Sunday, September 16, 2012

Good Stuff

I gave myself a much needed break from racing this weekend.  It has been a long mtb endurance racing season for me, so instead of traveling to a race, I decided it would be better to stay home to rest, ride and start my transition into the cyclocross racing season.  I actually started switching over to cross immediately following the Fool's Gold 100 race by choosing to ride my geared Salsa Vaya Ti over my Selma Ti singlespeed.  During the mtb season, I pretty much ride and race my Selma all of the time.  It sure was sweet to ride a bike with gears again and go really fast, or really easy, with a few clicks of a shifting lever.  I do love the simplicity and dependability of my SS, but using gears this week sure has been a nice change of pace.  Speaking of nice, I've just got to report on some good bike stuff that I use and would like to recommend.

My magically levitated Vaya Ti on some gravel goodness.

I can't say that I actually took it easy this weekend by not racing.  I did a completely awesome 84 mile ride of mostly gravel and dirt roads on Saturday with nearly 9000' of climbing.  I used this ride to dial in my Vaya for the fourth race of the American Ultra Cross Series, Three Peaks, in Banner Elk, NC next weekend and for Iron Cross on 10/06/2012.  I rode my Vaya a handful of times this past Spring, but haven't had a chance to give it a ton of attention over the summer because of spending so much time on my SS mtb.  All I can say, after my rides this past week, is that I am completely sold on the Vaya being one of the best bikes around for long gravel and dirt road riding.  The Vaya Ti is probably one of the most fun and versatile bikes I've ever ridden.  It does so many things well and, at the same time, does it very comfortably, too.  Unfortunately, the Vaya Ti is not in Salsa's line-up for 2013, but the new Vaya Travel is sure to be a good replacement, especially with the addition of the Alternator Dropouts being used on the frame.  I love the idea of the Vaya Travel having singlespeed capability because of the Alternator Dropout use.  Salsa Cycles other new gravel road riding frame, the Warbid Ti, would be another great choice for ripping-up the gravel and dirt with speed and confidence.

I mounted up a pair of 700x40 tires onto my Stan's Notubes 29er Crest wheels and ran 35 psi in the front and 40 psi in my rear tire.  The tubeless ride of the tires on my Crest rims was perfect for the fast, semi-technical descents I was riding with my Vaya.  I felt completely confident in my ride and wasn't much slower than I was when descending the same hills with my tubeless mtb tire set-up.  I'm absolutely positive this will be my tire/wheel choice for the Three Peaks and Iron Cross races.  It's a fast, fairly light and durable set-up that should get me to the finishing line without any issues.

Not only do the LG T-Flex 300 work well, they look pretty nice, too.

While doing my long ride on Saturday, I ran up a steep hillside to test out my bike shouldering skills for cyclocross run-ups.  I noticed immediately how well my Louis Graneau T-Flex 300 shoes performed during the run.  The shoes are built with a stiff carbon sole, but the first couple inches of the shoe actually flex to make running off the bike much easier than with a traditional carbon soled shoe.  With the toes having the ability to flew, I noticed my heel doesn't come out of the heel pocket and I could run much fast and easier up the run-up.  I've raced all of my NUE series races with the T-Flex 300 shoes and couldn't be happier with the shoe for mtb riding also.  It is by far the most comfortable high-end shoe I have ever owned and I have tried almost every brand out there.  In addition to the shoe being comfortable, it seems to be very durable, too.  If you are looking for a perfect shoe to use for singlespeed mtb racing or for cyclocross, I would totally recommend giving these shoes a try.  I'm sure you will be as happy with these shoes as I am!

Well, that's it for now, but please tune back in next weekend when I write-up a report about the American Ultra-Cross Series Three Peaks USA race.  Now that I have all of my equipment dialed-in for this race, I am totally excited to put it all to the test at a race labeled as America's hardest cyclocross race.  I had a great time racing there last year and I'm sure this year will be pretty epic ride also with approximately 10,000 feet of climbing over 51 on and off-road miles of racing.

Happy Trails, Gerry

1 comment:

  1. Great equipment advice - look forward to seeing you on Sunday!