Saturday, October 25, 2008

I have found my camera and taken a few pictures of my Rohloff set up. All's working great and looking forward to hitting the tracks again today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Rohloff Arrives

Yesterday saw me take my first ride on a Rohloff internal gear box rear hub. This follows me becoming a Rohloff sponsored rider. Thanks to Chris from Puresports for fitting my Ellsworth Evolve with the alternative gear system.

I now have 1925km of mountain biking to wear it in. This is required to allow time for the internal parts to mesh efficiently. From then on the hub should only need an oil change every 5000km to perform flawlessly.

I won’t attempt to explain how the system works, mainly because I don’t fully understand. But there is a link to the Rohloff site and Puresports on the right, both of which explain the finer points. There also will be photos of this hub in action once I find my camera.

After a 50km ride it is clear there is a huge range of gears. The 44 tooth chain ring I am running may have to be changed for a 40 or 38 tooth ring. The fact that it makes no noise upon free wheeling is uncanny, seeing as my last rear hub was the loudest on the market. Although in the higher ratio gears you can hear the planetary gears whirring, I think this will decrease as the hub wears in.

So I plan to get that 2000km out of the way long before the 24 hours of N-Duro in March next year. This means loads of summer single track, poor me.

One of the rides I plan to do apart from my everyday training is to have another go at the Queen Charlotte track. In the past I have tried to ride this return in one day. At 72km one way it is New Zealand’s longest piece of single track. Past attempts have fallen short on the return trip because of light failures and time restraints.

This time there will be substantially more day-light as the plan is do it in late November. Also I will be using Ay Up lights, so running out of power won’t be a problem. Mountain bikes are not allowed on the furthest section in the peak season of December and January so late November is the best time for me to reattempt this 142km ride.

I don’t know of any previous record for this ride. But upon talking to the Blenheim information centre about the ride they thought it was impossible.

Closer to hand there is the 12 hours of Woodhill on the 8th of November. Not sure what kind of form I will be in by then, but it should be a fun race all the same.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Worlds Pictures

Here are two photos that show what the 24 hour Solo Worlds did to me. Before and after. Photo credit: Dimozantos.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Whaka 100km

The Whaka proved to me how much my race speed has fallen off. Although 100km is relatively small compared with the distances I cover in a 24 hour race, it still is quite a ride. It didn’t have the greatest race day preparation either. I woke up late and rushed to get my gear together and ride to the event. Unfortunately I didn’t know the race was based at the other side of the forest, so I turned up with just minutes left to register. And having had to sprint 6km there.

The day did really improve from there. I started alright but rapidly went backwards through the field. I persevered chatting to many of the people that seemed to stream past me. After 20km I stopped thinking I could come back to place top 10 and just tried to enjoy the ride through almost all the tracks in the forest.

Unfortunately my race came to an end around the half way mark on Pondy DH. My chain committed suicide into my rear wheel, dragging the derailleur with it and taking out a few spokes on the way. I was a little too slow to lock up the rear wheel to save the situation and it locked of its own accord. So that was the end of a mediocre day of racing and I scootered to the nearest forest exit. Despite my Rohloff chain being dented back on itself several times it failed to break or even pop any pins, anything in Rohloff cap.

I spent the rest of the day helping the event organisers at the finish line. It was interesting being on the other side of the finishing situation - cutting off peoples' numbers on their bikes while they struggled to stay upright after leaving everything out on the course.