Oregon is a state with very diverse terrain. From the coastal rainforests to the high and dry desert; the Oregon XC Mountain Bike series is a collection of races which feature a wide variety of conditions. Steep and rooty climbs, Lava rock gardens, and fast tracks in open plains, the demands of riding the Oregon Off-road series require the rider, and bike to be dialed week in and week out.
Dryve supplied me with just the tool for the job as I undertook ambitions to complete the series, ride competitively, and expand my abilities as a racer. The XC wheelset, with DT 350 hubs, performed in all conditions. Their profile fits a 2.2 tire perfectly, allowing for the side knobs to grab when cornering and the top tread to hum smoothly along the gravel and dirt tracks without resistance.
THE AFTERMATH OF MUDSLINGER XC
The race series began in the rain soaked coastal mountain range, with the aptly named Mudslinger race. Since I ride and train in Central Oregon, a mud tire is obsolete most of the time, heading to this race, I needed something more. Swapping out for a bigger tread was as easy as popping the current tire off, apply the new tire, and with an air compressor seat the new one. It proved to be a seamless transition, and I could rely on this as tire choice proved to be an important factor in many races.
A light wheel spins fast, and accelerates with ease. A strong wheel takes the hits and technical terrain with vigor and balance. Usually someone needs to choose between the two. This was not the case on the Dryve set. The infamous Bear Springs Trap is a race known to Oregonian Racers as the hard mans event. Poised in the cascades near Mt. Hood, this event tests riders and bikes with burly technical rocky track, mud, creek crossings, and some gnarly roots. A stiff, strong set-up is essential. The Dryve wheels didn’t flinch, flex, or falter. Granite bricks, roots, and boulder fields all had their hack but the stiffness of the wheel allowed for confidence.
PICKING MY WAY THROUGH THE ROCKS AT CHAINBREAKER
Another iconic race in the series, the Chainbreaker tests a rider and wheel’s rolling resistance. Situated in the High Desert terrain near Bend, this race is a gravel, dirt road, and smooth singletrack sampler which fast rolling and lactate threshold prove to be the deciding factors. The lightweight carbon hoops keep the rolling speed up, if only my threshold could keep up. With a lightweight rim, Dryve gives you weight savings where you need them, on the outer circumference of your wheel where rotating mass is most important.
A downhill track can tame any XC racer with a spindly set of wheels, low spoke counts and flexy wheels are not suited for g forces and tabletops. In Ashland Oregon, the XC series took on the DH style runs with the Spring Thaw. This race starts with a 45 minute climb, then a seemingly endless DH track. The XC race crowd is often divided between lycra and shaved roadies and baggy and shaggy mountain bikers. I fall somewhere in the middle I guess because I don’t do either exceptionally well but am a good downhill rider. I can tell when wheels flex, when they’re pushed to the limits. The Dryve set had no flex or squirming under the demands of this event.
HAMMERING OUT OF THE GATES AT SISTER'S STAMPEDE
Finishing up the Off-Road series, I ended with the overall points championship. A result from the hard winter intervals, and the diligence to weekly miles. This result was supported by the equipment I ran, notably the Dryve XC29 wheelset. After a 2016 season on Easton EC70’s ending with a cracked rim, I knew this was a major test for Dryve. They performed in all conditions, the harder I pushed them, the more I noticed their advantage.
Next up for my race season? Some easy summer miles, stopping frequently, to take in some scenery. I have no doubts the wheelset will excel in this too!
Andrew won the CAT 1 Men 19-44 Overall in the 2017 Oregon Off-Road Series. We were stoked to have him rocking our XC29 wheelset for all his training and racing this season and got lucky when he sent in this great story and season-long review of his wheels!