sugar bottoms

The Sugar Bottom Scramble was a fun race on an excellent course that ended in disappointment. Traveled to Iowa City Saturday with my parents with plenty of time to pre-ride the course. Very impressive trails there! The first half was very fast singletrack with a few tight twists and the second half was much more technical and up and down. In a lot of ways the mix of terrain reminded me of the Maplelag course I had done well on last year (and which I would be skipping this year in order to ride the Dakota five-0).

It was only $30 entry for the Cat1 race, even with a t-shirt, and the atmosphere was great. I could tell it was going to be an enjoyable race. Got a reasonable start and was able to stay with the lead group of 5 or 6 for the first half of lap 1. When we hit the more technical side the group split up, but I hung in there and did my own thing. Supposedly I was around 5 minutes behind by the end of the lap, but had also opened almost that much of a lead on the portion of the field that was behind me. Near the end of lap 1 I fell and flatted my front tire. I was able to quickly inflate the tire with c02 and continue. I passed my Dad and got a water hand-up (but didn't ask him to get more more c02...). In the middle of lap 2 I felt the tire go flat again and went to re-inflate with the 2nd c02 canister I carried, it did nothing. Had I brought a spend cartridge? Lame.

Spent some time thinking about how much trouble I've had with my tubeless setup this year and decided it was a combination of 2 things that were the likely cause- 1. too wide of a front tire, 2.4 on a 22mm rim 2. not running enough stans in order to try to save weight. My solution would be to buy a new rear tire and move the rear 2.25 racing ralph to the front. The Dakota five-0 was coming up fast and I wanted to give myself every chance to ride well. After some research I went with a 2.1 WTB NanoRaptor.

The Nano turned out to be a total failure- after 25-30 miles of use (and right in the middle of the Dakota five-0) the bead "cracked" or "broke" within the tire, the tire stretched such that the bead wouldn't hold and the whole thing became impossible to run even with a tube.

I'm now back to the 2.4/2.25 Racing Ralph combination, but currently with tubes. I've also taken all the geared bits off the Mamasita. She is now set up with 38x20 gearing and a DMR chain tensioner. I'm looking forward to racing a couple of SS races the next two weekends. Hoping to get out and get used to the SS thing a bit more sometime soon- in fact, hopefully about as soon as I get out of work.

I will do more of a write-up of the Dakota Five-0 a bit later and with more of an emphasis on how much fun it was to hang out with everyone. I'd rather not say too much more about the race- it was frustrating and it's definitely best that I just move on. The road bike has really helped me to stay sane with some of the bad luck (or bad mechanic work) that has plagued me recently. On the road I can feel myself getting stronger and know that strength will eventually transfer to a mountain bike race or two. Without that feeling this last month or so would have been mightily frustrating.


  1. I ran nanoraptors at the Sandwich 50 here in Rochester and the bead blew out on me as well. There was a sound like a gunshot as the tube herniated through the gap, caught the brake, and blew. The tire was shot and my wife and family took me home.

    Sounds like this might be a design flaw?

  2. yes, I spoke to a couple others since then who have had similar issues with the tires. one of them is still running the Nano though (and had just blamed the issues on a single defective tire until I talked to him).