So, here it is. I finished it last night - some minor touches, and am leaving later today for the race this weekend in southern TN called the Cohutta 100.
Last night I changed the stem out to an xc3 SI stem which has an integrated steerer tube so there are no bolts on the stem portion. I needed a shorter stem, and this was supposedly lighter by a lot so figured, what the heck, I'll get it. The claimed weight was quite a bit off, but it's still about 100 grams lighter than the original setup. More importantly, I've the correct reach to the bar!
Installing this stem/steerer combo was not the easiest thing in the world. Removing the original aluminum tube from the HT was quite the challenge. There are two humps on the tube which I can only assume go where the headset bearings are. They like to get stuck in the HT when being removed. I had to hammer it out at first with a wood block over the tube, and then had to stick a pipe inside and hammer it some more. Then, finally, I pulled it out pretty easily with my hand. Installing the new combo stem was simple and straight forward. It just needed a few happy slaps from the hammer to set it in place. The new stem looks nicer, and was well worth the slightly higher price vs the same model stem only shorter. The price difference is about $50.
If you attempt to do the above, take care with the lefty fork. After the tube is removed the fork is free to crash to the floor!
I also changed the tires. After posting a pic of the bike on mtbr.com's forums a few members chimed in on the tire choice, and one had done the same race last year. They said the mountain kings would be squirmy in the gravel and not as quick as some other tire choices on the hard pack single track. So, I ordered up a set of Kenda Small Block 8's on Monday. I upgraded the shipping to overnight since they were heavily discounted online, and got to work Tuesday. The new tires saved an additional 170 grams over the mountain kings. There was a 31 gram difference in weight between the two small blocks. 530 and 561 were the weights. I'm really glad I got the faster shipping. Sealing these tires was not as simple as the Mountain Kings, which sealed up perfectly fine after the first inflation. Just this morning, two days later, have I finally got them totally sealed! It took 4 rounds of stan's dances:
to get these suckers sealed.
The final addition I made were the grips! Thankfully, this is a very nearly mindless task especially with the ODI lock-on type. I chose the Ruffian model since they are pretty thin and aren't squishy. This, imo, ='s better handling!
So, here she is in all her glory. In to the woods and mountains I go!