For America’s Chloe Woodruff, everything clicked into place on Friday the 25th of May at the second round of the UCI World Cup at Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic. During the Short Track XCC race, Woodruff made a powerful move during the 6th lap that would see her push ahead of her rivals, and managing to hold them off until the ninth and final lap.
This was a big moment for a number of reasons. For a start, it was Woodruff’s first ever World Cup XCC victory, and surely a promising sign of things to come for the 2019 World Cup season. Woodruff then backed up her XCC win with a top-20 finish in Sunday’s XCO race.
Live Valve Victory #1
Additionally, it was the first ever victory for Fox Live Valve – a new electronically controlled suspension system that’s designed to automatically flip between open and firm settings in the space of just 3 milliseconds. Live Valve uses various sensors on the bike to determine when the fork and shock need to be open or closed, with the goal being improved efficiency for the rider. Live Valve is still a new technology and isn’t particularly common amongst World Cup XC racers, though Woodruff’s victory may see that change.
Finally, it was the first big race (and victory) for the new Pivot Mach 4 SL – a bike that Woodruff was heavily involved with during the development process, and was released barely days ago.
Standing at just 1.58m (5ft 2in) tall, Woodruff is racing on an XS size, which actually has more standover clearance than her previous 27.5in dually, while still having room for a water bottle inside the mainframe.
Here we chat with Woodruff about her victory, and go into detail about the setup of her new race bike.
ST: This is your first World Cup XCC victory – you must be ecstatic right?
Yes, that’s correct. This win took a lot of things coming together, and some luck, to pull off and I’m just beyond excited about it. And I’d say the timing worked out well with the Mach 4 SL launch!
ST: That was a healthy bloody margin you put into the field! How did you feel during the race?
I felt confident and fully committed. I was ready to make that move, but also didn’t quite plan on attacking so early. But after I lost some positioning the lap prior, I realised I had to go if I saw an opening. I’m not afraid to go deep in short track efforts, and that’s what it took.
ST: And well done on the top-20 finish for the XCO race too!
I wanted more but that’s all I could do yesterday. It took me a couple laps to find my groove, and I was just a little too excited at the start. But I had a good time racing on the new bike.
ST: You were looking pretty comfortable on your new Mach 4 SL. How long have you been riding this bike for? Is this the first race for you on the new bike?
I had some time on a prototype Mach 4 SL this winter and had one all spring for (secret) training. But this was my first race on the bike. It’s an amazing bike and it doesn’t take long to get comfortable on it.
ST: How do you find it compares to your previous Mach 4 Carbon and the 27.5in wheels?
It rolls fast, and I’m sure happy I had it to race this weekend. My biggest hesitation with moving to 29in wheels had to do with the fit, as I’m 5’2″ (1.58m). But Pivot nailed the geometry and the bike handles incredibly well.
ST: You’re one of the few World Cup riders using the Fox Live Valve system. Why have you decided to race with it?
It’s the future of suspension, and Fox and Pivot are leading the way. The gains in efficiency are undeniable. Like dropper posts, this is a technology that helps riders ride better, at all levels. And the only remote that should be on a handlebar is a dropper remote.
ST: How do you have your Live Valve setup for racing?
No differently than for riding. There are five settings built into the Live Valve system, and you pick a setting for the course. I raced short track in Setting 5, and cross-country in Setting 1. Of course, there’s a lot you can do to fine-tune the system and we’ll work on that with Fox through the season. But it works well as is.
ST: The Live Valve system adds a couple hundred grams of weight – is the performance worth the tradeoff?
Yes it is, and I weigh 112 lbs (51kg).
ST: Will you continue racing the Mach 4 SL at all World Cup rounds? Or will you be on the hardtail too?
It will be course dependent, but most of them are just faster on a full suspension bike these days. (And those courses are my favourites!)
ST: It looks like you ran a rigid seatpost for the XCC – is that right?
Yes, and that was a gamble to take it off (for me). Luckily I kept it upright. 🙂
ST: Any other changes in spec between your XCC and XCO race setup?
Just my tires and the seatpost. I raced Maxxis Maxxlite 2.00 tires in the XCC at 18/19 psi. Those tires weigh 350 grams.
Chloe Woodruff’s Race Bike Setup
- Frame // Pivot Mach 4 SL, 100mm Travel, XS Size
- Shock // Fox Live Valve, 190x40mm (142psi, 14 clicks rebound)
- Fork // Fox 32 Step-Cast, Live Valve, 100mm Travel, 44mm Offset (53psi, 12 clicks rebound)
- Wheelset // Stan’s No Tubes Podium SRD with Stan’s Race Sealant
- Tyres // Maxxis Ikon 170tpi 2.2in (17psi front & 18psi rear)
- Groupset // Shimano XTR 9100 1×12 w/32t chainring, 10-45t Cassette & 4iiii’s Innovations power meter
- Brakes // Shimano XTR M9100 Race w/160mm Freeza Rotors
- Handlebar // PRO Tharsis, 5mm rise, 680mm width
- Stem // PRO Tharsis, -17° drop, 70mm Length
- Grips // ESI Grips, Racer’s Edge
- Seatpost // Fox Transfer, Factory Series, 100mm Travel (rigid carbon post for XCC)
- Saddle // PRO Griffon Carbon
- Pedals // Shimano XTR 9100 Race
- Total bike weight // 23.7lbs (10.77kg) with pedals
For more information on the new Pivot Mach 4 SL, check out the news story here. And to hear how we got on with the bike during three days of testing last week, check out the in-depth ride review right here.
Travel and accommodation for this trip were covered by Pivot Cycles.