Testing the Access Carbon 29er Hardtail at Burn 24

The 2010 Burn 24 Hour Challenge is in the books, and it turned out to be a great venue to torture test our prototype Access Carbon 29er hardtail mountain bike.  Yes, we’ve decided to upgrade our big-wheeled mountain bike lineup with a carbon frame.  We haven’t received the final samples of our new Access Carbon 29er yet, but we’ve already been riding, racing and otherwise pushing the prototype frame to its limits before it makes it way into your hands.

In terms of the race, Chris battled some mid-race heat exhaustion, but pulled it together in the end to churn out his fastest lap time on his final lap of the race (on board the Acces Carbon 29er, of course).  Chris will share some of his race experience below, but here’s a short video about testing and riding our prototype Access mountain bike:

A cool part about the race was running into some folks who were out there tearing up the course on some of our current Access 29er mountain bikes.  Below you can see Dan, who just happened to be part of a team camped right in front of our tent, on board his Access XCL 9.9:

And here you can see Luke, a junior rider who built up his bike from an Access frame.  Luke raced on an all-junior team but in the adult coed category, and his average lap times were 1.5 minutes faster on his Access than on the full-suspension mountain bike he raced on last year:

But now let’s hear from Chris, as he shares his thoughts on his first ever solo 24 hour effort:

With David out of commission, it was all me for the Burn 24 Hour Challenge race this year. I was more than a little nervous lining up for the start, but the morning of the race started off very well. It was sunny and HOT. We ate a great breakfast and I tried to relax and warm up a little. Here I am headed to the start:

It was going to be a long race for me. I started out on my Access Carbon 29er and would actually do a good number of laps on this bike. David was ready with bottles as I came through and I turned three good laps at the start. Then things started going downhill (and not in a good way). I started overheating big time mid lap and decided to not do anything about it until I got back. By the time I made it back to the tent, I couldn’t eat or drink as my core temp soared.

David claimed the “best race supporter ever” title as he had crammed a couple of dish towels down into the bottom of our cooler where there was a load of recently thawed water. This made for soaking towels that hovered just above the freezing point. When applied to a severely overheating body, these were sheer bliss. It took about 45 minutes of rotating the towels out, but I was soon able to eat and drink again. Then I was back on the bike.

I rode (slowly) until the sun was about to set, then took a break for dinner. After dinner and a short time for my food to settle, I strapped on my lights and headed out for a couple of night laps.

With the temps dropping, the night laps were nice. On the other hand, my body still wasn’t too happy with me for my earlier negligence regarding the overheating so my laps were slow and painful.

Also, the trails that had finally dried out somehow found some moisture from the mud and spread that moisture all over the many exposed roots on the trail. This made for a couple of rough laps and I soon called it a night.

The next day I got up early, got some breakfast and headed back out for another couple of laps. Feeling good for the first time in the race, I started passing people and had a fun couple of rounds. With about an hour and a half left, I took 20 minutes to re-group then headed out for my fastest lap of the race. I came in at about 11:50AM and decided I was done.

Here I am after finishing up, socializing with some of the other Triangle riders who made it out to the race (the nickname for the part of North Carolina near our headquarters).

And there I am with Tony, Lana and Kasey, our awesome tent neighbors who were racing in the coed duo category (well, Tony and Lana were… Kasey was just hanging out in the tent).

All in all, I had a good time. I only did 12 laps (the same number I did last year when David also turned 12 laps). This was far below my hopes for the race, but the trails were in good shape and the people we met out there were great as always. This is a super-awesome event and a great one to be my first 24-solo attempt. Would I try this again? Probably not, but who knows. The funny thing about events like this is that as time passes the memory of the pain seems to dissipate but the memory of the good parts remain.

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40 Responses to Testing the Access Carbon 29er Hardtail at Burn 24

  1. Matt Wells says:

    Nice work, Chris. Looks like the weather held for some decent conditions. Great to see you out riding, pushing the company forward. As for the Access carbon 9r, I want one!

  2. Todd says:

    Sign me up for one… I love my aluminum version…

  3. Mike Miller says:

    That’s a little different animal than the rides and racing we used to do in Pittsburgh. Good to see you racing on some fat tires my man and very cool to see you punishing prototypes!

  4. Dave says:

    Will the geometry for the Access Carbon 29er be the same as the current aluminum?

  5. Pingback: Triangle Fat Tire Festival + Mountain Bike Demo Day « The Performance Bicycle Blog

  6. jum says:

    Yea !!!!!!!!!!!
    Hopefully 72 head angle !
    And a tapered head tube would make the most flexible possible bike. Cause then guys could change the head angle as needed with a Cane Creek Angleset !
    Angleset really It works ! I have already changed the ha on one of my mountain bikes with it.
    Also, Performance satisfaction guarantee means this bike will rock like all their other stuff.

  7. jum says:

    Uh oh, just looked at the pic, that is a straight zero stack 1.125 old school head tube while virtually every other manufacturer’s carbon hardtail 29er coming out in 2011 will be upgraded to tapered for obvious reasons with the big leverage rates on the fork & front wheel as well as the added flexibility I mentioned above.

    Chris, I sure hope you talked to them about that after riding the beta.

    Sure would like to buy Performance, but that is a serious error in design judgment.

    • Todd H. says:

      I have nothing to do with Performance or this bike, but if you want tapered HT’s it will add a good chunk of $$ to the price (which I’m sure Performance is trying to avoid). Trek owns the patent on it and they’d have to pay them to use it.

  8. jum says:

    Sure hope I am wrong.

  9. Pingback: 2011 Bikes « The Performance Bicycle Blog

  10. Mike Eichvalds says:

    I just bought a Access 9.9 from Performance. i Love the Bike. Climbing,rough terrain,fast stuff, life is better on my 29R, The Carbon sounds great, although it took me 15 years to get this bike,and finally stop riding my old 26″ hardtail “Univega”, although i would love a carbon Bike!, we will have to see how they will be priced!, i could change all of my components over and just buy a frame……….!?, thumbs up to Performance/Access for making great bikes that equal or exceed far more expensive bikes!!
    Mike from Bangor PA

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