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Project 24.2: Time for another 24hr race!

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With New Mexico suddenly plunged into bitter cold, 88mph winds, and snow, it’s time to think about 24 hour racing!  That’s right, Epic Rides’ 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo is only 10 weeks away and if we don’t start thinking about training, it’s going to be a very long day in the saddle.  As with last year’s Project 24 series of reviews, we’ve assembled everything we’ll need to ensure that any shortcomings on the race course… will be the riders’ fault.

Team Evil Gazebo has reunited- and this time we’ve got something worth defending.  Racing ace and Bikerumor contributor Alex will be carrying much of my dead weight while I try to make it to the transition tent on time.  Over the next three months or so, we’ll be keeping you current with regular updates on how the training is going and with our reviews of the bikes, gear, food, and accessories we’re using.  Hit the jump to find out what we’ll be racing!

Knowing that comfort and control are critical to long-ride success, we’re thrilled to be supported by some of the best names in bicycle ergonomics:

  • Ergon have stepped forward with HA2 gloves and GA1 Leichtbau grips, which should keep things under control.
  • When it gets chilly, both racing and training, Giro have come forward with their well-regarded cold weather gloves, a helmet for when things go horribly wrong (here’s hoping that they don’t), and their Gauge shoes.
  • A long-time Louis Garneau shorts fan, I’m excited to spend the day in their Carbon Lazer shorts- seeing as they’re made for “Long rides/races – all day on the saddle,” they should be perfect.  When night falls, their mid-weight Bib Knickers should keep things toasty.
  • Sticking with the southern hemisphere, Specialized have provided a sampler of Body Geometry saddles as well as S-Works Evo shoes and their new FastTrak tires to help us put the power down.
  • Swiftwick’s world-class socks will be coddling out feet, their armwarmers keeping our spindly arms cozy, and their compression socks supporting our tired calves before and after the race.
  • Keeping us warm, Pearl Izumi has offered up several versions of their PRO base layers featuring Minerale fabric technology and their awesome new PRO 180 softshell jacket, which has been in steady service for on-the-road training and will be key for those cold post-midnight laps.
  • If even a little bit better than the Pivlock V90s, Smith’s new Pivlock V2 glasses will be my new favorites.  No question.  The new model should be landing any day now.
  • Our undercarriages will be well lubricated by the kind folks at Okole Stuff. We’re hoping that, to paraphrase Bicycling’s Selene Yeager, our skin will be in better shape (after 24HitOP) than when we started!  Lehe Stuff caffeinated lip balm will keep us awake- and kissable- throughout the event.
  • Knowing that if you look good, you feel good and that if you feel good, you ride- uh- good, we’re excited to be sporting mis/matching DannyShane Bellam jerseys.  DannyShane make my favorite jerseys and these very cool plaids will make us stand out on the race course.

We’ll be fueling with Gu products throughout- from their new Roctane endurance-oriented gel to their Gu Brew and Gu Recovery Brew drinks and tasty Chomps blocks (the watermelon tastes like a Jolly Rancher!).  Drinks and gel will be delivered by way of Hydrapak’s awesome GelBot bottles.

But what will we ride?  Both Alex and I like to go fast, but know that going too light or too stiff can slow us down in the long run ride.  With that in mind, and given their minimal weight penalty over 100mm frames, we’ll both be riding 120mm travel enduro-style bikes.  If we’re lucky- and all this white stuff melts- we might even get some trail riding in before the race.

  • I will be on Rocky Mountain’s endurance-oriented (read: not-too-twitchy) Element MSL carbon fiber frame.  Super-light, efficient, and laterally stiff while remaining active is the endurance holy grail.  The Element MSL promises all three.  At 4.72lb actual, the Element is the lightest full suspension frame that I’ve ever had on my scale- and the matte black finish is badass.
  • Supported by Bikeworks Albuquerque and the good folks at Tomac, Alex will be on the lustworthy Supermatic– a 5lb (with shock) 120mm travel frame that lives to be pushed harder and harder.
  • Having wanted to spend some quality time with the company’s Italian-made Volo wheelsets since seeing prototypes two Interbikes ago, I’m excited to toll on Formula’s race hoops.
  • Finishing kit will be handled by Ritchey, with comfortable 10-degree WCS bars, a carbon WCS seatpost, and their very slick, super-stiff new WCS C260 stem.
  • Acros will be help us navigate the seas of frame/steerer compatibility and enable my cornering with a beautiful German-made headset.
  • You can only go as fast as your brakes will allow- Magura’s new MT6 brakes, with their Carbotecture master cylinder and beefed up (over the featherweight MT8s) calipers should provide braking well in excess of my stomach for speed
  • The Supermatic will be kitted out in fine WTB style, with lightweight Stryker wheels, light & fast TCS tires, a comfy (but light) saddle, and grips.
  • Lezyne are ready to make sure that we don’t run out of either water or air with their new composite Flow Cage bottle cages and Tech Drive HV pump.
  • Putting the Element’s power down will be Shimano’s fantastic 10 speed XT group while the stealthy XTR Shadow Plus rear derailleur2012 shimano xtr shadow plus rear derailleur with locking pulley cage switchwhich I’ve been dying to try- will help me sneak up on the competition.

Of course, there is plenty more to come! Stay tuned as we report back on the builds and the goods’ performance in training- to say nothing of the race itself.  If you’re on the fence about joining us in Tucson, commit!  It’s a great event and there’s nothing like the prospect of 6, 12, or 24 hours’ worth of saddle time to keep you training through the winter…

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