Monthly Archives: June 2009

Stöckli Bike Marathon

Well between the early June races at Estavayer or Mendrisio and the bigger marathons to come in July and August, there is always end of june the Stöckli Bike Marathon.  Its no race, no time measurement, but everything else like fun and good times outdoor. This year we had quite some mud, so it was really funny. Overall it was a good shape test for the summer and the first opportunity to wear the new shirts. They are just great!

Here is a picture I have found there: http://vazifars-blog.veloblog.ch/post/14/1248, please just neglect the 26″ bike on the left  😉 My 29er was never that full of dirt…

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New Sponsor: Supernova

We are proud to announce a new sponsor: Supernova Lights www.supernovalights.com

This year we will also try their E3 fantastic Lamp together with Hub Dynamos, either by Shimano or SON to try lightning alternatives for 24h races. As soon as the first sets are installed, you will read more.

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Hohenfels USFE ’09 Justin

Hohenfels

The 4th race in the U.S. Forces Europe mountain bike championship series was held in Hohenfels, Germany last weekend on a tremendously tough course.  I had no chance to preride, so the first lap would be interesting.  Laps were 15km and had a little bit of everything from tight and twisty singletrack, fast 1-track descents, 1-track climbs, and jeep road climbs.  One section I dubbed “little Ireland”, situated in thick canopy, steep singletrack through the longest rock garden I’ve seen, which was mostly unrideable.  Singletrack sections were nicely broken up with fire roads, allowing for passing.   Most of this course with some additional singletrack will serve as the USFE championship race in September, and I think it more than deserves that honor.

The race director surprised everyone at the prerace meeting with the news we would be using a Lemans start, historically reserved for 24hr and SS racing.  The bikes were strategically placed at the start line, mine being the only 29er amongst some high end Cube and Scott FS carbon bikes that sure look pretty, almost as if they had never seen dirt, but if I had a high dollar machine I would probably take care of it as well.  

The gun went off and heels were flying,  200 or so meters of grass stood between us and the bikes, a pack arrived with no flyers, and I was second to get the machine rolling on a short paved section before the 1-track started.  I passed the one guy who stood in my way and entered the singletrack first.  A downhill section with tight corners, and I new immediately I was going to enjoy this race.  I lost track of my geographic location for awhile, thinking I may have slipped through a black hole and reappeared in Colorado on the Super Loop race course. 

The course kept you honest, concentration was key, and how there were only a few skirmishes with trees is truly amazing.  Singletrack opened to jeep roads, allowing for nutrient intake, and then right back up/down singletrack that would put a grin on anyone’s face from ear to ear.

The race went well with no major mechanical issues other than an instance of chain meet spokes and an out of true rear wheel that noticeably reduces efficiency, and I cruised over 30km in 1:47, good enough for 1st out of a small field of 2o some racers.  Angela did only 1 lap, and was waiting for me as she crushed her closest competitor by more than 13 minutes.   She is really riding strong and the key to her success is motivation, which she might just have.

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GEAX Saguaro 29″ TNT + Pit Stop TNT tubeless fluid

Me running GEAX Barro Race 29 tires at the 24 Hours of Finale last month

Me running GEAX Barro Race 29" tires at the 24 Hours of Finale last month

So, I’m still very much a skeptic when it comes to tubeless tires. I find all the work involved with fluid, taping, valve stems, etc. just kind of TOO much work. Well, not really kind of. Definitely. To top it off, the thing that really has made me more or less avoid it is the fact that almost all tires that I’ve ever attempted ghetto tubeless with have required a compressor or very expensive (in Europe) compressed air cartridges to inflate the tires the first time. I don’t have a compressor and the compressed air is just too expensive to waste the money for a test run.

GEAX Saguaro 29 TNT Tire - one of my favorite tires

GEAX Saguaro 29" TNT Tire - one of my favorite tires

That was until I received and FINALLY got around to trying my GEAX Saguaro 29″ TNT tires with the Geax Pit Stop fluid. Quite frankly, I’m shocked how easy it was to get them pumped up and to hold air.

I’ve had a pair of wheels sitting around here for a year or more that I’ve never been able to get trued. The hubs are White Industries laced to Salsa Delgado 29’er rims. I now know why Salsa has quite making these rims. Unlike the rest of Salsa’s quality line of accessories these rims are soft, too soft. Try as I might I’ve honestly never been able to true either of these wheels. I guess I’m just going to have to chalk it up to experience.

In any case. Mounting the tires, for me, wasn’t any more difficult than your average Continental tire (the hardest to mount, I’ve ever seen). It took me a few tries with two levers to get the one side on. After that, I read the instructions on the Pit Stop fluid which said to put about 50 ml. of fluid in the tire. I opened it up, looked at the weird grey color (very similar to the color of the GEAX sidewalls) and poured in about 50 ml +/- a bit. I then sealed up the bottle and mounted the rest of the tire without a whole lot of difficulty as then the edges of the tire had a bit of fluid on them.

Pit Stop TNT fluid - does 3 tires according to package

Pit Stop TNT fluid - does 3 tires according to package

Next I hooked the floor pump that I have up to the valve stem (Stans) and started pumping. At first it didn’t seem that it was going to work so I wiggled the tire around till it expanded in the rim a bit and then it started to fill with air. About the time I hit 40 psi it did the fimiliar POP! and I knew that I was almost homefree. I then unhooked the pump, did the tubeless spin/wiggle until I saw no more fluid escaping from anywhere or heard any excaping air. I then hooked up the pump, pumped until I was at 40 psi and removed the pump and screwed down the presta valve.

Geax Saguaro TNT tires and Pit Stop TNT fluid... a great pair

Geax Saguaro TNT tires and Pit Stop TNT fluid... a great pair

That was a week ago. Believe it or not, it’s still full as when I filled it the first time. All I can say is WOW… I’M IMPRESSED! Geax has a new convert to tubeless if it works that easily on all rims. I need to try it on my WTB Speeddisc rims on my Black Sheep and see what happens.

I’ve been a huge GEAX fan since way back when they started with Ibis (which I’ve now found out they’ve always belonged to Vittoria – thanks Rico). They’ve always been innovative and kind of ‘under the radar’. Things just seem to be getting better and better though. So, when the chance to have them as a team sponsor came up, I grabbed at the chance. Personally, I’m really glad that we did it. Super quality, great tread patterns and this TNT thing is pretty awesome. I’ll try to let you know how it continues to work out as I continue to play with it.

Go here for the full line of GEAX products.

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