2008/07/21

Sainte-Anne race notes



Just some notes on yesterday's race.

I felt good at the start and even though I started from the back of the field, I passed some riders on the first part of the opening climb then more on the last part that was quite steep.

The World Cup loop is great with the steep climbs and technical descents, it was hard but fun. The riders who pre-rode the course were kind of making those of us who didn't scared a bit. World Cup leader and Canadian champion Marie-Hélène Prémont crashed in the Écureuil section the day before and the slippery, rocky and steep descent was feared by many. I walked down most of it on the first lap, I couldn't give it a try due to many people already doing so but it looked doable so I was expecting to do it on the next two laps when the field wouldn't be as thick... It wasn't to be though.

I was mixing it up with the field and the course was good for me with the climbs and rocky sections. toward the end of the first lap, I was feeling better and faster and was expecting to do faster laps after that since I now knew the tricky parts and the field was more spread out.

I never got to start the second lap though, I had to abandon just as I was coming back to the start/finish line. I scored my first DNF due to a mechanical... Too bad, I liked the course and I usually am better after the first lap, probably due to improper warm-ups, because I never pre-ride the courses or because I don't navigate too well with too much traffic... So now I know it's not fun not to finish a race, especially when it's out of your control.

The bike was great until it forced me to stop. Definitly a great asset on climbs and fast sections. I was almost wishing I had a standard 3x9 gearing setup on the twenty-something percent grade climbs but the taller gearing probably forced me to go faster on climbs.

While the Topeak Shuttle cage is light and looks good, it should be labeled as a road bike only item, it dropped my bottle many times. As soon as there are rocks and/or roots and you're heading downhill, the bottle will come out of it. Useless item to me, two big thumbs down.

Two big thumbs up to the Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires. I have yet to find something they don't handle well, hardpack, loose over hard, rocks, roots, dry or wet, they roll well but grip well too. They are very predictable and confidence inspiring.

Next race will be another Quebec Cup in Chelsea, I hope to take advantage of my increasing experience and slowly but surely getting better form.

6 comments:

ELLIOT said...

Which bit of kit let you down then?

You can’t have stopped just because of a bottle cage…

Dan Gerous said...

It wasn't the bottle cage, a jersey pocket replaces a bad cage just fine and I would have done the whole race without drinking if I would have had to (mud has to have some hydrating properties)...

The frame cracked around the headtube. It was a sample frame that already had a dinged headtube from an impact and I knew it could happen before the race. I had noticed some cracks in the paint but twisting and pushing on the frame seemed to tell me it was just the finish that was damaged. The bike was too fast to leave home so I took a gamble and lost it.

The frame is clearly cracked and the sound it made was like a tree braking in two, but the frame is still in one piece, flex-free and ridable. I rode it on a street to come back to the parking lot and I couldn't even feel it was broken. So everyone saying carbon breaks catastrophicaly, I'd say alloy can snap in half much quicker! I would buy another one today but I would take a new, production unit this time...

ELLIOT said...

Wow, the Taurine broke? Damn, I’m sorry to here that, and not just because I had my money on the chain.

The 09’s are looking very nice, have you given up on trying to get a Scalpel?

Dan Gerous said...

I replaced the chain for a XTR before the race. After one ride on the KMC, I can say that all those holes in the chain do lighten it but also trap a lot of mud and dirt so after a few km, the chain ends up heavier than the much tougher Shimano... The side to side play of the chain was also not impressive, it was very slack...

The Scalpel is still the bike I want, the Taurine was given to me as a temporary frame until the Scalpel showed up and I think that will be soon.

Martin said...

On a more positive note, regarding the two thumbs up... wich size of racing ralph are you using?

Good luck getting a new frame.

Dan Gerous said...

I'm using the 2.1 UST Racing Ralphs. The size is good for me, they are about the same size as the Maxxis Crossmark 2.1 I have on another bike but they are much better, they have a wider range of use. One is in the 620gr range, the other 640something, heavier than claimed but still very good for true UST tires.