Hi folks,

new to this forum - great forum you have going on here. Just moved to the PNW and thought I might get to know the area by doing a gravel fondo right away. Have never done a gravel fondo, but some long road and MTB races, so I hope I'll survive.

A couple of questions for those in the know:
- I've got 36/28 as my lowest gear (700c). Am I crazy to go out with that?
- My MTB pedals are still in boxes being shipped over - can I get away with using speedplays and road shoes or am I crazy :-)?
- Planning on running Schwalbe G-one allround 38 in the front (more space on my CX-ish bike) and 35 in the back - does that sound reasonable?

thanks in advance for any tips for a newbie to the region and to what gravel fondos are like.

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My first time as well but looking at the elevation profile, I'm worried about getting fatigued with my 38/42.  I don't have the leg strength of some though.  I have also noticed comments about rough descents so I will be running my 650B X 48 gravel kings just for the added security. 

Course profile.
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Thanks for sharing!

Course profile seems easy enough to remember (up down, up down :-)).

maybe it's doable with road shoes - just have to hope that there is no mud and need to walk...
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I realize I'm a bit late to be answering this but just in case others come to find answers on this as well...

I run a 50/34 chainring combo and usually an 11-32 cassette for the PNW gravel stuff. While I haven't done Leavenworth, I have done Winthrop, Ellensburg, and Ephrata. Ephrata's the only one I feel I can get away with a 36 small ring and 28 large cog on. I'm speaking from the perspective of being a pretty strong (but also fairly large at nearly 200lbs) local Cat 1 and Open/Expert.

The reason for this is that there are quite a lot of steep bits on the gravel and you can't stand or you'll spin out. So for comfortable (relatively speaking) seated climbing on this stuff I find I need at least a 34x32 (or choose your own ~1:1 gear). 

As for tire choices, those look solid. Leavenworth and Winthrop are known to have pretty rough descents. Ellensburg a bit too (flatted my 28's more than once on the last descent there a few years ago and now run at least 35+s when on the gravels). It's getting easier and easier for me to admit that I like big tires! (Que Sir Mixalot)


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Just for the record the previous poster is being modest.  His average finish at DK200 is 5th overall....

I've done Leavenworth twice; once the regular route and this year the modified route due to heavy rain.
I'm a mid pack guy; not a great climber.  I use a Cx bike with 46/34 (I think) with a 34 in the back using the Wolf Component extender for the hanger. 

Plenty of folks walked a few sections around me which I never had to do. 

Just my two cents
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