The Black & Tan course
It looks like I won't be here next weekend, so I went for a ride around the 'Black & Tan' course today, just to have a good look. It's great! The road is in good nick all the way around, even the dirt section.
Now, I understand a few of you are a bit hesitant about this race because of the dirt. Well … harden up Princess!
Here's the course: - CLICK HERE
It's only 4km of dirt over the 31km course and the dirt road is in really good condition. The only corrugations I could find today were at the Jamieson end of the dirt and it's only a very small section. The rest of it is fine. You might just have to pick your line a bit more carefully than you normally do on the road. (If you ride a mountain bike sometimes, you'll be used to this.)
I hear on the grapevine that some of you may be considering using your mountain bike. That'll be good on the dirt but the other 27km of bitumen will be slow on the mountain bike.
Tyre choice might be important if you're not confident on the dirt. I'm using these tyres - CLICK HERE - but only because I already had them. (I think Shannon still has a pair in stock too.) I figure the little textured bits on the sides might give me a little grip around the corners yet they'll be good on the road. (I have no proof of this, I'm only guessing.) If there was more than 4km of dirt, I'd probably prefer them to be either 25mm or 28mm. But 23mm will be fine for just 4km of dirt.
I have a pair of 28mm tyres with a slight tread if anyone wants to borrow them. I was going to use them but I think they'll be a bit heavy.
With two weeks before the race, call in to see Shannon and hassle him about what tyres he can get in for you.
If you're still not sure, think of Hubert Opperman and all his exploits … nearly all his riding was on dirt roads. Think about the recent Strade Bianchi in Italy and the stage of last year's Giro on the same roads which Cadel Evans won. Think about how smooth and easy that 4km of dirt will be compared to the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix next weekend. (And don't forget the Tour of Flanders tonight!)
Don't forget, next Saturday morning's bunch ride is scheduled to go over the course so everyone gets a look at the Black & Tan before we race on it on Sunday 17 April.
That's all for now … see you at the MAC tomorrow night for the Dirt Crits presentation and Life Cycles.