Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The 2023 GTDR: Gear Review, Barns For Jason, Comments

 This should wrap up my comments and images on my ride this past weekend. The images will all be of barns, and of course, these are all barns I had not seen before. Almost all of them being on that section of the ride between Vinton and LaPorte City, since I'd never been out that way before. 

I call those pictures "Barns For Jason" in reference to an old friend and his love of barns. Longtime blog readers are, no doubt, familiar with this. If you are new here and if you like barns, just put "Barns For Jason" in the search box in the header here and hit enter. I'll see you much, much later......

In terms of gear for this ride, I took the Twin Six Standard Rando v2 as my bicycle. There were a few good reasons to do this. First is that I like this bike. But beyond that, it also has a bit lower gearing than my other gravel bikes and I figured that on such a long ride that I may require that lower gearing at times. I was correct on that part! 

The Twin Six Standard Rando v2 (mostly) as I had it set up for the GTDR for 2023.

I did rotate the levers up about 5mm from where they were on the drop bars' hooks which suited me better. I had six bottles of water onboard, which was more than plenty, but at least I never wanted for water. 

The bike has 42mm Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M tires on it which are on WTB carbon wheels. The aforementioned drivetrain is the 2X version of GRX Limited Edition Silver. I did not use the GPS as seen above but instead had a plastic cue sheet holder zip tied to the BarYak Expedition extensions and those were set up as aero bars. The handle bars are Salsa Cowchippers and the stem was a garden variety Easton. The seat post is a carbon Whisky No 7 and the saddle is one of those new WTB Graveliers with carbon rails. Bags are Bike Bag Dude Garage Top Tube Bag and Revelate Designs Tangle Bag. 

I used a Light and Motion VisPro Trail as my headlight and a Raveman rear LED flasher. I think that about covers the bike and accessories. 

 How'd It Do? The bike worked perfectly. There was one point early on in the Old Creamery Trail where I heard odd noises coming out of the chain and rear cassette. I stopped to investigate but found no faults. It may have been an errant bit of foliage or a stick. I do not know. Otherwise I had an excellent performing machine for the day. The amount of water mounting points was more than enough and the bags were perfect. The cue sheet holder did well, but I never used the aero extensions. The gravel was just too deep and sketchy for me to feel comfortable using that accessory. 

What Would I Change? I'd ditch the BarYak system. It wasn't useful and it weighs a lot. The piece itself is well made and works great, but for this purpose it was mostly dead weight, especially on the roads I was traveling. I'd add a Redshift Sports ShockStop Stem. The front fork Twin Six sourced for this bike is just too stiff and my shoulders were aching badly 3/4's of the way into this ride because of that. My headlight was barely able to run two hours, which was just right for what I needed, but it was rated at 3 hours on medium, which is what I thought I had it set to. (I'll have to check on that later) But the quality of the light left a lot to be desired as this light was too washy and destroyed my ability to read the road. The Raveman headlights I have are better at this, by the way. The Raveman tail light was stellar. 

I wore a combination of inner liner, baggie shorts from Showers Pass, and a Voler jersey with an Endura base layer. I used a bandana over my head to keep the sweat off my eyes and to protect my head from getting Sunburned. I also used a Bontrager Circuit helmet and the Rudy Project Cutline glasses. 

My shoes were the new Shimano RX6's and I used Shimano pedals. Socks were some special edition Sock Guy socks made to memorialize Scott Spoo, a Twin Cities area cyclist killed in a motor vehicle crash while riding his bike. 

How'd It Do? Great! I'll dispense with "What Would I Change" because I wouldn't have changed a thing here. By the way, I cleared off the gunk from those glasses before getting to Vinton and then everything was fine there. 

Comments On This Ride Overall: 

So, overall I was pretty happy with the way things went. would have been nice to do the route as intended. That said, that route isn't going anywhere and this ride ended up creating a new route which I thought was worthwhile. 

My fitness and strength was tested, which was kind of the point, and I got to ride for ten hours, which, again, is the point of the GTDR. I bounced back from an early bout with muscle issues, bonking, and from having my original plan nixed by road construction. So, overall I think I succeeded. 

 Going forward I want to build upon this going toward my next chance at a big ride on October 1st which is a 100 mile course with a lot of dirt roads. If I can muster a few nice, long rides from here throughout September I have a good chance of being successful. We'll see. Anything can happen. 

I'm probably going to shift more over to using the Singular Cycles Gryphon, sans racks and all, for that October outing, but the Black Mountain Cycles MCD is also up for bigger tires which I would like to be on for this dirt road course. 

Speaking of the Gryphon, there is a new configuration for bikepacking that will be introduced soon and hopefully used very soon also. Stay tuned on that.

Thank you for reading Guitar Ted Productions.


Tomcat said...

Congrats on your successful W-V-W route, GT! Really strong day on the bike. That north wind on Saturday was pretty stiff, so that was a brave route coming back all the way from Vinton! I'm happy that you were able to capitalize on the day as you had planned.

Is the route you're planning on doing October 1st the Fox Ridge Filth Ride? I'm excited for that route - I'm hoping to attend that as of now.

Guitar Ted said...

@Tomcat - Thank you! And yes - It is the Fox ridge Filth Ride that I am considering doing.