A long long time ago (well, about 2 years ago) an XTERRA event was held on a local trail in horribly wet conditions, and the trail received a ton of damage.  SORBA-CSRA, the local MTB advocacy group, lead by our awesome President David K, jumped to action, made a ton of noise (XTERRA now has a policy to prevent this kind of thing from happening again), and organized a big work party to repair the trail.  To help bring volunteers out of the woodwork SORBA asked around for prize donations to be given away.  I was asked if I could pitch in something, and I was happy to do so!  I partnered with Industry Nine, who very graciously donated a set of Torch Classic hubs, and together we gave away a set of custom wheels built around the I9 hubs.  To win the wheels, as well as a few other big prizes, you had to volunteer at two work parties.  The summer of 2013 saw record breaking rainfall in the CSRA and that 2nd work party took forever to finally happen because of all the rain.  You know the southernism “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise?”  Well, the creeks rose, and even the mighty Savannah River flooded.

John P. does more trail work than your average rider.  Probably more than 10 average riders combined actually.
John P. does more trail work than your average rider. Probably more than 10 average riders combined actually.

When it finally went down, Paul F. was the winner of the wheels, and I was stoked that such a deserving person won the wheels.  Paul has been an extremely active member of the local MTBing community for years, he served as the President of SORBA-CSRA for 7 years and was instrumental in helping grow the local scene into what it is today.  Paul was one a handful of folks who helped drive the creation of the FATS trails (our local IMBA Epic, 37 miles of world famous purpose built flowy singletrack), he helped bring the 2010 IMBA World Summit to Augusta, and helped foster great working relationships with all of our local land managers.  He’s also a super nice guy to boot.

John showing The Rock what's up on the Modoc trail.
John showing The Rock what’s up on the Modoc trail.

The problem with Paul, however, is he’s still riding his 26″ wheeled bike, and he wanted to wait on getting the wheels until he got a new bike.  So we waited.  He rode a few bikes at a demo.  We waited some more.  He test rode a few more bikes.  And we kept waiting.  Finally, over a year later, he decided he didn’t want to get rid of his 26″ bike after all, and he transferred the free wheels over to John P., who is another extra nice guy who’s a superstar local volunteer and logs a ton of hours every year doing maintenance on the local trails – 148 hours last year!!  John lops, chainsaws, runs the DR – anything that needs doing, he’ll get it done if he possibly can.

John's catlike reflex's often save him from injury.  I've seen him loop out through a creek crossing and land on his feet.
John’s catlike reflex’s often save him from injury. I’ve seen him loop out through a creek crossing and land on his feet.

So, here we are, coming up on two years since the XTERRA event that started all this, and the wheels are finally ready to be given away!  Unfortunately John is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, so it’ll be a little while longer before these wheels are finally shredding the local trails.  But soon!  So let’s go over the wheels, what was used, and why.

Bike: Giant Trance 29er
Hubs: Industry Nine Torch Classic
Rims: WTB Frequency i25
Spokes: DT Swiss, Competition
Nipples: Alloy
Weight: 1,950g

As mentioned before, I9 graciously donated a set of their awesome Torch Classic hubs.  They’re made in Asheville, NC, are light weight, low drag, and have 120 points of engagement for instant ‘GO’ when you stomp the pedals.  The WTB Frequency i25 rims were used because they’re stout, strong, and built to take some abuse, which John can dish out!  Alloy nipples keep weight down and add a touch of color on the otherwise all black build.

Enjoy the wheels John, and thanks for all you (and the whole SORBA-CSRA organization) do for the local trails!

Built By Southern Wheelworks

Bike Wheels

Industry Nine Torch Classic