|Coming up over the top of a hill at GW2017: Image by Kyle Hansen|
The ride did not suffer from any of my other choices though. I thought I would comment a bit on how my choices stood the test here in case anyone was wondering about what I used. So, a brief comment or three regarding some of the highlights. I will not say anything about the Tamland, because that bike is well documented here and the reasons why it works are discussed in other posts.
Suspended Bits: I guess the big thing here for me was my experience from 2016's successful Gravel Worlds ride. The Body Float seat post did wonders to smooth out that famous washboard that the gravel roads around Lincoln are known for. This year I added the Redshift Sports ShockStop Stem as another weapon against those washboard sections. It worked great. I had a super smooth experience. One example....
Early on when it was still dark and I could not discern where the washboard was, I steered into a section of it on a fast downhill. My calf muscles were shaking violently, but the rest of my body, being shielded by the suspended contact points, was calm. That was all the proof I needed that the idea to use the stem and seat post was justified.
One negative aspect- The frequency at which I had to absorb energy with my neck was changed from the higher frequency rattling to a much lower one. The bobbing of the stem was barely noticeable, but that motion caused my upper shoulders and the base of my neck to have to try and keep my head level through those oscillations. Think how a bobble head toy works. Anyway, that resulted in a post event soreness in the upper back/neck area that was pretty painful. Something to consider for later.
|Another image of me captured by Kyle Hansen|
The VentureMax was designed by someone, or group of folks, that "gets it" when it comes to flared drop bars. The brake lever must be reachable from the drop position, and Ritchey got that right. The drop is shallow, again, spot on. The radius of the drop is also spot on. Every critical dimension was nailed in this design. The flare and sweep things are an area, in my opinion, where there is some latitude in choices. The only way that I think the VentureMax could be improved upon is if Ritchey would go with a 31.8mm diameter across the entire bar top, ala the Luxy Bar and the new Thompson flared drop bar. Otherwise, two thumbs up here.
Saddle: I waffled between going with the WTB Pure V or a Brooks Cambium. I really like both saddles, but in the end I opted for the Pure V. No regrets and I don't remember hating on the saddle at any point during my 11 plus hours of ride time. That may be a factor that was influenced to a great degree by the Body Float post though. I have to try that Brooks saddle out on a long, multi-hour ride to compare. Like a century ride at the least.
|Me again! Image by Luke Meduna|
The tires are some of the best you can get for any gravel I've tried them on so far. They aren't coming off these wheels anytime soon, I'll say that much.
Wearables: I wore the Riding Gravel kit made by Podiumwear. I used my Bontrager base layer under the jersey and I was very comfortable throughout the event. I never got overheated, despite what the guy at the Casey's thought in Bennet. I was pretty happy with the performance of the pad as well. Long wool socks made of a thinner wool and the always reliable Shimano 3 strap mtb shoes were on the feet. On the head I had my cycling hat I got at the 1996 Chequamegon 40 and my Bontrager helmet with Spy Optic amber lensed glasses. No issues whatsoever with anything I wore.
Conclusions: So, all the gear worked well. The nutrition was good, it just wasn't getting through. I have a plan to try for that in training for my next big event. More on that later. If I get that squared away, I think I'll be good to go. Questions or comments? Hit the comments section and I'll gladly answer those.