not knowing exactly what we'd get into on our trip out to Arkansas, but with some certainty that we'd eventually see some moist trails, I dug the Forekaster outta the laundry closet and put it back on the front of the Vertigo Meatplow V.7.

I was never disappoint.

We rode totally dry and clear trails.  We "raced" fifty something miles in Bentonville in the soaking wet, over sharp rocks, through gritty mud and just about anything else you can imagine... unless you imagine something like cactus or snow.  There was none of that.  Our ride in Eureka Springs was a splatter fest.  Since getting back from our trip, I raced the Fonta Flora Barnburner 50k when the trails were still slick from a previous day's rain, and I had a pretty mega day at DuPont this past weekend on trails that were wet, leaf covered, dry, drifty, sendy, rocky... pretty much all the things... except cactus and snow.

Wait... did I have a point when I started writing all this?


I guess I'm saying that I'm not only stoked on how well the Forekaster has done when things get loosey goosey moist, but I'm also not noticing any more rolling resistance on hard pack, gravel, or pavement.  All that information means I'll probably default to the Forekaster up front next year UNLESS I know I'm heading into a bone dry, predictable conditions race.

And none of this matters now anyways, as slow and low is the tempo as I slide into the grips of winter.  I'll be mounting up a 3.0 Minion DHR on my spare wheels and riding chubby until the time comes to pretend to be an "athlete" comes around once again.

But when I do...


Anonymous said...

I am still running the rekon 2.6 that you threw in the trash at the giro. Still plugged, still perfect.
Dick vs Giro round 2 this year?
I’ll sell you a slightly used rekon 2.6.

dicky said...

We'll see. I did so enjoy the '18 Giro so much, despite the troublesome flat.