Excruciation Exam: 87 Miles of MTB in Texas Hill Country

January 6, 2010

Hello HighFlangers!

I hope Santa brought you all the sweet bike loot you’ve been lusting after all year! I’ve been a pretty naughty boy, but I managed to score a Canon 7D, so hopefully we will have some excellent HD video coming your way soon! Also we should have some sweet HIGHFLANGE stickers coming in soon. Limited quantities are available so hit it up while the iron is hot. We’re also working on a few tshirts courtesy of Charlie Foxtrot Clothing. They make some sweet motorsports shirts, and they are going to venture into the world of human power themed clothing for us soon.

On to the news: I was out in Central Texas for an 87 mile endurance race. Highflange reader Christopher Michael Aguillard, a member of Team Bicycle World and Fitness pestered me into getting off the couch, cleaning the Christmas Cake and French Fry crumbs off my bib shorts and face and hitting the trails. The ride was aptly named.

It began with a lap of the trails at Warda, then a road portion all the way through some paved hills to Rocky Hill Ranch, then a 24 mile lap of Rocky Hill’s trails, then back to Warda for a short victory lap through their trails and to the finish. The race totaled nearly 90 miles. The course was very well laid out and all I was missing was a few extra watts in my legs at the end of the day to push me further. I was passed at one point by a tandem!

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It was my first MTB race and I was just happy to have finished at all, and to be one spot above DFL for the finishers in my class.

That’s me in the dorky red jacket, riding a super smooth full suspension 26’er Santa Cruz Blur LT (aluminum frame) and Aguillard is riding the sexy blue and orange Crank Brothers Cobalt and Iodine wheelset strapped to his Santa Cruz Chameleon. Oddly enough, he’s had a few problems with the wheelset. We’re not sure if it’s bad luck or a common problem on the crank brothers wheels, but he had his freehub body fail on him during a practice lap at Rocky Hill. Since we love Crank Brothers products, we might wait for a response from the company to see if it was user error/luck or a defect.

During the ride I managed to sneak a look at some sweet rides from Niner, Independent Fabrication, and Vassago Cycles. It’s no secret that I have been secretly lusting after building a weight-weenie, hardtailed big wheeler for racing, since the squishy all mountain Santa Cruz is more set up for a fun ride with your buddies or some impressive leaps off of drops with 140mm of travel.

I think I’m sold on MTB racing, I just purchased my license from USA cycling this year. I was telling my friends that I was never going to be capable of racing mountain bikes. It just wasn’t for me. I wasn’t cut out for/couldn’t handle the stresses. As it turns out, “can” is really a mental thing. You can do it as long as you believe you can. I may never be hitting podium finishes in any arena of bicycle racing, but I’m more than content to train hard every day, eat right and show up and see what my legs will do!

2010 has been good to me so far!


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