Schermafbeelding 2014-03-31 om 19.55.13

Big rides are the new black

foto 1

So our car broke down (it eventually got repaired but it took a while) and I wanted to meet my friend to go for a ride. She and her husband live a lot more south and I did’t want her to drive all the way up. So I decided to ride up to Rheden to meet her there, go for a ride and a drink before I’d ride back home again.

foto 2

The route near Rheden (Posbank area) is about 50km’s with 572 m uphill. For me to ride to the closest part of the route is only 13km, that’s not bad right? I got in Rheden in only 2 hours time and we went for a short ride together, talked and had a drink before I took off again.

foto 5 The east side of the route I had never ridden before, that it so odd! And it’s actually very beautiful, in the end I was almost too hungry to enjoy it, silly me packed to light on the food department. So I ended up with a massive bucket of McD fries and the first soda in months, I figured I earned it this time. After 95km and 1100m uphill and a Strava suffer score of 327, OMG indeed. But I’d do it again in a heartbeat, only with more food!

camber

One happy Camber ;-)

Where to begin? Yes, the Camber Evo finally arrived a little sooner than anticipated even. First impression: the size is spot-on! I’m glad I have the medium and my LBS was smart to set me up with a shorter stem to start with and it fit’s like a glove. One less thing to worry about.

camber_riserOne thing I did straight away, exchange the stock riser. I think it was too ugly to look at, I had a Bontrager Carbon riser and even though that may be a sin on a Specialized bike, they look good together. After my initial rides I’m reconsidering my preference for a 720mm width, going wider.

After removing the flats and covering my chainstay I was finally ready for a ride. First ride was mellow and I felt comfortable and happy. I had Ground Control on the Roval wheels to install the Purgatory/Butcher set on my new wheels. The Ground Controls didn’t fullly do it for me.

camber_tanjaThe first full trail ride on Sunday was awesome, the Reba kept up pretty decent, a Pike with a little offset may be the cherry on the pie, but I’m not complaining so far. I can’t believe how easy the Camber Evo climbs, I didn’t miss the brain, it works that good. And never did the Camber feel ‘big’, it’s compact and I like how easy it handles. I think I’ve found my match, this bike seems perfect for me.

 

Specialized Camber Evo 29

The Specialized Camber Evo 29 is coming (soonish)

The Specialized Stumpjumper has been sold (sigh) and the Specialized Camber Evo 29 is nearly done, waiting for some parts in the shop. You know I’m holding my breath here! A few other upgrades are next on my list for the next few months:

  1. Ryde Trace trail rims on Hope Evo hubs: are already on their way.
  2. Rock Shox Pike: all reviewers on these types of bikes agree: 32mm just doesn’t cut it. Adds some weight sadly, but the added qualities can’t be argued with.
  3. Easton Haven Carbon bars with Haven stem: they’ll look great!
  4. Lighter cassette and chain (you know… being nerdy about things)
  5. Crank Brothers Candy’s in red: just because..

 

rondjehaarlem_halfFondo

Half a Fondo was just grand enough

Strava’s Gran Fondo challenge was early booked for yesterday in our schedule. With only figuring out where to ride, we had pretty much nothing getting in the way of ticking off this challenge.

Oh, but wait how about a root-canal and a flu followed by the common cold, all in just 5 days time? I mean, really? Really? 70km was just about all I could manage, staying out of the wind most of the time thanks to my buddy!

Spring was early this year, and the first road-ride with the Madone was a fact. Half a Fondo, but just as Grand!

Plons Racing Pyga

Don’t ever stop!

The day after, a blue monday, I’m sitting behind my screen. Blue sky and the sun shines in my eye. Bruises on my shoulder and hip remind me of another great day of riding in Belgium. Yes, with the Piet and the Plons once again.

We where pushed of cliffs, into tight corners and fast berms, just to see how we would hold up. But nothing could get the smile of our faces.

The only thing we can really do at this moment… get them to ride with us again soon, we can’t get enough! Riding with them is buckets of fun and very inspirational. See for yourself:

 

The long wait… (for a new bike)

After a lot of thought, blogposts and talks with friends I managed to choose what bike to buy. You may have read about my preference for the bigger wheel-size and I’ve stuck to it. Also, I bought a Stumpjumper FSR 140mm last year to tight me over until I had made this decision and riding with Specialized agreed with me. It’s also nice to do business with my old sponsor Stappenbelt in Apeldoorn. They are a Specialized Concept Store and gave me ample opportunity to test bikes that I considered to buy.

Of course there are many contenters and exotic brands to consider, but you know… why bother? I have my LBS just around the corner, they are skilled and the bikes are good. Granted, Specialized is a little pricey but that was the only downsize for me.

After the Stumpjumper FSR a new Stumpjumper seemed most logical, but it was a little too much bike for me. I wanted a light bike, capable for technical descents and great at climbing. Everything you need, nothing you don’t. Now that sounds like a slogan ;-) It’s arriving first week of april, oh dear that’s a long wait.

tanja_genk

What happened in januari?

So, time is ticking and we can’t waist any of it with the Trans Provence getting closer and closer. In januari I rode (inside on a Tacx and outside) about 300km and ran 35km. Give or take 40 hours of training and 2.326 meters of uphill movement.

What where the highlights? Running 8km straight for the first time, without fighting myself all the way. Commuting to work, with getting lost in the woods at the crack of dawn. Of course the first trainingsweekend, with Belgium and Limburg on our schedule: priceless! Countless singletrails and riding with the Piet and the Plons, awesome day!

The weather has been very soft and kind, let’s hope we can continue this even when spring is officially here and temperature rises.

Next up: Next sunday first trail running competition with cycling training afterwards (auch) the Strava Gran Fondo 2: one ride of 130km.  And in March the E3 again! With another trainingweekend in April. Can’t wait!

Commute to work

Why not commute?

Since a couple of months I live a short commute away from my job, I don’t know why I pass up a short ride only 30 kilometers (two times a day makes it a decent 60 km). I don’t think I’m that lazy or afraid of bad weather.

I do however dread the logistics. Taking the cx bike because the carbon roady seems to appealing for thieves. Packing a bag with clothes, a big lock and lights too. Food (I have specific…. ‘needs’) and stuff to shower; then where do you put your damp, wet or even dirty clothes for the day? Too many questions for me not to be bothered so I commute by bus 2x a day, a boring 45 minute drive. Not too bad at all, it’s a direct line, but it’s a shame to not take this ‘free’ extra training.

So, I’ve decided that I’m going to do it. Get all my stuff in my new Vaude backpack and just go for it, this week even… oh darn… not I’ve said it…

Schermafbeelding 2014-01-07 om 15.35.15

The after thought

It was really dark when I left the house a little after 7am. And I steadily rode past the canal toward Lieren en I think I made a mistake here. There is a fairly simple route from my house to Arnhem, but for some reason that looked a little inefficient to me, whilst it is not. Past Loenen I was send into a street that within a few kilometers stopped being a street and entered the forrest. There I was, pitch dark without a clue where I was and a tiny gps screen that made me pissed off. So I decided not to stress out, just have the gps take me to arnhem and well if I had to be late… so be it.

Glad I took the cx bike, as I was doing some serieus trailriding in the dark. Great stuff, not just as much by myself. A few kilometers later the path became a little more road and soon enough I was on a road I actually knew with 13 kilometers to go. It slowly became light and because I was on more familiair territory I became more relaxt and enjoyed the ride. Showering at work was actually really okay, within minutes fresh behind my desk and already kudos on Strava :-)

The trip back I took the smart way back home and I think it’s easier, also you body is fully functional not half asleep. I’ll try it again for sure, maybe when we have more daylight in the mornings!

10 Things Every Mountain Biker Should Have Done

  1. Build a bike: many bikes even from DH to singlespeed. Especially when you are a novice: you’ll learn a lot!
  2. Ride at night: at my local trails even in snow (3)
  3. Ride in the snow: Megavalanche baby!
  4. Ride in another country: nothing but I would say
  5. Sleep next to your bike: With your bike next to you in your hotelroom doesn’t really count. Sleeping under the stars with your bike next to you: still on my list.
  6. Explore a new trail: I still consider this open, a new trail like a trailhunter: not fully done!
  7. Cross a mountain range: High Atlas in Marocco and some Alpine crossings.
  8. Ride a race: This Bike Attack was one hell of a race!
  9. Visit a bikepark: most awesome times!
  10. Ride to the sea: going to do that next summer when my buddie and I are riding the Trans Provence (yeah baby)

Epic rides, friends an my mountain bike