Although, we’re lucky enough as a team to have a sponsorship deal with Marin, we’ve had the bad news that the much anticipated Alchemist short travel full suss has been delayed until probably September 2009. In the meantime I’ve been busy on eBay and found a bargain Giant Anthem frame and here’s it’s first pic below.
It had its first decent ride last night and first impressions certainly match up with all the incredible reviews it’s received. The rear suspension wasn’t quite as plush as I expected, however, I think new bushings and spacers just need a little time to settle in and I’m sure it’ll be swinging free. I may have a little too much air pressure in the shock as Giant’s recommendation to put the same pressure as my weight in pounds, seems to stiffen it up a bit too much and with the efficient pedalling design of the Maestro links, then it should enable me to soften it a little and increase small bump sensitivity. It only has a Fox RP2 fitted which is probably in need of a service too, so not going to expect miracles in small bump sensitivity.
The Anthem is really designed for an 80mm travel fork so the 100mm Reba I have fitted has kicked the head angle back by half a degree, which is probably a good thing. The Anthem is known for its super sharp steering and that little bit of layback will help take the edge off a bit which is probably a good thing for epic racing and training rides.
I still have an Xlite carbon riser fitted to a Race Face Deus stem and I’m thinking seriously about altering this setup. I find the Deus to be a bit lacking in torsional stiffness when I really pump on the bars on a steep climb and I’m on the lookout for a suitable alternative. I would like to try an oversize bar and stem and see how that feels. On the bar front I’m thinking it might be a good idea to go back to a flat bar with bar ends, particularly with Explore Sweden on the horizon. The sweep angle on the Xlite bars isn’t quite to my liking and I think having the muliple hand positions offered by bar ends may be of benefit to my wrists on the long Swedish bike sections. I had a little lower back pain at the start of the ride and I need to figure out whether that’s to do with my position or just because it’s been so long since I’ve been on the bike. I think the latter and I just need to do some more hamstring stretching. Can’t wait to be able to start back at yoga now that my knee is getting stronger!
It’s been a difficult time recently as I’ve struggled with a knee injury that has randomly changed in severity and has more or less sidelined me for the past few months. I think I’ve managed about 4 runs since October as some days it would feel fine and the next I wouldn’t be able to walk down the stairs. It managed to last long enough with appropriate ibuprofen use to last me through the IGWA race in Guadeloupe in November, but since then only a few sporadic runs and zero time on the bike, have meant that my left is wasting away to nothing! (
So in the meantime I’ve been sat on the kayak ergo trying to really build up strength in what is undoubtedly my, and most British adventure racer’s, worst discipline. (Actually inline skating may be even less successful!). Getting proper paddle training advice and guidance on technique and training is invaluable and this weblog with links to a whole bunch of articles has been really useful, I hope others find the same.
Stuck in the house today with a blinding migraine, but it gets boring not being able to look at any light so when the drugs kick in I’ve been looking at this excellent adventure racing and multisport advice website – Altdirt. Go check it out, its got tons of great advice.
It was a bit wet in the west of Scotland in October. This path down near Stratchclyde Park used to be pretty good for inline skating training….