Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Building my time machine

I call it my time machine because I'm banking on free speed. I've never been this involved in the production of building a bike. Yeah sure, I've sat in my husband's bike shop aka our basement and "helped" him with bike builds. "Here hold this, hand me that, does this look straight?" But I've never actually invested emotion into the process, until now.

My first XTERRA and my first win.  Pictured L to R Shain,
Stan, me Al and Luke, we're a bunch of Misfits.
Last year was my debut XTERRA season. I swore up and down that I would NEVER EVER ride trails. Run them, sure, ride them, NEVER!!! Until I won my first XTERRA. Yeah, I won, not my age group, I won as the overall female finisher. Call it a fluke, a sign, an act that could not be I signed up for 7 more including an earned spot at US Nationals and later Worlds in Maui. I never won again, but my maiden voyage was definitely not a fluke. I earned a Midwest Regional Champ title and placed 10th in my AG in Ogden and 11th in Maui. Not too shabby for a newbie!

The Spearfish post XTERRA Worlds Maui

All of this riding was done on a hand-me-down Salsa Spearfish full suspension, which I love, but has proven to be a lot of's like having a huge ass that you have to haul over logs, rocks and roots. I really don't need any help in that department.

So my husband convinces me that I NEED a new bike. I know he's looking for what will make me a better rider, he has my best interest at heart always. But I know there's a part of him that knows if he can build me a super bike his isn't too far behind. He's right.....he knows me well.

Enter the great frame debate. The choice of hardtail vs full suspension (HT vs FS from here on out) was a no brainer. Way more responsiveness on the HT. But the metallurgy was up for grabs. Steel vs aluminum vs titanium. Carbon wasn't included. Yeah it's light but we were looking for long lasting beauty.

Steel is real as they say. So it was decided, or so we thought. I learned a ton about steel frames and who had the best frames in my husband's opinion and that of our bike shop go to fella Toby and his trusty wrench Chad. Gunnar followed by Niner (if financing was an issue this was our fallback). Long story short, I did a 36 mi Niner (aluminum 29r HT) test ride up in Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine and decided I liked Niner, plus they had a very cool "Misfit" green frame. Alas, I was talked out of the Niner and back into a Gunnar. Back and forth back and forth for weeks this went on.

Then out of the blue husband finds a hell of a deal on a HT ti 29r frame and fork. We pounced, bought two of them, his and hers!

Here she is, just hanging around. She's so pretty.
Done, frame decided and I thought that was the hard part.

Now I'm not stupid. I know the components are the bread and butter of the bike build. I know what constitutes quality parts too. My tri bike sits around 19ish lbs largely in part due to the components. But geesh, this glowing beauty pictured here will not be much heavier than my tri bike we're estimating around 21lbs. So how the heck are we gonna get my bike so light? I my friends will be one of the few peeps on the trails riding a SRAM XXI! I'll wait while you swallow your spit you just choked on!

Yep, one giant pie plate cassette in the rear and one chain ring in the front which means I only have one gear shifter to worry about. How about this simple equation? LESS WEIGHT = FREE SPEED! BOOM!

Friend, wheel builder and bike wrench Chad
Jealous? Here's a sneak peak! So I haven't actually ridden the 1x11 yet, shit, no one really has except for a few guys in England. I read their review and I was pretty impressed. So I'm not scared that the 1x11 is new technology. My logic is SRAM is a reputable company and they wouldn't have released the groupo if it wasn't quality stuff.

So onto the rest of the candy! DT Swiss hubs, Shimano XTR brakes, Stan's Crest wheels, Rock Shox Reba RL shock.

All that aside what I'm excited about is the design.... You can take the girl out of the jewelry store but you can't take the jewelry store out of the girl..... double talk aside. I love to accessorize!

So, my shiny ti frame is gonna go glam! Gold Chris King headset, gold seat post clamp, gold skewers, alternating gold and black spoke nipples, white grips, white seat-post, white WTB Diva seat (awesome on the hooha) and last but not least white Stan's Crest tubeless wheels with a black and white hub! Oh did I mention one draw back with the XXI, we had to wait until a company came out with a compatible hub set.... Sigh.....the drawbacks of being cutting edge!

DT Swiss rear hub, XXI compatible
 All in all this has been one awesome experience. I'm invested in the bike, emotionally. I'm pretty amped to hit the dirt once she's built and earn some serious PRs this coming season. I know I have a lot of room for improvement being that I have one season under my belt so I feel good things coming.

I do have to pay respect to the Salsa though. That green machine took me to places I never wanted to go. Part of why I never wanted to ride the trails is because I'm was a big wussy. I'm still a little scared to ride some sections of trail.

Stans Crest notubes. Chad's lacing
these badboys as we speak

Building a bike from the ground up so to speak is far more rewarding that picking one off of the rack. There were points in this process that I never thought I'd see the end result and having a vision of what I wanted the bike to look like was challenging. I'm not a bike mechanic, I know enough to get me in trouble so I'm grateful to my husband Al, Tobie and Chad when they felt me steering toward disaster guided me back on course!

2013 is going to be Epic. I know that word gets thrown around a lot probably because it's a cool word. How can it not be a great year? I'm riding ti, my husband and I both are members of what is turning out to be a very cool team.... shout out Wattie Ink and I'm gonna be fast this season I know it!


Friday, December 14, 2012

It's all in the "W"

You know that old saying, "It's not all about the "W?" I'm here to tell you that it ABSOLUTELY is all about the "W." Only not in the sense that most of us are familiar with. 

In 2013 it's all about Rockin' the W. Meaning, my husband and I will be racing for and are members of Wattie Ink's 2013 Elite Triathlon Team! 

A big hoorah for something that's been a long time coming!

Thank you goes to our Wattie Ink team sponsors including: K-Swiss, Speedfil, Kask Helmets, PowerBar, Blueseventy, 454 Tattoos, ism Saddles, FuelBelt, and Blue Cycles.