Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Viva la (le?) Riser Bars!!!!!

Riser! Riser! Riser! Ok, I know I'm bucking the trend of flat bars here, but I really don't give a damn. Everyone I know that races XC is a staunch advocate of NOT riding riser bars, much less wide riser bars. Today I gave all of them a big "F-You!" and bucked both trends in one sitting.

Re my blog yesterday, I've had some issues with my lower back recently on the bike. I attributed it to everything BUT the bars I was running on my bikes, which in the end drove me up the wall. Finally, in a desperate act of a desperate man (ok a little over dramatic, but bare with me), I broke down and got a pair of riser bars.

Today was the maiden voyage of said bars, and I can honestly say I've never been happier. I decided to leave them wide (630mm), which is a challenge for the trails here. Getting used to passing through tight singletrack at speed was a bit hair raising, but I got the hang of it quick. The bike felt more stable (obviously-think tightrope walkers holding a long pole), and the handling was almost as sharp as it was with the flat bars. Mind you, the rise isn't huge, but isn't small either (about 1.5 inch I believe).

By far the most important aspect, though, was that my back didn't hurt. And I rode hard, real hard! I crushed all of my own theories regarding my back pain and seem to have solved the problem. I don't care if they look goofy, or get dirty looks from the "pure" race guys. In the end, I'm more comfortable. When I'm more comfortable I'm faster. When I'm faster it won't matter what my bike looks like becasue I'll be so far ahead of you, you'll never get a chance to see it anyway, so what the hell do you care what kind of bars I'm running!? Ok, ok, a little rant... :)

The workout today was suppossed to take place later this week, but I felt good and wanted to get it in on the mountain bike (which was today) so I went for it. Generally I'd do two intervals of 20 minutes at FTP on the road, but I felt good and went for 3x20 on the mountain bike. Since I don't have a power meter on my mtb, I went according to heart rate.

The ride wound up being about 2:30 in the end, with 60 mins of quality effort. Though it wasn't a "true" constant effort like it would have been on the trainer or on the road (though my HR did stay up the whole time, it's just the power that went from like 0-1000 watts and back again), I got a whole lot out of it. The effort is one thing, but if you can't handle your bike at speed on the dirt, descents, switchbacks, rocks, roots, etc., then what good is it anyway? Who gives a crap that you can hold X amount of watts if you can't stay upright? I think being fast on the mountain bike is all about finding that balance between power and skill. You could have all the power in the world, but without skill you ain't got shit.

I'll post some pics of the new bars and setup when I get a chance. I've also gotta add that the Sette Serum Elite carbon HT is one hell of a bike. It's not one of the "big name" brands (though I'm sure it's come from the same factories of some of those "big names"), but still kicks ass in every way. I crushed it on that bike today and pushed the limits. There was never a time when the bike failed to match any of my efforts. I honestly can't say that about every bike I've ever ridden, the majority of them being the "popular" brands. If you want a solid carbon HT frame for a good price, you won't be disappointed. www.settebikes.com

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