Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday News And Views

Will the tiger lilies be as spectacular as they were in '09?

Tomorrow at 5:30 am in Backbone State Park some gravel road cyclists will be gathering for the tenth running of the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational. Here is some interesting information on this event you may not know.

The first GTDRI was held in 2006 and started in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It was also the longest one, at 151.7 miles. Also, I did that one on a single speed. Until this year at the Dirty Kanza 200, that ranked as my longest single ride ever. The next GTDRI was truncated down to 80-ish miles due to rain during the event and was run out of Marengo, Iowa. The next year saw me run the event one of two times it came out from Hickory Hills County Park. In '09 and '10, the GTDRI originated out of Echo Valley County Park near West Union. The '11 GTDRI was the second out of Hickory Hills. In '12, the GTDRI rode out of Grinnell, Iowa. 2013 saw the Slender Fungus come up with an epic 150 mile course starting in Jackson County. Last year was a revisit to the '09/'10 course, but I modified it so we started in Backbone State Park, where this year's ride will also start from.

So, out of the ten that will have occurred, four of them are basically the same course. The reason why is that this particular loop presents some of the greatest challenges, and the most spectacular scenery, with some of the best stops along the way we've had on GTDRI's. Expect a full recounting of the goings on starting Monday.

The Fat Fargo and Bike Bag Dude for the GTDRI
The Rig:

The year has been all about the Fat Fargo so far, so why change a good thing? I was going to use a different bike for the GTDRI, but I happened to use the Fat Fargo for a commute the other day and I realized I had the bike so dialed in with the new Cowchipper Bar and the Bike Bag Dude bags that it was immediately comfortable and felt perfect. There is that, but the "straw that broke the camel's back", as it were, was something else.

The course has brutal hills and they have really steep gradients. There are plenty of 10% plus grades and some in the 15% range with one going as much as 18%. There are also some longer climbs out there with one well over two miles long. (That's a lot for Iowa!) The Fat Fargo is the only bike I have going now with a wide range triple. The other bike? Meh....... It would hold its own, but there is no bail-out gearing, and after many hours and miles in the saddle Saturday, I may need that super low gear to be moving at all. So, I am going for the familiarity, comfort, and gearing on the Fargo. Not to mention the cargo carrying capacity for water, the fat tires for stability at 40mph downhill, and the Bike Bag Dude kit which is custom made for the bike.

Then there is the fact that this bike carried me 158 miles into the Dirty Kanza 200 for my longest ride ever. It also got me through, arguably, the worst of Odin's Revenge. I know the bike can do it. Now about that motor.......

GTDRI 2011
The People:

I never know who will show up for sure at any given GTDRI. Yes........I know it says "Invitational", but that is tongue in cheek. I don't "invite" anyone based on any criteria other than that you need to ride a bicycle and you should be prepared for a tough, self-supported, 100+ mile ride. Anyone that feels they have what it takes to bite that off, chew it up, and swallow it can join in the fun.

So I know of about six individuals that have said that they were coming. Maybe we'll see all six show up plus myself for a grand total of seven. That's an average showing for this event. I've had as many as 24 and as few as myself and two others. However many show up, we'll have a good time, and we will not leave anyone behind.

I expect to see a at least one person show up that is a surprise. I've had people drive all night, hundreds of miles, just to ride the GTDRI. I've had people from as far away as Michigan, North Dakota, and Kansas come for this ride. You just never know who might be pulling a bicycle out of a car at the start. It's quite humbling and I am honored to ride with anyone that shows up.

The people make this ride what it is, so before I even get there- Thank You. Thanks to all who will be coming and that made time and sacrifice to ride along with me on this silly little gravel road course. My hope is that each and everyone of you has an awesome, good time.

See ya next week! Have a great weekend folks!


Exhausted_Auk said...

GT, wish I could be there. Have a great riding adventure, and be safe!

John said...

Awesome write ups! First time commenting, but I have a question on your "Fat Fargo". I'm considering purchasing a 2015 Fargo 3 and was hoping you could tell me if you thought the B+ set up you are running would fit on it. I assume that all the Fargo's of the same year have the same frame size and therefore fit. But in some of the articles you have mentioned some differences and I thought those were generational differences (or year to year), not just differences between the numbers within the year. My assumption is that the number differences withing the year are differences in component levels. Confusing enough? ;) Thanks!

Guitar Ted said...

@John- Thanks! On the Fargo- The 2015 will fit 27.5+ wheels if you use what is available now with the exception of maybe going wide on the rims, (50mm), or if you use that big Vee Tire Fat Trax 3.25 X 27.5 tire. I used a WTB Trailblazer on a 35mm Velocity Blunt 35 rim. That, in my opinion, is the sweet spot for a B+ Fargo.

Sam said...

And you're running a triple up front? I'm thinking of going fat fargo for this winter, or maybe permanently if I get a cutthroat. Have you abandoned SS 27.5+ Right now I've got 12x142 drop outs on my Fargo. Would you suggest a cheap yet reliable hub for this set up? How you like the cowchipper? I'm very happy with mine. I have the bars tilted up (or drop extensions down) a fair bit.

Guitar Ted said...

@Sam:Yes, a triple, and I used all the gears on this ride! I haven't abandoned the B+ SS idea completely, but I had only one wheelset and pair of tires to go around whilst I experimented, so until I decide where I want to invest, I will be waiting to add wheels till later on.

Hubs: Any convertible hubset would be great, but consider "future proofing" and maybe going with a Boost 148/110 set. That way you will be able to get the wheels on a new bike now and into the future. Current 12X142 and 100 OD front hubs are on the brink of extinction- thus my hesitance to add more B+ to my wheel inventory at this time.

Cowchipper- LOVE it. Nuff said....

Sam said...

Is this boost standard merely axle conversions? I have King hub and sure wouldn't want to do much more than swap axles lol $$$

Guitar Ted said...

@Sam- No- It is actually moving the flanges outward to get a wider stance for the spokes. So, while it is theoretically possible just to accommodate this with end caps, you would miss out on one of the main features/benefits of going to a Boost compatible bike. Secondly, and probably most importantly, Boost 148 also takes into consideration a slightly wider chainline, so without a Boost hub, you will have a slightly compromised shifting experience, and the wider tires and rims may rub the chain in lower gear combinations.

This is going to make a lot of riders groan, since- basically- everything "pre-Boost 148" is outdated and obsoleted by this new standard. It is much like the transition mountain bikes went through in the mid-80's when the axle width was "boosted" from 126mm/130mm OD to the now outdated and archaic 135mm OD. ("OD" = "Overlock Dimension", or space between the drop outs.) Those pre- 135mm bikes were left in the dust, or modified to accept 135mm hubs, (since most bikes were steel then, this could be done to a frame), and along with that change came 7 speed rear ends.

Now with the advent of "mid-fat" or "Plus" bikes, we are looking at a long overdue extension of the axle width to this 148mm width. (142 X 12mm through axle is still the same "spacing" as a 135mm hub, by the way. The only difference being the axle type.)

It should have just gone to 150mm, but that would have meant a lot of folks would have just picked up the current DH hubs, which are already that width, and not have had to have purchased something "new". Now- we cannot have that, can we? :>)

Sam said...

Does Salsa have 148x12 drop outs or did you source aftermarket ones?

John said...

So would that setup work on an older Fargo? Say a 2013?

Guitar Ted said...

@John: The one in the image above is actually older, a 2012, so yeah.