Winterpokal 2016/17

Winterpokal 2016/17

Winterpokal is long gone but I wanted to hand in the final chart for this last Winterpokal. I already noted that this will be my best ever Winterpokal so far. I achieved 391 points and became 1166th in the user ranking. In fact at the end I got three times as much points as in my best Winterpokal before. That result is hard to beat in future winters. 🙂

Nevertheless my goal for next winter is to achieve 450 points and get under the first thousand users.

Die Trainingsbibel für Radsportler

Training knowledge

I have a bit of time at hand right now, so I decided to put my knowledge about training on a more solid scientific foundation. Since I started my training again last autumn I felt that I should individualise my training more. Until now I used a simple training plan scheme I found on the website of a german mountainbike magazine. Put it always felt like this was rather suboptimal.

The plan I used consisted of five different weeks. Each week hat a different goal: endurance, strength, intensity, race and recovery. I just mixed those weeks like I thought it could be useful. But there was no adjustment to my performance level. I think that can be critical.

One guy in the IBC recommended The Cyclist’s Training Bible1 by Joe Friel. It seems to be a standard work of training theory. I will read it in the next days and try to generate a training plan for the rest of my year with it.

Bloody disk brakes

I love disk brakes, I really do. I couldn’t go back to rim brakes on my MTB. But if there’s one thing I hate about servicing a modern mountain bike it would be bleeding disk brakes.

About DOT and oil in disk brakes

Last year I switched from a hydraulic disk brake 1 with DOT to one with mineral oil. DOT sucks water and with water comes air. Air is highly compressible under pressure. So if there’s air in you brake hose the brake has no bite point anymore and will stop working at all eventually. Mineral oil doesn’t suck water. And it’s less poisonous as DOT. So I personally prefer oil in my brakes. But that limits the number of brake manufacturers I can chose from. For example there are Shimano, Magura and Trickstuff which use oil. But SRAM (formerly known as Avid), Hope and Formula use DOT.

Shimano XTR

The disk brake I bought last year was the Shimano XTR Race BR-M9000. It is Shimanos top of the line Cross Country brake. The XTR is well known and has a hight reputation in the scene. When it arrived I was very impressed by the brake. It has a well defined bite point and the braking power is immense! After I shortened the hoses the necessary bleeding went well.

I already wrote about he pressure point problems with the Shimano XTR brake. Back in January I thought about buying a Magura MT8 and I did.

Magura MT8

The moving pressure point of the XTR was the main reason I bought a Magura MT8 early this year. This is again the top of the line Cross Country brake from Magura. I always liked the idea to own a Magura brake because Magura build’s and develop’s its brakes in Bad Urach. That’s very near the town I grew up. I read before that the bite point of Magura brakes is not as defined as Shimanos. In the bike boards they always said that Magura brake are “better controllable”. When the MT8 arrived I was a bit disappointed because I could pull the lever to the bar very easily. The braking power was ok but I was not able to move my back wheel up when I used the front brake.

Bleeding the MT8

So I bought the “professional bleeding kit” from Magura. The bleeding was a bloody disaster. In my first try I sucked additional air into the system because the “professional bleeding kit” is so bad manufactured that there gets air inside if you push the syringe too strong. In my second try I was a bit gentler and it looked very well. No bubbles at all. Perfect I thought. So I closed the system again. But when I pulled the lever it felt even worse. The level was next to the bar immediately. I was furious.

Bleeding it again

After that I used a little trick. I removed the wheel and pulled the lever so the brake pistons came out a bit. The I opened the bleeding screw on the brake lever and filled in more oil. After that I pushed the pistons back in and reassembled the wheel. After that the disk dragged a bit so I opened the bleeding screw a little bit to let one or two drops of oil out. Now the disk didn’t drag and the bite point was where I would expect it.

Feels like rubber

But it still feels like rubber when I pull the lever. There is now power but I still can pull the lever until the bar. I’m still not able to lift the back wheel when using the front brake. There just isn’t enough braking power. I wonder how I can make the Magura MT8 more powerful. At the moment I’m almost missing my XTR. With this one I could at least do everything I wanted when I kept its flaws in mind.

What now?

I have two top of the line disk brakes which both don’t fulfil my needs. I could try the Trickstuff Piccola but that brake is rather expensive. A set of it costs 750€. For that money I can almost get a complete SRAM Eagle group set. Because it it so expensive there are not many reports by real users. So I’m not guaranteed to get a working brake either.

Another option is the Brakeforce One H2O. This brake is especially nice because it does neither work with DOT nor with mineral oil. It works with water. That means you don’t have such an ugly mess bleeding your brake like I had today with oil. It’s just water. You can bleed your brakes in your living room. But that is not the whole truth. I’m living in Germany and in one half of the year it may get really cold. Because of that it is required to put 20% glycol into the brake system – at least in winter. And with a price point 594€ it’s not really cheap either.

For now I’m back on the Shimano XTR. I was almost relieved when I pulled the brake lever of the XTR the first time again. The pressure point felt SO good compared to the MT8. Even the pressure point seemed to move less.

The MT8 is at Magura at the moment. I sent it to them unannounced. I wrote a description of the problem.

But maybe DOT?

There’s another option I don’t like. There seem to be several DOT disk brakes on the market which work rather well. The SRAM Level Ultimate is very popular. With around 450€ for the set it is not exorbitant expensive. And I think I could use my old Avid disks. With this brake I will be able to use only one clamp for the brake and the trigger for my (future) Eagle rear derailleur.

Also I always hear that Hope is one of the best bike accessories manufacturer on the market. It seems that Hope provides great quality and an awesome customer service. They make the Race Evo X2. It is specifically designed for Cross Country racing. A set is just under 400€. That is almost cheap.

I’m not ready yet to get into the DOT mess again. In the meantime I will use either the XTR or the MT8 until Eurobike when new brakes will be announced. Maybe the next version of the XTR doesn’t have those bite point problems.


  1. Of course I’m only talking about hydraulic disk brakes here. I don’t know why mechanical disk brakes exist.

X-ray image of my broken collar bone.

No KOM or race win is worth an injury lay-off

One year ago today I broke my right collar bone in the first race of the season.1  It was also my last so far. I suppose almost every ambitious athlete suffers an injury during his life. I will describe my experience with the collar bone and what I learned from it.

Operation

In most of the cases an operation is needed. In the operation there will be a plate applied which connects the two parts of the broken collarbone again. But I managed to shred the outer three centimeters of the bone completely. It was not possible to screw a plate on top of it. My doctor decided to do a tight rope fixation. They drilled a hole through the intact part of my collar bone and another one through the bone below and pulled a rope through to move the collarbone down. That way the collarbone was in the right place again and could merge again with those fragments at the outer side.

Recovery

The problem with this is that it takes much more time than a fixation with plate would have. And you can’t move your arm properly for weeks. Because of that I had to wear a shoulder immobilizer for ten weeks. Thats a massive sling around the neck that looks like a sofa for small children. My recovery went pretty well, I think. I had regular physiotherapy in which I always could perform every exercise my trainer wanted to do. 52 days later I sat on my bike again. But only at home on the bike trainer. Outside the concussions would still have been too much. Over two months after the accident I did my first jog. My first time on the bike outside was 74 days after the accident – thats two and a half months without proper biking. That was a long time.

Motivation kicks in

When I had time to ride my bike again it was already autumn. But my motivation was higher than ever. I bought very good winter clothes and rode through the whole winter. When the temperatures got friendlier again my ride became even longer. This march was the month with the longest distance I ever had. I never was fitter. I further optimised my bike, adjusted the suspension and rethought my position on the bike. My feeling on the bike was so good.

Second injury

Two weeks ago I managed to crash again. One second after I went down I knew my collar bone was broken. Again. I roared into the woods. Frustration. Twenty seconds later I picked up my bike and rode home. This time I did a better job breaking the collar bone. Same bone, different position. This time I got a titan plate on the bone. It feels like a steel beam inside my shoulder.
It was my second bike accident since I ride mountainbike more serious. I hope in the future not every accident results in a bone injury. I would also be easily satisfied with some small scratches…

Recovering from a déjà vu

In the first days while I waited for my operation I felt pretty devastated. Everything felt like a big déjà-vu. It was difficult to accept that my season is falling apart yet again. But some days after the operation – today is day 8 – I felt that thanks to that plate I’m much more able to do things than last time. I already move around without the arm sling most of the time. I mean I’m stille pretty slow with everything that has to do with that arm. But at least I can move it at all. I plan to be on the bike trainer as early as next week. My physiotherapist even advised me to do so. Because encourage my metabolism will help with the healing.

Lessons learned

Because the same accident happened again so fast I spent a good amount of time thinking about what I can do to prevent this kind of accidents in the future. Both accidents didn’t have much in common. But I came up with a (still a bit undefined) list of things I plan to do:

  • Participate in a technique training to improve my bike handling skills.2
  • Don’t ride at the limit when I don’t have perfect vision.
  • Fast descending is not what makes a fast race.
  • Only ride fast when I have inspected the trail just moments ago.

Some of those points are common sense but sometimes when you have fun on the trail you ignore some of these rules. I try to keep them in mind in the future every time I have the impulse to hit the pedals hard. It is always good in life to reflect your own actions – so it is on the bike.


  1. In minute 18 it gets “interesting”.

  2. I’m looking for bike training schools in south Germany right now. If someone has any tips. I would prefer someone who has actual experience in Cross Country racing and such things as curve technique, rock gardens, small jumps …

My workshop is a mess

 

Right now …

My workshop is a mess. Some days ago I was cleaning it up. “My workshop” is a big exaggeration. There was a time when below those bike parts, cleaning equipment, clothes and tools was a sofa. Yes I mean that piece of furniture where normaly at least two people can sit on.
When I started to work on my bike myself I didn’t like the idea to stand for hours  in the cold and lonely basement so I kept all the parts in the flat. But the parts and tools became more and more until the sofa was no longer free to sit on.

Now I structured all the things laying on top of it. Old bike parts will be sold. Parts I will maybe use again are stored below the sofa together with all the tools which fit nicely in a surprisingly small cardboard box. There are two boxes still on the sofa. In one I store all the fluids, oils, greases and lubricants. The other contains tubeless sealant and some parts to apply it.

But in the future …

This is not optimal but I now I’m able to sit again in the office/workshop below my montainbike and do things or sleep. In case of the latter I dream of kind of a garage beneath the house I live in where I don’t park my car (because I won’t own one) but instead store my bikes and have a workshop with all the tools nicely ordered at the wall. There’s a big workbench like table with drawers for parts and other materials. The heart of the workshop is a very robust workstand where I can put my bikes on.

I wonder if the day will come I won’t wake up and realise it was just a dream.

Brake Uncertainty

Not long ago I maybe have discovered what caused my accident last may. Back then I rode with an almost new Shimano XTR Race M-9000 brake. I just made one tour with the new brake. The accident happened on a steep downhill section on a wide forest path. I constantly had to break a little. Suddenly I braked a bit harder end everything went south. Until now I thought the slippery chalk gravel caused my wheel to swing off. But after I read a review of the Shimano XTR at MTB-News I figured that maybe the brake itself was the problem. This version of the XTR brake (and also its XT version) can have a changing pressure point. Means that if you press the brake lever once, release it almost(!) completely and press the lever again, the pressure point moves more far away from the handle bar. So the point where the wheel locks happens earlier. I rode with this brake since August when I was allowed to bike again. I didn’t have any real problems. But I was extremely careful because I didn’t very confident on difficult sections after my spill. After I read the review I tried it and I could reproduce it immediately.

When I first bought the XTR I almost chose the Magura MT8 instead. Maybe I’ll have a look at some secondhand MT8s now…

Protektoren

Bin gestern zum ersten Mal mit Protektoren durchs Gelände gehüpft. Gleich nach den ersten 30 Metern wurden sie nützlich. Ein Schuhbändel hat sich ums Pedal gewickelt, konnte nicht mehr absteigen -> bums! Ich kann bestätigen, bin den Protektoren fühlt man sich wirklich etwas sicherer. Man traut sich schwierige Stellen eher zu, was meistens dazu führt, dass man sie eh ohne Probleme schafft. Morgen gehts auch gleich wieder auf Tour. Total toll, dass das Wetter seit meiner so sommerlich ist. Sehr praktisch. 😀 Ich genieße es.

Jetzt fehlt mir zu meinem Glück eigentlich nur noch ein Fully. Möh! Im Herbst dann hoffentlich. Bis dahin werd ich meine frisch eingestellte Gabel meines Hardtails noch etwas quälen. Bisher spielt sie gut mit. 🙂

Geiler kleiner Vorbau

Gestern hab ich meinem Fahrrad nen neuen Vorbau spendiert. Das ist der Teil der den Lenker Festhält. Wenn man nach der Formel zur Berechnung der Rahmengröße geht wäre eigentlich ein 18″ Fahrrad passend gewesen. Gekauft habe ich dann aber doch ein 20″, weil es sich bei der Probefahrt einfach deutlich besser als das 18er angefühlt hat. Tja, aber als ich es ne Weile hatte, hab ich immer so nach zwei Stunden Fahrt Rückenschmerzen verspürt. Ich habe dann etwas mit der Sattelhöhe experimentiert und auch mit der Sitzposition. Das einzige was ein wenig gebracht hat war wohl Rückenmuskulaturtraining. Aber auch nicht wirklich. Darum habe ich mir jetzt einen kürzeren Vorbau zugelegt – den aus der Truvativ Hussefelt Reihe. Ich glaube nämlich, dass mein Oberkörper etwas zu gestreckt auf dem Rad sitzt. Dadurch kann ich mich nicht so gut auf meinen Armen abstützen, weswegen wiederum die Rückenmuskulatur den Oberkörper halten muss. Mal sehen obs was bringt. Bei der ersten Probefahrt wars auf jeden Fall nicht schlecht. Der Vorbau hat 60 mm Länge, das heißt, ich kann auch noch die Version mit 40 mm nehmen, falls das nicht ausreicht.

Beim nächsten Fahrrad nehm ich denn auf jeden Fall eine Rahmengröße kleiner. Sattel hochstellen geht ja immer. Außerdem ist das bei Allmountain Fullies ja nochmal bissl anders, denn da wird der Rahmen durch den Dämpfer hinten ja auch immer etwas zusammengedrückt. Ich denke da fühlt sich das Sitzen auch durchaus anders an.

Übrigens finde ich es seltsam, dass Truvativ gern so deutsch klingende Namen für seine Produkte verwendet: Hammerschmidt, Holzfeller, Hussefelt. Ist das grad cool in Amiland?

Tschüss Cube, hallo Canyon

Gestern hat Canyon seine Website aktualisiert und die finalen Räder für 2011 präsentiert. Damit steht für mich quasi fest, dass ich bei meinem Umstieg vom Cross Country Hardtail auf ein All Mountain Fully nicht bei Cube bleiben werde, sondern zu Canyon wechseln werde. Das Strive wirde es zwar vermutlich nicht werden, dafür das Nerve AM. Und zwar das 7.0 Modell mit kompletter XT-Ausstattung, Avid Elixir 5 und Fox Talas. Auf letztere freue ich mich besonders. Bei dieser Gabel kann man den Federweg binnen Sekunden zwischen 110, 130 und 150 mm umstellen. Wie das funktioniert kann man sich zum Beispiel hier anschauen. Bestimmt extrem praktisch wenn man ein extrem steiles Stück erklimmen muss. Man kann einfach das Rad vorne um 4 cm absenken, dann kommt das Vorderrad nicht so leicht hoch. Wenn man dann oben ist kann man für die Trails bergab wieder die vollen 150 mm Federweg ausfahren.

Der Markenwechsel ist hauptsächlich dem unschlagbaren Preis/Leistungs-Verhältnis von Canyon geschuldet. Bei Canyon bekomme ich für 2000€ obige XT-Vollausstattung mit Avid Elixir 5 und Fox Talas. Bei Cube bekomme ich für 100€ mehr nur das AMS 130 Team mit einer gemischten Ausstattung aus SLX und XT.

Auch wenn im Wunschzentrum meines Gehirns die Entscheidung eigentlich eh schon fest steht, möchte ich das Rad mal probefahren. Das geht zum jetzigen Zeitpunkt allerdings nur in Koblenz, direkt bei Canyon. Aber vielleicht schafft Canyon es ja noch die geplanten Stores in Konstanz und Weil am Rhein zu eröffnen.

All Mountain Bike

Wie schon erwähnt spiele ich mit dem Gedanken mein Hardtail durch ein “Einsteiger-Fully” zu ersetzen. Damit meine ich ein vollgefedertes Mountainbike, welches sich aber auf normaler Straße fast anfühlt wie ein Hardtail, im Gelände aber durchaus federt. Sowas fällt im Fachjargon in die Kategorie “All Mountain” oder “Cross Country”. Weil man mit sowas halt über jeden Berg quer durchs Land fahren kann. 🙂

Als zufriedener Cube-Kunde schaue ich da natürlich erstmal bei Cube nach. Da gibt es die AMS-Reihe. Seit 2011 gibt es die mit Federwegen von 110 bis 150 mm. Die einzigen die da preislich in Frage kommen sind das AMS 110 Pro und das AMS 130 Pro. Jedoch hat letzteres Hayes Bremsen. Da an meinem jetzigen Bike die Bremsen das einzig kritisierbare sind, kommen wir nicht nochmal Bremsen von Hayes ans Rad! Bleibt also das AMS 110 Pro. Das ist zwar nett, aber vielleicht will ich doch mal mehr als 110 mm Federweg?

Canyon Strive
Canyon Strive

Weiter gehts mit der nächste deutschen Fahrradfirma die mit C anfängt: Canyon. Die haben die Nerve-Reihe und seit 2011 auch das Strive. Das Strive ist eigentlich wohl etwas überdimensioniert für mich: 160 mm Federweg. Das wäre doppelt soviel als ich jetzt habe. Aber: Es ist unglaublich hübsch! So ein hübsches Fahrrad… Leider kostet das Strive mit der kleinsten Ausstattung vermutlich(!) schon 2000€. Dummerweise hat auch ausgerechnet diese Ausstattung ne hässliche Lackierung. Aber mal die offiziellen Preise abwarten. Das Strive würde ich eh erstmal probefahren wollen. Es soll ja angeblich ganz gut zum klettern taugen. Das möchte ich aber gern selbst beurteilen.

Wegen diesen “Widgrigkeiten” ist mein Top-Favorit momentan das Canyon Nerve. Ob AM (140 mm) oder XC (120 mm) weiß ich noch nicht. Das Nerve AM hat wohl den Vorteil, dass man die Fox Talas Federgabel schnell mal von 110 mm auf 130 mm umschalten kann. Das wäre für meine zwecke vermutlich die optimale Ausstattung. Das Nerve AM 7.0 2010 kostete sogar nur 1999€. Ein guter Preis, wie ich finde. Mal sehen wie das äquivalente 2011er Modell genau ausgestattet sein wird, und ob der Preis der selbe bleibt.

Zuschlagen werde ich dann vermutlich erst in einem Jahr wenn es wieder die Sparbuchaktion (PDF mit den Preisen) von Canyon gibt, die auch momentan läuft. Falls ich bis dahin so heiß auf die 2012er Modelle bin, dass ich kein 2011er mehr kaufen will, wär das ja auch ok. Schon Geld gespart. 😉

Ich geh mich derweil mal über den Unterschied zwischen Fox Talas und Rock Shox Lyrik informieren …