Thank you Hannah Clarke

Thank you Hannah Clarke

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Final Ucup

This past weekend marked the final University Cup mountain bike race; a fun and sad event all in one. I love the University Cup series, it's put on by some really awesome volunteers who do this just for love of the sport and to get new people into cycling, and this year more than ever, it was the friendliest place to be on a bike. People from other teams would yell and cheer for you
"You're an animal Chris, GO!"
Help was never far away, like the start line crash at Boler mountain that left somebody with a flat front tire - I proceeded to fix his tire, then we realized that it had a tear right in the tire (irreparable) so I lent him my own super light race wheel, because that's what it's about. It's about the ride. I know that all of the teams have shared good times through camping this year, and cheering for each other, and that we've all made new friends. I'm just afraid that this may be my final year racing them, because I'm set to graduate in December. Oh well, I guess this is even more motivation to be accepted to a Graduate studies program!

Queen's and Guelph together! Big props to Jon Slaughter, my buddy who broke his neck that I had previously mentioned, for coming out and supporting the racers!

The race day itself could have only been described as miserable as we drove to the course, a grey October day with rain POURING down. I was not overly fond of the idea of riding in the trails in this mud, you could slide off the trail pretty easily, and the venue (Ganaraska Forest) is infamous for its poison ivy. But when we got to the parking lot things were better. The Queen's team was all setting up their bikes, smiling and having a good time, people were milling about between the parking lot and registration tent, and the fantastic men who host these races were smiling ear to ear, just happy that anyone had showed up.

These guys are the kings of University Cup racing. Thanks so much!! (Photo stolen from Jim Cassell)

Kissing for the lovely camera lady Joan Dundas!

By the time the race started, the rain was almost non existent, which left us with some pretty tough trails to ride, but otherwise it was a good day to be on a bike! Throughout the race my bike (read below, I had a whole new ride this weekend!) held out fantastically, and my tire choice was flawless. Using the Bontrager 29-2 Team Issue in the rear kept my tire tracking through the soupy muck. This tire has been my go to driving tire since late August when we finally started to see rainy courses, and it never fails to keep me driving forward! The tractor tire lug pattern clears mud quickly while biting into the ground and tracking well over roots. These are 2.1 inch tires but have a great depth to them and a very rounded profile; the two aspects that I personally consider most important when choosing tires. The only time that I found a flaw with these tires was at very high speeds downhill on curves (where I was leaning the bike probably too far anyway) the rear tire would chatter out a bit. Running the rear tire with rotation as it would be if it were the front tire makes the whole bike track better anyway, and the only tire that I can think of that will track well leaning that hard is the 29-1 team issue.

The end of season celebrations were great, and totally bittersweet. It was fun to be with everyone for one last time before the next race season, but I realized that it may be my last University Cup season, and that I would definitely not be racing for Guelph anymore. The awards were great and congrats to all of the winners!

Ladies, Kelsey is single and grabbing my girlfriend's bum, send me a message if you want that lovely man's number!
This weekend I had the privilege to rip on a new bike: the Superfly 100 AL Elite. I had always been curious of how the full-suspension version of my own race dream bike, and I was pleasantly surprised by what I found. The Superfly 100 ran a very similar wheelbase to my own Superfly Elite, so I was still tracking on the trail with the same "footprint". The rear suspension let me ride completely differently than I had before, keeping seated through rough terrain and letting me put power out where I would otherwise have had to coast before. My first ride on this sweet machine was at the Harold Town property near Peterborough, ON. This is a conservation area recently designated for mountain biking and since its designation the trails have exploded as local mountain bikers come to the cause and help build a trail rider's dream. These trails are situated on a drumlin which means it's basically a streamlined bump in the landscape with big steep hills on 3 sides and a more gradual climb on the leeside. This kind of terrain is perfect for mountain biking as drumlins are sandy and rocky deposits left behind by glaciers, so they drain well and don't get too muddy, they have plenty of rocks to incorporate into trails, and you can build technical downhills and uphills all over the place. Needless to say, the bike tracked beautifully over rocks, through obstacles, and kept speed on all sections. I was riding stuff that most people couldn't get through at all, and on my first try!

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