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Tech Notes from the Fruita Fat Tire Festival
By Andrew Juskaitis
On a whim, decided to head out West to Fruita, Colorado for a little get-away before the racing season slams into high gear. Didn’t realize our little rendezvous coincided snack-dab with the 2003 Fruita Fat Tire Festival. “All the better,” I figured. I mean, the more the merrier when it comes to riding bikes–or so I thought until I tried to reserve a hotel room in a sold-out town. Lucking out with a last-minute cancellation at the ol’ Super 8, VeloNews’s own Jason Sumner, my old riding pal, Vegan Bob, and I were off to be a part of one of the largest off-road festivals in the United States –whether we liked it or not.Turns out the festival scene draws a much different crowd than does your usual NORBA national. Gone is the “race face” attitude most racers flaunt these days, replaced instead by friendly smiles and genuine “hellos.” Also turns out that a lot of women show up for these events. What a concept, turn off the attitude and head-banging competitive attitude, and women show up? Hmm, maybe there’s something there…24-hour racing anyone…anyone?Granted, the festival did throw the checkered flag around a little. Saturday’s cross-country event saw Travis Brown (Trek/VW) take the win in the low-key men’s event. This provided festival participants the opportunity to rub elbows with a few racing luminaries, in addition to participating in one of the many guided rides throughout the valley. To add to the atmosphere, a small tech area was set up in the town park for participants to demo bikes (Titus, Trek and Yeti) as well as receive mechanical support (SRAM/RockShox and Magura). Wouldn’t you know it, busting butt under the RockShox tent was none other than the original downhill World Champ himself, Greg Herbold. After a quick fine-tune on the newly installed SRAM X-7 trigger shifters (and X.0 rear derailleur) on my Specialized Enduro I thought I’d return the favor by inviting H-Ball along on our afternoon spin on the Edge Loop. A long story short, 4 1/2 hours later, CamelBak bladders emptied and food supplies ravaged, we rolled back to the car with an earful of stories told as only HB can spin ’em. My dehydrated mental notes recall the following:1. Rumor has it that Tom Ritchey was Life Flighted from the Porcupine Rim trail last week as a result of a severely injured ankle. HB reported that he heard Ritchey was on one of his patented solo missions (helmetless, of course) and was forced to put his foot down in a hurry to avert a fall. The catch was that he wedged his foot between two rocks and continued to fall. No official word on the extent of his injuries, but you gotta be sure Tom’s not going to enjoy picking up the tab for the express chopper ride out to Grand Junction.2. With a weekend’s worth of riding under my belt, I found SRAM’s new trigger shifters both excellent in function, but somewhat lacking in ergonomics. The “upward” motion of the upshift (to a smaller cog) trigger is outstanding, but I found the inward location of the lever a bit difficult to locate in pressure shifting situations. Luckily, Herbold informed me that SRAM was working on a high-end X.0 shifter with a fully adjustable pod to accommodate multiple trigger placement positions. Amen to that. XTR shifting might have met its match–only time will tell.And now on to a bit more “shotgun-blast” product news:Just received a sample of ShockDoctor’s X Terra Footbeds. Designed for active sports (including cycling) the X Terra footbeds are designed to provide additional support throughout the arch area which is said to increase power transfer throughout your pedal stroke. A Carbon Control Bar runs the length of each footbed providing additional stability and is designed to control pronation. $29.95, www.shockdoc.comAlso just in is the Buff headwear garment. Touted as, “versatile garment that can be worn in a number of different configurations to provide a high level of comfort, protection and style during outdoor and recreational activities.” Most interesting to me was the fact that this is the “dew-rag” of choice for Mr. Mullet himself, Laurent Brochard. The 20 x 10-inch seamless microfiber fabric “sock” costs $18.50 and comes in over 150 different designs. www.buffs.usAnd to reward your literary journey (slog?) through my column, here’s a pretty damn good shot of Lance’s prototype 2004 OCLV Trek along with the best-yet photos of 2004 Dura-Ace which he raced at L-B-L. Sorry, that’s all I’m saying. If you want to find out more pick up the next issue of VeloNews (issue #9) for more info on both.
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