Saturday, 18 July 2015

Swedish XCO Champtionships - DNF due to puncture

Result: DNF

Bike: Trek Superfly FS 9.9 SL, Vittoria Barzo / Peyote 1.4 bar

Well, what can I say? I tried a new tire: Vittoria Barzo / Peyote (front/rear) and on the third lap out of six I punctured. I was running tubeless as usual and tried to inflate it using CO2 but I had a tear in the sidewall and the Stans fluid would not seal it. When I got home and analyzed the tear I found that it was really small (see photo below). It's not even visible on the inside of the tire. The Vittoria tires weigh in at almost exactly 600 grams and don't really have very thin sidewalls (compared to Schwalbe Rocket Ron Liteskin) so this shouldn't have happened. I'm very disappointed in the tire.

I had visited the track on several occastions during the spring and summer to practice. It was a difficult track for me, not being the most technically adept of mountain bikers. But bit by bit I learned to ride the whole track and on race day I was able to perform well on most parts of it. There were still two A lines that I did not take.

Looking at the section called "Ragnarök" which was the steep downhill part of the track Strava says that I did it in 1m50s and that's just some 10 seconds down on the really quick boys (my best time there is currently 42nd out of 217 riders). So I'm really pleased with this.

This being an XCO race I was a bit insecure and so I didn't take it all too seriously (silly, I know. Being a championship I should take it seriously). This led to me being rather defensive and careful at the start meaning I dropped back too far. I was making up ground quickly on the climbs and was heading for a top-15 position when I puncuted. Still, with a 'normal' and aggressive start I think I might've been in the top-10. I need to get my "head straigtht" at the start of these XCO races. Yes, it's not my strongest discipline (yet) but that doesn't mean I should back off.

So to summarize: I'm really happy that I'm becomming a better XCO cyclist and that I feel comfortable with racing XCO tracks. I really feel the urge to go out to the local downhill tracks at Genarp and do even more technical riding; I probably will this week.








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