Tire testing and a whole lot more
On Monday the 26th of jan I left Johannesburg cape town
i joined Conrad stoltz for a rocky trail ride around jonkershoek to see if I could flat the new renegade tire.now before I describe the ride I must tell you that it’s the lightest mtb tire ive ever ridden at just 340gr for a 1.90 and with my reputation for flats, I didn’t think it would last long…however 2hours later and a rims which looked like they had been driven over a few times with bobby’s x5 I had all the air in my tire intact and I was an immediate believer. the tire rolls super fast and with the soft compound grips corners with loads of confidence and with a bigger 2.1 volume casing on the way its something to get really excited about!
Later that evening I had dinner with suzie(christoph) and benno at a cool little seafood restaurant and then retired early after being up at 4 earlier that day to catch my flight.
On Tuesday we all met up at the b&b after breakfast to test our tires’ rolling resistance and pit them against some of our competitors’ tires. i rode probably 20 sets of tires that morning and it was amazing to see how big the differences sometimes were. even more relevant to me was the fact that I learnt more about how compound ,tread layout, casing, air pressure and volume affected the rolling characteristics of each tire. after I narrowed it down to 5 tires that rolled the best and looked suitable for a race tire it was christophs turn to do the road and gravel rolling tests to see if they confirmed what we saw on the rollers. i did some more tire testing on the trail in the afternoon with the fast track slk lite compound tire that afternoon which is also a really fast rolling 430gr 2.0 tire. again Conrad and I did some serious damage to the wheels and we were now relegated to the testing on free ride rims. we were jumping straight into rock piles and aiming at the sharpest and biggest rocks in our mission to cut the tires. again we emerged from the forests 2 and a half hours later with nothing to show for our efforts. the tires had burped once or twice but were in perfect nic! after the ride I did a short run to where christoph was busy on the road and I was happy to see him confirming my tests on the rollers. it was also exciting to see how well the specialized tires were performing in a range of tread patterns.
Wednesday saw the whole team heading up into the forest, setting up base right at the top of the mountain at one of the trail heads. christoph, lene byberg and I were testing the narrowed down tires from the rollers on the trail to see how they handled and hooked up in the turns. conrad stoltz and dan hugo were there too testing the more durable tires in the range against similar versions from competitors and they were riding a longer more treacherous route. benno and Dylan(mechanics) did more tyre changes that day than an f1 team during a weeks racing! it was so cool to ride all the tires back to back on the same track one after another as you could accurately asses the riding properties of each model and figure out which were best suited for which part of the course. this ultimately will lead to more sensible choices next to the race track. i think I spent a total of 6hours on the bike this day and again it was an early night in for me.
It was back to normal on Thursday and friday with me doing the four passes road loop on both days. the riding was steady, the weather awesome and on a great route this made for a good time. on Thursday night a bunch off us managed to go check out the vensters show outside all the res’ on campus. it was pretty good and amazing to see the streets packed with excited students.
Saturday ended up being a rest day for me but the blood and adrenaline pumped none the less. benno and I decided to join some friends of his for skydiving! we spoke about doing it all week but I didn’t figure it was really going to come off but at around on Saturday afternoon we rolled into the little airport just outside cape town Beijing
On Sunday I did another four passes loop and im now sitting on the plane back to jo’burg recollecting myself after an incredible week. if this is anything to gauge my future with this team on I cant wait!