February 28th, 2009
I was really excited about the new carbon Blur XC arriving in NZ and felt privileged to be the first rider to be racing on one. With the NZ National champs only 12 days away I’d needed to get a couple of good hit outs on it before lining up at the start for the champs in Nelson.
The Nationals course looked good. It had a lot of single track ranging from tight with technical sections to flowing & false flat. A deceptive amount of climbing was involved & towards the end of each lap there were tight, steep, fast descents. It was a fun course even though at race pace a very high effort was required.
It rained each day in the few days leading up to the Nationals & although there was a firm base, the track surface was becoming really greasy. So this made riding more technical as time went on. On race day it was pouring down non stop, it had turned into a mud bath. Some of the riders watching the younger age grade races before ours were joking that the championships looked like a cyclocross race as a couple of the steep climbs had become unridable. I don’t mind these conditions & was ready to go, no matter what.
At the gun the race tore up a smooth gravel road climb for just under 1km. The pace was furious & there were a few guys with good strength trying to hold onto the sharp end. I stayed on their wheel until a steeper pinch towards the top & attacked hard to be 2nd rider into the single track. It wasn’t long before I got an opportunity to pass the rider in front & put on more pace to start riding away from the chasers during the first lap. I was able to keep the pressure on throughout the race & rode away to a comfortable win by over three & a half minutes, taking out this years NZ U19 Mens National title.
The new Carbon Blur XC was fantastic. It is amazing to climb & although for descending the previous alloy framed Blur XC initially felt plusher. This bike is a weapon to race in any conditions & on rapid XC down hill sections I found I was able to charge with total confidence. Up until the later part of last year, I had raced on nothing but hard tail race bikes. I have definitely gained more pace on full suspension & believe this new Blur is a step up again on the previous model for outright XC racing.
The guys at Bike Culture in Rotorua have had a big input to the build spec’s of this bike and I’m happy to give a bit of a run down on it:
Frame Santa Cruz Blur XC large full carbon frame & Rockshox Monarch 3.3 rear shock
Fork Fox F120 RLC
Rims Stans ZTR Race
Bars Salsa Pro Moto Carbon Flat 660mm
Saddle Fizik Tundra Carbon rail
Shifters X.O Twist
Front derail XTR
Rear derail X.O
Brakes Juicy Ultimate
Tyres Maxxis Crossmark
Chain Rings Double 26/38 tooth
A big thanks for full support from Santa Cruz Bikes NZ and Bike Culture, Rotorua, NZ.