First, it is official that I will be riding for the Freewheel Elite Team this year with Trek and Bontragers as co-sponsors. I am excited to be a part of this team and have the support from Trek, as it is a combination that will provide me with everything I need to pedal hard.
On to some racing:
Remember the old Murphy Hanrehan course? Yeah, the one consisting of world class XC ski trials that only go up and down...almost never flat. Mr Hinkens and I took turns beating on each other Sunday at that course because the singletrack was still to icy. Jack and I agreed that it was the hardest we have gone since last fall, and he ended up besting me by 15 seconds or so I think. With a wipe out on a slippery rut and some time lost on the hills, I was down 30+ s after the first lap but pulled it back some in the last lap. While I think he had me either way, it was an interesting battle of different tire set ups with almost all else equal and both of us on beautiful 9Zero7s.
Jack's setup - Nate rear, Larry front, ~15 PSI min
My setup- Husker front and rear ~8-9 PSI.
The huskers roll better on really hard pack, which the trails were not Sunday at least on the first lap. The Huskers were much better on the second lap after the trail had been packed.
On the staircase steep climbs I was losing 5-10 seconds slipping the rear tire. Jack said he did not slip at all and climbed the hills like he had claws on his tires (technically he did w/ the Nate=).
Higher PSI, to a point, is advantageous as well for going fast because the tire casings don't comply/flex well in the cold, and the tire sidewall obviously flexes a lot less at higher PSI.
There will be more to come as we actually get to ride on snow in the coming weeks, but my initial takeaway is that unless it is very hard pack (nearly icy), the Nate will be a superior snow tire because you can run it at higher PSI and still have more grip.