At first glance you might think: mountain bike. Not so fast. This is a titanium commuter… ish… one might say it is even uncatagorizable, but that’s okay, because it’s custom.
Shirien C.’s bike features a plethora of high end parts from the USA and around the world. A Phil Woodbottom bracket, front and rear belt sprockets, all designed around the use of a Gates belt drive instead of a chain. This bike also uses a 14 speed internal Rohloff Speedhub laced to some ENVE 26″ carbon rims. This results in a broad gear range that runs in almost total silence and never needs to be lubed. The Hope hydraulic disc brake make for incredible stopping power and are easily adjustable for smaller hands (perfect for Shirien).
The custom steel disc fork was handmade by our friend Drew at Engin Cycles just outside of Philadelphia.
A plan was hatched via email … the ‘Beer and Bento’ massive, a group of over 30 and over 40 men who should no better decided a trip to Glentress was on the cards and that being Spring we should head off early.
It was colder than I had thought.
When i packed and left all my kit near the front door the night before it was warmer … when I cycled home at 11:30pm with a skinful of booze in me later in the evening I didn’t feel the cold. In the car it said 0 degrees C … got out jackets and tights on and ready to go. Just like the musketeers we were – except there were 5 of us.
I was feeling pretty fresh legged despite the 8km hard run the day before – and cardio was no issue. Some of the others struggled a wee bit. As we climbed up to the mast it got colder until there was a gentle fall of Ice / snow. Suunto on my wrist said 4 degrees but that was in my sleeve …. must have been well below freezing.
To put this in perspective Ramon found that his front fork had frozen solid. This slowed down some of the party and there was a bit of waiting around (well earned recovery)
Descended down on black and red trails but then hopped on Blue again at the bottom for the fast sweeping trail (everyone down nr bottom rides red so trail too bust and keep on smacking into tail-enders of groups)
Just back from 6 weeks work in the Middle East and with the Xizang sitting at home in the cupboard I thought it was time to put it through it’s paces.
Had entered the Selkirk 100 (well actually 75km) and although training was virtually non existent – unless of course sitting on a gym bike counts as real training – I was up for it.I had ordered some UST tubeless tyres for the race and a new Rock ShoxSID team 2007 fork …. tyre sent was the wrong one and the Fork was at my friend’s house. A little moan as he was supposed to race but had decided to bail out and had gone to see girlfriend in Birmingham leaving my fork locked in his flat. Oh crap.
Still went along ready for the 19 degree C and sunny weather that the forecast had predicted … instead rain and mud. So tyre choice crap Kenda Karma2.0 (nice tyre in any not wet conditions pretty fast rolling and good grip) back (tubed) and UST Schwalbe Skinny Jimmy 1.9 on the front. Forks still 10 year old SIDs which may have blown seal as they barely compress. Wearing in the Rohloff Speedhub hasn’t even started – it is supposed to take 1000 miles – so a race is not the most sensible way to start.During the race the gear changes on the Rohloffseemed to get stiffer and stiffer – thought at first it was sore wrists after all the falls but something definitely wrong. Only twigged a few days later that the cut off bar grip had slipped and was so tight against the twist shift that the friction was making changes difficult. Now aware of it it is easy to avoid
So blame the equipment but it was me at fault … not fit enough and due to weather / practice / equipment I must have fallen off or gone over the bars at least 12 times in the race.
The bars on my saddle are bent now –
too many crashes or just shoddy construction.After 5h 42m with a terrible ave speed I came in 64th.
Retirement even before I felt competitive.
Still a few changes since then. Put on a 90cm stem and the new Sid forks and the bike is feeling great again….
who knows I might actually get some miles in soon.