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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got the hankerin' to go racing this weekend, and luckily there were races both days within 50 miles of my house (in Lincoln, NE). Despite both days being in the upper-90s, it ended up being a super good time.

Even though my 29er's wheels were heavier than my competitors' 26-inch wheels, I was able to pull off 3rd place in Pro/Expert Open at the Warrior's Cup Saturday, and the overall Expert win at the Cornhusker State Games on Sunday. Imagine that?!! Heavier wheels, and I still won a race. Can you believe it?!

Below are pics of the bike and the booty (well, minus the $200 i also won..), and from my blog, here's the report I posted from Sunday's Cornhusker State Games race:

It was a good weekend of bike racing. Went up to the Warriors Cup (in Council Bluffs, IA) with JP and CVO Saturday. Had a super good time, finished third and came home with the sweet cup you see above and a handful of cold, hard cash. JP raced 35+ expert, won the class, got an even bigger cup (it's huge... no joke), and got himself a big 'ol handful of cizzash too. CVO rocked the magic carpet with a big 'ol smile on his face, and a cold Bud in his belly... Not the hot setup for the fastest time of the day, but I guarantee he had the funnest time of the day -- and that's how he rolls. It was a good day.

The Cornhusker State Games mountain bike race was today out at Branched Oak lake. Not a huge field, but JP drove out there with me, and Schlake rolled the 4 or so miles from his beautiful homestead in the country to the race to line up with us, despite the fact that he was, by his own description, "drawing from the bottom of the tank today." He was racing 35+ though, and due to a weird difference between how the State Games and NORBA determine racing age, JP was racing the Expert 19-34 class with me (despite racing the 35+ class yesterday -- weird, 'eh?).

We still started at the same time though, and right from the start, it was clear that the fight for the overall win was between Schlake, JP and myself. JP went WFO from the gun, and got he and I out to a nice lead within five minutes of starting. Schlake bridged up quickly though -- arguably too quickly, as he went down immediately upon catching JP and I. It was kind of crazy... JP and I had actually eased-up on the pace a bit in anticipation of Schlake catching us, and apparently that caught him off-guard a bit. JP said Schlake told him that he came around a blind corner on the back side of the course, and he was going so much faster than we were, he almost ran right into the back of me! To avoid hitting me, he apparently grabbed a bit too much brake and took himself down. I heard something happen -- not loud, but clearly not normal -- but I didn't think he went down. All I knew was that he was no longer with us...

And so it went for about a lap. JP leading, me trying to keep up and Schlake about 20 seconds back hammering. Somewhere around the end of the third lap, I decided to pick up the pace, as it seemed Darin was coming closer, and I thought I'd be nice and return the favor to JP for pulling me around for three laps. I went around him on the final hill that lap, and sure enough, he attached himself to my rear wheel pretty quickly. I never saw Schlake again -- he probably decided he didn't need to beat us to win his class, and we got a "get out of jail free" card from him for the day.

On the fifth of seven laps, I started to get a little gap on JP, after actually asking him if he wanted around when I got a bit of a stomache cramp mid-way through the fourth lap. I don't know if he knows it or not (but of course he will now), but his response was the tipping-point of the race for me.

When I asked if he wanted around because I was getting a cramp, he said "no, it'll go away, just keep going."

And sure enough, ten seconds later, I let out a big burp and felt immediately better. Like two gears better. I didn't even have to hit the gas -- the gas just hit itself. And it's days like today that remind me why I love mountain bike racing. There is nothing better than the feeling that, all of the sudden, I believe I can win the race. It almost became easier at that point... at least it felt like it was easier.

Now alone, with a relatively comfortable gap on JP, I kept the hammer down until half-way through the seventh and final lap. At the top of the final back-side climb, as I zipped up my jersey, goosebumps came over me. It was the perfect on-the-bike end to a kick a** cycling weekend!

Conditions both days were upper 90s, with high humidity and bright sunshine. Sunday at least had a little wind to get the air moving.

JP and I did our first two laps in the CSG race this morning in 19 minutes, 57 seconds. That means we did sub-10 minute laps for the first two laps. THAT's INSANE!!! After the first two laps, we averaged right at 10 minute laps for each of the remaining five laps. I was expecting us to do 12 minute laps... It used to take 12 minutes, and I don't think I'm any faster than I've ever been... so I don't know what's up with that. Maybe I was off in my memory of 12 minute laps... that's probably it.

Thank you to Kris and the Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth crew for putting on the CSG race today, and to Scott and Tim up in Omaha for the sweet first edition of the Warrior's Cup. It was the most fun weekend of racing I've had in a long time.​

Cheers,
MG
 

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Dude!

You would have been faster on your Bionicon!

Ok, maybe not on those trails. Sweet job there buddy. Now take some of that money, convert to gasoline, and head west for a weekend or two!
 

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Recovering couch patato
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Aaaah, great tire combo. When I last ran that in a sandy race, it made me look like I was fit when I really wasn't.
Splendid riding, way to represent!
 

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Keep Given 'em Hell....

When I was even more than a punter than I am now - racing Beginner Class in the early ninties - I used to look at the Pro/Elite guys and think "Damn they are freaky fast" and most importantly I would look at there bikes.

Typically Pro/Elite level riders have a few years of experience under their belts [I know there are a plenty young guys out there too] and would by logic be riding a bike that they enjoy - have choosen - or know to be fast. My point - riders new to the sport notice your bike. KEEP showing them that 29ers can be a good option in many cases.

C
 

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Nice work, mgersib. I watched in amazement as you guys just flew around that course. Nice to know what my very distant goal is...not to get lapped by y'all. Have a picture of half of you...you were too fast for my son to catch on camera...can't figure out how to post it to this message.

When the LBC (RIP) guys talked me into the Sugar 293 I thought they were crazy. They were right...it's served me well this summer, including gold and overall first in the novice mens. My son got first in juniors...he's too short for the big wheels, but his 24er gets him around pretty quickly.
 

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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Debaser said:
You would have been faster on your Bionicon!

Ok, maybe not on those trails. Sweet job there buddy. Now take some of that money, convert to gasoline, and head west for a weekend or two!
LOL... I doubt it. Both courses this weekend were incredible for the Dos. The Branched Oak course especially -- lots of loose, fast turns -- perfect for a tire with a big footprint.

Gotta' go to Washington before we come to Colorado -- my sister's getting married 8/5, so we're headed out for a few days in a cabin at Mt. Rainier, then a few days in Oly (at the same hotel your wedding guests stayed at, incidentally. I keep telling Laura that I can't wait for Gumby to make a reappearance...).

Thanks BG,
MG
 

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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Cloxxki said:
Aaaah, great tire combo. When I last ran that in a sandy race, it made me look like I was fit when I really wasn't.
Splendid riding, way to represent!
Thanks Cloxxi, and Nat too! I've ridden that tire combo all over and it's one of the most consistently fast and predictable combos I've ever ridden. Despite the incessant ridicule from my buddies that insist on at least matching tire brands front to rear, I say do whatever works best. It's light, fast and for the dirt I ride in most often, it's about the best you can get.

I'm running both tires tubeless -- some of you probably knew that. I use 26-inch Stan's rim strips over taped (2x 22mm strapping tape, 2x electrical tape) spoke holes, and my own mixture of latex (mold builder) and windshield washer fluid for sealant. I've used the setup on 26 and 29 inch wheels seamlessly on all but a few (notable) tires. This setup has been very reliable, and holds air better/longer than any of my tubed tires.

Thanks again guys,
MG
 

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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
HardTail29er said:
When I was even more than a punter than I am now - racing Beginner Class in the early ninties - I used to look at the Pro/Elite guys and think "Damn they are freaky fast" and most importantly I would look at there bikes.

Typically Pro/Elite level riders have a few years of experience under their belts [I know there are a plenty young guys out there too] and would by logic be riding a bike that they enjoy - have choosen - or know to be fast. My point - riders new to the sport notice your bike. KEEP showing them that 29ers can be a good option in many cases.

C
Amen. Even though I do still like my 26-inch bikes, nine times out of ten I pull my 29er out for rides and races.

Here's why: At the end of the race, when I'm just flogged to the bone and my bike handling skills become a fraction of what they were, I want the absolute easiest bike to ride (fast) that I can be on -- for me that's my Dos Niner. It makes every single inch of the trail easier and faster to ride for me -- if I didn't believe that I wouldn't be able to race and win on it.

Keep riding and having fun. Getting fast is the payoff for being good at having fun on your bike.

Cheers,
MG
 

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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
gop427 said:
Is that a Rebel Alliance symbol on the fork?
Good catch... It sure is. That's courtesy of my GB CVO (the guy with the pink helmet in the image below -- the one with the WWWD sticker on it, among others).
 

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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
RJR said:
Nice work, mgersib. I watched in amazement as you guys just flew around that course. Nice to know what my very distant goal is...not to get lapped by y'all. Have a picture of half of you...you were too fast for my son to catch on camera...can't figure out how to post it to this message.

When the LBC (RIP) guys talked me into the Sugar 293 I thought they were crazy. They were right...it's served me well this summer, including gold and overall first in the novice mens. My son got first in juniors...he's too short for the big wheels, but his 24er gets him around pretty quickly.
Thanks RJR -- I had fun racing with so many people on the course. Branched Oak is good that way. Lots of people can race at the same time, and it's fun for us too -- I can't believe how much encouragement I got from fellow racers out on the course yesterday. Thanks again for that.

Congratulations to you and Ian on your fine rides too!

Cheers,
MG
 

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mgersib said:
Good catch... It sure is. That's courtesy of my GB CVO (the guy with the pink helmet in the image below -- the one with the WWWD sticker on it, among others).
Yeppers, there's a few of these running around, here and there.

(Thanks CVO - I'll buy you a beer one of these days, when we finally meet.)
 

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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Debaser said:
Yeppers, there's a few of these running around, here and there.

(Thanks CVO - I'll buy you a beer one of these days, when we finally meet.)
oh yeah... that's where my extras went. i was looking for those the other day and couldn't figure out where they'd gone... darn short-term memory. you know it's the first thing to go.
 

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Cassoulet forever !
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mgersib said:
Thanks Cloxxi, and Nat too! I've ridden that tire combo all over and it's one of the most consistently fast and predictable combos I've ever ridden. Despite the incessant ridicule from my buddies that insist on at least matching tire brands front to rear, I say do whatever works best. It's light, fast and for the dirt I ride in most often, it's about the best you can get.

I'm running both tires tubeless -- some of you probably knew that. I use 26-inch Stan's rim strips over taped (2x 22mm strapping tape, 2x electrical tape) spoke holes, and my own mixture of latex (mold builder) and windshield washer fluid for sealant. I've used the setup on 26 and 29 inch wheels seamlessly on all but a few (notable) tires. This setup has been very reliable, and holds air better/longer than any of my tubed tires.

Thanks again guys,
MG
A Bontrager with kevlar bead tubeless upfront ?
I thought a lot of people had problems with those. (dramatic failure)
JHK is using bontrager tubeless too.

May be they are using a stronger bead now ?
 

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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
20.100 FR said:
A Bontrager with kevlar bead tubeless upfront ?
I thought a lot of people had problems with those. (dramatic failure)
JHK is using bontrager tubeless too.

May be they are using a stronger bead now ?
I didn't specify in my earlier post, but one of the notable failures was a Jones ACX 2.2 (29er version, the 26-inch version ran tubeless w/no problems). It blew off the rim 20 minutes after I aired it up, while still in the stand.

This is far from scientific, but when Travis Brown was here in Nebraska last fall, I asked him if the XRs would be more reliable running tubeless, and he said he'd had good luck with them. It took me a while to try it though, as my fear from the ACX failure was still fresh in my mind. I finally tried it though, and have never gone back. Heck, I don't think that XR front tire has been off the rim since I aired it up tubeless. Totally reliable...

I can't say what it'll do tomorrow, but today it's doing great!
;-}
MG
 

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MGERSIB:
Since you're riding the sames trails I am, could you pass along a tire opinion. Is the Kenda on the rear a noticable improvement over a Nano? I'm running tubes so is your preference more related to the tire itself or the setup? Also, how do both compare to the Fast Trak for our trails?

Thanks
 

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i heart singletrack
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
RJR said:
MGERSIB:
Since you're riding the sames trails I am, could you pass along a tire opinion. Is the Kenda on the rear a noticable improvement over a Nano? I'm running tubes so is your preference more related to the tire itself or the setup? Also, how do both compare to the Fast Trak for our trails?

Thanks
The Kenda is primarily an improvement over the Nano in terms of weight. Both are fast rollers, which is ideal for the conditions we have right now. The downside of the Kenda (vs. the Nano) is slightly less air volume. when combined with the Karma's 127tpi casing, you have to run a bit more pressure in it to not pinch flat (I run about 38psi tubeless) compared to a Nano (which I can run at 30-32psi all day).

I haven't ridden the Fast Track, but from what I've heard it's a pretty good tire. Another popular setup is running the front tire version of the Bontrager Jones XR on the front and the rear (backwards -- or tread point facing rearward).

For our dirt and the way I ride, I haven't found a better combo than the Jones XR front and Karma rear.

Good luck!
MG
 
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