Longtime Team Giant rider Carl Decker is arguably best known for his all-mountain skills. The Bend, Oregon-resident won the Downieville All-Mountain World Championship last year on Giant’s Anthem X 29er full-suspension bike, and is roundly considered one of the best descenders on the North American cross-country circuit.
But Decker has never shied away from a challenge, and this year he’s taking on what’s arguably the world’s best known long-distance mountain bike race, the Leadville 100.
To tackle the famed out-and-back course, Decker is foregoing his full suspension steed for something a little more uphill-efficient: Giant’s XtC Composite 29er hardtail. Highlights of the new-for-2011 bike include an oversized – and asymmetrical – downtube, which increases stiffness, especially in the bottom-bracket area.
Press-fit bottom bracket cups lower weight, and wide, asymmetrically chainstays bolster power transfer, and provide increased rear tire clearance. A tapered headtube further increases stiffness, while a SRAM XX gruppo and Schwalbe Racing Ralphs mated to DT Swiss’ top-of-the-29er line X-470 wheels keep rolling weight to a minimum.
Add it all up, and Decker should be among the front group that hits the base of the Columbine Mine ascent together. After that, we’ll see if he – and his new bike — have the climbing chops to match his downhill abilities.