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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Perfect setup (almost)

Alright, my incessant writing on bike setup is actually more for myself. Rather than some boring Excel spreadsheet for reference when setting up bikes, guess I'll just do it here.

Having said, think I will add more of the rides...the laughs and fun of biking. The morning starts off looking promising and rain if any should be after the ride, but Murphy happened to be watching. Someone up there must have decided to piss on us big time. But while it was still dry and we were basically ass-scratching while waiting for the rest to come we were checking out Allen's swanky new Tomac Snyper, ready for its virgin ride.

More of my rants and ego trip below, read at your own peril. For pics of the day just scroll down.

My handlebar just kept bugging me and finally got a new 660mm ritchey lo-rise y'day. Felt a little strange at first adjusting back to using a "crowbar" Halfway thru the rounds of BT this morning and some fine tune to the lever positions later, I am all set though. Climbing? Move hands in, felt just like my old cut-off Monkeylite. Down? Just widen the grip. Awesome!!!! A pair of tacky thick grip should complete it. The 28 gm dense foam grips simply don't cut it, just like at the TG-11hr race last month. Another weight weenie item to shave off for solid performing components.

Never felt better and it was one of those rare days I did 3 rounds at BT without feeling none for the worse. If not for the soggy socks and sand in the shoes, I was actually contemplating on a fourth.

Only 2 sticking issues: The bloody shimano SH51 cleats is a PITA. I am going back to the Wellgo 98A. The SH51 are just a tad too long and it ups the difficulty of finding the cleat area on the pedal to the nth degree. Yes both SH51 and 98A can be used on compatible pedals but NO they are not the same. On the climbs when I can't clip in (no, mud sheddding was not an issue, the heavy rain took care of gooey mud today). it was mostly doable on the WAMD10 platform. The screw studs hung onto the narrow soles of my shoes like leech. Only my own stupidity in choosing wrong lines up the climbs failed a couple of ups.

After adjusting to the bar everything was good and well. But the steering was still kinda retarded. Not something new though. Even on the old bar, I had the same naggy feeling. This was most evident doing the single track after the jungle path in Tampines and I find myself leaning with lots of body english to keep up the momentum and speed on negotiating switchbacks.

After round one, Serene was complaining that her stem was too short at 90mm (and I thought mine was too long at 110mm) we decided to make a switch there and then on the trail. That was done after riding for the day. No sweat, 5 minutes and drippy wet later we were set for a test run.

And what better spot than at the usual start/end area and test it out on the Big Cement (for those who are wondering, thats the 1st and steepest climb of the trail, badly cracked out cement on a 60 degree projection). To add to the difficulty, the diarrhea-0-meter from above upgraded to the intensity from a celestial cholera outbreak.

Saw myself riding up against a rushing torrent. Guess what! Made it all the way up sans sweat with the new cockpit setup. Perfect cockpit geometry aside, its also an attestation to the grip of the Rampage and Nevegal. Every time I felt a slip, another knob or two on these tires will find a grip. I digress, performance of the Rampage was stellar, almost picture perfect in every other aspects during the entire ride.

3 rounds without the usual huffing and puffing and one of them behind bone rattling teeth chattering Cannondale Queen, Athena which usually leaves me breathless. Nope, not today, I was literally tailing her and shaking my ass all the while to get the gunk off my back. Ok I hope thats not because she ain't feeling well and decide to take a break. Ahh..and thats where I caught the moment of the day. Athena took a line on the down halfway up a long bank and suddenly roots start popping up. The next was one hell of a body english, bike straight and everything else arching 90 degrees to the right and she cleared it all like some freestyle swimmer in the pool! Acme's little roadrunner couldnt have "siamed Koyote rock traps better. Whew!Wish there was a Kodak moment to it.

The motolite at 13+ kg is doing better ups and faster down. Superb tracking and better cornering than I can remember myself ever doing. Compared to the sluggish 12.2 kg anemic state I first set it up for last month race. Only one other type of terrain to prove heavy weight performing part rules over weenism: Dry sandy trails. This is the whole setup (before the stem change though)

The downpour came in spurts, just when everyone thought it was "safe" boom and down it came again. While waiting for it to stop, lunch sounded good...taste wise, not bad at all. The cold and the ride had us sapped. Hot curry vege, juicy chicken rice and ngoh hiang (prawn rolls) were just too good to pass up. The hell with cholesterol, lets worry later.

So much about rain today.. compare the top and this picture and that should give a good idea. Which by the way was kinda contrasting as KM's Commencal and my ML was stacked together, something I noticed as the food was being served. Ugh.. water. my bearings!! Oh well let's just say "Free Bike Wash". Courtesy of Mother Nature.

No, the next few pics are not the effect of NVGs. Its all who took the Ferr-Lorry (as usual, courtesy of Franke, The Cow) huddled under the canvas tarp making our miserable way back from BT to Tampines. Good thing no one farted despite the garlic from lunch. Mmmm, suddenly I sort of miss the army days, wet uniform, miserable weather in the field. Well the mud, the fun, the hyperventilation of mountainbiking kinda make up for it, I guess.

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