To cut a long story a little shorter I managed to procure a Trek Supercaliber 9.8 a few days before I left for Portugal thanks to Trek UK and Barna managed to build it the day before; my first test ride was up and down the shop twice and then it went straight in to the bike box. I set it up based on the Top Fuel position and switched over the cranks to my 165mm's with the Rotor 32T Q-Ring, fitted the new San Marco Allroads saddle with extra Gooch protection and changed the tyres.
The Supercaliber 9.8 (From £5,300.00) is assembled with SRAM's reliable, mechanical 1 x 12 GX Eagle groupset, carbon Bontrager bars and seatpost and the new carbon Bontrager Elite Kovee 30 wheels, for some reason the bike is specced with Shimano XT brakes and not SRAM, does it matter? Not really, they worked very well, that is the main thing when you are going down a hill. The Supercaliber weighs in at 10.46kg.
During the long winter evenings i did some research on setting up mountain bikes for marathon events and stage races, nothing much out there was of any use so I contacted Stoney's riding buddy Hugo in Marbella for some tips.
Hugo runs Marbella Cycle Centre that rents lots of road and MTB bikes and he rides regularly in the Spanish and Portuguese trails here's what he said:
"I’ve done several multi stage races and the ABC I’ve done all the series and I can assure you that you’ll love it.
Tuff race specially the 2nd
day in terms of altitude and distance.
I’m not very friendly with Schwalbe tires due to bad experiences in the past, since I drive Maxxis I reduced punctures and cuts to almost nothing. I’m going to use Maxxis Ikon 2.25 with exo protection and Pepi’s tire inserts, I’m 190cm and 82 kg, 1.8 bar back 1.6 bar front. I also don’t carry any tubes with me or tire levers, out of my experience if I slash a tire that badly that the sealant doesn’t work… then I use the Sahmurai tubeless kit and C02 gun, if that doesn’t help then a tube wouldn’t have helped either because of the size of the slash. The tire inserts help a lot in these things to keep the tire pressure low and reduce the risk of punctures or cuts. I also never carry a multitool with me, useless weight, be well prepared and shift carefully is my motto, 90% of the tools on those things are useless in the middle of the mountains anyway, why on earth would I need a Philips screw driver or a 6mm allen key, maybe a chain tool ill give you that… but when didi you ever break a chain on a 1X12 system??? Almost impossible. SO summing up… 25gr CO2 with the gun on it and samurai inside the bar ends all I have with me… since years.
Supercaliber… amazing bike, definitely right choice. Make sure the suspension set up is right there’s a lot of standing climbing so the lock out needs to be working well.
As Andy probably told you I’m not a back pack kind of guy in races like this when there is every 25-30km a water/feeding zone, I prefer to travel light and save energy by saving weight. I will carry about 6 gels and 2 bars the first day and a 750ml bottle which I’ll fill up in every station if needed. Second day 4 gels one bar and same bottle. NO CAMELBAK.
Lights for the prologue are not mandatory but bring a set of littles ones just in case they make a point of you having them, I never used any in the previous races I did, clear glasses and the street lights did the trick."
He's also known as 'Hardcore Hugo!'