Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 National MTB Championships

Last weekend (January 23/26) saw the 2009 MTBA National Mountain Bike Championships held at Mt. Stromlo, Canberra. I was unfortunate enough to miss competing myself but I was able to get a glimpse of the short-course racing that was held on Monday. The course was relatively long with the odd short-sharp climb accompanied by a few jumps and tight bermed corners. The riding was hot being held at the height of a 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 F) day. The track was broken in by the Sport Men division where a strong riding standard was set, followed by the massive swarm U19 Male competitors. The Women's short course was next where a strong lineup of riders made there presence felt. The elite men finished the series of racing off with a high-paced dust fight. Olympian Chris Jongewarrd took the whole-shot and gave himself a big 15 second buffer and rode alone for most of the race. After working well together, local rider Dylan Cooper and Victorian Daniel McConnel managed to pull Jongewarrd's lead back to a manageable distance for an exciting finish with Jongewarrd in 1st, Cooper in 2nd and McConnel in 3rd.

For more information on the event and venue visit and

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Which Gear?

Our drive train can handle whatever gear combination we plug in right? WRONG! It is imperative that we know how to work with our drive train to prevent unnecessary wear and expensive damage; not to mention performance advantages.

Don't Cross Your Chain

Your chain has been crossed when you are in the big chainring at the front and a big chainring at the back (eg. 3x1), or the small chainring at the front and a small chainring at the back (eg. 1x9). Riding in these sort of gear ratios puts extra strain on your chain which can lead to premature chain/cog wear and most likely a snapped chain.

When shifting you should always be wary of the ratio you are in. When you are in the middle ring upfront you can use most of the range in your rear cassette but your drive train may struggle with the smallest and biggest few cogs at the rear. When in the smallest (easiest) chainring upfront you don't want to exceed the inner half of the rear cassette which contains the larger (easier) cogs. The same principle applies when in the big (hardest) chainring upfront - stick to the smaller (harder) gears at the back. The straighter the line of your chain, the less strain it is under.