Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday News And Views

A map of the 2015 Gravel Worlds course
Ahoy! Gravel Mateys!

Today I'll be on my way to Lincoln, Nebraska to join my like minded gravel riding nut-jobs to take part in the Pirate Cycling League's 2015 version of Gravel Worlds . It's an almost 150 mile route through the hilly, (YES- Nebraska is HILLY), terrain circumnavigating Lincoln.

I will try to keep up on social media when I can, so if you do Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, I will post a few updates throughout the day Saturday. Don't count on a blow-by-blow covering of Gravel Worlds though. I'll just be posting so some folks that care will know I'm still sailing around the gravelly seas of Nebraska and not in Davey Jone's Locker.

This event used to be known as "The Good Life Gravel Adventure" back in '08 and '09. I was convinced to check out the second GLGA event by David Pals, at that time my co-director of Trans Iowa. It was a shoestring adventure and on a single speed, no less. I was hooked then and came back another time to enjoy the scene there. The second time it was co-named the "GLGA-Gravel Worlds", and again, I rode a single speed. I thought I had made it down one other time on a geared bike, but I cannot find any evidence of that, and so I guess it was twice, and I haven't been back in....gulp!, five years! Well, things have changed a bit since those early days!

The first time I rode down there the GLGA had under 50 participants. I think the first Gravel Worlds had 110 or so. Well, this one will have nearly 300! That's a big, big difference right there. I expect there will be other, "big" differences as well, so stay tuned for my thoughts on the Gravel Worlds and a ride report beginning next week.

Lou on the Left, Vee Tire Snowshoe 2XL on right
King Of Fat:

It used to be that a Surly Bud or Lou on a 100mm rim was the fattest tire you could get. Not anymore....

The new "King Of Fat", (which is what this tire should have been called, I think), is the Vee Tire "Snowshoe 2XL". For all the gory details on this beast, see's story here.  (The image to the left is from their story as well.)

My take is that this will be the ultimate flotation tire. In other words, if you find you are going to go out and bust your own trails, go where no one else is going, and you need to be "on top" of the terrain as much as possible, then this is your tire. Translation: If you run groomed trails, dry terrain that is the realm of mountain biking, or are running on loose, drier stuff that isn't sand, these tires won't do you one bit of good. They will just be heavier, harder to handle, and stroke your "I have the biggest tires" ego. Well......they also probably will not fit your current bike. At over 5" in width on 100 mm rims, there are only a few production bikes in existence that these will fit on. I'm not sure they would fit on my Blackborow, for instance, but I've heard these tires will "barely" clear the frame.

I won't say I would never get a pair of these, as they would slot into my usual Winter hi-jinx. I like bushwhacking powder and mud, and so flotation makes sense to me. However; I haven't reached the limits of the Lou/Clown Shoe set up I have, so I just don't see the need to jump on these right now. That said, it's a nice option to be able to go to if I do ever go beyond the limits of the set up I have now.

Blackborow and the Bluto
Looking Forward To Winter:

 Speaking of fat bikes, I haven't ever gotten my plan to convert the Blackborow to......well, you'll have to wait for that. Anyway, part of the plan was the Bluto fork, and I have been on it more since my first impressions of it a while back. I still really like having suspension on this bike for "Summer duties", but it does add weight. Weight is a bad deal in Winter, and so I'll be going back to the original equipment fork, and my Anything Cage HD racks along with that, for the colder months.

I still have my Titanium Mukluk, and for that rig I may be looking to a 1 X 11 group, which will allow bigger rear tires and no chain to tire rub in the lowest gears. With its antiquated 1 1/8th steer tube, I have stuck an On One Carbon Fatty fork on there which lightens up the bike and still gives a great ride feel. I think my direction with that bike will be to use it as a "fast" Winter set up. So, I will be getting it all set for "slop" conditions, groomed stuff, and general riding around.

I still have the Snow Dog as well, but currently it has been relegated to the back wall in the basement as I don't have wheels for it at present. That may change soon though, so I may have a new plan for this old girl soon.

There may be some parts tweakage on all three rigs coming along as the months crawl on by toward 2016. Stay tuned....

And that's a wrap for now. Have a great weekend and I'll be back Monday with the start of my Gravel Worlds report......

1 comment:

Smithhammer said...

Trying to wrap my brain around a tire that dwarfs my Bud/Lou setup, and that might not even fit my Blackborow (?!) interesting case of a tire being brought to market for which there are few vehicles to acommodate it. I'll be curious if this is a hint of things to come, though I think getting much beyond the realm of a 4.8" platform starts to become a more limited, niche-specific bike. Then again, it wasn't that long ago that folks were saying the same thing about anything more than 4" so who knows.

But yes - with a new Blackborow in the quiver, I'm looking forward to winter more than I have in a long time. Bring it!