Ready for Monstercross

With Monstercross less than a week away it’s time to make sure things are 100% race ready. Over the past few months I had been making some small changes to the setup on my Endpoint prototype bike to dial it in. The idea for this bike was conceived after doing rides like monstercross and one could say the bike was designed for this race. When major injury kept me from racing the event in 2014 it gave me all the time in the world to try and come up with the optimal setup for this race.

One thing that many riders learned from riding and racing on the fire roads at Pocahontas State Park is that larger tires are faster. While the terrain may be fairly non-technical most of it alternates from bumpy to somewhat soft. Narrow cyclocross tires will work but are definitely slower and less comfortable on the surface there. Many racers in the elite category bent on trying to win will actually opt for a lightweight hardtail 29’er mountain bike if possible rather than a cross bike because of this. See the setups below from Keck and Charlie, both CBC riders who prefer these hardtail mountain setups. Notice the different preferences for suspension, with Charlie running a rigid carbon fork, and Keck running a Lauf 60mm travel fork. Also notice that all three bikes are running carbon seatposts designed to provide damping over rougher terrain. The Specialized CG-R on the Endpoint and Cannondale's Flash Carbon SAVE seatpost on Keck and Charlie's bikes.

While I’m not on the physical level to compete with the best guys out there I decided that I wanted to have the best bike for the job or at least the best bike for me. This is how the Endpoint Sasquoss came to be. I wanted a bike that combined the nimble feel of a cyclocross bike with the larger tire clearance needed to run something far bigger than traditional cross tires.

Long story short I have that bike and I have been playing around with various tires and other components over the last year to really get it perfect.

All spring and summer I was riding Specialized Renegade tires on both wheels. The 1.8” wide casing and low profile tread was perfect. Faster over every surface I encountered compared to the 32-35mm wide cyclocross tires I had previously used. The improvement in cornering grip and decreased rolling resistance over bumpy surfaces was immediately noticeable.

As fall and then winter arrived and the trails accumulated more leaf litter, moisture, and mud I realized I wanted more grip in the front. I swapped in a Specialized Ground Control 29x1.9 for the front tire but had a problem. The improvement in handling charistics was downright incredible but the slightly larger casing and taller tread maxed out the clearance my front fork allowed to the point of causing some rub when it was wet out. No good.

So after doing some research I found that the Luteus fork from 3T was the magic bullet I needed. With the fork changed out I had all the tire clearance I needed and then some. My next ride on the bike was awesome and I knew I had the right setup for the race.

Now with just a few days to go it’s time for some last minute service to my race bike to get it perfect. A clean machine always runs better so the drivetrain goes into our ultrasonic parts washer to get the last month’s worth of grime and crud out of every nook and cranny.

My rear hub had a rough bearing and my bottom bracket was a little creaky so both get some needed attention. With their awesome service kit swapping out the bearing in my Industry Nine rear wheel was a snap. The bottom bracket was changed out just as quickly.

Maybe I’m not as ready to race as I should be but at least my bike is. After a thorough wipedown and fresh brake pads things are looking sharp.

Bike check

Frame: Endpoint Sasquoss Prototype
Fork: 3T Leutus
Headset: Chris King Inset7
Wheels: Industry9 Ultralight
Front tire: Specialized S-works Ground Control 29x1.9
Rear tire: Specialized Renegade Control 28x1.8
Brakes: TRP Spyre with Shimano resin pads
Handlebar: Salsa Cowbell 44cm
Stem: Thomson X4
Seatpost: Specialized CG-R
Saddle: Fizik Gobi
Rear shifter: SRAM Force 10 speed
Rear derailleur: SRAM CX1
Front lever: SRAM carbon
Crank: Rotor Rex3
Pedals: Time ATAC XS