Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Getting ready for D2D

Posted by Matt | September 29, 2010 | 9 comments so far

This past week has seen our riding year begin to coalesce around the annual D2D race. Miles have been racked up, diets have been followed and in the case of Dandini, ribs will hopefully have healed.

It says a lot about us that when we decide to race we choose the event that’s last in the season – nothing to race for – and has the flattest course on the circuit. Even so, don’t think we’re not taking things seriously.

My preparation has been mixed in the run in to the race. Plenty of early miles this year have settled me into a decent base fitness, but recent weeks have seen upheaval at home (my wife has returned to University, both kids now at school) and a huge workload professionally. All this has conspired to limit my riding. On top of that, I’ve had a bit of a feverish virus this past week which I think is now behind me.

But event preparation continues. My biggest concern has been my bike itself. Not so much which tyres to run or indeed which bike to take. There’s never been much doubt I’d take my Five since it is a surprisingly capable machine at covering the ground fast, so long as you don’t want the ultra lightweight of a race rig. What it does provide is a trustworthy companion when the trail turns to singletrack and that counts for a lot in my view. I do want to enjoy the race after all.

With that in mind, I’ve just crossed the final line (in my view) to being a proper home mechanic, by stripping my Hope Pro2 rear hub and replacing the hub and freehub bearings. After 3000 miles I just couldn’t take the increasingly noisy freewheel clatter and relentless creaks any longer.

The process wasn’t without trouble but 3000 miles of neglect (not one bit of fettling in that time) meant I only had myself to blame. Various efforts at getting off the freehub culminated in some sharp raps with the hammer and a screwdriver in DaveC’s garage, which ripped out the freehub, axle and the driveside hub bearing in one go. Seriously, don’t try that at home without careful consideration as you can truly knacker the soft alloy.

It turned out the hub bearings were perfect, but the freehub was completely devoid of grease – hence the freewheel clatter – and the bearings were badly worn. Having knocked out all the bearings it was time to clean everything in sight before replacing with new bearings. The part numbers are available on Hope’s website so it’s pretty simple to order cheap ones off eBay.

The whole process was accompanied by sensible application of grease and made considerably easier by Colin’s set of Hope drifters which pushed in the bearings very easily. I also found a couple of broken pawl springs so replaced those too.

Now it’s reassembled the hub is smoother than it probably was when new and the freewheel is now noticeably quiter and more thrummy. I can’t say for sure if the creaking is cured as it’s been pouring with rain all evening but should be able to tell very quickly if it’s worked. Previously the whole cassette move as the freehub rocked on it’s worn bearings.

If you run a Hope hub you really should look at servicing it. I take back what I’ve been saying about Hope hub noise, although that’s never going to go away completely, and have added to that a new-found respect for Hope’s technical products. On this showing (and bearing in mind spares are widely available for the whole Pro2 hub) I’d expect them to last for many, many more miles.

So D2D, bring it on (all 11.4 miles of it this year apparently). It might be damp but I can deal with that so long as I can just put in some mechanically smooth Zen miles in my own zone, enjoying the cat-and-mouse experience of reeling in more tired and less skilled riders.

We won’t be challenging for any wins, but a bit of fitness, a bit of singletrack competence and a lot of mental stubbornness will hopefully see all 21 of us that are attending take something from the event. Even if it’s just Trench Foot!


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 9 comments on ‘Getting ready for D2D’

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  1. paul901 says:

    I’ve probably had that same feverish virus Matt for about a week now, my boss and his family likewise. When I rode on the road last Tuesday I was noticeably down on energy and I did not ride again until my 35 mile Newlands Corner marathon on Saturday. Same again, exhausted Sunday and Monday then rode on the road Tuesday (DC spotted us at Effingham Common Junction), I was in bed at 7pm last night for an 11 hour sleep and still feel exhausted now.

    Hoping to have recovered by Saturday of course but I’m still undecided about my usual Thurs night off-road ride for the time being.

  2. StevenD says:

    @Matt and all the D2D moles, the very best of luck. I hope everything works out and you all have a great experience. At it is your second D2D I think that will make a big difference.

    On the weather; well it is one of those weeks, plenty of rain yesterday and tomorrow but beautiful and sunny today and Saturday (I am now definitely going over to Swinley). Though heavy rain is forecast again on Sunday, I think you should avoid it and stay dry because it is coming from the south, and you are in Thetford.

    And then when you return.. a Moles Hope Hubs fettling session ?

    All the best.

  3. TurnerGuy says:

    Echo the sentiments – good luck to all the moles, including their ‘pit bitch’!

  4. JohnA says:

    Reading your problems with the freehub on your Hope Pro2, I just have to let you know about a technique from removing stuck ones I saw on YouTube. It’s genius.

    If 2p coins don’t fit use 10p coins. Watch the video and you will understand.

  5. Colin says:

    Funny, really – I’m really looking forward to the whole experience, rain or shine and putting in a strong ride for my team buddies.

    However, I’m also really looking forward to not having it on the horizon, not talking about it, not trying to train for it and just getting back to going out for a ride to enjoy myself.

    I’ve neglected Pitch, Swinley etc this year and have missed the short but action-packed riding they give.

    I AM really looking forward to D2D……….believe me!

  6. Dandy says:

    I can report that my ribs survived last night’s rain-lashed reintroduction to offiroad riding quite well. I even managed a leap across the road on our final descent down Alsation. See you on Saturdayn bring it on!

  7. Matt says:

    That’s an excellent tip JohnA! I hadn’t thought about that but will definitely use it as I have an even more knackered Hope XC hub to strip in the near future.

    It’s been untouched for around six years so is a testament to Hope. I just ‘hope’ it hasn’t suffered any lasting damage is it’s well overdue a fix!

  8. Jez says:

    I don’t mind if it’s a bit damp but if it’s monsoon conditions it might mean my brand new ‘race’ tyres are redundant and I’ll have resort to my current tractor set up instead. 🙁

    Looking forward to the start line buzz though!

  9. kc says:

    Echo the good luck sentiments. I really do wish you all a great time.

    OMG! What am I saying? I am there too and as a D2D MTB racing virgin I am wondering what the hell I am doing!

    Note to self; must focus on work as the internal audit dept descend in 90 minutes.

    Seriously, looking forward to it, even if it is wet and wild.

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