Back in 2008 I thought I was going to attempt Tour Divide. I figured I’d kit up the Racer X and hit it, but I had never done any bikepacking and I was still ripping fast in XC races, so I put that idea behind me and never really thought about it again until a couple of years ago when I did the AZT 300 and CTR. I thought, “No way in hell would I do TD…..too much road. Yuck.” Then I started Nuke Sunrise and I started thinking about things I’ve accomplished….and haven’t. TD was back on top of the list.
At the start of last summer, I made the decision that 2014 would be my year for TD…..northbound as it would be stupid to fly my ass up to O’Canada just to ride back home to a place I prefer to escape every summer. Soon after making the commitment, I contemplated a new ride. I really wanted to do it on a Fargo style rig since JP’s last attempt was done on one and he mentioned that he had no hand issues during or after…..something I’ve been battling for a couple years. So I looked up some of my favorite frame builders….and saw that Walt Wehner of Walt Works had moved to Salt Lake City where I was visiting at the time. I made arrangements to meet up with him and I gave him a deposit….a whopping $200. Just before my Christmas break, he started building my frame….a severely upsized Fargo.
So all these build shots made their way into email and I was really hoping to have this beast ready to roll by the time I left for South Carolina, but that didn’t happen. It didn’t show up until a couple weeks ago. I got it built that night (despite over an hour spent rummaging for all the parts I needed) and rode it the next day to Mundy’s Gap….a burly rock fest of a climb. I cleaned everything up and down and was thoroughly impressed with the short stays and general fit. The ride down was a hoot on running a Knard 3.0 up front on the fat bike fork.
I ditched the Knard after one commute. Those things are tanks and I really am thinking speed. I think I can achieve plenty of comfort with a carbon fork and maybe 2.3’s front and rear. I think I may even ditch the Moxey post…..mainly so I can more easily run a seatbag. This bike is so comfy that I really don’t think I’m going to need it. I’ve got a Thomson on the way. I’ll put some miles on it to make sure. The Selle Anatomica is pretty sweet.
Eventually I got this thing made. What a freakin’ puzzle. Now I need to start working on the tanks that will bolt on to the top tube….and ride more.
I also bought this bad boy.
That’s a Shutter Precision thru-axle dynamo hub. I had it laced up in less than an hour to a Velocity Blunt SL (420 grams). This will be the first blunt I’ve ever rolled…..seriously. I’ll be charging batteries with this bad boy so the only batteries I’ll have to purchase will be AAA Energizer Lithiums to power my Spot….which I don’t plan on using 24/7 like other racers.
So here’s a run down of the build:
Walt Works frame
Salsa Enabler Fork (will upgrade to Niner RDO carbon TA fork)
Chris King headseat
DT Swiss 240 S rear hub w/ Stan’s ZTR355 rim
WTB SS rear hub w/ Stan’s 355 rim on the fat bike fork (will upgrade to SP Dynamo TA on Blunt SL rim)
Shimano Ultegra front shifter/brake lever
Shimano 105 10 speed rear shifter/brake lever
TRP Spyre cable discs w/ Yokazuma cables
Shimano XT 9 speed rear derailleur (new 10 speed dynasys won’t work with 10 speed road shifters)
Shimano XTR front derailleur
Truvativ X9 180mm cranks (28/42 rings)
Crank Bro’s Candy SL pedals
Sram 1050 10 speed cassette
105mm generic stem (upgrading to Syntace 100mm stem)
Salsa Woodchipper bars
Lizard Skins 2.5mm thick bar tape on with one layer of fake cork foam tape under the “tops”
Moxey Pro seat post
Selle Anatomica X seat
As for tires….right now I’m using some old WTB semi-slicks. For TD, I’ll use something like the 2.35 Kenda Slant 6 or the 2.3 Maxxis Ikon. Those are a bit bigger than what most guys run, but I do want some comfort on all that washboard.
Currently, my during the week training consists of riding it like this.
I’ll post more after I get the new fork. I ordered an orange one, but when I pulled it out of the box, I saw it wasn’t even close to matching and Jen thought it was pretty lucky. So I’m sending it back for a black one. It will drop some weight for sure. I’m more curious as to how it will feel. I’ve never ridden a carbon mountain fork and my road bike fork is 14 years old so I really have no idea how it’s going to feel.