Thursday, May 21, 2015

Dirty Kanza 200 Chronicles V2: Vacillating

Taking a good, hard look at this......
I know, I know...... Just last week I said I chose the rig for my Dirty Kanza 200 attempt. But what fun is getting ready for an ultra-long gravel ride if you don't question your choices five or six times before you leave, right? You folks that have done these events know exactly what I am talking about here. Anyway.....

So, here's the deal. Kansas has been getting a lot of rain lately. That will probably mean that the water crossings will not only be running, but that the silt and smaller rock will be washed away. I recall back in '09 or '10 when that was the case and every water crossing was followed with seven or eight riders on cross bikes fixing pinch flats alongside the road. I and my mountain bike tires did not even flinch at these obstacles. Of course, I have tubeless Nano40's now, but that isn't as big a tire as I have traditionally brought to Kansas.

I was talking to my good friend MG, and he is running a fat bike, but he has run cross and mtb tires at Dirty Kanza before. He made some great points to me. One which hit home was that comfort is king when you aren't racing it to win, but to get the finish. The bigger tires of an mtb bike can be light, and still allow comfort and they also give you some flat protection.

Plus I have some intel that leads me to believe that this new course is actually a bit rougher than in the past. That plays into the comfort/fat tires bit as well. We do know for certain that we are crossing private land, so that also leads me to believe that the roads, (if they are roads), are going to be rough.

I rode this Fargo at the DK 200 once, but I was sick that year.
Then there is the Fargo itself, which lends me the capability to carry more water bottles, for one thing, and also a top tube bag to put food in. I can get by on that rig without wearing a back pack, which is a big deal. This wouldn't be on my Gen I Fargo, but on my Gen II Fargo which actually has a longer rigid fork that would be more comfortable than the shorter Gen I fork. That Gen II bike has a triple crank and a pretty wide range cassette, so climbing is not a big deal.

So, there is all of that, but I haven't put the BMC out of the picture just yet. Maybe..... I just have to decide based upon my fitness going in. If I am not all that confident in that, I am going for comfort, water bottle carrying capabilities, and better flat resistance. In the end, weight isn't all that different, but the BMC is not as comfortable in terms of ride smoothness. How could it compete with those poofy B+ tires?  Then there is the titanium Regulator post I swapped over from my Ti Mukluk. I will be riding this, hopefully on a long ride, this weekend and making the final call. I bet it will be ultra-smooth. We'll see how it all goes.

Stay tuned for more last minute Dirty Kanza madness. I'm sure there will be more where this came from!


Sam said...

Kenda 1.8 slant sixes on the Fargo ;)

I have them, and they rock.

Steve McGuire said...

"Long time, daily reader and first time commenter"..
The mantra is spot on: if you're not going to podium, than it's a ride to finish. A ride to finish requires (allows for considering)comfort, and fun. The last three DKs 200s I've finished on a fat bike. Bombing down the hills on 4" tires is a blast. See you there, and good luck with the tire choice and ride.

Tyler Loewens said...

The Fargo seems like the smart choice to me, especially on the bottle carrying front. Wishing you good luck in the race!!

Sam said...

Steve's spot on about a fat bike and comfort. If you had a 29+ I'd be close to siding with this choice. But one look at the elevations of the DK and I'd go with whatever 29r will be most comfortable. Got a thudbuster handy? ;)

Robert Ellis said...

What is a good wheel set to run the Nanos with? I tried getting them on a set of Reynolds Black Labels and they wouldn't fit.

Guitar Ted said...

@Robert Ellis - The WTB TCS designs on all the TCS tires is based off of UST dimensions, so if the rims you are using are not optimized for those dimensions,you will get a poor fit, or they won't fit at all.

I suspect that the Reynolds rims are adhering to a Stan's NoTubes dimension, since that is optimized for a non-tubeless tire fitment. I could be wrong, but typically when a UST based design is too tight, that is the reason why.