Through a combination of peer pressure and the strange need for some personal verification that I have not somehow managed to get faster as I get older, I decided to enter the Trans BC race, which starts in a couple days.
For those unfamiliar, the Trans BC is a six-day Enduro stage race that, as the name implies, is held in British Columbia. The exact locations change every year, but this year’s race takes place in Rossland, Castlegar, and Nelson.
Those areas, in my ever-so-humble opinion, have some of the best trails in North America. In the winter, they make up the southern extent of the infamous Powder Highway. In the summer, they’re home to some of the best steep, rooty, rocky, loamy singletrack I’ve ever ridden. And the best part? Those towns aren’t really near… anything. So there aren’t a lot of people around.
But back to the race: it’s going to hurt me.
The courses vary a bit from day to day, but I’m counting on 4,000-5,000 feet of climbing every day over 20-25 miles. In metric, that translates to approximately a lot.
To train for this race, I’ve adopted a strict regimen of riding a lot and drinking slightly less beer. I also had some broccoli with dinner last night. And, naively I’m sure, I think I’m more or less ready. Or maybe it’s just that the race is a couple days away and I’m resigned to the fact that I’m as ready as I’m going to be.
But what about the bike I’m taking to BC?
From time to time here at Blister, we get asked about the gear we personally use. Sure, we review all kinds of cool stuff, but the reality is that I tend to rotate through review bikes somewhat frequently so a lot of times I don’t really have a “personal” bike that I’d call mine; I just ride whatever I’m reviewing at the moment. And for the most part, I’m ok with that, because most of the bikes we review are generally pretty good.
But for this race, I wanted to (1) get a bike that would work well for this event, and (2) set it up exactly how I wanted for this particular race. And because it’s a week-long event, there’s a bunch of other gear that’s also semi-critical, besides just the frame. So while my bike setup and gear selection is put together with an eye on this race, the end result was that this is also the stuff that I personally think is the best I’ve come across, at least in the context of a long-ass Enduro race like the Trans BC.
I’ll be saying more after the race about the choices I made and the gear I picked. And since I’ll have the benefit of hindsight, I’ll also talk a bit about what worked, what didn’t, what I’d do differently, and whether I saw any other racers that had some super slick setup that I wish I’d thought of.
But leading up to the race, here’s my setup — we’ll call this a bike check.
Me: 5’9”, 150-ish lbs, not quite as old as my gray hair would suggest.
Frame: Trek Slash 9.8, Size 17.5
Rear Shock: Maybe a Rockshox Super Deluxe, or maybe a Rockshox Deluxe Thru Shaft (still deciding since I prefer the Thru Shaft Deluxe, but it kinda needs a rebuild that I don’t have time for).
Fork: Rockshox Lyrik RC2, 160 mm travel, 51 mm offset
Wheels: Race Face Next R
- Front – 29” x 2.5” Maxxis DHF 3C MaxxGrip, DH Casing
- Rear – 29” x 2.3” Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra DoubleDown Casing
Derailleur: Sram GX Eagle
Cranks: Race Face Next R, 170 mm, direct mount 32t ring
Chain: Sram GX Eagle
Cassette: Sram X01 Eagle
Chainguide: MRP AMg
Pedals: Time MX6
Shifter: Sram X01 Eagle
Brakes: Sram Code, 200 mm front rotor, 180 mm rear rotor
Seatpost: Race Face Turbine R, 150 mm drop w/ 1x lever
Saddle: Bontrager Evoke 2
Handlebar: Race Face Next R, cut to 780 mm
Stem: Race Face Turbine, 40 mm
Headset: FSA knock block integrated
Grips: ODI Ruffian lock ons
Extras: King titanium bottle cage, Fix It Sticks w/ mount, Voile strap for holding a tube under my seat.
I’m still dialing in the suspension tune and other setup details, so for those who are interested in this sort of thing, I’ll add some specifics after the race on what I settled on.
So stay tuned, wish me luck, and I’ll check in sometime next week, hopefully with all of my limbs and teeth intact.