Saturday, 30 March 2013

This years bike...

Isn't she pretty?
Well I've been feely lucky recently.  Got my last road bike in August 2010 and Now I have a new 2013 MTB.  My previous MTB was from 2004 and is just very worn.  The agreement with the wife was to ride the existing MTB in Trans Portugal 2012 and make sure I enjoyed it before splashing the cash on the right sort of bike for that race.

The twins.  Why do I always get black bikes?
Looked a round a lot at the various bikes and to be honest there's not a huge choice of high end race bikes.  I'm not one to buy the most expensive but prefer something with good specs.  Seems to be a trend with a lot of Manufacturers to have an uber expensive top end bike and then much much cheaper bikes.  Also for some reason a lot of "race" 29ers are starting to have 120mm front and rear.  I also did the debate over hard tail or FS but I am a softy so when for the Full suspension in the end.  I've never ridden a hard tail and I'm nearly forty so why start now?

So I brought an Epic Marathon...OK a bit predictable but they are popular

Bike will be completely stock except for XTR pedals and I've swapped to Maxxis tyres today.  Weighs in at about 11kG which is a good kilo off my old one.  I've also ordered bigger front chain ring as I felt the 38x11 was a little on the small side.  Gone for the 39x26 combo instead of 38x24

I've done nearly 1000km on it and I must say it's superb.  Easier to get the same position as my road bike.  A little higher of the ground takes some getting used to.  Brakes are a little noisy with moisture on them.  Wheels have take a hammering already in deep snow.  Happy with my purchase and it feels oh so much faster.  Much easier to ride up technical sections.  I rode sections that I just could not do on my 26er and half way up I'm in disbelief that I'm still riding.

Looking forward to spending multiple days on it in sunny May !!!

The winter that was (is)?

Well...Where does one start?  It's been a long winter and I'm not sure it's done yet.  It's Easter Weekend and we have had snow again overnight.  There was a faint Glimmer of hope about 2 weeks ago where I think we made double digit temperatures for the first time since December for about a week but that's rapidly been replaced by cold weather again...
Choose the wrong bike.  Cue a slow ride down wishing for better brakes

I've managed to do OK training wise.  It's been hard and my hours are certainly down on last year.  I'm hoping that's a good thing but I've also been doing 10 times the amount of climbing from last year.  I've found the riding more physically exhausting here in Switzerland.  There really is nowhere flat to just chill out and ride.  Even riding around a lake involves hills of some sort.  It certainly takes mental strength to get on the bike and ride.

Ploughed road in the middle of nowhere
In the early part of the season I got out on the MTB a fair bit but post January there was and still is too much snow.  It's fine up to about 850 Metres and then it's just impassable.  The good news is almost all Tarmac is ploughed and they do a fairly good job of it.  Almost all the main roads are completely clear and the B rides as well.  Some of the remote roads are ploughed but still left with packed snow on them.  As long at the snow is only about 10 cm deep it's fine.  Otherwise cue lots of walking.
At nearly 1300 Metres.  It was warm at 8 degress

So I've mainly been on the road bike.  It's ridden through quite a few snow storms and been up three of Switzerland's highest passes in winter.  Snow banks that are 2-3 metres high at the side of the road are amazing.  I actually don't mind the cold and the snow but hate the cold and wet.  I worry about the grip but have been astonished at how well they look after the roads here   I'm also amazed at Continental GP 4 Season tyres.  They rock.  The bikes been so dirty and filthy and I've ridden two through to the canvas and they just grip.

The Ice Wheel.  -5 and snowing but snow melted when hit the salted road. Anything that sprayed frooze.
Yes I have fallen off too.  Twice to be exact and both times in the dark and in snow.  This year I smashed up my left shoulder and got very cold very quickly riding home.  Feared the wost that I'd done the collar bone but wasn't so bad once I got home and was warm.  Lost the front wheel at 28.6km/h on the MTB.  Snow covered road and I guess Ice underneath.  Slide maybe 20-30 metres down the road on my knees and elbows.  Six weeks physio and almost back to normal.  The other crash was just one of those where I couldn't tell the road from footpath.  Got the wheel into the curb and couldn't get out.

Lets hope Winter ends soon...The first month of sping is nearly over !!!

Deep snow. Means lots of walking...