Pisgah Stage Race: Land of the Waterfalls Loop (Day 3)

Another day, another 6am wakeup call.  It was cold, wet (it had rained during the night) and dark in the morning when I rolled out of bed (near record-setting cold as it turned out, but we didn’t know that yet), but we had a race to get to so we had to get going.  After a gourmet campfire breakfast cooked up by Chris, we pulled on our chilly biking gear (which for me involved many layers but oddly no tights or kneewarmers—just my Performance Elite II bib shorts) and headed over to the start line.

Everyone was giddy to get started, and not really sure what to expect from today’s stage, when the race promoter, Todd Branham, got on the microphone.  First off, he said today’s stage should be easier than yesterday (already, warning bells were going off in our heads—when we factored in the “It’s like Pisgah” factor, we knew we were in for an adventure).  The stage would start with a 7 mile section on the highway, followed by a long gravel road climb and then a “sketchy” descent (again, remember that “It’s like Pisgah”!)  Ah, but wait, there’s more.  Soon after the descent we would encounter a stream crossing that was “waist deep” and about 40 feet across; they don’t call this the “Land of the Waterfalls” for nothing.  Then the kicker: “Get used to this,” he said “as you will then do this seven more times.”  Of course, all of this was going to happen in the first 15 miles of the day’s stage—so the rest of the day would be a slog in cold, wet shoes!

Here’s a map and elevation profile of the day’s stage:

Stage 2 Map

Stage 2 Elevation

There was no time to rethink our sartorial selection (or sanity), as the race was on; albeit with the aforementioned 7 mile police-escorted road section.  With road spray kicking up into our face from the rain-slicked roads, we soon found a small group (including a grateful, and hilariously spinning, singlespeed racer) and pacelined our way to the gravel road climb.  Up we spun to finally reach singletrack on the Vineyard Gap Trail (although my legs were already feeling spongy from the day before).  Then it was down the “sketchy” descent towards the stream crossings; basically we were flying down a gulley with drop-offs and slick, diagonal waterbars, and just hanging on was the order of the day!  We made it down, but then it was time for the real fun to begin:

David crossing stream

Here I am fording crossing #1, from the perspective of an extremely dedicated race volunteer (in hip waders) standing nearly waist-deep in the middle of the stream, directing traffic.  As you can see in this shot of Chris, the water came up to about mid-thigh and it was (technically speaking) really cold!:

Chris crossing stream

As soon as you made it through the crossing, the payoff was a steep, slick, ankle-deep mud bank:

Chris exiting stream

1 down, 7 to go!  This became our rallying cry as we repeated the stream crossings.   Scramble and slide through muddy trail, splash into the icy creek (thankfully not as deep after the first one) and then slog up a muddy bank on the other side; 2 down, 6 to go!  Here’s a video of a particularly tricky crossing across a little rapids section:

That’s me giving a rather premature thumbs-up there in the middle of the crossing; I had no idea what was coming for the rest of the day!  And the other guy crossing the stream wasn’t even in the race; he was (of his own volition) just out for a ride on his singlespeed!  You’ve got to love the folks who come to Pisgah.

The stream crossings finally behind us, we took our soggy and frozen feet and slogged our way up another seemingly endless gravel fire road to the first rest stop of the day.  My DeFeet Wool Blaze Socks were trying their hardest to keep me warm, but there are limits to the wonders of wool!  At the rest stop the ever-friendly volunteers refilled our Camelbaks as we tried (in vain) to warm ourselves by the fire (yes, they had fire pits at the rest stops too).  It was here that we heard the first rumblings of what the weather had in store for us.  But we wrenched our tingling feet from the fireside and pressed on to Laurel Mountain.

The trail started out fine, but then started to tilt skyward.  Chris still had the legs to climb, but I was soon off the bike and pushing/pulling/dragging my bike up the trail.  Then it started to get cold and the clouds rolled in around us.  What started out as sleet soon turned over to, yes, snow!  As we trudged upward, a springy grey-haired guy came bounding down the trail in running shoes and shorts (seriously, the really short kind) and off-handedly said “It’s really snowing at the top.”  Great.  Here I am pushing up what felt like a near vertical wall:

David climbing Laurel Mountain

Once we finally made it to the top of the hike-a-bike section, it was actually quite beautiful with the dark trail arcing away through the freshly snow-covered forest:

Chris on Laurel Mountain

Luckily we both also brought along our packable Performance Cyclone Jackets as we were searching for as many layers as we could find as we rolled over the top of the mountain in the snow.  Of course, it probably would have made more sense had I brought along some leg warmers:

David on Laurel Mountain

We made it through the snow, to be rewarded with the famed Pilot Rock downhill.  Weather conditions improved as we hit the switchbacks down the mountain, but the trail was still epic.   High speed descents were punctuated by sketchy, rocky hairpin turns, all with sharp cliff drop-offs on one side (along with some stunning vistas).  Near the bottom of the descent we started to hear cowbells and screaming, and soon enough we came upon this crazy bunch of locals that had set up camp by a nasty rock strewn stretch of trail:

Pilot Rock rock garden

Chris made it through unscathed, but as soon as he passed by he heard the crowd go “Ooooh!” in unison.  The cause of the exclamation; yours truly taking a sweet headfirst, bike-flipping dive into the rocks.  Relatively unharmed, I collected my bike and got riding again with the exhortations of the crowd ringing in my ears.

At the next aid station Chris loaned me his ridiculously blue leg warmers (that’s what teammates are for!) that he had fortunately sent ahead to this rest stop (another nice perk of the race).  After a loooong fire road stretch, it was back into the woods, on steep singletrack leading to the Avery Creek Trail.  Chris was still climbing away while I was just trying to survive. Another rocky, rooty descent and then it was time to climb yet again.  Up and up on the fire road leading to Black Mountain we climbed; Chris throttled back so I didn’t get separated from him (since if we finished more than 5 minutes apart they would add an hour penalty to our time, plus he’s a good teammate).

We were relieved that at the top of the road we only had to suffer through a short section of “The Miserableness” from the day before ; the hike-a-bike section was merely unpleasant this day.  The descent off Black Mountain couldn’t have come soon enough for me, and I just held on and let the GT Marathon bail me out on the way down.  We finally crossed the finish line, a mere 7 hours and 15 minutes after we started (in case you’re wondering, this day covered 44 miles with 9500 feet of climbing):

David and Chris at the finish of Stage 3

After a quick pit stop to get cleaned up, we came back for the best part of the day, free beer from New Belgium Brewery and a free 30 minutes of massage (oh, pity the plight of the mountain bike stage racer)!  Honestly we needed this after the day’s stage, plus I got the perfect spot on the massage table right in front of the heater.   Here’s Chris looking mellow after his massage:

Chris post-massage

We grabbed a pizza in town and headed back to the campsite to eat by a roaring fire.  We tried in vain to dry out our sopping clothes by hanging them inside the GT tent, but this was pretty much a lost cause since the air was just damp at all times:

Clothes hanging up to dry

Finally we just gave up and tried roasting our wet duds by the fire.  Here’s Chris trying to dry out himself and his workhorse Shimano SH-M086L MTB Shoes with a crackling fire:

Shoes by the fire

With word of a freeze advisory overnight, we packed up our gear for the next day and stumbled into our tents.  3 grueling days down, and 1 more to go.

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Replacing Your Bicycle Chain

Spin DoctorAside from your tires, the most critical and commonly replaced part on your bike is the chain. A worn chain reduces shifting quality and can dramatically shorten the life of your drive train. A worn chain lengthens as the internal bushings in each link wear. The now longer chain puts more pressure on each tooth on your cassette cogs and each tooth on your chainrings, so the teeth wear more quickly. The problem is simple, but so is the solution. If you periodically replace your chain, your expensive drive train parts will last longer and, with a little care, a lot longer. You’ll save money and the gears will shift better – a new Shimano Dura-Ace 10 speed chain retails for $69.99, but a Dura-Ace cassette retails for $264.99 and a new 53 tooth chainring costs nearly as much! Clearly, timely replacement of your chain will save you in the long run.

But, when should you change your chain? If we are keeping it simple, then replace your road chain every 1,500 to 2,000 miles or your mountain chain every 5-6 months. But these are only general guidelines – you are probably not the average rider. For instance, if you meticulously maintain your chain – keep it clean and lightly lubricated – and never ride when the streets are wet, weigh 135 pounds, and always sit and smoothly spin a low gear, your chain will last a lot longer than your 250 pound buddy who grinds a massive gear, rides everyday in a typhoon and doesn’t even know how to spell maintenance.

Clearly the rules do not work for every rider. The good news is that you can easily measure chain wear, and only replace your chain when it is necessary- when it’s worn. The easiest way is to use a chain wear gauge like the Spin Doctor Chain Wear Indicator. To use this tool, put pressure on a pedal so that the top of the chain is drawn taut, then drop the tool in place and read the results.

Spin Doctor Universal Chain Tool & Chain Wear Indicator

Don’t have a chain wear indicator handy? There is another way and all it takes is a 12 inch ruler. All modern chains have rivets every ½” and you are going to measure from one rivet to another one 12” away. Once again draw the top of the chain taut then align the end of the ruler (the zero inch mark) with the center of a rivet. Now note where the ruler’s 12 inch mark aligns.

  • If it is dead center on a rivet, the chain is as good as new.
  • If the rivet is less than a 1/16″ ahead of the 12” mark, then the chain is showing some wear but is still serviceable (this is equal to 1.58mm or .5% wear).
  • If the rivet is 3/32” ahead, start thinking about a replacement. Replacing it now prolongs the usable life of the cassette and chain rings (this is equal to 2.38mm or approximately: .75% or 2.29mm of wear).
  • If the rivet is 1/8″ ahead, replace the chain immediately and you may need to replace the cassette (this is equal to 3.175mm or approximately: 1% or 3.05mm of wear).

If you measure your chain and determine that’s it is time to replace your chain, it’s actually a relatively easy task to take care of on your own. The only tool that you need is a chain tool, like our Spin Doctor Universal Chain Tool, and your brand new chain. But instead of writing out the steps to replace a bicycle chain, we’re going to show you in one of our handy Spin Doctor How-To Videos:

If you need more help with your bicycle repair needs, head to your local Performance Bicycle store and set up a visit with your local Spin Doctor.  Don’t live near one of our stores and need some technical advice? Get in touch with our Spin Doctor Tech Support team by email or phone – they are always ready to help with your technical questions.

Pisgah Stage Race: White Squirrel Loop (Day 2)

David did a wonderful job with that write-up of the prologue but he’s busy flooding your e-mail inbox with e-mails right now so it’s back to me (Christopher).

Day two of the Pisgah Stage Race started early. We woke up at 6:00 in the pitch black so we could be dressed and have eaten by the time the sun came up. The stages all started at 8:00 so we didn’t have much time to dilly-dally. A couple of packets of oatmeal later, we pulled on our new Performance Bicycle Race Kits and pedaled our way to the start line (which was only about a mile from our tents).

David and Christopher at the StartYou’ll also notice my illumiNITE arm warmers which are quite warm but react strangely to cameras.

David on the trail

The whole field rolled out onto the road for about a mile before hitting the day’s first climb: a 7 mile gravel road (past a horse stable) which gained us more than 1500 feet of elevation right away.  By the time we were most of the way up, the field had thinned out with the lead group already long gone.  We would only see two or three riders at a time for the rest of the day.

At the top was the first rest stop which we promptly skipped. The resulting descent was exhilarating and very fast. We tore through tunnels of Rhododendron plants at break-neck speed and soon entered a very difficult section of trail. This trail went on for miles and was carved into the side of a steep slope (only about 6 inches wide in most places). Because of the massive amount of rain that we had experienced, every root was a chance for a crash and every rock was as slick as ice. I went down hard a couple of times over this section and David managed to break his left pedal. It still basically functioned but he had to find the side that worked every time he wanted to clip in. There couldn’t have been a worse place for this to happen as we were on and off of the bike every 2 minutes for over an hour scrambling over rocks and roots.

A river next to the trail.  We didn't have to do any swimming (this day).

Rest stop 2 couldn’t come soon enough. We weren’t quite sure what to expect (other than food) but after another grueling fire-road climb we were desperate for a quick break. As we pulled into the stop, volunteers leaped to our attention holding our bikes, getting us food, even taking our packs off of our backs so they could refill them with water or energy drink. Luxury!

After consuming three complete PB&J’s and having David’s bike looked at (they didn’t have a spare pedal but did get his shifting smoothed out) we headed back out feeling much better and even got to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery (above).

David on top of Black Mountain

After some more tame trail, we started up the backside of Black Mountain. This would be a recurring theme over the next three days as each time we finished by descending Black Mountain. Before we could get there though, we had to make it through the part that we started calling “The Miserableness”. Some course marshalls at the final rest stop told us that we were facing “just two quick peaks, a short hairy descent, then a punchy little climb before a HUGE descent full of rocks, roots, drops . . . well you know, it’s like . . . Pisgah!”

We of course had no idea what that meant. Oh yeah, it’s like Pisgah. It’s like a place we had never ridden before. Terrific. This became a theme for the rest of the weekend. Course marshalls or rest stop volunteers would constantly stop us to tell us what to expect next. They would describe a section and it would turn out to be about 10 times bigger/longer/harder than they had described. As we would reflect on this, we would shout, “it’s like Pisgah!”

Checking out the view

Here I am at the top of “peak one”. With the leaves changing it was truly a beautiful vista. Not so much worth the 45 minute hike-a-bike that it took to summit the two peaks, but pretty nonetheless. We couldn’t believe that it was only the first peak and wouldn’t be convinced until the trail finally turned downhill.  The grueling climb was completely unrideable and we spend much of this hour pushing and pulling our bikes up the trail.  With this picture taken, we tore down Black Mountain (2-3 miles of descending with stair-step drops, gullies and ripping high speed sections) to the finish line exhausted but happy. All in all, we got in about 40 miles that day and it took us about 6 hours and 8 minutes (a mere 2 1/2 hours after the winner of the stage, Jeremiah Bishop).

Davidson River Campsite

Back at camp we were very happy to see everything as we had left it. We showered and ran out for some Mexican food before starting a fire to settle in for the evening.

Cleaning the GT Marathon Carbon Pro

We cleaned and lubed our drivetrains using the camp spigot before hanging our bikes to dry (not the recommended method, but you work with what you have).

The Bike of Choice - GT Marathon Carbon Pro

Soon it started to rain but not very hard and the temperature also started to drop. Not to be discouraged, we set up the GT tent over the picnic table and roasted some marshmallows.

IMG_2846

I fell asleep about 30 seconds after hitting the air mattress at about 8:00 and slept like a log while a gentle rain pattered against the rain fly of my huge tent.

Employee Interview – Tami Frankie

1011081355

  1. Tell us your name: Tamara (Tami) Frankie
  2. What is your position here at Performance and can you briefly sum up your job? HR Assistant – Responsible for employee lists, supplies, employment verifications, job postings and popping the best popcorn ever.
  3. How long have you been working here? 2 years Read more of this post

Pisgah Stage Race: Prologue (Day 1)

Chris is busy distributing bikes today, so I (David) will be your guide to day 1 of our Pisgah adventure.  Our journey started before dawn on Thursday morning, as we wanted to get out to Brevard in plenty of time to set up camp before the kickoff event for the race, the “Tornado Time Trial” (named in honor of the Brevard College mascot, on whose campus we would be racing).

In the morning rain, Chris and I loaded up the car with our supplies.  Now since this was going to be a 4 day race, we really had no clue how much stuff we needed to bring along; you don’t want a broken shoe to ruin the rest of the event.  As you can see below, we erred on the side of “if it fits in the car, let’s bring it!”   This was Chris’ clothing supply for the race, and I brought an equal amount of my own, not to mention spare tubes, shoes, helmet… even spare derailleur hangers!

Pisgah Pre Race Clothing Lay Out

Add to that our food and camping supplies and we had one packed little car.   Here’s Chris putting the finishing touches on the packing by loading up our race bikes.

Loading the Car

We each brought a spare bike just in case (like I said, you can’t be too prepared), but our main race rigs were both 2009 GT Marathon Carbon Pro Mountain Bikes, basically in stock configuration.  The only difference on my bike was the addition of Kenda Nevegal Stick-E 2.1 tires, in deference to what I’d heard about the rugged nature of the Pisgah trails.

4 ½ hours of rainy driving later and we arrived in lovely Brevard, NC.  After a quick stop at our campsite to set up our tents and get changed, we shuttled over to the Brevard College campus to check out the prologue course.

We got to the course early so we could set up the GT Dirt Coalition tent right on the finish line and show off our GT rigs.  A lot of folks stopped by to ogle and ask about our carbon wonder bikes; you’ve got to admit, they do look good under the sweet GT tent:

Tent Setup Day 1

And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as we got everything set up, the skies cleared and we had ourselves a beautiful evening for racing.  Here’s a shot of the surrounding vista (once the clouds cleared):

Clear Skies Day 1

Now of course since it had been raining non-stop all day, this still meant that the course was a swampy mess!  Since we had time, Chris and I took a reconnaissance loop of the course by foot; it was only about a mile long and was sort of a mash-up between a cyclocross course and singletrack.  Here’s a picture of Chris trying in vain to scramble up what turned out to be a muddy descent midway through the course:

Climbing uphill

After that, the course snaked into a small wooded hillside with a brand new singletrack switchback climb.  Since it was brand new, the singletrack section was super-soft and the off-camber roots were super-slick, as we soon discovered on a (possibly ill-advised) warm-up lap.

But hey, we came here to race!  So we suited up and headed out with the first race group of the afternoon (the different categories were broken up into different waves on this first day since the course was so short).   The pace was fast from the gun and folks were slipping and sliding their way through the woods; I quickly lost contact with the leaders, but you could always tell where they were by the lead moto pacing the pack on his very cool fat-tire motorcycle:

motorcycle pacing

Due to the sloppy conditions, the race was shortened down to 4 quick laps; I guess it was a bit of foreshadowing when even the 1 mile prologue course was wet and brutal!  But we made it through in one piece and without any major time gap to the leaders, plus we looked good in our Performance Velo Club and GT Dirt Coalition kits, respectively (that’s me on the left and Chris on the right):

posing by the tent

Plus it got our bikes used to being nice and disgusting, a state they would maintain for the remainder of the race:

muddy bike

Seriously, there was no hope keeping our rides clean in these conditions; I was continually amazed (and slightly suspicious) when people showed up the for the next morning’s stage with spotless bikes.  But I’m getting ahead of myself, so we’ll save that for a later post.

Anyway, after getting mildly cleaned up (all we could get to was the bathroom to Brevard College’s baseball stadium), we settled in to watch the rest of the racing.  Mmm, barbecue:

eating bbq and watching racing

After a few more heats, it was finally time for the pros to toe the line.  The biggest name (and fastest rider) was definitely Jeremiah Bishop, but also in the field were Sam Koerber, Christian Tanguy, Harlan Price and Atlanta Olympic champ Susan Haywood on the women’s side.  Needless to say, these guys were fast!  They were churning out lap times in nearly half the time it took our field; but they are paid to ride bikes after all!  Here they are hammering off the start line:

pros starting

And in case you are wondering about those sweet looking wheels hanging in the foreground, those are from the boys out at Industry Nine, based near Brevard.  I was a fan of this model; nothing says mountain biking like ultralight hubs laced to a tubeless carbon rim (hey, why not):

i9 wheel

Back the race, here’s a clip from the first corner, with Jeremiah Bishop (in a recurring theme for, I don’t know, every day for the next 3 days) leading out the field:

Once they got in the woods you could really see the skill level of these guys; they just seemed to power through sections that left me bogged down and grabbing for more gears. It was like they were ghosts mysteriously flying through the trees; alright, maybe not (I saw plenty of guys slipping through the mud, even in the pro race), but I wanted to come up with a cheesy tag line for this cool photo I took during the race:

Ghost MTB Rider

Bishop kept killing it through the race, making it look way too easy in the singletrack:

As he lapped some slower competitors, he cruised in for the blowout victory.  Arm’s up, Jeremiah:

On a side note, also during the pro race, I saw one of the famous white squirrels of Brevard! No, seriously, they are renowned for these snowy rodents. You can read all about them here.  Chris still doesn’t believe me since I have no photographic evidence, but I can’t be too crazy if they have a whole festival dedicated to the cute critters.  I’m not sure what a “squirrel box derby” is, but I’m guessing that a: it’s awesome and b: you probably don’t want to tell the ASPCA about it.

So there you have it, our first day of the Pisgah Stage Race was done, and literally all of Pisgah’s epic backcountry awaited us.  The only real bummer of the weekend occurred when we got back to our free campsite that night and found out that some obviously cold folks had decided to help themselves to our sleeping bags and cooking stove.  It wasn’t exactly how we wanted to start our first night, but we packed up (what was left) of our campsite and headed down to the Davidson River Campground (where we stayed for the rest of the race).  It was definitely the right move, as all of the folks at the campground (employees and campers alike) were super-friendly and helpful.  A special thanks goes out to Nancy, a front desk employee, who loaned me a sleeping bag and mattress for the duration of the race; if you are in town to check out the trails, I definitely recommend giving the Davidson River Campground a try.

After a quick reset of the campsite, we packed it in for the night, with dreams of sweet singletrack dancing in our heads.

Pisgah Stage Race Report Preview

Last week David Swan and I (Christopher Danz) were fortunate enough to be able to experience the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race representing Performance Bicycle and the GT Dirt Coalition.  While we are recuperating back here at corporate HQ, we will be writing about our experiences at this epic event and posting our pictures and stories here on the Performance Bicycle Blog.

According to their website, “The Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race is a 4 day epic journey in the backcountry of Western North Carolina,” and it definitely lived up to the billing.  The race drew top professional riders like Jeremiah Bishop and Susan Haywood.  David and I signed up as a way to push ourselves and to experience the latest trend in mountain bike racing: stage racing.

The format of this race would be just like many other stage races (i.e. the Tour De France, etc) where each day would be a different race and the overall competition would be based on the sum of your finish times.  In this case the setting was Pisgah National Forest here in North Carolina, home of legendary mountain biking.  This was the inaugural year for this race and it is the only mountain bike stage race on the east coast (so far).

The first stage was a short prologue at nearby Brevard College but each of the remaining three stages started and finished at the same spot at the gates of Pisgah National Forest.  The long stages ranged from about 39-48 miles and when all was said and done we climbed nearly 38,000 feet over the four days and rode a huge chunk of the legendary trails in Pisgah.

Here’s a little sneak preview of our ride.  This photo was taken as we crested Laurel Mountain in the rare October snow about half way through the third stage of the race.  So stay tuned to the Performance Bicycle Blog over the next couple of days as we recap our journey of survival.  Enjoy!

Christopher and David Cresting Laurel Mountain

Christopher and David Cresting Laurel Mountain

Patrick Evans – Employee Profile

Patrick Evans

  1. Tell us your name: Patrick Evans
  2. What is your position here at Performance and can you briefly sum up your job? Staff Accountant – I do what Ken and Mary tell me. Just kidding, (not really) I handle various aspects of corporate accounting including travel expenses, PBS direct receivables, credit cards, inventory adjustments, etc.
  3. How long have you been working here?
    3 yrs Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Replacing Mountain Bike Grips

At some point you are going to have fix those slipping, floating, sliding grips on your mountain bike (or hybrid or cruiser or comfort bike). Here are a few tips:

Use Alcohol- And no it’s not just for post-ride relaxing and story telling.
Equipment needed: Thin screw driver, flexible bottle of rubbing alcohol & super hold hair spray

Removing Grips
To remove your old grips, slip the screw driver under the inside edge of the grip. If you plan to use the grips again, do not pry up the grips- they’ll stretch and never be tight again. In the small gap opened by the screw driver, spray a stream of rubbing alcohol. You can make a handy sprayer by piercing the cap of the flexible plastic alcohol bottle. Now work the grip around. Still stuck? Try the screw driver and alcohol on the other side. The grips should slip right off. If not, more alcohol and no we are talking about Fat Tire Ale. Read more of this post

Krishna Bahl – Employee Profile

Krishna Bahl

  1. Tell us your name: Krishna Bahl
  2. What is your position here at Performance and can you briefly sum up your job? Merchandise Analyst and Distribution Manager. I spend most of my time running reports and analyzing data concerning sales and inventory levels. I am the spreadsheet queen. I also have six and a half very hard-working, talented people who report to me, who are in charge of making sure all of our stores have what they need to sell.
  3. How long have you been working here?
    My five year anniversary was in July. Read more of this post

Spin Doctor Tech Tip – Sizing and Cutting a Carbon Steerer Tube Fork

Jazzed about your new all carbon fork? Can’t wait to install it? You’re really gonna like it, but slow down and read this first.

Here are 13 lucky DOs and DON’Ts to help you do it right:

  1. Do carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions
  2. Do NOT use more than 25mm of spacers between the stem and the top of the headset unless the manufacturer says otherwise.
  3. Do size the steerer so that it extends above the stem. This will lessen the possibility of cracking and splintering the steerer end when tightening the stem. Use spacer(s) to gain the necessary 3mm needed for preload adjustment. Read more of this post
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