ADVENTURE BY BIKE®
At the 2010 Dirty Kanza 200 my weapon of choice worked quite well aside from a drivetrain issue brought on by a serious amount of spring rain abuse. With that in mind I've kept my bike and kit mostly the same in principle. A prototype La Cruz Ti frame, this year with a 44mm headtube for a 1.5" tapered headset and a PressFit 30 BB, is paired up with my DT 240/Carbon Race wheels, and a carbon fork. Drivetrain is SRAM Force/XO, brakes are Paul's Touring in the rear (for heal clearance) and NeoRetro in the front for braking power.
Comfort is the most critical thing, so I go with a Salsa Bell Lap bar, titanium seatpost, and my coveted WTB SST Ti saddle. This has been my constant for the last three years. I wrap my bars in Salsa Gel Tape and use Cinelli gel pads in the drops for comfort. Wheels, drivetrains, brakes, rims...anything good will get the job done, but comfort and control remain paramount.
The one thing I've changed this year is tires. I had hoped to use the same touring tires as last year, but found them rotting in my basement from last years abuse. So, I turned my attention to the Schwalbe Marathon Supreme for this years race. My hope is that I have the same success as last year, zero flats in the Flint Hills. That was a serious stroke of fortune and luck. Tires...the pressure is on.
Following the Almanzo Royal, a 162 mile gravel race in southern Minnesota, the bike was completely trashed from miles of gravel in 40-degree rain. I found my BB shell packed with limestone silt and every bearing on the bike needed replacement. In the three weeks since that race, I stripped down, cleaned, and rebuilt the bike. Everything seems to be in working order, but I'm still a bit uncomfortable having not had a few more weeks to sort out all the little details after a rebuild. I think it will all work out, but it is a little unsettling.
In 2010 I started using Revelate Designs Tangle Bags to carry water and gear during these events. Now they appear to be the norm showing up at many spring gravel races. In my Tangle, I carry my 4 liter MSR Dromlite bladder, tubes, pump, lube, tools, and a glue type patch kit. Everything is packed in nicely.
Nutrition is carried in my Revelate gas tank and jersey pockets. Gel packs and Clif Bloks are carried in the Gas Tank and beef sticks, cashews, and other 'real' foods are carried in jersey pockets. I find it difficult to take in too much manufactured energy product during events and so I supplement with delicious gas station food.
My goal this year for the DK is, of course, to finish...but also to ride smart and finish in under 14 hours. Last year the heat took its toll and the second 100 miles took over 9 hours as opposed the first 100 taking 6 hours. That was not a smart move, but I know with discipline and luck I can hit sub-7 hour centuries and make it to the finish in good time. Wish me luck.
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In 2007 I entered and finished my first endurance race, the Trans-Iowa. That event opened my eyes. It sent me in a different direction and I have no intention of finding my way back. I consider myself a mountain biker, but the far majority of my miles occur riding to and from work. I enjoy races that take me to environments that are outside of the daily norm. The gravel racing events here in the upper midwest happen on rural roads and make me dream of living a bucolic life. The occasional ultra-distance event challenges my limitations and reminds me that the best rewards are hard fought. Someday I?ll slow down enough to enjoy the places I travel by on my rides. Someday. As Product Design Manager at QBP I work across most of the brands in our portfolio, including Salsa. My role has evolved to the point where I am involved in all the product development for our brands and less in the details of each product. I have a team of talented designers and engineers that work with the product managers for each of the brands. I am humbled and stoked to be one of Salsa's sponsored riders.