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Mega Watts

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Reply with quote  #1 
I won't be able to pre ride any of the course before the race and have been trying to research information on the typical terrain. I understand that there are rocky (flint) sections and that some areas can be muddy with recent rain. Beyond that, what can I expect - pea gravel, graded roads, boulder fields, etc? I did a 100 mi gravel race a few weeks ago that had some deep sand and washboard roads that nearly rattled my eyes out of my head. I really hope that we won't have much of that at DK. Other than mental preparation, I'm trying to understand how fast (or slow) the terrain will be so that I use an appropriate tire pressure. I'll be on specialized trigger 38's. Any information, insight or opinion appreciated

Thanks!
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crapknees

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Reply with quote  #2 
There are quite a few videos on youtube of last years and previous years races you can look at.  Or look at the videos that "Gravel Guru" has posted.

DK doesn't really have pea gravel, it's rock and there were a few sections last year that were very rocky.

I see a lot of tire recommendations on this forum and I think as long as you are tubeless most all will be fine at DK.  Tubeless is the only way to go.  However if you want a guaranteed performer you need the Panaracer Gravel King in the 35 or 40's.  With that said I run the Maxxis Rambler 40's and they are also great out in DK territory.


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DerekJ_MI

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Reply with quote  #3 
I did the half pint last year.  You will find lots good fast hard gravel, sharp flint gravel, course 2" sized gravel and some cobblestone that is rideable.  NO sand and very little wash board (wash board happens due to lots of car traffic which they just don't get on these roads).  Some mud but only if it rains and only near Emporia.  A couple of stream crossings but some are rideale, some carry or roll their bike across.   I used WTB Riddlers size 45 last year that I thought was perfect. I'm 6' and 230 lbs so it works for me.  Some go bigger some thinner.  Your choice, but fatter is better and I never had a flat.  Many did especially those with skinny tires.  I would recommend you look at all the pictures you can of past events to get an idea of what the roads are like.  Study the roads.  DK isn't very technical.  The road surface can and does change all the time between the surfaces I described above.  The wild card will be the weather.  Especially the wind.  Last year wind was not a factor.  Some years it is.  If the wind blows team up with several riders and form a pack, don't go it alone.  If it rains, it rains, bring rain gear or get wet (which depending on the temps can be OK).  The beginning and end of the race are along and through areas next to a river that can and does flood.  This area is prone to poor drainage, hence flooded roads can be common if it rains and the roads turn to mud in these areas. Pace yourself!!  Pace yourself!!  Did I say Pace yourself?!  So many folks are jacked up and roll out 18 mph or higher and get smoked in the first 50 miles.  Slow down to a pace that you can sustain for 16 hours or more.  If you're not in contention for a podium spot you are riding to finish.  Enjoy the ride, finish the ride, don't get hurt and have fun.  If you don't finish no one cares.  Remember, you can have all the fitness you need and the best gear and bike possible and still not finish.  Stuff happens even to the best of the best.  Live to ride another day.  It's an epic event.  Be safe!
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jruhlen1980

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Reply with quote  #4 
+1 Derek covered it.

I'll just add -- I've completed the 200 three times, this year will be my fourth attempt. I've used Specialized Trigger 38s each time, both tubed and tubeless. Very, very good experience with these tires regarding flats even with tubes, but phenomenal without. (knock on wood). I weigh about 185 and I run 38-40 psi.

But the best tire in the world can still be cut. The biggest damage is on descents and hitting a sharp rock or rut at high speed, or at an angle. Also, the big chunks of gravel tend to be at the bottom of the descents, so you're hitting it at max momentum. Consequently, I'm fairly cautious on the descents (also I kind of suck at descending). About 20-30 feet after every descent you'll see 2-3 people on the side of the road fixing something.

On another note -- It's about time to start obsessing about the weather. I'm thinking of starting a pool -- my money is on thunderstorms and hail.
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Mega Watts

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks for the great info everyone!  I'm very glad to hear that deep sand and washboard roads are not likely, and I'll pray for dry conditions!  As for tire pressure on the trigger 38's, I weigh about 150 and have been running 60 rear and 50 front.  Sounds like I need to experiment with lower pressure.

Thanks again, and any other comments welcome!
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DerekJ_MI

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mega Watts
Thanks for the great info everyone!  I'm very glad to hear that deep sand and washboard roads are not likely, and I'll pray for dry conditions!  As for tire pressure on the trigger 38's, I weigh about 150 and have been running 60 rear and 50 front.  Sounds like I need to experiment with lower pressure.

Thanks again, and any other comments welcome!


Five days out now and the weather is a moving target.  It appears that the roads will be dry as sunny hot baking weather will prevail all this week.  Temps in the mid to upper 80's.  The bad news is that the winds are forecast to now blow from the NNW between 18 and 25 mph.  This is good for going south but bad once the turn is made and you head north.  Best advice is to not go it alone!  Pack up into small pelotons so all can share the pain but get relief.  Drafting off of someone can save you over 30% effort.  If you have 10 riders and you have 50 miles into the wind then you only are suffering for 5 miles, the other 45 is like riding behind a truck!  That's going to make a big difference!  If going it alone expect as much as a 5 mph rolling speed drop riding into a 25 mph head wind. 

With the temps in the mid to upper 80's hydration will be critical!  I'll have three 32 oz bottles on the bike plus 2.5 liters of water in a camelback (packed with ice).  Fill your water bottles up 3/4 and freeze them.  Get a Yeti cooler or something similar and put them in there and switch in full frozen ones at the check points.  Use rubber bands to secure plastic sandwich bags over your water bottle tops.  Who wants to suck on a dusty, muddy, cow crapped up water bottle! Pack your camelback with ice then put water in it.  Bring nylon stockings and fill with ice to make ice socks.  If you get cramps (very likely with the hot weather) electrolight tabs might not be enough.  I like to drink flat tonic water.  Tonic water has quinine in it and IT WORKS!  Plus there is a good amount of sugar in tonic as well.  No issue with making gin and tonics either!  But make sure your support folks open the tonic hours before you get to the check point so it goes flat.  Eat, eat, eat, eat.  nibble, nibble, sip, sip.  all day long.  Remember, you eat and drink in the first stage for the hydration and energy needs in the second, and so on.  I don't like goo's, gels and blocks.  It's fake food to me.  I eat real food and real food will keep your gut happy.
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DerekJ_MI

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Reply with quote  #7 
And now I'll let you in on my little secret....

This works for me really well, but YMMV.

I drink Starbucks Double Shot Energy drinks.  They have210 or so calories, 145 mg of caffeine, 34 carbs (25 sugar) 12 protein (an ideal 3 to 1 ratio) and over 1000 mg of potassium!  That's way more than a banana gives you.  One of my feeds sacks is insulated so it keeps a can nice and cold for about and hour and a half (25 miles).  When I start to feel burned up I drink this stuff and it's like someone just stuck me with a needle! 

I've heard other like Monster drinks too but I like the coffee flavor and it works for me.

Good luck!
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manuelw

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Reply with quote  #8 

Good call on covering water bottle tops with ziploc bags, @DerekJ_MI. I hadn't thought of that.

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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #9 
[QUOTE=Mega Watts]Thanks for the great info everyone!  I'm very glad to hear that deep sand and washboard roads are not likely, and I'll pray for dry conditions!  As for tire pressure on the trigger 38's, I weigh about 150 and have been running 60 rear and 50 front.  Sounds like I need to experiment with lower pressure.

Thanks again, and any other comments welcome![/QUOTE


You mentioned earlier about doing a previous ride and if I remember right your eye balls almost bouncing out. 60 rear and 50 front is way too much psi. I weigh 200 lbs and run 40 rear and 35-38 front. Which means you could run that or a little bit lower. You are running tubeless right. Somebody's advice early on watching the descents and sharp rocks sounds spot on. Good luck


Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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DerekJ_MI

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Reply with quote  #10 
This year the wind will not be our friend.  Winds 15 to 25 starting from the SE then south and you roll into the first check point.  Then as the morning goes on it shifts to the SW, then W then NW.  Finally, and right on que, when you leave the second check point to head east then north back to Emporia, the wind shifts and blows from the north for the rest of the day!  This is Kansas saying..."you should have rode last year"!  Lol.  I predict DNF's will be much higher this year with the heat and wind. 
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crapknees

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Reply with quote  #11 
Frank is our local meteorologist and gravel cyclist.  He'll be at DK200 as well.



He does DK weather updates every year.
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Zurichman

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Reply with quote  #12 
So is it this weekend? What is the forecast. If it was in Pa. it would be 10% chance it isn't gonna rain.

Good luck to all and if it's going to be windy, may the wind be a tailwind sometime out on the course. 


Zman

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If it was easy it wouldn't be a memory. You just hope you don't have all your memories in the same ride. been there dun that Zman
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