July 04, 2008

The Lumber Jack 100, on Quasi-Motos

Last month I shipped out my set of prototype Quasi Motos to a racer in Utah for a race in Michigan: The Lumber Jack 100. Here's what John had to say about the race and the performance of the 650B x 2.0 Quasi Motos.

"It seemed like a good idea at the time. After all, the only bike I had was a single speed. Why not sign up for the single speed category? 100 miles. Nearly all of it singletrack. The Lumberjack100 is held every June in the heart of the Manistee National Forest and it was only January. Sure, why not single speed? I could get tons of riding in 6 months.

Despite commuting by bike nearly every day (I’m car free) and getting in a few epic rides here and there; the closer it got to race day the more I doubted my readiness for the race. I was beginning to grow desperate for any advantage I could get. I was debating gearing and even swapping out for lighter parts. Signing up for this race was turning me into a real nerd.

When I heard rumors of the 650B Quasi Moto tire and all of its low profile, fast rolling splendor I decided it was just the upgrade I needed to give me a leg up on the competition. So I did what any racer would do and begged for them! Luckily for me Jeremy of 650bpalace.blogspot.com didn’t take much coaxing in order for him to lend me his Quasi Moto prototype tires (a big thanks to Jeremy and his generosity).

The tires arrived a few days before my flight back home to Michigan. Upon first inspection the tires looked to be in great shape and were noticeably lighter than my Neo Motos. When I mounted them up on my Velocity Blunts and slapped them on my Surly 1x1 most of my worries of having a poor race or even being unable to finish subsided. These tires just looked wicked fast. There was definatly much less rubber to push around than with my Neo Motos. As crazy as it may sound, at this point I was really looking forward to punching the pedals in the woods for 100 miles on a rigid bike.

Two nights prior to the race, the course received a dose of rain in the amount of 10 inches in 6 hours. The storm gave-ith and it took-ith away. Much of the course being rather sandy drained quite well. Well…other than a 300 yard stretch of the trail that was submerged in a foot or so of water and mud that only got deeper and more unrideable as the laps piled up. The storm also downed trees. But in return the storm also made for some uber fast and tacky conditions in other sections of trail. This combination proved to be an excellent testing ground for the tires.

The morning of the race I brought both tires up to 27ish psi and lined up at the starting line for the 2 mile paved roll out. I quickly spun my gear out but managed to catch a wheel and draft into the single track. The moment I hit the singletrack the tires began to shine. With every corner I took the tires asked for more speed into the next. The traction was confidence inspiring and the casing of the tires was plenty supple enough to take the edge off in the rough stuff. I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed hammering through Michigan’s fast flowing single track, until I got to the swamp that the storm afforded every racer.

The 300 yards of swampy submerged trail was ride-able the first lap with a fair amount of going no where fast with entirely way to much effort. By the third lap it was actually nice to have an excuse to hop off the bike and walk a bit. Coming out of the muddy section was a short, steep, muddy incline where again traction wasn’t an issue. Before I knew it the tires had shed any mud they had collected.

Another section of the course the tires took to was a tightly tree lined sandy downhill single track. The sand was deep enough that I was expecting to be thrown off my line but the tires just floated through and charged ahead.

I can actually say for the application that I used these tires; there is not a single thing I would change about them. It’s nice to be able to ride and race and not notice your equipment for any of the wrong reasons. I was able to just focus on the trail and enjoy the ride.

The race was a blast up until the beginning of the last lap. Note to self: Next year; no apples. I started puking violently for a good solid 15 miles turning the pedals over about as slowly as one could without tipping over. I put on quite the show and even asked a fellow racer, “How do you like them apples?” Then, as suddenly as things went array things got good. It was almost like a light switch went off (or maybe I threw up the rest of my apples) and I started laying absolute science to the pedals. For the last 10 miles of the race I made miracles in the woods. Ok, ok…so maybe it wasn’t that fast but it sure felt like it.

By the end of the race I was hooked on these tires. When I caught my second wind during the last 10 miles these tires pinned it. My efforts were good enough for 6th place in single speed and 27th overall with a time of 8:57 and change. Both of which exceeded all my expectations for the race and I really like to think these tires aided in my results.

I am eagerly looking forward to the arrival of my own set of Quasi Motos from www.bikelugs.com. It will be interesting to see how they fare on some of the loose and rocky trails here in Salt Lake. Stay posted for further review. "

Thanks for the words, John.
He also included some race photos. Take a look.

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