Monday, August 15, 2011

24 Hours of Great Glen- Team Back Bay / Papa Wheelies, podium finishers!

Bottom row left to right, racers- "Papa" Dan Houston, Dakota Martin.
Top L-R racers Chris Rebula, Matt Fowler, Steve Jacques, Chris DeGrace, Dania Magri and being shouldered to the top place, Team Manager Rick Starry.

Just back from a successful and fun weekend racing mountain bikes at the 24 Hours of Great Glen at the base of Mount Washington in northern New Hampshire. This was my first ever 24 hour mountain bike race so I really had no expectations going in, other than expecting to suffer. The race course was fast, with some long downhill sections of fire road, making the roadie legs happy. I was able to put in some long hard efforts in these sections and sit up to recover just before the more technical climbs. 

Sponsored by Dan and both Back Bay and Papa Wheelies Bike Shops, we were fully stocked on fluids, energy food and bikes. I was racing the Stumpy 29'er test bike, and we had Chris Rebula racing our new 2012 EPIC Comp 29 test bike. Racer Matt Fowler rode a 2011 EPIC S-Works 29'er. We were all on Specialized mountain bikes in either 26 or 29 inch. 

A special thanks to industry friend James at Exposure Lights USA for setting up our team with lights, a couple of us already ride only these, the finest cycling lights on the planet, but the rest of the group was pretty psyched to check them out. We were well stocked on the super bright Exposure Diablo with single cell piggyback battery on the helmet and MaxxD on the handlebars. Of the two night laps we each did, we only had to charge up once and had more than enough fire power for the race and we were able to maintain daylight lap times thanks to the brightness of the Exposure Lights.

Out of two specific shop teams, we had two podium finishes. Our Coed five person team fought hard through the last lap to firmly hold third place in class after completing 30 laps, racing 249 miles, ascending 35,550 feet, and finishing 15th place overall.

Here is a link to our total stats- Team Back Bay - Papa Wheelies

Our two person duo Back Bay / Papa Wheelies - Warriors of Radness Part II team held on to their third place finish after an impressive 27 laps completed, racing 224 miles and ascending 31,995 feet on course. We can't thank our Team manager Rick Starry enough for wrenching our bikes, keeping us on time for the our next lap, feeding and hydrating us, and just for his impressive overall professionalism. Thanks Rick! To the rest of our support staff, Anne Marie, Ollie (grilled and buttery banana bread man), Roxy, and a few forgotten names, a big thanks to you all as well...

Other Back Bay Bicycles notables from the race. Shop Manager Mike Wissell, racing on the super strong four person BoLoco / Going Down Swinging team completed an impressive 36 laps on the course! They firmly took first place in the Men's Pro overall and first in class. I took a pull from Mike out on my last lap through some of those fire road sections and he was super fast, I held on for a couple of minutes as he faded into the distance, but what a help it was to grab his wheel for that short amount of time. Thanks, Mike!

The 2011 Queen of Dirt, Back Bay employee Lauren Kling, dominated the Women's Solo 0-39 age category and completed 14 laps, totaling 116 miles and climbing 16,590 feet on course. 

Friends of Papa Wheelies also racing and powered by Specialized Bikes and Exposure Lights, Rich Matthes and Rami El Rayess racing on the Foggy Goggle / NorEast Team also held a firm grip on their category for the team win.

This was a fantastic event, we all suffered a bit, but in the end, we all had great time out on our bikes. 

Here is  a look at one of our laps on course. Like most of my laps, I started the timer late after starting the lap. 
Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 5, 2011

2012 Cannondale SuperSix EVO- Mount Washington Hill Climb Bike & First Ride Impressions

The 2012 SuperSix EVO with SRAM Red.

Smooth as Silk, and Lightning Fast! These are just a few very technical words to describe the 2012 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2. I've been riding Cannondale road bikes for over 10 years now and they have evolved a lot since my 2000 era CAAD 4 Aluminum R1000. More recently, I've been riding a couple of different Cannondale's. I have a 2004 Aluminum R3000 with Optimo tubing, that I just love to ride, it's responsive with excellent power transfer and not too stiff to provide a harsh ride. I also ride a the 2007 SystemSix which was my first road bike with a blend of carbon and aluminum. The SystemSix has been by the far the lightest and stiffest, but also the fastest road bike I've ridden, until now! 

As pictured above, the SuperSix EVO has been changed from the stock build to accommodate my upcoming up-hill race on Mount Washington. I've added a SRAM X9 mountain bike rear derailleur, a SRAM 11-36 tooth cassette, and SRAM chain and paired up with a Cannondale Carbon Compact Crank. This is going to be the ideal gearing choice for the average 12% grade up the hill, 7.6 miles to the summit. Other subtle changes I made were in regards to my fit, so I widened the handlebar to 44cm and installed a longer, 110 mm stem.

 Gears for Hill Climbers.

Having spent a few hours yesterday morning dialing in the bike for the first ride, before I knew it, I was out on the roads of Southern Maine heading for some nice little hills around Mount Hope in the Sanford area. The roads leading up to the climbs are generally light rolling, but mostly flat. I am instantly amazed at how comfortable the ride is, bumps and cracks in the road surface pass under me unnoticed and I'm speeding right along with maximum efficiency, all pedal effort just progressing me forward. Standing up to sprint, I jet ahead in amazingly fast form (as fast as I can push this bike).

That's some low gearing!

Arriving at the base of the first climb on Fox Farm Hill road, I am able to maintain 7.5/8.5 MPH, 80-90 cadence and my heart rate around 170-180, well shy of my max HR. I find myself using the 34 chain ring with 28 or 32t cog and climbing with ease. As I stand on the pedals to climb, the bike just shoots uphill defying all gravity. Since that first lap was so much fun I descend and go back to hit it again! On the second descent, I push it hard to hit a fast speed, there's some nice corners and bends in the road and the bike just floats through with pin point precision where ever I want it to go. I'm able to experience even more bliss as I start to climb Mount Hope, it's amazing how this bike rides, accelerates, and how comfortable it is.

Our Super Star Cat, Harry, in full approval of the SuperSix EVO.

Here is my ride up and around Mount Hope from the park and ride in South Berwick, ME.

I'll be blogging a bit on my training on this bike in the next couple of weeks ahead of the race and definitely a blog on the race itself. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.