I didn’t consciously decide to do gravel racing. It just kind of happened. Like all things in life my life (for better or worse), I let things happen organically. I’ll discuss my happenstance switch from professional triathlon racing to gravel enthusiast in a future blog (or vlog) post to drop ASAP. Regardless, I find myself this weekend headed to the famed Dirty Kanza, in Emporia Kansas, where I’ll race 206 miles in the flint hills outside of Emporia, Kansas.
Honestly, what you pick to ride for such an adventure completely depends on your user requirements. Usually, I’d just set things up as a comfy rolling buffet. But after surprising myself at RPI last year, I have the scary delusion that I might be able to stay near the front of the race for a bit.
With that in mind, here is a gallery the setup I’ll be rolling on this Saturday.
To be honest, my frame and fork are 3 years old. I ride what I’ve got. And luckily, what I’ve got gets the job done. It’s a 2015 BSB 9 RDO that I use for UCI CX, gravel, shredding single track, and even (gulp) training on the roads.
If you know me though, you know I’m a HUGE Rolf Prima Wheel Systems proponent. For DK200, I’m rolling on a HOT set of Hyalite ES Carbon rims with the XR center lock hub spec. Lightweight, 23mm internal width and bombproof (or at least Ganterproof) these bad boys will take anything I can dish out. And I’ve thrown everything at them. Rolf Prima wheels just keep coming back for more without blemishes or EVER going untrue. They’re as incredible as the people that make them in Eugene, Oregon.
For the past year I’ve been working with SRAM and have finally kitted this rig out with In the past a mixture of SRAM Force and Red parts. I’ve had four separate instances of untimely chain derailments on other setups. I’m happy to report that my beta testing on this SRAM setup yielded exactly zero chain slap or drop. The Force 1 clutch derailleur and X-SYNC(r) chainring are straight-up #DYJ (do your job).
I have to be honest, the Red shifter and caliper were the result of an ordering mistake on my part, but hey they’re awesome. So I’m gonna roll with it. Literally. Hydraulic disc brakes are the standard. Stop fighting it. Assimilate.
In working with SRAM, I’ve also spec’d this steed with Zipp cockpit and seat post. I absolutely love the ergonomics of the Service Course 80 handlebars. (Yes, I ride aluminum bars because… well, I break nice things.)
But what is probably more interesting than what parts I’m using are the little goodies you might have noticed. For instance, I chose to put a Revelate Designs Mag-Tank on my top tube. For the aero weenies amongst you, yes it’s not the most “aero” bag. HOWEVER, it’s huge, and most importantly, it has a slick magnetic enclosure that does not require a brain or dexterity to use. I’ve tested it and it does not open without my approval. Also, it closes itself. Amazeballs.
Tires. I’ve seen a lot of back and forth and beta testing online. The more I think about it, I think, everyone’s overthinking it. 😉 As a 172 pound dude that likes to shred hard… I’m running 40c Rambler. It rolls fast, and handles well. I don’t usually find myself wishing I had more traction. Or more comfort. Or less rolling resistance. So I’m sticking with what seems to work. You can’t race if you’re standing on the side of hte road with changing a flat with your sweet prototype paper-thin high-risk high-reward tire choice. Besides, I hear the Flint Hills are made of… Flint. Yeah, that’s sharp stuff. Soooo… I’ll run Tubeless (TR) at a low-ish pressure and EXO Sidewall protection. Done.
As for flat repair, no frills there either. I use an old velcro strap and a bunch of electrical tape to hold: 2 tubes, 2 CO2s, tire lever, quick link, tire plugs, some duct tape, and a multitool w/chain breaker. This is pretty much my exact setup from Xterra pro racing. Anything more might be paranoia. It worked for Xterra, so it should work now, right? I’ve toyed with the idea of running it down by the crank if it’s dry out, but I’m be a bit nervous about it getting sucked into the drive train.
Since I’m planning on documenting as much of the adventure on front and rear GoPros, I’m using local Boise company K-Edge’s amazing computer and GoPro mounts. On the front, I’ll run a combination GoPro/Garmin mount (RAD!) and a seat rail GoPro mount on the rear. (Another reason why I didn’t put my flat kit under the seat.)
Well, there she is. The three year old workhorse! To quote Han Solo, “she may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts kid.” Hope to see you in Emporia this week! Say hello and please stop by Mohn Standard on Thursday at noon for a Velocio fun ride, the GU ride and Velocio pop-up shop on Friday! Hope to see you out there!