Yes the www.nofussevents.co.uk MacAvalanche is nearly here. I tweeked my mountain racer today and under cover of the royal wedding i will run to Scotland (midge net..must find the midge net first !)
I reckon the best way to test anything out is to race it, my first race back at Triscombe showed the little Pimp2 was quite handy through the trees, the seatpost issue was bugging me though. Cue an encounter with David from Thomson at the core show, and a long chat and the fact that Thomson do a 330mm length post in 25.4mm size, few weeks later, cue a box from america and a shiny long test post, that is just about long enough, well i dont have to worry about the 2 part steel clamp on jobbie i was using falling apart mid run and tearing me a new one. Its a Dirt 100 favourite and i can see why, the attention to detail and quality is something else, i see why cut down ones change hands for £35 £40 on forums. Have a photo of what they look like on the inside, tube on the outside, but not on the inside, keep the metal where its needed.
There is a point to this as finding a quality long enough and in stock 25.4mm post was a bit of a headache, Jim Davage said good luck in finding one to me at Triscombe, i am only 6'1" Jims more like 6'5" hes taller than me but said the little atom lab was a sweet frame to ride, or in his case dirt jump.
Ok maybe a bit of a shameless plug but its the first time i have had a parcel from america and it has really saved my ass, Thomson thank you very much, the last photos will show that i need a lot of post showing.
To business then, the main event then, the MacAvalanche, the race where its now not 70 but maybe 120 doing a mass start from the top of Glencoe mountain beyond the reach of the ski lifts, its on Saturday 30th April about 3pm start, just for a giggle i have been checking out the www.glencoemountain.com webcams that show large chunks of the summit, not a lot of snow left, lots of big fuck off pointy rocks up there and we arent using a groomed DH track we are nowhere near the BDS track, there is no track only DH ski type gates to aim for, screw taking shortcuts, could be a big drop off hiding, i dont know as i wont see it until i get in the helicopter on my way up. still should be a giggle, i reckon James Shirly or Fergus Lambe will be front runners, i aim to be more back marker.
The bike then, not really an ideal choice but a 8-10 incher would be fast, boring but fast and of course i do like hardtails and there is some method in my madness. So meet Atomic Mike, i have met him a few times now at the Core show, something i asked the americans at the shows (Mike, David Turner, Juan from Gamut) was about the hardtail thing, from reading the US mags it would appear they dont get it and see it as some sort of quaint English eccentric thing (only mad dogs and englishmen go out in the midday sun kinda thing) the Canadians have been doing big forked HTs for years so have the Euros, maybe because the scene is full of unsponsored types on beat up bikes, i dont know. Mike, David and Juan had the opposite view of the mags, David went off on one about tailoring the frame for DH use. Mike was not bothered about jacking up one of his frames, although i may have overdone it slightly.
Thats Atomic Mike, we didnt meet him this year as the 2011 gear wasnt ready in time for the show, thats a photo taken by Dave Hardy from Hardtailnation back in 2010 when i swapped beers for his hat because i wanted the sew on badge which is now on my jacket. We talked about the old GI frames and the problem with getting large 26" tyres in. When the GI and Trailpimp where merged into the Pimp2 they did address the issue of tyre clearance. Ok not an issue if your doing street/park or dirt jumping which is the primary market for Atom Lab, but a lot of people can only have 1 bike to everything, changing to some DH rubber over dirt tyres can open more choice for what and where you can ride, and a lot of DJ Hts turn up at races. The new frame was tweeked to take up to a 2.4" tyre although mine seems quite happy with proper 2.5" Continentals and Kenda Nevegals and WTB prowler Mxs and Schwalbes, so the smaller Maxxis 2.5" will bring a bit extra mud clearance which of course is very important over here in the UK as it's wet a lot.
Late last year i enquired to the UK importer about a loaner tester www.upgradebikes.co.uk they said yes and a 2010 spec frame was sent off to me, from what i can see on the www.atomlab.com site the main change in 2011 is the loss of the box gusset, which is good as the cable guides are a bit to close and a pain to use if you want gears. Claimed weight 2011 is 5.5Ilbs mines a bit over that, top tube is 22.3" chain stay is horizontal 15.7"-16.5" the seat tube is 13.6" and the HA is 69 the SA is 70 although my 05 Z1 will have slacked that out a bit more, its a compact frame but if me and Davage can ride one then you should be ok, the BB height is 12.8" again my Z1 has put that on a boulder hopping 14andabit"
Welding looks nice, slotted brake mounts, no ISCG tabs but no biggy an adapter or BB mount will get round that, really understated and clean looking, several people have asked "What is it ? " the branding is subtle and not in your face, i have wopped on a few stickers and plastered my helmet as well but still get asked what is it.....it is very nice.
So the MacAttack build then, as Glencoe is looking less fluffy soft snow and more like the moon i think i will try the wide bars, no trees or catch netting to worry about, i suspect i will be chopping them down in length next week.
I did try it on for some Conti Mud Kings but they are rarer than rocking horse poo at the moment so sticking with the old RainKings as the top will be rocks the mid section "might" be snow and the lower sections are ment to be a bit wet from all the snow thats melted off the top. Wheels are robbed from a 07 SX Trail as the rear is a 10mm bolt through, i was going to rob the fork as well but that might be overkill, even though it has a lower axle crown but more travel than the Z1, keep the Zed. Gamut Bash ring then on a singlespeed, why ? most SS'ers dont use a bash, well i have been running a burly Saint chainring, but i have had to use truvative cranks (more to do with BB cup insertion depth) and Saint rings dont fit, so i have an E13 ring which is much lighter, factor in big fuck off rocks and lightweight ring = bash ring to stop chain ring getting bent. The twisted logic is that no rear mech and a high BB should keep me rolling over the rocks, i reckon a few rear mechs are going to get ripped and maybe some smashed pedals as well, same old 5/6 year old Hope brakes as normal, the slightly broken V12s have had there first strip down and clean out, not bad really, had them nearly 3 years, fresh pins and grease lovely now. Spare tube and hydration package, as i have to squeeze into a small helicopter i am passing on a camelback, there will be enough fluid to keep me and others happy while we wait on top of a freezing cold mountain for the start.
Depending on how things go, i might go hunting for some wild Sorrel or just see what the changes up at the fort are like, and Glencoes tracks might be open by now so i might stay over and have a play on the BDS track on Sunday, the Forts DH tracks dont open for another week which is a shame as i would have chucked the Pimp2 down there for sure. An off beat take on things to follow next week, i suspect the MTBcut race video will be out before i get back to England.