I was looking forwards to testing the new Scott Scale 29er under race conditions. But let me start first with one of the top race rules: do not mess w/ your bike the night before the race. As a cat 1 racer I should have known this. I did know this! Yet temptation was just too much to not try to convert a brand new wheelset to tubeless the night before the race. Mind you I had set up my 26er wheelset tubeless a gazillion times w/out any issues and have gotten pretty good at it. So no big deal I thought! During the conversion process I noticed that the inner rim edge of the DT Swiss xr39 seemed to have a very small bead. My concerns were amplified when pumping the tire to 60 psi without ever hearing that "pop" of the tire locking onto the rim. I continued anyways, shook the stans all around, and checked for leaks by applying soapy water and checking for them bubbles. All seemed to be good. Let the air back out to 30 ps1. Took the bike out in the rain for 1/2 hour stint in the dark to take some really tight turns on a grassy field to make sure the tire would not burp. All seemed good... Next morning some air had leaked out of the tires but nothing too bad. Pumped air back to 26 psi and off to the race. Also right before leaving, installed a new Easton EC 70 post that had just arrived in the mail. Not a lot of 34.9 post makers out there!
An hour later parked in the lot (fast driving!), pulled the bike out and... the rear tire was flat w/ the tire being off the bead and stans leaking out all over my man van! Not wanting to take any chances, back to tubes. Since I had flatted twice on a night ride the previous week with 26 psi and I had heard the course was really rocky (which it was!), I decided to play it way safe and add 30 psi in the rear and 28 in the front. With the changing of tires, (mostly spend cleaning up the stans liquid) this left little time to warm up.
|Race course is in blue.|
|Elevation Profile of the course. Two laps for a total of +- 1800 feet of climbing.|
I almost missed my start trying to get a quick warm up in, and like the last few races, decided to sit back and take a couple of miles to ease into the race. When we came to the first creek crossing i was dfl but holding on to the stragglers. The crossing was not clean but I made it through w/out dabbing. I ended up w/ one wet shoe for the second crossing. Since I had no idea what to expect out of the first climb, I settled into a sustainable pace and passed a few of the guys. On the way down I was really struggling w/ clearing the rock garden's. I know I should have been able to clear them and it was getting really frustrating I was messing up. By the time I got to the bottom, I had no confidence left and was hesitating even over small stuff. Those guys I had passed were now back on my wheel. I dropped and passed some more on the second climb but once at the top, every time the trail turned rocky or rooty, the bike would bounce off the trail or the line I was trying to ride. 3/4 through the first lap, I was fighting the bike and the trail and was back to being dfl since I was dabbing on everything and riding w/ a fist full brakes. I even fell a couple of times and was starting to use profanity way to much. My hr wasn't even high since I wasn't feeling comfortable enough to try to bring my speed up. I was actually hating it so much I had decided I was going to dnf once I hit the start/finish area and sell the bike to the first person who offered me a $100 for it. 29er my ass!!!! Had I had my 26 inch Epic, I would have easily floated over that terrain and probably be in the top 5.
|From the Tvr facebook site|
great movie from on youtube!
Boy was I glad when I finally saw the finish line. Though it was a terrible (awful, bad, sucky, stinky, suck ass) race, and I did not even really get a hard work out of it (I did not even need a cool down ride after finishing since my hr was not very high), I was still glad I got to be out there, experience the course, and be w/ my fellow racers this late in the season. What is great about mountain biking is that even really bad rides or races are still just awesome! I can't wait to race it again next year. By that time, hopefully, I will have adjusted to the new bike and should be even able to ride the power line rock garden. I ended finishing 6th out of 10 starters and 8 finishers.