Posted by: Brendan | May 19, 2009

The Blue Dot Junkie- Bruce’s Tour Divide Song

Blue Dot Junkie-

– noun 1. A person with extreme enthusiasm for self-supported mountain bike race updates. Severe cases may present as addiction; addicts experience an inability or unwillingness to work, file TPS reports and the like.

– Origin The 2008 Tour Divide, the inaugural year of SPOT -tracked Divide racing. Family, friends, and fans were able to watch in real-time from afar, via “blue dots” advancing on the Google Earth assisted leaderboard.

Last year, I was a Blue Dot Junkie as we watched Mary pilot her Song 29, Frieda, to Antelope Wells, NM. Bruce was too.

This year, Bruce decided to give it a go, and tasked us to build his ’09 Tour Divide bike. It’s an honor I don’t take lightly- the bike becomes a vital piece of equipment, one the racer trusts to carry him or her through the backcountry. It has to fit right, handle well even when loaded, and be reliable. It’s gotta be right.



Bruce’s bike has a few updates that Mary’s Frieda didn’t have, such as the new CNC yoke, and a slightly different tubeset, but the build and component spec follow the same general guideline: Keep it simple. Pick reliable, easy-to-service parts, keep an eye trained on weight savings and the other eye on durability. Balance.

We fit Bruce up with a multipurpose, do-everything geometry. His bike has a 70.5 degree head angle based on a Reba 29, a lowish bottom bracket height and slighly longer chainstays (long for a Siren- just over 17.5″)  Other features include a third water bottle mount and full length cable routing. It also has drain holes throughout to quickly shed moisture- and like all Sirens, the rear brake line is routed to the interior of the seatstay to protect it in a crash.



Component Spec: We picked out reliable, solid components- and gave the nod to common, easily serviced parts rather than specialty parts wherever possible.

The Drivetrain uses SRAM X9 shifters & rear derailleur (solid, seem to go a while without adjustment) a SRAM cassette & chain, with a Shimano XT crankset & front derailleur. All cables are routed full-length to stay sealed from the elements. We put blue Loctite on his chainring bolts…

We used Avid’s new Elixir brakes, which feature tool-free reach adjustment (the pads WILL wear on the route) and a very trick new piston design that promises improved reliability.

The suspension is handled by the Cane Creek AD-5 in the back (very light, easily serviced with no tools) and the Rock Shox Reba 29 up front (proven, seems every mechanic knows how to work on them). The Song’s Flex Plate Assembly uses M6x18 and M6x20 stainless steel bolts- common hardware throughout most bikes. (The Song can lose any one bolt from this assembly and still function)



Wheelset- NoTubes built a custom wheelset, featuring American Classic hubs and Arch 29 rims- very light & Divide proven. I’m still riding Mary’s 355 wheelset from last year, a testament to good wheelbuilding.

Tires- WTB Nanoraptors. A constant centerline makes these a good pick for hardpack and roads.

Cockpit- Syntace. Lightweight with proven durability. Ergon grips.

Aero equipment- Siren Fred Bar with a Syntace SLS aero bar. (the lightest aero bar made)  This year’s Fred Bars are narrower at 7″ and use 31.8mm tube. Bruce can flip the stem(s) and adjust spacers around to dial his cockpit in.


Pedals- Shimano. They “don’t” break.

Headset- Cane Creek 110. Smoothest headset made, smart seal system keeps the elements out.

Computer- Cateye Strada. Simple to use with route splits. Handy when you’re tracking mileage from the top of an Adventure Cycling map while simultaneously tracking mileage from a given waypoint.

Frame bags- Custom bags from Carousel Design Works. Bruce’s frame bag will have a cutout for the seat tube water bottle placement.

Bruce will be one of two Song 29’s on the route this year, the other belonging to Cannon Shockley.

Follow their SPOT tracks on the Tour Divide Leaderboard and listen to audio call-ins on Mtbcast. Extra special thanks to Joe Polk, who donates his time every year to handle the Divide Racing podcasts.

We’re almost there…



  1. Mmmm…. hmmm…. Nicely done and Good luck to Bruce! Can’t wait to watch.

  2. Now THAT looks like a purpose built machine!

  3. The cool thing about it is that you can just pull the aero bars off and slap a knobbier set of tires on, and voila! – singletrack machine.

  4. и всё эе: восхитительно!

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