It's easy to get all caught up in the excitement of new products, gear and what not when an upcoming XC riding season is approaching. The SRAM XX1 "sounds" interesting, but does it provide anything new to me - performance wise - that I can't already achieve with my current gear (2 x 9)? Perhaps it doesn't - at least not enough "new" performance enhancement to justify the price tag. The weight savings of losing my Dura Ace front derailleur and my left X0 Trigger shifter would not amount to that much. And trimming that weight off of my body is a more important (and free) performance boost. So far, so good on that goal as I whittle my way down the scale. I've still got about 8 - 10 pounds to go to get to my increased performance sweet spot.
So, after reviewing my equipment, the JET 9 will be the bike I start the 2013 race season on this year...
It is currently due for a cleaning, greasing, double check of cables, etc....to be ship shape, but I'll wait until the salting of streets and late winter/early spring snows are gone for the year.
Unlike the picture above with the Nobby Nic 2.25's that I ran last year, I've got the Maxxis Ikon 2.35 up front and an Ikon 2.2 in the rear on the bike right now. I will most likely be racing them until I see if the drought continues this year enough to the point that I need more tread for traction in the loose and dry conditions like we had last year.
The reality of my April 21st crash last year at Tranquility in Omaha and my subsequent recovery combined with training during this off season has not had me feeling comfortable with the bar placement on my JET 9. I kept the bars about 18-21mm lower on the JET last year than my RIP 9 or Karate Monkey or Dos Niner. I flipped the stem positive this week to see if my comfort level would improve and it certainly gets me in a position to take some weight off. Although this illustration is for standing erect posture, some of the same physics applies to on the bike posture. That being - the lower your head is, the heavier it becomes. This, in turn, increases the amount of support the body must give to hold it in a good position. And a lot of that puts strain and stress on all of those neck muscles which tends to lead to tension (and tension headaches).
In studying profile pictures of me on the JET 9 (or any of my race bikes) last year after the accident and how I struggled to hold my head up and in position, I am still feeling a "fight" that I never had before I tore all of the neck muscles. So flipping the stem has taken a "weight" off of my shoulders so to speak on the JET 9 and put the bars exactly in line with how I have them on the RIP 9. It's not that new to me as I used to run my bars a lot higher on the JET 9, and it was only last year that I snuggled them down into a more aggressive position. So I'm just going back to a more erect, comfortable position that is more neutral. No need to mention that on a mountain bike a "neutral" position is not held that long as we move all around on the bike based on ascending, descending, cornering, sprinting, etc... . If it ends up feeling a bit too high, I've got spacers underneath and steerer tube to work with for more wiggle room if need be.
Here's the JET 9 with the Ikons 2.35 front/2.2 rear and my stem flipped positive...
A little recovery spin and core work today, followed by some weekend hours on the bike, attending the Simpson Opera performances, singing at the Cabaret evening in Des Moines, listening to prospective student auditions and whatever else comes along. Weather looks to be 47 and sunny on Sunday which will make for a nice outside endurance ride on the road bike!!!