Got some genuinely exciting things to show off at the show this year and I was heartened by my trip to this year's Eurobike which showed that we are either on the right track or ahead of the pack. Part of the process has involved the testing of new products and among other things I have been riding the new disc-equipped cross bike. For us, disc-specific such as the one I'm riding doesn't make much commercial sense so the production frameset has both fittings.
At the end of last season I made a promise to myself that I would get on top of my equipment for 2011/12 and this is what I'm looking at:
Bike 1: Terra-X Prototype Disc-Specific, 135mm rear d/o
-Wheels, 38mm deep, CX specific proto carbon tub rims (24mm wide) currently Specialized Tracer tubs will switch to Dugast Rhino when back from re-carcassing by FMB
-Shimano (XT) 29er wheels with Challenge Fango clinchers
-Shimano D/A 7800 Groupset with Tiagra cable discs
-Currently Pro Vibe finishing kit but swapping to USE for Cycle Show
Bike 2: Terra-X Canti/Disc 132.5mm d/o
-Wheels, 48mm deep carbon rims with Specialized Tracer tubs and Mavic Ksyrium SL with Specialized Tubs
-Shimano D/A 7800 Groupset
-Pro Vibe finishing kit from bike 1
-Proto Condor canti's
The disc bike is truly excellent. Not that I got any anyway but the set up completely eliminates fork judder. This is a combination of the ultra stiff 1.5" lower bearing and the fact there is no cable stretch under braking. For me it also eliminates any worry in my head about the need to constantly check my speed way ahead of corners (this will really come into its own in the mud) not to mention being physically easier to brake. They feel great too -how often do you squeeze the brakes on a CX bike and think "Ooh, that feels good..." -not very often is the answer. I'm sure that its performance in mud will only be better.
Got me a bigger car as well, following a winter of not being able to use the MR2 due to snow etc. It's been a summer of motoring stress but (without wanting to jynx it) it's all set and good as new.
My season is planned and though it's all UK based I may chop some out as I'd like to head over and do a couple of events in Belgium. Currently I've got speed but no stamina. On Sunday I got myself up into 10th place at half distance but blew spectacularly at about 40mins and had to creep round the last 3 laps, losing 7 or 8 places in the process. I'm not worried, one thing I've learnt over the last few years is it's all about balance, and it's a long old season -I've got somewhere in the region of 24 races pencilled in. I'd rather start slower now, make it through the show without burning out and getting ill, and still be going come Feb.