Today's post comes from guest blogger and Salsa amigo Ryan Horkey. -Kid
Last year at the Dirty Kanza 200 I rode a steel La Cruz and it worked great. Unfortunately, my body didn’t respond well to the Kansas heat.
My goal last year was to ride with the lead group for as long as possible. Well, the pace was much faster than I anticipated. Around the 60-mile mark I started yo-yoing on and off the back of the pack. It was around the same time I decided to stop chasing the group that I got my first flat.
Over the next 40 miles, I attempted to recover from my earlier efforts and got two more flats and a cut in my sidewall. Sitting on the side of the gravel road, the sun high in the sky, I faced a third puncture. This time instead of re-booting the tire I decided to call my support crew for a ride to the finish. The thought of enduring 100 more miles of fixing flats in the sun was too much to think about, so I pulled the plug and took the easy way out; thus ending my 2010 DK200 experience.
In 2011, my goal for DK200 is to just finish. The bike I will be riding will be a steel Vaya prototype frame (unless Boucher gets me the Vaya Ti he has been talking a lot about lately...hint, hint). I chose the Vaya over my La Cruz because of its riding position and stability. Choosing the Vaya is partly psychological for me, I am looking for the comfort and stability of a touring bike, not the fast aggressive handling of a cross bike. I am hoping the less aggressive and upright position of the Vaya will help me relax at the beginning of the race so I don’t feel like I need to push the pace and ride with the lead group. Plus the lower bottom bracket of the Vaya will provide me more stability at a slower cruising speed.
Ultegra group with SRAM 'cross crankset
BB7 road brakes with Jagwire Ripcord housing
DT Swiss 240 hubs on DT TK7.1 rims
Salsa Bell Lap bar
Revelate Tangle Bag carrying my food and tools
Jandd Tool Kit saddle bag with two tubes and a tire lever
Deuter Race Air Lite hydration pack holding 3 liters of water, arm and knee warmers and rain jacket
This is a pretty stock setup with a wide gear range, so I won’t spin out on the road but is still low enough to keep me in the saddle when climbing the steep gravel roads.
Panaracer T-Serve 35c tires with Conti Tour All tubes
I was looking for a tire with an ample amount of flat and sidewall protection that was not super heavy. When selecting tires I was not concerned if the tire had an aggressive tread pattern or not. Having put thousands of miles commuting on T-serves with minimal flats, I decided to see how they handle the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Cane Creek Thudbuster ST seatpost. This gives my back some extra relief while running my tire pressures a bit higher to reduce the chance of pinch flats.
All in all, I'm confident with my bike and gear choices for this years event. As stated above, my goal this year is just to finish the event. That might not sound very glamorous but I've experienced the Flint Hills once before, and glamour isn't the point. Survival is. -Ryan