On the 29th of December, Andrew Hall and I took a bit of a tour of some Canberra MTB locations. Mount Ainslie, Bruce Ridge, Black Mountain, Arboretum, Mount Stromlo were some spots that we checked out. We also had a specific look at the Stromlo World Cup section including the infamous 'Hammerhead' drop in.
I was rolling the Cannondale Flash Ultimate 29er in its 3rd ever ride. I am slowly dialling this in to perfection with my usual tweaks in order to get it to the most perfect set up for long rides. Andrew was generous enough to offer his time filming a couple of line choices up on Hammerhead. These are the A and the B lines.
The A line actually goes over the hammerhead drop. The B line skirts around the drop. The two videos demonstrate the subtle differences in the line choice and also importantly the time difference between the 2 lines.
Interestingly enough there is only 5 seconds difference between the 2 unique lines. This may not seem like a lot when taken in isolation, however, when you do 5-6 laps of this section in a standard XCO race, then this quickly adds up to at least 30 seconds. Again, this may not seem like much, but can be the difference between numerous placings at the end of the race.
The 29er is fun to ride over the extremely rocky terrain in this section. You get a lot of confidence that the extra stability of the 29er wheels offer. It can be a little bit of a handful in some of the tight switchbacks before the hammerhead decents, but this is something that can be checked with a stopwatch and back to back runs between a 26er and a 29er. Soon to come!
Stromlo, Hammerhead 'A' line
Stromlo, Hammerhead 'B' line