To start the 2019 season I headed to Anneau du Rhin at the beginning of April, with the organizer Passion Vitesse, for a short 3-hour evening session. I would use this outing as a shakedown for the bike after the winter maintenance and upgrades, and ensure that all is ready for my upcoming race in May.
Starting at 5 pm and ending around 8 pm would mean that we would be on track past sunset, which is always a favorite of mine. I get giddy every time I get the opportunity to shine my endurance lights!
One major set back was that I was still recovering from a bad fever, which was still somewhat present as I headed to the track. I was determined to go none-the-less as I didn’t want to show up to my first Endurance race without having ensured the bike was all in order.
Headache, blocked nose, and weak muscles made it exceptionally difficult to concentrate and breathe correctly, and I couldn’t do more than 5 or 6 laps at a time before feeling exhausted. I out-braked myself about 3 times at the tight chicane before I got it right.
Luckily I had good company:
The biggest upgrade to test was the new larger diameter brake rotors, which increased from 310mm to 330mm. The difference in braking power was noticeable and the rear felt a lot looser because of it. Additionally, I had to be smoother when releasing the brakes during turn-in, as the force vs. decel rate is higher now.
By 7pm I was able to hydrate myself properly and clear my blocked nose and it finally felt like I could ride more relaxed. At the end of the evening, I’d somehow managed to improve upon my last outing here and set a 1:36.44, which took me by surprise given my physical condition and the fact that I had about 1 hour on track compared to 2 full days on my last PB.
The bike and I are slowly getting better.
Before the Endurance race I’ll be spending a week in Marocco on an Enduro tour, so expect updates on that experience.