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  1. #1
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    Looking towards next season....

    So, I'm looking at competing in the NUE next season, along with the BUMPS hill climbing series in New England.

    I've never competed in endurance MTB racing before, so I have to more or less start from scratch in terms of equipment.

    Right now, I have a Chameleon set up as SS, more of a trail worthy setup, definitely not the lightest build but it's great on my trails.

    Since I'm looking to be competitive in the series, I'm thinking the 26" wheel setup needs to go, it looks from what I've been stalking through pictures and reading, the speedsters are running 29er hardtails.

    I'm torn on doing SS or geared, which is something I need to figure out for myself. In terms of equipment though, is my assumption of doing a 29er hardtail the way to go these days? Anyone doing FS at those levels or are the courses not really in need of the cush?

    Thanks for any advice.

  2. #2
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    How old are you? No experience? Long distances? It all becomes personal preference and you won't know until you try it and even then, you're likely to go through several iterations of what "works" for you.

    I've tried just about everything and at 36 years old and not in incredible shape, I love my FS 29er.
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  3. #3
    It's carbon dontcha know.
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    I've had series finishes on a solid FS 29er build, a lightweight carbon FS 29er and this year on SS 29er. They were all fun and painful in their own way.
    Rolling on 29", 650b, 8.3" and 23mm

  4. #4
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    I'm 34, lots of riding experience, not a lot of racing other than hill climbs/time trials. I finish in top places in the events, times are fast as well not just high places due to lack of participants. I'm mixed in with CAT 1/2 roadies.

    I just have never gone down the racing route in anything because I didn't want to turn riding into a chore. Long distance running background, and loads of miles on the bikes over the years. I have the engine to push whatever I want I was just torn with equipment choice and also the SS/geared thing. Going SS I'll probably never be a top top finisher, looks like those guys are geared, which I have to come to grips with, but finishing in top SS is a different challenge and I could be fine there. The thought of not having a mechanical issue as readily on the SS is also hugely nice, which is why I ride SS now.

  5. #5
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    I'm with Silentfoe and am curious about what racing you've done and what your goals are. Want some great times then you'll likely be running a 29er. But if you haven't done a lot of racing then you might want to focus efforts on other aspects and have fun.

    For what it's worth, I'm 37 now and acquired the racing addiction a couple years ago. First year I went cheap and picked up a 22lb carbon HT 26''. Some courses it was okay, others it was painful. This year I got a bit more serious and rode a 26lb FS 26''. Fun bike but the 29ers would eventually pull away unless things got technical. I'm looking to get more competitive next year and it was pretty clear what I needed--I just got 24lb carbon FS 29er with carbon wheels.

  6. #6
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    Couple of caveats- I'm 43, finish usually mid-pack, 29er HT 2x10

    Depending on the NUE there are SS riders taking top spots- several NUE's I did this year had SS riders in the top 3 spots.

    I ride the hardtail for everything (Breck 100, Park City point-to-point, True Grit) and these are some of the rougher courses I've been on. Some will prefer a FS for these. Races like Fool's Gold, Tatanka etc are just fine/preferable on a hard tail- they just never get that techy/rough.

    I will likely eventually switch to a lightweight FS 29er because I know my back will not continue to hold up to the abuse of the HT...

    I use a 150mm FS rig for Enduros- bit too heavy for the 100-milers.

  7. #7
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    More details -

    I'm 34, 150 pounds if not under like I am right now, have a FTP of 362, and have mainly thrown myself into hill climbs in the north east, primarily the mt Washington auto road climb. I've completed that under an hour, which was always a goal of mine.

    So I'm not exactly slow on a bike I just haven't raced much mainly because when I stopped running competitively, I rode for fun and didn't want cycling to become what running was to me. That only lasts so long unfortunately and next thing I knew I was hill climbing. Now I'm looking for more races next year on the hill climb circuit and then some of the NUE races.

    Running, I was a 14:30's 5k guy, 1:08 half marathon guy, 10k times were low 30's.

    I'm fit, just starting from scratch with racing mtb equipment and don't want to buy more than one right now. I already have 6 bikes..... Not that anyone counts because you can never have enough.

    I'm torn on single speed or gears and then 29 or 26. Love my 26er SS, but she won't cut it for a long race.

    Goals - if I go SS, I'd like to be under 8 hours for a 100 miler, gears, I'm not sure, but under 8 hours. I figure that would put me into a competitive time range to place in my group at the least.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by yuranation View Post
    ...
    Goals - if I go SS, I'd like to be under 8 hours for a 100 miler, gears, I'm not sure, but under 8 hours. I figure that would put me into a competitive time range to place in my group at the least.
    Not to criticize your goals, but saying you want to be at or under 8 hours for a dirt hundie is very subjective. There are dirt hundies where 7-8 hours is fast (e.g. Leadville 100), and then there are some where 10 hours is the all-time record.

    Saying you want to be able to do under 8 hours is kind of like saying you want to be able to climb to the top floor of a building using the stairs in under 30 minutes. Sears Tower or the Sears store down at your local mall?

    I'd advise you to set your goal based on a specific hundie.
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  9. #9
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    Wildcat 100
    Wilderness 101
    Hampshire 100
    Shenandoah 100

    All have winning times in the low 7 hour range, for a first time go around with it, I'd like to be under 8 hours for them all.

  10. #10
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    Well, uh... then I'd say, sign up, throw your hat in the ring, train, ride what you have and see where you end up.

    You seem to have a time goal, you're going to have to figure out how best you can reach your goal- btw, sub-8 in some of these races on a SS will likely mean hitting top spot on the podium... sub-8 SS in most will mean likely on the podium.

    I think I've lost the point of the question...

    As I stated earlier, SS or geared- there are both. Weapon of choice- I mostly see 29ers, but there are lots of people on lots of different wheel sizes 26, 27.5, 29

  11. #11
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    Also keep in mind times vary year to year based on trail conditions and weather. The statistics wonk in me would suggest setting your goals based on the Xth percentile of riders who begin the race. But now I'm out in the weeds with goal setting.

    Good luck on your choice. Even if you don't hit all your sub 8 goals it'll be a blast. Well, I know the SM100 will be as I've done that race but not the others.

  12. #12
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    Just go do what you can train hard, eat right, rest properly. I would think if your goals are going to be that aggressive have to go geared HT IMO, also I think you want to have very regemented training plan possibly a coach. SM100 for instance I think 8 out of 650ish entries finished in under 8 this year. For me and that race I didn't meet my goal little disappointed at first than when I saw how many people DNFd was ok with it always next year and sometime midpack is a still a success for a lot of us in endurance races.
    XC, Road, XXC, Endurance, Mtn, All-Mtn, Cross, Gravel, just go have fun on 2 wheels!

  13. #13
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    I'm pretty regimented with training, I mean I do real workouts and cycle my training and all of the good stuff (hence how I know my FTP). Racing is just a different experience that's all. Figured endurance stuff would go well with my hill climbing strengths so am going to try to marry them together.

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  15. #15
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    If you're new to this, start geared, then adopt SS if the desire is there. 100s have enough challenges for a newbie, that I wouldn't advocate starting out SS, unless that's all you've ridden for ages.

    I like the idea of time goals. I use them all the time, and they're the same for every race: Two seconds faster than second place! :-)
    The drive towards achievement and success is the motive power of civilization.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo View Post
    I like the idea of time goals. I use them all the time, and they're the same for every race: Two seconds faster than second place! :-)
    And about an hour ahead of fourth place [sigh, me].
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