I did exactly what I tell my friends and clients not to do and changed quite a bit of my bike before a big event! The event was the TwentyFour 12 and I was riding in the solo 24hr category, so too good an opportunity to miss for hardcore testing!
A bit of background on course condition and terrain etc: The course was quite mixed with a long gravel fire road climb, swooping single track down hills, rock and root infested steep descents as well as a couple of river crossing. The conditions were mainly dry and dusty but towards the end of the event there was a heavy down pour for about 15 minutes which made the surface quite sketchy.
Stans NoTubes ZTR Crest 29in Ti Wheelset
When you haven’t got much to say about a product it normally a good sign! Just faultless! I have had problems inflating tubeless tyres on different rims before but not in this case, the ZTR Crest rims sealed perfectly first time with just a track pump, there was a little leakage from the valve on the rear but a quick tighten of the nut and a spin of the wheel to coat everything with sealant soon sorted it.
The wheels I had to taken off had carbon rims so I was expecting a degree of flex when chucking them in to corners but nothing, they just held the line and railed round the corners! (for the event I was riding a Travers Titanium hardtail 29er with Travers carbon 29er forks). I was also running the tires at quite a low pressure because of the rigid forks, this led to me twice bottoming out the tire on the rim. On close inspection after the race there was no sign of any damage and both wheels were still perfectly true and still at the same pressure!
absoluteBLACK 1×10 XX1 style chainrings Shimano (34t)
This was my first experience riding a single ring (1×10) setup with out a chain guide and although I had tested it out in the local woods the rocks and bumps on the TwentyFour 12 course were a completely different story!
Installation was a straight forward swap for the previous 37t single ring set up, the main different is the tooth profile on the absoluteBLACK rings, they are designed to hold the chain much more securely. Its difficult to describe but as soon as you wrap the chain around the chainring it becomes clear that the chain is going nowhere. You also get the added bonus of no chain guide, the stripped back look and clean lines received many compliments. Removing the chainguide not only removes a bit of weight but leaves one less thing to be knocked or for the mud to collect on.
Oh and I nearly forgot I ran the ring in combination with a XT rear mech with a clutch (a little switch that stops the jockey wheels from bouncing around and keeps the chain taught) I switched the clutch on and off at stages during the event (just to test it) and at no point did the chain unship!
Lezyne Energy Caddy
Trying to get a energy gel from your jersey pocket and putting the wrapper back in can be difficult at the best of times but when you are a couple of hours into a solo endurance event it can me neigh on impossible. In my search for an alternative I stumbled across the “Lezyne Energy caddy” it simply straps to your top tube behind your stem and has a velcro mesh top.
The genius thing about it is that you can access things very quickly, so you can take a bar out, eat a few mouthfuls then chuck it back in. Also because of the mesh top you can see what you are getting out…do you carry a couple of flavours of gels/bars and fancy a cherry one? you don’t have to rummage around in your back pocket and guess!
To say I just used it for food would be under selling it. I also carried a back up battery for my Garmin plus my helmet light, so I didn’t need to put it on my helmet till the last second. I also had my multi tool stored in there along with the obligatory Jelly Babies!