Dirty Five DK200 Weapons of Choice #5

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.

This post filed under topics: Dirty Kanza 200 Gravel Ultra Racing

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Joe Meiser

Joe Meiser

I've had a lot of good luck and made a series of choices to be working for the brand and in the bike industry. In 2007 I signed up for the TransIowa just to see if I could complete it. I completed it and discovered a few things about myself in the process. Adventure cycling has been in my blood ever since.


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jp | June 3rd, 2011

what carbon fork are you using, joe?  thanks.


Joe | June 3rd, 2011

JP, I’m using the same Carbon fork that comes on our Salsa Chili Con Crosso.  It is a 1.5” Tapered canti cross fork.  Weight and performance are quite respectable.  It eliminated all chatter resulting from braking.  I’m continually surprised at how stiff it is when I get out of the saddle.

Benny | June 5th, 2011

Hey Joe,

Can I ask what width Supremes you are running?



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Ben Bolin | June 5th, 2011


I have a few shots of you from our washed out end to the DK.  Nothing like hiking in 3 miles of mud and taking a ride in a livestock trailer to finish the day.  Shoot me an e-mail and I’ll send them to you.



Joe | June 6th, 2011

@Benny, The Schwalbe Supreme width I ran was a 35, but I’m thinking based on results the Schwalbe Marathon Extreme might be a better tire.  I had several pinch flats, not due to volume, but a supple sidewall.  The Supreme’s are a great road/gravel touring tire, just not ideal for the Flint Hills and Mountain Gravel Roads I’ve been on.

MG | June 6th, 2011

Great to see you out there, Joe, as always.  Sorry the ride didn’t end up as you’d hoped.  Your bike and setup was looking stellar though, I must say.

I wanted to briefly comment on the Marathon Extremes, as I ran a 35c on the rear of my LaCruz at the Kanza this year.  It went flat-free the entire race, while I flatted the 46c Bontrager I was running on the front twice… Crazy but true.

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Ben Bolin | June 8th, 2011


You are mentioned in my report.  It might bring back a few memories of the 3 mile mud hike.

My Dirty Kanza 200 post ride report. It was just too much fun reliving the experience behind the keyboard and turned into a 6 page essay. I’ve never had a blog, but I do now!



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Forrest | November 1st, 2011

Hi, Joe. Would the next size up of Schwalbe Marathon Supremes have fit? They are labeled 700x40 but on many rims measure 38 actual. Thanks.

MG | November 3rd, 2011

Forrest: Joe was riding a prototype, but on a production La Cruz, a 40c Marathon Supreme leaves very little runout for your rim to go out of true. It has to be absolutely perfect in true and dish to work, making it impractical in application. From my experience over the past two years on my own ti La Cruz, I’d recommend sticking to the 35s.

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