A cranking assault that would take one from 80 meters to 618 meters in less than four kilometers is by far, the toughest climb that this year’s extreme cross country mountain bikers (XC MTB) strings as the hardest obstacle in this year’s 4th season of Kinatkatay sa Binabaje, 2019.
And if one thinks this is a breeze, take note: this isn’t just any leisurely adventure spin with your trusted rig that you have to lay your bike aside for that mandatory picture after frantically summoning all your leg power reserves to surmount a technical climb.
No, there is enough time to recover, but unfortunately, that does not happen inside the 30 kilometer race loop, as there would be equally aggressive bikers on the same trail eager to get this pain over and done with, fastest.
For those who have not familiarized themselves with that track, the 80 meters to 618 in less than four kilometers is a good start. Now, think it over and over. Again.
And for one, as the bikers crank from the starting line to kilometer 4 in frantic painful cadence to the break-away, be wary: it is one that would be taking the XC MTB riders from 0 to 300 meters, so expending on the reserves to gain a good headway may turn out to be a much more tiring effort.
As to the downhill, the longest stretch which might be a good recovery section for the clearly screaming muscles would be at kilometer 20 when it goes from 618 feet to less than 50 feet in less than 4 kilometers too.
But the downhill here is no focus let up time. Chain’s on the big ring, ride the line and do not ever stray or you will be out for good.
Want to know where is that stretch were one would most likely devote all the remaining strength for the sprint? It is the last 6 kilometers or so to the finish line where the highest climb is 100 meters no more.
So now, to the more important questions: Which should do best, a 29 or its 27.5 twin, or a 26 inch wheel set?
Well, it depends on who is spinning.
For those who know they have inadequate training for the long climbs, a 26 would be lighter and handles better in the climb as it entails shorter wheel spin.
Downside, watch for the over spin and potential cross chains as the trail twists and turns in no time at all, so putting in the right gears is the key.
An adequately trained competitor would have properly gained the strength and endurance for long cadenced spins and a 29 or a 27 would be great on the same spin ratio. But owing to the bigger wheels, a 29’r should be skipping past the obstacles on a comfortable cranking.
But even if you have that easy to pedal 26’r or a seemingly superior 29’r, it still boils down to the right group set and the right combination of gears, considering you have no issues with the cranking pace.
A compact double on the crank, or the 2x is generally lighter and should be less confusing if you are in a flurry of shifting to get to a comfortable painless cadence. This however would be accompanied by a bigger range cassette, say 10 x 40 or 46, or 50 if one wants a whistling climb.
The 26rs however can opt for a less complex cassette and it is a gamble on the weight that could work as advantage.
This does not say too that a 3x is an inferior crank: the options are wider and like they always said, it’s the knee that counts.
At this, Alicia has opened the trails for the weekends for track reading, according to Godelia Lumogdang.
Starting line is at the Municipal Hall, and local guides can point you to the trails.
Now, do we wish you all the luck? (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)