Sunday, August 29, 2010

108+ degree racing... and 2011 Cannondale Flash 29 demo

Post is a little late, oh well, it was a busy week last week.

We've had a pretty cool summer here in Sacramento, but apparently the weather tried to make up for it all in two days.  Tuesday was around 104 and 108 on Wednesday.  All the weather people advised not to be outside in the afternoon if at all possible.  But Wednesday was the first of the Prairie City Fall Flash series races, so outside we were... and racing!  It was definitely a scorcher, and there was no relief in the shade and there was no breeze.

There was one "cool" part of the day though, and that was the Cannondale demo truck with a sweet new 2011 Flash 29 Carbon in size XL for me to demo!  And thanks to C'dale rep Dez Wilder for letting me race on it!

Here's what I thought:

It's a 21 lb. XL 29er out of the box, sweet.  Because of the lightness, it was super quick and accelerated up the climbs and out of the corners like a rocket.  But it didn't feel twitchy at all.  The geometry was spot on and I felt right at home and in control.  The big wheels definitely take the edge off the fact it's a hardtail.  The frame was stiff and responsive, but had good bump/vibration damping.  The seatpost it comes with has a compressed "bend" in it which allows for a little more flex than a standard post and that made it easy on the back too.  The "Lefty" carbon on the front is set at 80mm, but according to Dez it can be increased up to 110mm through internal spacer adjustment.  This bike was set up with remote handlebar lockout which was really handy and the button was easy to push.  The drivetrain consisted of a 2x10 gear setup with some Cannondale SL cranks (I didn't really inspect those too much) that were stiff and did the job well and SRAM's new XO 10 speed rear shifting.  All the shifts were easy and quick but the chain did have a little problem dropping off the big ring when making a bumpy left turn.

It's a fantastic race bike, and I wouldn't mind having one at all.  But I did miss suspension.  That's probably me just not being used to hardtail riding though.  I'm sure I could get used to it if I had a 20lb carbon rocket to  pedal of my own :-).  Oh, and I really like the big 29er wheels, I'm sold on that technology.

As far as the race, I had a whopping 8 minutes of time on the bike before the start and didn't quite get the seat high enough.  So I was a little uncomfortable because of that, oh and the fact we were in an oven.  Keith Hillier (2009 Series Champ) and I pulled away from the rest and I towed him around until the 4th lap.  He passed me on the 4th lap and attacked, which I matched for a few seconds but began to feel the effects of the heat.  I started to feel some chills which is not good, so I backed it off a little and ended up taking 2nd on the day.  I was quite thankful the EMT's were there after the finish line as I promptly put some ice bags on my neck, my body temp was red lining.  There were a number of finishers and dnf's having the same problem but thankfully nobody with serious heat exhaustion and no crashes and injuries.


  1. Thanks for the report. What are your measurements? I'm trying to decide between a size L or XL.

    I'm 6'2" with 34" inseam

  2. Carter, we're pretty much the same size then. I'm 6'3" with a 34" (approx.)