Pride, Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.
So says Mr Kent – bike mechanic wizard imbibed with army-reserve fastidiousness.
I've been reasonably consistent in getting the engine ready to go...as much as DNA, 400 km weeks and a full time job will allow (paradoxically), but its fair to say that the sleds have been neglected. Throwing in more sealant and lubing the chain is pretty much all the Mounty gets (remove sealant for roadie protocol), but even I could see that it had crossed an attention deficit tipping point.
Perusal immediately pre-Convict revealed a gaping hole in the rear tire. Lord knows how I managed to finish the Taree race ....a brew of sealant no doubt saved my bacon, on top of keeping a dozen other bleed points plugged. I simply swapped the wheel for its equally old twin (from my equivalent set of xtrs). Post Convict I noticed that the spare, as well as being nearly equally beaten up, was not exactly spinning freely in the rotor housing, so I’ve added shims on the brake mount to solve that problem. The reality is that both rear tires have had it (Xmark UST 2.1s), with cross-mark-less middle strips and only tiny shreds of the side knobs hanging on. In their defense they were the original tires that came with the bike, and have done the bulk of the bump and grind over three years.
So to new rubber in the form of Race King UST 2.2s, which I’ve dabbled with before, getting the nod over the other candidate, Racing Ralph's whose side walls look a tad thin for my ability. 100 ml sealant per tire should keep me afloat whilst dragging sub-optimal lines.
Up front I've been running Rendez UST's which roll well but are perhaps on the diet coke side of aggressive, so have opted for something a bit meatier in the form of Nobby Nic UST 2.25s.
A great weekend just past with The Mudge in the ACT (her idea!), suggests the Nics might be the ticket to improved handling and well worth a slight penalty in straight-line speed. Having driven down late Friday we rode Kowen’s on the Saturday, and again on Sunday morning, where a series of excellent circuits are marked out. The last 6 km of the 25 km loop, in particular, are just sublime! Also great views of the elusive (for us) Scarlet Robbin, a first for both of us. To give you an idea of how popular Kowen’s/Sparrow is, the car park on both mornings, which started on the frosty side of zero, was packed with maybe 30 cars by midday. On the Sunday arvo we hit Stromlo for a Red lap followed by the best bits of the Blue, where the car park was chockers with probably 300+ vehicles. So that’s where the bulk of Canberrans seemed to be hanging out.
It was during one of several impromptu birding stops that another 7Ps fail came to light in the form of a fractured rear derailleur arm. No idea when this happened. The last few races could so easily have morphed into my first SS experience. My default trick of simply throwing sealant at the problem wasn’t going to fix this one. Hopefully, with the aid of the internet – capable of warping space-time to transform a 2D image into physical reality only days later – I’ll get it sorted prior to next weekend and the second round of the Chocky Foot 7 hour series, this time down at Nowra. Will have to get my non-starting car issue sorted as well. Guilty again, Your Honour.
Lastly, big congrats to Giles (and Sara), who over previous months had obviously supped at the 7Ps trough and successfully toughed out the brutal NorthFace100 on the weekend. Running 100 km is one thing (my knees well and truly pack it in by the 20 km mark), but negotiating the inconvenience of all the elevation gains and losses in a Blue Mountains arena is another thing, and without the cushy benefit of periodic coasting that a wheeled format affords. Amazing Stuff!