And finally the best of the bunch maybe? Because there’s a real possibility of doing something similar to Ty Hathaway. I love the cyclocross shredding and the bothy visit. This film just sets you up for the weekend nicely I think.
The tyre debate comes up all too often on forums, on the trail, in the pub, in magazine letters pages etc. “What tyres do people recommend for mud/trail centres/down-hill, XC?” Delete as appropriate…
It’s the source of frustration for forum administrators (“This discussion has been moved to the tyre debate thread – along with ALL the other tyre questions.”) and I am sure magazine editors get way more letters and requests than we ever see printed.
Is it the most often posed question among the MTB community? Its certainly “up there” but may have been replaced in recent years by the wheel size debate or now the Enduro vs trail bike dilemma.
The sheer selection of tyres available to us is huge. Maxxis, Continental, Bontrager and Specialized are the main culprits for this choice but there are a handful of others such as On-One that throw a low-priced-spanner into the works every now and again to make us think even more.
Having struggled a little to gain some traction last winter with the factory fitted Specialized Ground Control tyres that came on the Rockhopper I took the advice of my LBS and fitted a pair of Storm Control also from Specialized.
No sooner were they on, my grip improved in the wet muddy conditions. They cut through the mud well. I have left them on all year and haven’t had much in the way of problems to warrant changing them.
I mostly ride my 29er XC and on rolling terrain rather than on gnarly downhill and technical obstacles. There have been the odd sketchy moment on wet roots but I have learnt to deal with that (what tyre can truly cope with wet roots?) and the ability to beat the mud has defined these tyres for me. You won’t get one tyre that can deal with everything – but the Storm Control on my 29er has been plenty of tyre for me on this bike over the last 9 months or so. While I have been tempted to put some wider more aggressive tyres on for the summer, they rolled and rode well and with the wet weather coming they will stay put for another winter.
Yesterday while driving home from work I had my sunglasses on and turned the heater down in the car. On Tuesday evening I rode in just a pair of shorts and 2 top layers. It was looking good for my first commute of the Spring. But today Winter has returned – in some style too…
I set the alarm for an early start and jumped out of bed and got my bike gear on. Had some breakfast, put on my shoes, gloves and generally wrapped up warmer for what looked like a cold morning.
It was cold, -2 C to be precise and the wind was blowing. I rode my Rockhopper and my SPDs which I haven’t ridden for a few weeks. It felt surprisingly tough – I think this is a combination of the cold start, maybe the mud tyres providing some extra rolling resistance but mostly me not being a morning rider!
My first challenge was my new favourite spot – the Rock Garden. I couldn’t ride over this as smoothly as I can on my Trance. The full sus is so much better at adjusting to the shape of this technical climb – being able to shift my weight and the bike’s weight about is very important in situations like this.
I tried a new diversion around Jugglers Lane – part of my recce for the MB Swindon ride in June. This removes a climb from the ride, but its an interesting little route with one or two additional drops and features for the riders to have a play on.
Anyway, back to my commute…
18 mph head wind according to the Met Office! What’s all that about? I checked this out when I got to the office as I found it so tough in places to even ride down some of the gentle descents without having to pedal! According to some website I googled that head wind turned a -2C into -9C with wind chill factor! Brrr!!!
So I got to the office a little later than planned and with some cold fingers and toes and I won’t deny that the thought of riding home later wasn’t as appealing as it was looking 24 hours before. I sit here now typing this (during my lunch break of course) and you know what – its snowing!!!
It was only about 14 miles but my legs feel like it was an epic. Two big climbs helped it feel like that. As the picture above shows some of it was pretty wet. Buy the one part I wasn’t looking forward to on my hard tail turned out drier than expected.
Yes there was a little down hill section that the other guys said was a bit steep and rooty. Having not done anything ‘technical’ on my 29er and certainly not with the SPDs on I was a little apprehensive. It turned out to be more fun than I expected and the steep track had drained enough to prevent it being too slippy. It was the first time I had dropped the seat post and got into a proper negative riding position. The route took us along the hillside with great views (better on a nice day) to our right. The trail through the trees was good fun with some off camber roots and narrow tree gaps. Then there was a decent bit of down fun to be had, nice and flowing with some twists and turns on the steep hill side.
After this and a pedal back up we looped into another wood for a short section where we also came across some jumps. Not for me today, but a good spot to come and session in the dry..