Sunday, 29 March 2015

Fitness MTB Classic

Result: Fifth place
Bike: Trek Superfly FS 9.9 SL, Fast Trak S-works/Rengade S-works 2.0 - 1.6bar

This is a popular Danish marathon race with most of the good riders taking part. The race is 4 laps of a track totaling 76km. Some quite technical sections with lots of roots and some steep inclines and descents. Ahead of the race the weather forecast predicted rain through the night leading up to race day. So muddy conditions were to be expected. I was trying to decide between running my usual RocketRon / RacingRalph combo with plenty of grip or to go with the quick rolling Fast Trak/Renegade combo. In the end (mostly out of laziness as the wheels were already on the bike) I decided to go with the Fast Trak/Renegades. This turned out to be a mistake. Oh, and this was the first race on the full suspension Superfly.

Fitness MTB Classic

Race story:
The start went well but I had to do some work to get up to a group that had Henrik Söberg, Henrik Ahlbäck and Palle Jensen. However, after catching that group I just went past them and up to the next one. This new group with riders I didn't know held a really high pace and so just before the end of the lap I let them go.
At the start of the second lap Henrik Söberg and Palle Jensen, together with some other riders caught up with me. We rode together but after a while Palle went off the back. The group got smaller all the time until it was just me, Henrik Söberg and another guy. I managed to stay with them until just before the end of lap 3.
The last lap was a real struggle. I was out alone and towards the end of the lap I started getting cramps in my legs. Nothing that completely stopped me as I was able to straighten my legs just before the cram really struck seriously. However it did slow me down. I dug down deep and managed to keep a good pace finishing fifth.

I'm getting good at this technical stuff. BUT I must NOT be lazy in the future: change the wheels to use the correct tires for the circumstances.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Slushcup Race #7 - Final and deciding race: Marathon!

Result: Fourth place
Bike: Trek Superfly 9.9 SL, RocketRon/RacingRalph LiteSkin 2.25 - 1.4bar

The final race of the 2014/2015 Slushcup was, as tradition dictates, a marathon. 3 hours racing + the lap. Before the race started I had a three point lead in the cup ahead of Palle Jensen: I needed to finish today's race at most two places behind him to win the cup. I had the full suspension Superfly set up and was thinking about using it but I had only done one single ride on it the day before the race and on the morning of the race I noticed that the rear ('Stansed') tyre had deflated slightly. So I rode the race on the hardtail.

Slushcup #7
Final Cup standings

Race story:
The start went well and I found myself in a group with Henrik Söberg, Henrik Ahlbäck and two young elite guys pretty quickly. On my way up to this group I passed Palle Jensen so I knew I had him behind me. Söberg set an almost unbelievable pace so I just hung on for dear life.
After about an hour I started to realize that I was not performing 100% on this day and so I decided to let Henrik Söberg go. Henrik Ahlbäck took my wheel so we helped eachother. The pace dropped but I felt that we were going along at a nice rate anyway. 
Imagine my surprise when about halfway through the race, we're caught up by Palle and a small group of riders. My spirits dropped through the floor as I realized that I was not having a good day, my legs were already getting tired, and it seemed that Palle was going really well. I started thinking about the implications: If Palle went ahead I could not allow more than one other M40 cyclist to come between him and me if I wanted to win the cup. The pressure was immense.
However Palle did not immediately make a break for it and we the group remained. Palle, Henrik Ahlbäck, one other M40 guy, and me. This continued until we went out for the last lap.
Just as the last lap started in a crowd of cyclist to lap Palle took the chance (just ahead of a log which one had to jump over on foot). I got stuck behind backmarkers and Palle went away with one other M40 guy. Henrik Ahlbäck was behind me for a while but then I went away from him and lost sight of him. I was alone. At this point my body is screaming for me to stop and lie down and just sleep for a while. I try to keep up the pace as I first hoped to catch Palle's group. When I realize that that isn't happening I just go as fast as I can in order to not get caught from behind. With about half the lap remaining I look behind me and notice that Henrik Ahlbäck is approacing from behind. I started to seriously worry as I did not have any energy left. Somehow I manage to keep Ahlbäck behind and crosss the line in fourth place, Palle finishes second. I win the cup!

Oh, and I drank about 2dl in total during this race. That's bad.

I need to get better at planning my marathon races. Also drink more!!

It seems I'm the first person to win the Slushcup who is not a Dane:

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Slushcup Race #6 - Fourth place

Result: Fourth place
Bike: Trek Superfly 9.9 SL, RocketRon/RacingRalph LiteSkin 2.25 - 1.4bar


This race, the sixth one in the cup, was advertised as "short, technical". This means 60 minutes + the lap and well, the technical part, can mean anything. In this case it meant huge amounts of roots and mud. This was one of the most technical mountain bike races I've done. So the track did not play to my strengths at all - I was worried. The situation before the race was that I had a 2 point lead on Jørgen Petersen-Bach and 6 points ahead of Palle Jensen in the standings. 

Slushcup #6
Cup standings

Race story:
Knowing that it was going to be technical race I decided for low air pressure. Below 1.4 bar in front and 1.45 in the rear. I also rode almost all of the race with my fork in the open position, something which is very unusual for me (I often ride a race with the fork locked the entire time). I got to the track early and tried a lap and yes; huge amounts of roots and generally difficult terrain. The decision to run low air pressure was correct.
The start went well and I decided to advance early on, while still on gravel road, because I knew there was a climb starting as soon as we got into single track. So I passed into single track perhaps in fifth or sixth place. Probably my best start of this winter cup. 
I had to let Palle go because he loves this kind of terrain and he was lightning fast on it. I ended up fighting for positions with 4-5 other M40 guys for most of the race and I was in second place most of the time (with only Palle ahead).
At the end of the third and last lap I did however have to let two M40 guys go in the most muddy part of the track. I did catch one of the guys just before the finish line but as it was tight single track before the finish I had no means of passing him.
So I ended up in forth place, 1 second behind 3rd and 13 seconds behind second place. My first time in the cup not on the podium (so no podium photo this time, I'm afraid). However, my main opponent, Jørgen, finished in eigth so gained valuable points on him. Palle, of course, caught up with me and is now only three points behind in the standings.
The next, and last, race is the marathon next Sunday. Should be interesting

It's good to start hard

The total Cup standings with one race to go:

Friday, 6 March 2015

How much do saddles weigh?

The classic: Selle Italia SLR Carbonio

The expensive carbon: Tune Komm-Vor

The cheap carbon: Cycle King

The original Trek Superfly saddle: Bontrager Evoke RXL

Monday, 2 March 2015

Lauf Fork

The kind folks over at Lauf Forks sent me their amazingly light fork to test last year. I used it in a few races and it performed beautifully. All 965 grams of it, as you can see by the photo. Now which one of my Treks should I mount it to?