The week after riding The Beast has been a quiet one. As with last year I didn’t actually start feeling any muscle soreness until 2 days after the race and to be honest I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to get back in the saddle.
I spent Monday at home cleaning up after a big weekend of riding. My bike was filthy and sounded extremely second hand and needed a thorough clean and mini-service. The bike wasn’t the only thing in need of a going over; I finally trimmed my hobo beard right down and had my first haircut in almost 3 months.
My Crank Brothers wheel-set has taken a beating these past few months and the rubber on them barely survived the Namadgi trails. So the tyres came off and went in the bin, while I scoured Canberra’s bike stores for a set of tubeless rubber. Alas the four shops I visited didn’t have the tyres I wanted so I resorted to buying a set on-line and placed my spare wheels and tubed tyres back on Kate the XTC for the interim.
My first ride for the week was a short pedal up and down Mt Stromlo that ended with me riding straight into a tree on the second half of Luge. While there was no real damage to person or bike it highlighted how in tune I had become with my XTC with tubeless setup that when I put on the stock wheels I was inches off my normal lines.
Not to be deterred I headed back out on Saturday afternoon on Zooey the Anthem. She is a great bike especially going downhill where her dual suspension absorbs much of rough riding Western Wedgetail, Skyline, Luge and Duffy’s Descent throws at you.
At the end of the week I only rode twice for a measly 23.9km in total.
The time off the bike wasn’t for naught with a lot of time spent emailing the Beast-Worx and Soldier On crews about the previous weekend’s riding, fundraising, upcoming Call of the Beast and of course more Riding For Soldier On.
For the past few weeks I’ve been contemplating changing my incredibly good looking Crank Brothers 29er wheels to tubeless tyres. When I first bought them I made an attempt to put a set of Schwalbes (Nobby Nic front & Racing Ralph rear) on the wheels using the supplied CB tubeless valves.
I was busy Youtube’ing and trying to discover that ‘easy’ way to seat the bead on the rim and get the rubber to seal. I’ve heard horror stories from some people and tales of ease from others. Basically setting up a tubeless tyre depends on the person, the tools, the rubber and the moon’s gravitational pull on the Earth. My first attempt resulted in bleeding knuckles, two snapped tyre levers and a pair of tyres that were completely flat in less than four hours. I decided my sexy wheels needed to be shown off so I gave up and went the way of the tube.
Fast forward to last night and I finally took the plunge and converted my rims to full tubeless using a combo of new tyres and new Stans valves. The plan was simple: old tyres and tubes off, clean rims, new tyres on, add sealant, inflate and celebrate!
I did the front first; a Maxxis Ikon for extra grip. The tyre took a bit of work to get on the rim. With the tyre finally on and two scoops of sealant in; after about 10 minutes on the air compressor the bead finally sealed and the tyre inflated; success!
The rear tyre was a Schwalbe Racing Ralph, my favourite rear tyre. This tyre was a dream. In 3 minutes I had the tyre on the rim, sealant added, bead seated and tyre inflated; great success!!
After the tyres passed the overnight test I packed the XTC in to the car with the intention of giving them a test run around Bruce Ridge. They worked a treat on the clean hardpack, gravel covered hardpack, rocky climbs, rocky downhills, loose switchbacks and even the muddy Pub Run. I really like the idea of now being able to run lower pressures for extra grip in order to corner faster.
After less than an hour on the new set-up I’m now looking at converting my stock rims to tubeless.