Thanks for all the messages so far! Really varied responses with so many different ways forward. I'll start by looking at some of the points brought up.
A couple of people have commented on the competitive side of things and the way I look at it is like this: There is a high possibility that we will never get another chance to compete in this race again in our lifetime. If you look through the start list almost all of the racers are different from last year with the exeption of a few pros. Taking that into account I see no reason why we shouldn't do everything we can to smash the phys and get the perfect bike set up to allow us the best possible chance of doing well.
Now, we do not have illusions of grandeur here, definitely not! We know that the top boys are still going to be at the top but there seems to be a gap from around 7th to 18th that ends up seeing quite a few amateurs thanking those final standings. I see no reason why we can't fight for those spots, however that becomes hard if the bike you are sporting weighs 5-6 lbs more than another equally fit guy or girl with a similar skillset. This is what I really want to avoid.
I raced this year at Mountain Mayhem and lap for lap managed to take a fair bit of time out of Guy Martin who in my opinion is a great rider, so that sort of thing encourages me to try and be competitive in this one also, or surely I should have just booked the Holiday varient of this race?
My missus races Elite level XC and is pretty handy in the Alpine Enviroment also so I know she will want to do as well as possible. I saw how frustrated she used to get coming up through the ranks when she started out on a battered old Giant Anthem and was fighting it out with girls on 19 lbs super bikes. This time however we both have a chance to create a level playing field.
To the guy who mentioned the other Orange boys will be on their Alpines, that has not been the case in recent years. Joe and Hannah Barnes and even Rowan Sorrell have chosen to go with their Fives for this race over other bikes. Unfortunately I don't have this option at present but if it makes for a better climber then it's one that could be explored.
The guys who seem to be making life easier for themselves are sporting Carbon 150/160mm bikes, not too slack 67 degrees, built up at around 27-28lbs and 2 x 10 to get that granny ring to stop the legs from burning on the silly steep stuff. I would be happy to go down this route but cannot justify two rigs of such similar set up and cost! If I consider this then the Alpine may have to go, regardless of how good it is in most situations.
Bolton Jon, Really sorry you did not get in mate. It must have been mental at 1200 hrs with all those fastest mouse fingers. We literally had the form gone as the clock hit 12 and we got an email saying that it had sold out before it got 1200.01 secs! Hopefully mate you will be all over it next year and that Liteville will be ripping up the trails,
All the best,