Full credit to Harry Kistra / WorldOnaBike.com but I thought this photo really shows what a Rohloff looks like in the real world
Black spokes are really just silver spokes painted black.
I've got a customer about to do his 2nd Tour Divide later this summer and he's prepping his Rohloff to run Gates drive and I'm guessing his hub will look something like this after 4418km. It's not an accident that a lot of riders doing the Divide are running Rohloff hubs. It's a self supported, all summer long race but the average is 25-30 days of 150-170km days. That's a lot of kilometers a day.
We went to the Interbike show last year and we haven't had a chance to post some pics so here are some for everyone to enjoy since it's so cold out and we could all use a little reminding of spring and warmer weather ahead
Hopefully these pics will get you inspired to pull out the bike and the woolies and get out there for a ride!
With the heavy snowfall this year and colder winter, it's hard to predict what the conditions will be like and what sections of the trail they will use. The weekend is calling for more rain/snow with temperatures dipping below zero for the day of the event.
We've done this race a few times and everytime the weather was the most difficult thing to predict and ride through. Weather this time of year can be sunny and warm of 16C or heavy rain/snow with temperatures hovering around 2-5C. What gear to use, studded vs non studded tires, clothes to wear can make or break the race from being enjoyable to downright miserable. But that's part of the challenge and fun of this event and why so many riders show up every year to brave the elements and celebrate another great season.
We'll be there again this year although there are some planned changes that may reduce the course to 19-20km / lap and sections of single track removed for environmental reasons. All the more to keep things interesting. At the end of this race, we'll be doing a race report plus the long awaited Rohloff Long Term test report.
Click to enlarge Photo. This a picture of the infamous Bobsled run in it's current condition. Call me crazy but I'm forgoing saving 1lb and going with studded tires. There really isn't any benefit for studded tires in snow and most people don't bother but when there is ice, they really make a difference.
Weather is calling for partly to sunny skies with temperatures in the low 1C to 5C Sunday with overnight temperatures dropping below zero so the rain that's been falling will likely turn to ice in some sections of the trail. One of the challenges of this race is to keep your fingers and toes warm enough for the whole race (50km long course). There are a lot of wet sections and the water is COOOLLDD. Once your shoes get wet, they stay wet and things get very cold very quickly. Most people wear summer cycling shoes with lots of mesh so feets get wet. Some sections are not even rideable and hike a bike means walking in snow. What a great way to start off a season!
See you at the starting line!
The event is coming up and we'll be there again this year to do the Solo event. If you're in the area or in the race, drop by campsite 42 in the Solo area and say hello. The weather is looking great for the weekend so we're excited and looking forward to a great race.
We hope to see you at the starting line!
We've to a pretty busy summer ahead of us. Lots of riding and lots of different events. We'll be at the Lost in the Rocks and Trees race in North Bay, the solo race in the Chico Summer Soltice, some smaller events in between and cap it all off with the Trans Rockies in BC in mid August.
So we hope to see all of you there and having another great riding season. We hope to have more reviews including Jack's on the SuperMoto. A long term review of the Rohloff Speedhub, 2007 XTR pedals, shifters, cranks and whatever we can get our hands on during the summer.
Having completed the Summer Soltice alive and well, it's time to look forward to the next endurance race of the summer. The Lost in the Rock and Trees race is being held in Mattawa, Ontario. We participated in this event last year and look forward to it again this year. This year's race format has changed somewhat from a 1x 100km lap to 2x 50km laps. The draw of this event in the past was that it was one long continuous lap rather than lapping a short course (Summer Soltice and others) many times over the course of a day. However, logistically two 50km laps is more more manageable and safer for the riders as help and supplies can be sent much quicker. So while it's not one large loop, we're still excited to be doing it. The Cinco will again be used for the course with minor tweaks to adjust for the expected course, rocky and very sandy terrain. Last year, it was a scorcher but anything can and will probably happen weather wise so we're planning for the worst and hoping for the best. The race is going to be on July 22, 2006 and there is still plenty of time to sign up at the North Bay Cycling website. We hope to see some of you there!
The 24 Hours Summer Soltice race is less than a week away! This year we've essentially got two teams. A 5 man team led by our Captain from last year Mike Anderson and Co. and Marc and myself are doing the Solo race. This initially was our pre-tune up for Trans Rockies but due to some unforeseen events, we will be delaying the Trans Rockies until 2007. Nonetheless, we're excited and our Project Trans Rockies test bike will be unveiled and tested during the Summer Soltice. Look for a post race test report shortly after the race. We're in the final stages of putting it together so stay tuned for some pictures. This event has become the largest 24 Hour race in Canada and with good reason. The course is nicely laid out, the event planners are organized, it's a fun and welcoming environment and the area is very tolerant and forgiving to rain so it makes for a good time rain or shine. If you've never been to one of these events, do come on by and take a look. It's a lot of fun and lots of people to hang out with.
Jack our resident tester was at the Skiis & Bikes Customer Appreciation Day at Kelso to try out some bikes and here is his report.
Skiis & Biikes had their 2006 customer appreciation day / demo day at Kelso on Sunday May 28. Again this year they choose to set up the vendors at the lower level so this meant for any bike you wanted to try on the single track trails you had to climb the escarpment to start your ride. This wears a bit thin after a few demos. For those wanting to avoid this, they had one chair lift operating for a few hours. This year Skiis & Biikes had Trek, Garry Fisher, Specialized, Devinci and Norco present with demo bikes. It appears they have dropped or lost Rocky Mountain which is a shame since I was very interested in trying the new for 2006 Slayer.
Since it wasn’t going to be possible to try every bike there, I decided this time to focus on All Mountain type of bikes. I view this as a balance between an all day trail bike and a light freeride bike, likely too heavy to race, even for a weekend warrior, still able to climb and a focus on inspiring confidence.
It's Spring and that means a new season is just right around the corner. We'll be participating in the first race of the season. We're doing the 50km course so it should be challenging and a lot of fun.
This is the 15th annual event that opens the mountain bike season in Ontario. Sometimes snowy but definitely fun for both the beginner and seasoned veteran. Over the years this course has combined gravel roads, double track trails and usually a few surprize pieces of singletrack depending on the spring thaw. With classic sections known as the "Bobsled Run" and "Iceslider Alley" as well as the rare "Arctic Death March" this course usually provides a little snow, mud and some icy sections. The 25km is an excellent challenge for most cyclists, while the 50km (2 loops) is a true test of early season fitness with this year a new Sprint course of (8-10km) to provide a mountain bike snack for those not inclined to ride the full loop. Come out and hammer down and break the ice on a new season!
More information can be found at bikenxs. Registration is available on the day of the event so you're not too late.
We hope to see some of your there at the starting line and don't forget the studded tires!
UPDATE: Race Day Report
7am Sunday March 26, 2006
Woke up to a warm, beautiful sunshine coming through the windows. It's going to be a good day for a race. Bikenxs is holding their annual Icebreaker race today marking the start of the race season and have been doing so for the last 14 years. Weather conditions have been mild all week so I didn't know what to expect of the trail conditions. The website had 2 trail updates and the latest one was calling for soft snow and ice in parts of the course. I decided to keep the studs on although I switched the direction of the rear of my Nokian Extreme 395 to "wet conditions". But I brought along my Kenda summer tires just in case I didn't need the studs before the race and switch them as necessary. As for clothing, I've been happy with all my wool so I picked out a Woolistic long sleeve and some Swobo tights I had. Not knowing how wet it'd be, I brought along my Goretex socks as well. Full fingered gloves for my hands and a wool hat for underneath the helmet.
The race is being held at Durham Forect in the town of Uxbridge. I didn't really know how many to expect being my first year doing this race and I was actually quite surprised to see the number of people already there. This year, there are going to be a 25km, 50km and a 8km sprint course as well as a kid's race. I was going to enter the long course and that was going to start at 10:30am. The main parking was already full and I had to use the overflow parking lot. I headed off to the registration office and by 9:30am, 40 others have already signed up before me for the long course. There are going to be some hard core riders today. I asked the organizers if studs were needed and they told me likely not. There are some icy sections, a section called Bobsled Run that might be tricky for people without studs but should be fine. I was told since I had the studs on, I may as well keep them for safety. The course was going to be a mix of trails and gravel roads to make up the 25km loop. I was trying to look at the the different racers and some had studs and some did not. In fact, some of the non studded tires did not even have aggressive knobbies. The weather was around 5C and certainly warm so maybe the studs weren't necessary afterall. I decided to keep the studs. They're heavier than my Kenda summer tires for sure but they've worked well for me all winter and they work well on ice. I got my bike ready, took a gel and headed towards the starting line. Along the way, I was scanning around to see if there was anyone I might know and to my surprise, Rob Kerr from my team at Summer Soltice was there also! He was going to do the 50km on his cross bike and opted to not use studs. Rob will probably have to slow down a bit in the icy sections but on the gravel roads, he'll definitely pick it up. He wasn't sure how the trails was going to be but decided the cross bike will do well with the amount of gravel roads in between the trail sections.
The 50km race starts at 10:30am with the 25km race starting 10 minutes behind. It was interesting to see the different attire at the starting line. While most had winter wear, tights, booties and hats, some were just wearing shorts and arm warmers. Only time will tell. The first 200m was broken ice and snow and it was going to be a mass start so people had to be careful. Well, at least the first 200m was dry. As soon as we reached the first turn, the course went on a slight downhill and the melting snow and ice creating a runoff making the trail very wet and slick. This part of the course was mostly double track and fairly wide with some parts of the trail covered with very slippery ice while other parts had large puddles of very cold water. The ground for for the most part was soft but we didn't sink too much. By the time we hit the first gravel road section, we were pretty much soaked. On the gravel section, I locked out my fork and it made a huge difference especially during the hills when I was not seated. The first gravel road section was probably 5kms of rolling hills so the rigid bikes definitely had an advantage here. The next trail section was very very muddy. It was thick, wet and cold. Icy puddles were everywhere and riders were riding along the side as much as they could to try to stay out of the energy sapping mud. Then we hit the Bobsled Run. This was where I was glad I kept the studs. It was a fairly gradual downhill but since this section didn't get much sun, it was icy and very slippery with water just running over the top. Here many of the riders without studs had to get off and walked. But walking on slippery ice wasn't any easier than riding over it. After the Bobsled Run was another long gravel road section and by this point, the riders were happy to leave the wet, slick and muddy trails behind. The gravel road was probably another 5-10kms before heading back to the trails. The course runs between Durham Forest and Walker Woods. The next section of the trail was much of the same, deep cold puddles with thick mud, ice and water. The last 5 kms of the course proved to be very challenging. It was all slush and soft snow and all single track. This made for some very slippery conditions if not careful. The studs helped tremondously finding traction underneath the slush but the soft snow was difficult to to ride through and very similar to riding through sand.
The last 5km was definitely the toughest. By this point, my feet were soaked and frozen and the slush and snow in the single track slowed my down quite a bit. I don't know if I hit a wall or not but the feet just weren't willing. By this point, I just rode to finish and had to get off to walk certain hilly icy sections. Although walking in wet slush and snow didn't help the cause much either. So staying on the bike as much as possible, I rode to the finish line just under 3 hours. Being the first time doing this race, I was quite pleased with finishing and I didn't have any major spills. Another rider I saw had a pretty serious crash and his knee didn't look so good sitting on the side near the starting line. Things I learned from this race? I'll definitely try to keep the feet warmer, dryer next year and will try to eat more during the race. The mud and water didn't make things easy this time around but running a 50km course with one gel and banana is probably not the best thing to do.
The course was great with a mix of everthing thrown in, from double track, gravel road to twisty single track near the end to keep things interesting. The natural spring run off and melting snow and ice provided the perfect natural obstacles and challenges along the way. The Nokian studded tires definitely stay. If I didn't have the tires, I would have crashed very hard on the 2nd lap down the Bobsled Run. I slid and barely managed to hang on.
All in all, a terrific course and event. It was fun, challenging and well organized. The riders had a great time and was a perfect way to kick off the season. It was a great day for a race.