Thursday, April 27, 2006

The Test

This weekend is the first race in the North Shore Ripper series. The race is up Mountain Highway to the seventh switchback on Mt Fromme and then down the Seventh Secret trail. The race is open to teams -- one rider will ride up and the other rider will ride down, or to solo competitors. I chose to ride solo. I'm not the fastest rider up, and I'm not the fastest rider down. But by combining the two I should do ok.

In the team event all the uphill riders will be on cross country bikes -- light and fast. For the downhill member of the team the choice of steeds will be a downhill bike -- although not a really difficult trail, Seventh is still tough and downhill bikes will do well.

The uphill riders will probably take 25 minutes to ascend, the downhill riders will be in the 18 minute area.

So for those of us doing both up and down there is a bit of a dilemma. Cross country bike or downhill/All mountain bike? I have been wrestling with this for a couple of weeks now. I can ride my all mountain bike up in about 31 minutes and come down in 18. From what I have heard though is that the race is won or lost in the uphill ride. So maybe I should use the cross country bike -- it's light and nimble.

Last night on my way home from work I decided to test the cross country bike. I rode up to Fromme from work and then timed myself up to the seventh switchback. Damn I'm slow. It hurt. In fact it was punishing and not from an aerobic perspective (although I was done by the time I reached the top). I guess I had too much tire pressure and it took it's toll, I was sore. And to add insult to injury I wasn't that much faster.

The decent proved less even less exciting. It was tough, I think I lost all the time I gained on the climb in the first 300 m of the decent -- and that was the easy part of the trail.

Well I had to try it. As I say I have been pondering the advantages/disadvantages of each bike for the past few weeks -- and have been driving my riding buds crazy. It's final, the all mountain 33 pounder will be my steed of choice for the ripper.

I won't win -- by any stretch of the imagination -- but at least I will have fun, and that's what this series is all about.


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