Thursday, 24 November 2011

I've Got a Brand New Pair of Hope Race X2 Evo Brakes

Any British mountain biker lover will undoubtedly have heard of a cool company called Hope. They have forged a reputation as people who make mountain bike components that can handle British conditions - i.e. mud. And anyone who has brought a Hope component will probably still be running it on their bike - like Clive Dunn, Hope components simply don't die.

This week we took delivery of a set of Hope Race X2 Evo brakes (complete with XT shifter mounts), so we embarked on a night of serious bicycle fettling! Every single review we have seen of the brakes says they are the best thing since sliced cake. Excellent stopping power and extremely light weight. The ability to mount XT shifters directly on the levers also cuts off a significant chunk of weight from the bike.

Dean had been saying all week about how we have having trouble getting brand new Rocket Rons on his rims. Being the sort of person I am, I mocked him for this. We managed to get the first tyre on with out tooooooo much arhgy bargy. Then the second tyre took a good 30 minutes, lots of grunting, fairy liquid, and the assistance from my father. I am surprised the rim didn't bend with the amount of forced we placed on it (please remember, my dad and Dean both have super human strength as the result of bushy moustaches).

Having had my fresh Mavic freehub die on me after about 2 months, I decided I didn't want to put anymore money in Mr Mavic's pockets, so hunted down a new set of wheels. Mr Epic Daza of Team CCN sold me a super light weight set of ZTR/American Classics. These wheels are now ready and waiting. A hundred miles on road bikes on Saturday, and maybe a club run on Sunday, more tinkering Monday night then a little test ride over the local woods. I have a feeling the bike is going to be flying!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Audax For Beginners - Norfolk Nips 1 Report

Today was my first attempt at a proper audax, and I absolutely loved it! 100km around North Norfolk under overcast skies. The route took a decidedly "back roads" route, and what with us being under 40, we don't really have a thing for maps. So we were pretty rubbish. The start was a bit of a disaster, as the location of the start shown on google maps on the main page was actually about 2 miles away from the actual start. Fortunately Dean waited for me, ready with a loving of insults :) Starting by the time most of the group were about 15-20 minutes up the road, we were on full chase mode. Fortunately we had Mark "Pistons" Pearson with us to help hunt everyone down.

The typical image people get when you talk about an audax is that of touring bikes, panniers and leather pouches. Whilst we weren't disappointed, there was a lot of chaps and ladies from the local racing scene having a good crack at it today. Despite giving it plenty of kicks, we found that each time we came to a turning or crossing, we would stop, have a ponder, consult the directions list, then be caught by riders who knew where they were going, and then follow them. Give it another kick, hit a junction and repeat for pretty much the rest of the day! Surprisingly enjoyable way of riding, basically intervals. My legs got a real stinging, we got a bit lost, and rolled back into the HQ having clocked up over 70 miles. 160 riders were on the road, lots of banter and good cake. Ace. More next month and the month after. Get registered for the Norfolk Nips 2.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Is that one of those Whippets?....

Sunday saw the first round of the local and by far the greatest endurance winterseries @ Thetford.
This years first round was on the extra fast Brandon country park so was hotting up to be a classic race. Me and Mr Read got organised and turned up about 2hrs before the start, enough for a faff about and a pre-ride of the whole 7 mile lap.
I was ultra keen so got to the start line about 30mins before the start just aftering completing my lap, no surprise to find Endurance legends Mr Anthony White and Paul Ashby already there.
Nice long chat with Mr White calmed the nerves and looking around at the sea of 750 riders lined up was an awesome site. (400 riders in the ultra fast 2hr cat!)
We were off I didnt keep right at the front as I know my limits but kept up at the front enough to avoid any bottlenecking at the singletrack entrance.
Then about a mile in disaster struck a rear puncture on the first little climb, HOW in my sealant filled tube (first of the year). On closer inspection there was a half inch rip in the tyre.
Lucky for me Ian was behind and stopped and basically fixed the puncture for me with his C02, big thank you and great team spirit!.
Now have to battle my way back through the 100 riders who had just passed me was going to be a legburner, but I had 4hrs to do it in so all was still possible.
Head down and my planned average speed of 13mph suddenly shot up to 16.
Averaging about 30 mins a lap it took me till about lap 6 to get to the top 20 riders and then it was until lap 7 /8 that I picked off some more and finally rocking in at 13th.
Not a bad effort considering the time lost at the beginning and the extra energy spent on the battle to the front.
Mr Read suffered for 2hrs and called it a day after a crash with friend and local rider Stef.
As usual the team whippet was a cause for many conversations throughout the day and I spotted at least three others out on the course and from the comments I hearing the bike could be the value carbon ride of the decade!
Right so at least for my efforts im gridded for the next event so bring on the pain 4/12/11.

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