Over on MTBR I posted this ride report. There’s no sense in re-hashing the whole thing here, so just click on over. Yesterrday (and why I’ve waited this long to post here), they posted the results. Of 30 finishers in my category, I finished 27th. That doesn’t sound great, until you consider how many DNFs there had to have been. I mean look at the pre-race photo with nearly everyone starting. I figure close to 100 started, so that means something like 50 or so must have DNFed.
That makes me a feel a little better. I’m still pretty stoked to have finished. That was a tough ride. I’m somewhat glad my friend Chris didn’t go with me. He wasthinking the 41 might be all he could handle, and I’d have done that with him. The 41 would have been no challenge (at least to finish), while the 52 had me concerned through the first quarter of the race that I might not finish. Plus, the only part I got lost in was a section that the 52 does differently than the 41. What fun would it have been, if I didn’t get lost like everyone else?
My bike, on the other hand, is feeling the effects of age. Both my front and rear wheel are basically shot. So this week, I did some research and settled on a set of Industry Nine wheels. These are the new “latest thing” in chi-chi things for your bike, and so, of course, I need a set. Unfortunately it’s going to be a while. Speedgoat says 6-8 weeks before they are in.
To the untrained eye, these probably don’t look all that special (aside from the red color), but looking closely, you’ll notice that the spokes attach to the hub in a very different and unique way. Well, not that unique, because the Mavic CrossMax wheels attach similarly, but compared to a “standard” hub, these spokes are unique. A standard spoke attaches to the hub via an eyelet that requires the spoke to have a J-bend at the end. The spoke slides through the eyelet, and the J-bend allows the spoke to make the 90 degree turn it needs to. In order for the spoke to be strong enough to be bent and still take all of the stress it has to, the spoke is thicker. High end spokes are thicker at the ends, and then thinner in the middle, but they still suffer from breakage at the ends, due to the bend.
An advantage with the Industry Nine hub, is in the weight savings they can have, at the same or even higher strength, in comparison to a traditional hub. With no J-bend, the spokes can be a bit thinner, making each spoke lighter, while still providing the same or higher strength. That alone is a huge benefit. But another benefit of the Industry Nine hub is in how quickly they engage thanks to their internal pawl design. My CrossMax’s engage after about 8 degrees of wheel rotation. On technical climbing sections, that’s very noticable, and at times a bit frustrating, as you lose some of your stomping power waiting for the hub to engage, especially while trying to get over a tricky rock or ledge. If you wanted better, Chris King makes beautiful hubs with engagement in 5 degrees. For over a decade, they were indeed the King. But now Industry Nine has come along and done them 2 degrees better, with engagement in just 3 degrees. Oh, and these new hubs are even lighter than the King hubs…simply amazing.
My only concern about the new hubs is that I can’t get the rim I wanted to lace them to. That would have been a Mavic XM 819. Why that rim? Because it’s a UST rim, and thus well suited to going tubeless. Instead, I’ll be learning how to get the equipped DT XR 4.1 to hold air without tubes. DT provides a tubeless kit, which I’m getting, and hopefully it works better than I’ve read from some reports.
The final bit of fun, required by the new wheelset, is that these are disc brake wheels. My bike has always had V-Brakes, so along with the new wheels comes new disc brakes. I chose the Formula Oro Puro disc brakes, because they are light weight, and they have received nearly perfect reviews from everyone that’s ever used them and offered up an opinion. The Formula’s are a relative newcomer, just like Industry Nine, so I guess I’m on the bleeding edge with regard to my new brakes as well. Hopefully all installs well, here in a month or two.
For now, I’m going to focus on a bit more road riding. I took the Orbea out for 45 miles yesterday, and a brief 26 miler today. I like riding my road bike, I just don’t like riding it while having to share the road with cars. Yesterday’s ride felt very good. Much better than the same ride from 3 weeks ago, so it looks like I must be getting a little bit more fitness, which is certainly nice.