For the last two years the Nove Mesto World Cup has been voted as riders favourite and with one lap around the course it’s easy to see why. The course is exciting with technical rock gardens and climbs with multiple lines that provide epic wheel-to-wheel battles that are sure to excite the crowd. Speaking of the crowd, ‘next level’ is about the only phrase that can be used to describe the manic fans that line the majority of the 4.1km course.
To tackle the tough course and tougher competition I relied on a few trusted pieces of equipment. It wasn’t just the rough course that my equipment had to contend with though as it was also getting a fair amount of abuse from other riders. With such a congested course, getting shoved into trees, rocks and other riders is all part in parcel with the game.
Bike – As always my trusty Bianchi Methanol 29 SL hardtail was along for the ride around the tough Nove Mesto course. If I had the choice though I think I would have gone with the Methanol 29 FS, as the majority of the course required the power to be put down over rough terrain, which is where a dually really comes into its own.
Smoothing out the descents would also be pretty handy and would save a lot of energy over the course of the race. Saying that though the stiffness and light weight of my Methanol hardtail was awesome in the sections that suited it and I’m sure this weekend’s course in Albstadt will allow the strengths of the Methanol 29 SL to shine through. (Disclaimer – Views influenced by top 3 Elite men all on dual suspensions!)
Drivetrain – As always Shimano XTR M9000 with a 34-tooth front chain ring and an 11-40t cassette on the rear. Pretty much a no brainer with that choice, as it doesn’t matter how many people ram the rear mech while we are running and smashing into each other it just keeps straight and does it’s job. The build up of mud-coated pine needles was also not enough to hinder its performance.
Brakes – Supplied again from the stable of Shimano were the XTR M9000 race brakes. Paired with a set of Miles brake pads they were the perfect choice. On the Nove Mesto track, out and out braking power wasn’t the main concern but rather a predictable level of modulation was needed as most of the time you were braking over rocks and roots that required complete traction of both wheels, as opposed to locking up and having my wheel slip on a root and send me to the ground.
Suspension – Fox Float 32 Factory CTD forks provide the cushioning up the front. I was lucky enough to talk to Mike from the Fox racing department before the race and he gave me some great help setting my suspension up which had me floating over the roots instead of bouncing! Which also helped the aforementioned braking and traction situation.
Wheels – Stan’s carbon Valors have been a major upgrade for my Bianchi Methanol. The light weight is one thing but the feel over the rough terrain is a big improvement over anything I’ve ridden. From taking the hits from the rock and roll rock garden to helping smooth out the chatter from the braking ruts and roots, the Valors have been exceptional.
Tyres – As always, Maxxis Ikon front and rear with 20psi. The mud wasn’t deep enough to need a mud tyre but what you did need was something supple and predictable to handle maneuvering on the rocks and gripping the roots. The Ikons provide this predictability in spades.
Glasses – Adidas Evil Eye Half Rim Pro was the best choice for the dark Czech woods. The LST Bright lens enhances contrast and is great in low light and foggy conditions to help you pick out the roots and small bumps that can sometimes hide with a darker lens.
Next stop for Sebastian? Albstadt for World Cup #2