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BCBR Bike Check: Carter Nieuwesteeg’s Santa Cruz Blur TR

Sockeye Salmon race bike swims to a stage race podium in the Okanagan

Carter Nieuwesteeg worked his way onto the BC Bike Race podium not through a blistering attack but through tenacious and consistent riding. Under pressure from Geoff Kabush to keep his podium spot, while also chasing Felix Burke and Andrew L’Esperance, Nieuwesteeg put in six big days on the bike to finish third overall.

The Fernie B.C. rider, and Fernie Gravel Grind organizer, raced the six-day BCBR on his new Santa Cruz Blur TR. At 115-mm rear and 120-mm front, the TR version adds a bit more comfort than the balanced 100-mm Blur XC. Perfect for long days racing through the unknown on Penticton’s rocky trails.

Carter Nieuwesteeg’s BCBR Santa Cruz Blur TR

Carter Nieuwesteeg recently returned to Fernie after finishing school at University of Victoria. That makes Santa Cruz’s “Sockeye Salmon” pink colour scheme for the Blur TR perfectly matched to its rider, and more interesting than most XC colour schemes out there today. A rear lockout on the RockShox SID Luxe, controlled by a Twist-Loc remote, helps Nieuwesteeg move uphill faster than a salmon up the Fraser River. Maybe that’s how the Santa Cruz rider avoided the bears on course at BCBR (literally on course, and in the path of one elite woman. Both she and the bear left the encounter startled, but unscathed). A Fox Factory 34 Step Cast fork adds capability on tougher trails without adding much weight and a 125-mm dropper post helps keep the pace high on rocky descents.

Niewesteeg ran a fast combo of Maxxis Rekon Race 2.25″ rear tire and slightly higher volume Rekon Race WT 2.40″ up front. A CushCore XC insert kept the smaller rear tire full of air. Both are mounted on Santa Cruz’ new Reserve 28 carbon fibre wheels. All this is powered by Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain – with a OneUp Components minimalist chainguide, and slowed down by XT two-piston brakes. Controls sit on Santa Cruz 760-mm wide Reserve carbon fibre bars. The Blur TR frame fits two Arundel bottle cages to get through long fast stages without slowing down.

REVIEW: CushCore XC tire inserts add speed and minimal weight