Where does preparation begin? Is it before the race season starts, with a training plan? Or is your racing more experience based, so does it come down to planning travel and race experiences around your region, state, country or the globe? Last minute or weeks out – it pays to make sure your equipment is up to the task.
Multiple Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team members have descended onto the Sud Tirol, for the next round of the UCI Marathon Series, in Villabassa, Italy. This race is a classic event, having been a round in the previous Marathon World Cup, and was the Marathon World Championships in 2008. Being in the dolomites, there is plenty of climbing in the course. It changes each year, but the race lengths are normally about 60km or about 115km, and it changes from a clockwise to a counter clockwise circuit each year. One big lap, with multiple feed zones, and a lot of fans and support along the route. Although the riding isn’t overly technical, some caution needs to be heeded in long distance races in alpine regions. The rocks get pretty sharp the higher you go, and the further into a race you get, it’s easy to lose focus and take a few too many risks.
The Subaru-MarathonMTB.com Team tends to choose equipment based on reliability and performance over the lightest weight parts available – although lightweight and reliability are not always mutually exclusive. Regardless, different races require a few tweaks to the setup. Here’s what each racer is doing for the Dolomiti Superbike.
Bike: Scott Spark Expert 29, Team spec with Shimano XTR, Fox Terralogic forks and a custom valved Fox RP23 Rear shock. ZTR Crest Wheels built by Jonny Bell (Noble Wheels, UK)
Changes or tweaks for the Dolomiti Superbike: “The white gravel takes a little bit of getting used to, so getting tyre pressures right for grip, but fast rolling on the climbs takes a bit of time. I’ve switched out to the cooling finned Shimano XTR metal brake pads. The descents aren’t too full on here, but a long race in what could be wet, gritty conditions, requires good braking. I’ll carry some wet chain lube for the same reason. Probably just one tube and a tyre boot, as I’ve put fresh Maxxis Ikon EXO tyres on. I trust those a lot. With multiple feed zones and pronounced climbs, I tend to mark the kilometre points of those on some electrical tape, as if you’re deep in the hurt box it’s good to know how soon the top of the climb may be, or somewhere to refuel and pull yourself together.
Bike: Bianchi Methanol 29, Team Spec Shimano XTR, Fox Terralogic and ZTR Crest Wheels built be Greg Ryan (TWE)
Changes or tweaks for the Dolomiti Superbike: Nothing specific, besides a recent change to the Bianchi Methanol 29 frame! Naomi always runs a saddle bag for spares, and uses Squirt dry lube, regardless of conditions. The small bottle comes along for the ride. Running a hard tail allows for two bottle cages – essential for longer races.
Bike: Scott Scale RC, Shimano XT/SRAM XX Mix, Fox Terralogic, Hope Hoops (Crest 29)
Changes or tweaks for the Dolomiti Superbike: Getting it running again! After taking third place at the horrendously muddy Mountain Mayhem, Hayter has had to replace his chain, cassette, chain rings, bottom bracket, and rebuild just about every part of his bike.
Bike: Chinese Carbon Monstrosity. Ghetto build.
Changes or tweaks for the Dolomiti Superbike: This bike receives little attention, but as Spies lines up for his third UCI XCM series race he says that his bike will be ‘sweet’ by the time the O-Tour in Switzerland comes around. He did admit to putting a new gear cable in recently. Stu still runs 9 speed grip shift.
The race starts at 7:30am Western European Time, and time will tell how the various riders preparation has worked out. Has physical preparation been let down by mechanical preparation? Or has a focus on the bike removed attention from the ‘form’? Hopefully some of the Team will have the magic mix and produce a great result.