I was waiting for an opportunity to have a big ‘ta-dah’ with my new toys for the upcoming season. But with the best plans going astray (and this plan not even being close to my best) the cat is out of the bag. Yes, I am on a 29er hardtail this year, riding for Liv/Giant. Despite being thought a 29er ‘hater’ I have never been – I have merely been bemoaning the lack of options for someone of my sub 165cm stature. The strong demand for 29ers has resulted in basically all new imported bikes coming fitted with the big wheels and 26 inch wheels seemingly confined to European world cup courses.
Having accepted that 29ers are possibly faster, or at least no slower, than 26ers the choice which remained was choosing a brand. Of course I wanted a super light bike with nice geometry and lots of carbon and titanium goodness but I am also focused on what I can do off the bike to promote the sport. Liv/giant is the perfect fit with their commitment to womens’ participation in cycling for fun and a healthy lifestyle. In my coaching role at Progressive Coaching Systems this is also a big goal for us and an area we hope to make inroads in the future.
With the Flight Centre Epic on this weekend it has been a bit of a rush to get used to the bigger wheels but also being back on a hardtail for the first time in 2 years. I have become such a lazy rider and my butt is now paying the tax! We are still awaiting the 2013 model so Giant have generously loaned me a bike until it arrives. Being pretty keen to perform well in Queensland’s premier MTB Marathon a few modifications have been made…
- Enve carbon wheels, on loan from For The Riders. Always nerve wracking riding borrowed wheels and I wish someone hadn’t mentioned how much they cost to replace!
- Bars straight from the 26er: not wanting to change too much at once I’m still running my narrow bars. At 580mm I’m unlikely to get them stuck anywhere.
- Selle Italia SLR Carbon seat: again, straight from the old bike. It looks like it should be uncomfortable but it is honestly the most comfy saddle to grace my rear end to date, and only 115g to boot.
- The boys at NS Dynamics wound the forks in to 80mm to lower the front end. In future I will be winding them back out when I get a seriously negative rise stem but due to the bigger steerer tube we couldn’t get our hands on one to fit by the weekend.
Schwalbe Racing Ralph Snake Skins which are the second lightest in the range with a slight weight penalty for the security of added puncture protection. Good for 90% of trail conditions the RR model has been my go-to tyre for 3 years now – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
Also continuing their support are Shotz nutrition and Ride Mechanic keeping body and bike running like well-oiled machines. I love both of these companies for making great products which perform, but also because they are Aussie businesses.
I’ve heard there are a record 1600 riders entered for the Epic this year which shows that mountain biking is très popular in south-east Queensland. I can’t wait to tow the line at the race which started it all!