Mary McConneloug

    “XX is user friendly for high performance. I can put more energy into pedaling because all the other functions like shifting, braking,and controlling the bike have been streamlined, making me more efficient.”

Hello from a rustic cabana it the foothills of Volcan Nevada near the Termas de Chillan, Chile-Comments Off on Hello from a rustic cabana it the foothills of Volcan Nevada near the Termas de Chillan, Chile-

Posted In Athletes,Mary McConneloug on February 3, 2010

Mike and I are slowly recovering from the Trans Andes Challenge, an epic 6 days of mountain bike competition and camping.  We are currently sorting thru our piles of dirty things, patching up our wounds  and trying to get back into some kind of rhythm that dosent involve riding for the majority of our day as hard as we can as a duo pro race team.

As I look down at my scratched up legs and swollen ankle I know it was a tough week on my body.  My latest part time job is caring for and nursing my big fat swollen right ankle.  I stopped taking the ibuprofin, which got me thru the race, and now I can really feel the true pain of my injury.  I am surprised I was even able to ride at all, let alone race so intensely with this injury.

Mike and I  are currently reflecting on the intense week… a bit dazed and (me) pretty darn tired.  We both pushed our tolerance and boundaries in more areas than just riding our bikes a lot… We logged in over 250 miles and 30,000+ feet of climbing over the 6 days in the rugged terrain near Pucon.  Throughout this time were were residing in a roving tent city which we had to pack and unpack every few days.  I never felt like I could get enough sleep or to eat as dinner hours were late and the 7am breakfast consistently happening before I was ready to rise.  We were fed a basic diet that ensured we were well down to our lean race weight by the end of the 6 day stint.  Except for the chilean wine sponsor there really were not many frills.  We were mostly wondering where the bottled water was, but so far the tap water from the area has been treating us well.

Trying to nourish our bodies after extreme exertion alongside the 100+ other hungry riders, families and staff, was another race in itself.  This past week was the first time since I can remember that I wasn’t in control of my food sources or choices.  I grumbled in line many a times… wondering what I would find to eat, wishing I just brought my little camp stove.

The six days of racing/surviving expanded my mind in what I thought was possible.   I was reminded how the mind controls the body.  that we are much bigger, stronger and more powerful together than on our own.  It was amazing to race with Mike as a team.  He was my rock, my support and as always my best friend.  It was my decision to continue racing after I got injured on the 2nd day… taking it one pedal stroke at a time.  I was unable to walk at first, but could pedal without much pain.  The jarring descents hurt, but I gritted my teeth, knowing the end was coming soon (or not).  When the hills got too steep to ride up, Mike would run behind me and push.  He would carry my bike when we crossed the deep rivers clinging to a cable, he passed me food and drink, gently sweeping me along with his hand on my back, keeping me moving forward… fast.   We won all 6 stages in the mixed category and even managed to win the first and third stages – over all the men’s teams.

We were focused and rode fast, calling out as we read the trail and dodged constant and potentially dangerous obstacles.  the pace was like an XC race but the course much longer and more demanding –  the course was not always marked clearly and there were not protective pads on trees or railings to keep us from riding off cliffs.  it was up to each rider to maintain safety.  Our mantra became: safety first!

We fueled well the whole time with our Clif and Guayaki energy products and our equipment was flawless – thanks to MIke keeping our gear cleaned and tuned daily!  I rode my legendary  ti seven sola (built in 2003) and MIke rode his attention getting 69er Sola.  We both rocked the KENDA small block 8 tires mounted on stans new “podium mmx” wheelsets – which proved to be a flawless lightweight and durable setup for good and fast traction on the rugged volcanic terrain.  I chose to ride the smaller gear combo of SRAMs XX (26×39 front and 11×26 rear) and it was perfect even in the extreme gradients!   We were stoked to not have ANY mechanical problems the entire race.   Although Mike was one of the only to bring spare equipment just in case, and probably the most knowledgeable mechanic on site – he found himself being asked by many for advice, which he kindly lent, despite his fatigue.

The race experience itself brought a level of difficulty that constantly brought us to our limits and beyond.   Although the tent city setting brought it’s own challenges, it was the people who were part of the event that we often relied on for strength and comraderie to keep on track and ultimately finish with such success.  All the adversity only proved to make it something more memorable and incredible in the end.  Huge respect to all who were there, challenging themselves riding in the heat, dust, rain, over some of the most incredible terrain we have had the opportunity to ride.   I am humbled by and grateful for the whole experience.  I don’t think it will be our last.

mary and mike

Mary McConneloug XX TestimonialComments Off on Mary McConneloug XX Testimonial

Posted In Athletes,Mary McConneloug on January 27, 2010

Mary McConneloug:

When you rode XX for the first time, what were your first impressions?
I immediately felt the efficient chain line when I pedaled. The lightening quick shifting and precise braking was very apparent. I loved how adjustable and easy to use everything was!

After having XX on your bike for both training and racing, what advantages do you feel the XX 2×10 gearing offers you?
The 2×10 gives me the performance advantage because I dont have to think about shifting as much. I can go faster with a more streamline set up.

Before XX, how much experience did you have riding 2×9?
I rode a 2×9 set up in the past, but it was a combination of a few companies’ products pieced together. To have a dedicated system created by one (amazing) company makes a huge difference – so smooth! and obviously created and developed to work together.

What chainrings did you typically use – 26/39 or 28/42? How did you decide to use these gears?
I originally tried the 28/42 (as that was only available gearing at first). it was great, but I found I needed a little more gearing on the super steeps… I now prefer the 26/39 cuz I like to spin high rpms.

If you had to choose one single favorite aspect of XX, what would it be?
XX is user friendly for high performance. I can put more energy into pedaling because all the other functions like shifting, braking, and controlling the bike have been streamlined, making me more efficient.