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Thread: Gravel Race Up Spruce Knob

  1. #61
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    I'm in for next year provided the women's weekend at Snowshoe isn't the same weekend. Again.

    DH > gravel.

  2. #62
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    As my kids like to remind me, I am extremely old. HOWEVER. I was still able to do it. Which is to say if my fragile, oldman body can drive to this race, camp at this race, and race this race, anyone can. It is a fricking blast. It's so beautiful that you can't stop looking around with touristy-wide eyes. Plus free beer. Great coffee. BAND. And the nicest peeps.

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  4. #63
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    Which route did y'all do?

    All this enthusiasm is getting my interest piqued.

  5. #64
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    I have done both. Keep in mind, my opinion is from someone a month out of DK200 that does not like pavement...

    The shorter route is REALLY fun. In my opinion, it has better views, more gravel, and less traffic.

    The longer route is more suffery due to more pavement and a section on Route 33 that just sucks the life out of my soul. BUT... There is a really sweet downhill section after Route 33 that I really missed this year.

    Either route takes you on the 3 mile grassy double track descent, which is terrifying, but SO FREAKING FUN! Plus, both routes get you a nice 20-ish mile climb up to the summit. So, either way you go, you will be thrilled and have a blast. Plus, free beer!

  6. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by josh View Post
    Can now confirm. I think it rained briefly on Friday during the day, but was generally pretty dry. I still wiped out. I was using fairly-worn 34c WTB Exposures (not the Compass tires I was thinking of using), but I think going slower probably would've been a better solution.
    Yeah, I did *not* ride my road bike. And I did *not* ride Compass tires (primarily because I couldn't get those damned tires to re-seat tubeless). I am very happy with both of those choices. The 700x38 G-One Allround tires were great, but I would not have wanted anything smaller on that course. People told me that ~30mm tires would be fine there. Maybe if you have ability to dodge all the potholes. And if there hadn't been a fair bit of fresh gravel.

    I hit a pothole hard when I was still in the big bunch on the initial gravel downhill and rotated my bars forward. So my hoods became pretty useless for the rest of the ride. On the upside I was more aero in the drops

    I had my tires pumped up too high. I thought the roads were supposed to be pretty smooth, so I was running 32/38psi (F/R) on my G-Ones. About halfway through the race I stopped on a climb and dropped the pressure down to something that I suspect was closer to 25/30psi (F/R) and that was much better: much less skittish on the gravel descents, better traction on the loose gravel climbs, much more comfortable in general, and didn't feel much slower on the little bit of pavement that remained.

    I had a fantastic race. Subby is right that it is so frickin' beautiful out there -- one of the gravel races with the nicest views, I think. And the wildflowers -- you could smell them on the way up to Spruce Knob; it was incredible.

    I tried to hang with the main lead group (not the crazy-fast few that broke off quite early), but it didn't work out. I then just figured I'd enjoy the ride. I ended up finishing 10th in open men, which was really surprising. But Subby beat me. ... on his single speed. I almost caught him, though, so there's that -- I might have ridden a little harder if I'd realized I was in the top 10, but then would also have looked around less and forgotten to appreciate the flowers. So no regrets. I'd definitely consider doing this again. I won't recommend anyone do it on small tires, though. There's no upside IMO (there's very little pavement) -- and lots of downside.

    Awesome race!

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  8. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunyata View Post

    The longer route is more suffery due to more pavement and a section on Route 33 that just sucks the life out of my soul. BUT... There is a really sweet downhill section after Route 33 that I really missed this year.
    That paved downhill was the probably my favorite downhil on the course. (Had I dropped my tire pressure, I might have liked some of the earlier gravel downhills too.)

    That part on Rt. 33 sucked because my chain dropped (on 1x -- I feel betrayed!) right before it, so I lost the group I was with and had to ride it by myself into the wind :-( I caught up to the tail end at the top of that climb, but that was the least fun part, I agree.

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  10. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    Yeah, I did *not* ride my road bike. And I did *not* ride Compass tires (primarily because I couldn't get those damned tires to re-seat tubeless). I am very happy with both of those choices. The 700x38 G-One Allround tires were great, but I would not have wanted anything smaller on that course. People told me that ~30mm tires would be fine there. Maybe if you have ability to dodge all the potholes. And if there hadn't been a fair bit of fresh gravel.

    I hit a pothole hard when I was still in the big bunch on the initial gravel downhill and rotated my bars forward. So my hoods became pretty useless for the rest of the ride. On the upside I was more aero in the drops

    I had my tires pumped up too high. I thought the roads were supposed to be pretty smooth, so I was running 32/38psi (F/R) on my G-Ones. About halfway through the race I stopped on a climb and dropped the pressure down to something that I suspect was closer to 25/30psi (F/R) and that was much better: much less skittish on the gravel descents, better traction on the loose gravel climbs, much more comfortable in general, and didn't feel much slower on the little bit of pavement that remained.

    I had a fantastic race. Subby is right that it is so frickin' beautiful out there -- one of the gravel races with the nicest views, I think. And the wildflowers -- you could smell them on the way up to Spruce Knob; it was incredible.

    I tried to hang with the main lead group (not the crazy-fast few that broke off quite early), but it didn't work out. I then just figured I'd enjoy the ride. I ended up finishing 10th in open men, which was really surprising. But Subby beat me. ... on his single speed. I almost caught him, though, so there's that -- I might have ridden a little harder if I'd realized I was in the top 10, but then would also have looked around less and forgotten to appreciate the flowers. So no regrets. I'd definitely consider doing this again. I won't recommend anyone do it on small tires, though. There's no upside IMO (there's very little pavement) -- and lots of downside.

    Awesome race!
    Yeah, I'm definitely going to do this again next year (the epic/long route @creadinger). I kept leapfrogging with a guy the second half of the race, and looking at his ride on Strava, he was running 28s at 95psi on a road bike. The deep gravel sections definitely slowed him down, although he still finished pretty fast (under 5 hours). I also liked the section on 33, although I wasn't really expecting to be on a real road with cars. Smooth pavement provided a nice respite from the gravel.

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  12. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subby View Post
    BAND.
    Band! Finally, a part of GRUSK I think I could handle!

  13. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    But Subby beat me. ... on his single speed.
    70% of the singlespeed field beat me. I'm thinking going with one gear is the easiest way to get faster

  14. #70
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    Yeah, the singlespeed field was insanely fast. I was riding with them for the first third (or maybe almost half) of the race and it was tough keeping up.

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