Bike Check – Kinesis Aithein (La Marmotte)

Mountain Mayhem 2015
24th June 2015
La Marmotte – 2015
8th July 2015

A look at Matt’s road bike, ready to tackle La Marmotte – the hardest cyclosportive in the World.

About La Marmotte:

imageOne of the biggest and toughest sportives in the World. 174km and 5200m of climbing. The route has not changed since it started, over 20 years ago… until this year. A major landslide destroyed a tunnel on the route down the Col du Lautaret, forcing a major route change that has effected not only La Marmotte, but the Tour de France and Haute Route among others. It attracts many thousands of riders, this year over 7500 have entered, making it one of the biggest. At the front, it is very much a race and with podiums and prizes you can’t say otherwise (unlike the UK).

This year (2015) the weather is going to be incredibly hot. Not a new thing for La Marmotte, but a concern none the less. There are plenty of water stops along the route, but with huge climbs of over 1000m vertical a good strategy is crucial to avoid carry unnecessary weight up the mountains. Aiming to be empty for the tops and drink on the flatter, lower sections is a risky strategy. Since support is not possible, I will only have a single bottle of energy drink, the remainder will be plain water.

For food/nutrition I will aim to rely 100% on gels. Using mostly TORQ gels, I will carry about 12 gels, aiming to eat one roughly every 30 minutes. If I do end up low on energy then there are plenty of food stations along the way.

My aim? A gold time (sub 7hrs 53min). I am unlikely to come anywhere near to my PB, around 6hrs 15min set in 2012 with better, cooler conditions when I was also quite a bit fitter and lighter!

The bike:

I’ve had my Kinesis Aithein for just over a year and its a bike I absolutely love and unlike every other bike I have had over the last 8 years or so, I picked, specced and bought every part on it since Kinesis are not a team sponsor.

The bike is my “best bike” but since we have had a good spring and summer it has seen very regular use this year. For La Marmotte, only a few changes have been made. The Aithein is a fantastic frame, proving to be fast and comfortable with low, fast geometry. On the downhills it is superb, very confidence inspiring and easy to allow the bike to push on and go fast.

Spec List:

Kinesis Aithein Frame – 53cm
Kinesis Aithein Carbon Fork
American Classic Argent Tubeless wheels
Schwalbe The One 25c tubeless tyres (90-95psi)
Dura Ace 9000 mechanical groupset (11-28 cassette)
Dura Ace 9000 brakes with Swissstop Blue Evo pads
Rotor QXL 53/38 chainrings
USE Summit Carbon handlebars (44cm)
USE Spin Stix titanium skewers
No Name Stem (102g)
No Name Carbon seatpost (115g)
Selle Italia Flite Carbino Saddle
LOOK Keo Blade pedals
Titanium Bottle cages
Lizard Skin DSP Race 1.8mm bar tape

6.9kg (15.2 lbs) – weighed as it is

The main changes verses a standard spec back home is stripping all unnecessary parts to reduce the weight. I usually carry a Lezyne saddle bag with spares/tools for convenience, but with dry, hot weather predicted and no need to carry a gillet as you might for the Galibier at 2600m up, it frees up pocket space for a tube and co2.

The tyre pressure is increased slightly as the roads have a better surface in general and fresh Schwalbe The One tyres and bar tape has been fitted.