Results 1 to 20 of 20
  1. #1
    Lazy People Suck
    Reputation: Fett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    702

    Which Bike for the Gravel Grovel?

    I am doing the Sub9 Gravel Grovel in Brown County, Indiana. It is 62 miles, mostly gravel, about 4 miles of trail, and another 4-5 miles of unimproved road that can be really be consider a trail, along with about 4-5 miles of pavement. It has 7 Cat5 climbs in it and about 4200ft of climbing. They have recently dumped alot of fresh gravel on large portions of the course, so alot of it could be pretty loose.

    Which bike do I ride:

    1)Rigid Carbon Trek Superfly hardtail. All carbon with XTR and King wheels with carbon clinchers and Stan's Raven 2.0 tires.

    2)Trek X0 crossbike, Bontrager Race Tubeless wheels with Maxxis Raze 700x35 tires set up tubeless. 105 components, MiniVs.

    Both are 19-20lbs. I know the singletrack and unimproved road well and can rip it with Superfly and make up ground. I am also thinking the bigger tires will handle the loose gravel better, so I can be a kamikaze on the descents.

    BUT is it enough to make up for just the overall lower rolling resistance and aero position of a cross bike. I am primarily a mountain biker, but am comfortable on both bikes. Wheel/tire weight is roughly equal as the mountain bike wheels are a couple hundred gram lighter than the lower end Cross wheels to make up for the heavier tire weight.

    Anyone been in this situation on a gravel race?
    "Son, The world needs ditchdiggers, too"-Ted Knight, Caddyshack

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    162

    Which Bike for the Gravel Grovel?

    Seldom would I do this for a gravel race, but I would race the superfly. The gravel is difficult and deep and I believe the confidence and float you get from the wider tires more then makes up for the minor difference in rolling resistance and position.


    "The trick, and oh, what a trick it is, is to remain consciously blind to the danger that surrounds you, and simultaneously hyper-aware of every hard bit of pavement or sharp bit of metal that enters your air space. This is the Zen koan of riding your bicycle on the road." Robot, Red Kite Prayer - rkp.com - October 20, 2011

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    462
    i wouldn't expect that much fresh gravel in 62mi. atleast not enough to warrant an mtb. you'll find when you get to the start most people will be on 35-38 tires. although i did ride a 60mi GG with a guy on a fatbike.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cooper58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    127
    I confirmed on their Facebook page this morning that the elevation for the whole 62 miles is only 2303 ft. For some reason I though when I did this race in 2011 that it was closer to 4k too.

    I'll be on my cross bike again this year.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    214
    Where's the single speed option, Jeff?!

  6. #6
    Lazy People Suck
    Reputation: Fett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    702
    Quote Originally Posted by cooper58 View Post
    I confirmed on their Facebook page this morning that the elevation for the whole 62 miles is only 2303 ft. For some reason I though when I did this race in 2011 that it was closer to 4k too.

    I'll be on my cross bike again this year.
    I dont think 2300 is correct as someone gps'd a very similar route and it came up over 4k.

    Randy, I will leave the single speed to you. I don't really have a desire to take my bike for a walk on some of those nasty hills.
    "Son, The world needs ditchdiggers, too"-Ted Knight, Caddyshack

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    162

    Which Bike for the Gravel Grovel?

    Just put the route into Ride with GPS. It says 4700 feet of climbing.


    "The trick, and oh, what a trick it is, is to remain consciously blind to the danger that surrounds you, and simultaneously hyper-aware of every hard bit of pavement or sharp bit of metal that enters your air space. This is the Zen koan of riding your bicycle on the road." Robot, Red Kite Prayer - rkp.com - October 20, 2011

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    1,941
    Personally would take the cross bike since majority of the sections will be better on a cross bike. You're saying 8-9 miles would maybe be better on a MTB, which is not even 15% of the ride.

    And I'd also go with the singlespeed option as rwitte said.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    162

    Which Bike for the Gravel Grovel?

    All I can say is last year I only made it to the point of almost heading out on combs road.
    And every bit of gravel was deep and fresh. There was almost no hardpack. For what I rode of the course I would have been better off on a rigid lightweight 29r with really light fast rolling ~2 inch tires. And I never saw combs rd. The gravel is unlike what I am used to riding in Michigan (Barry Roubaix, Lowell 50 and local gravel roads ) these could all easily be managed on a road bike with 25s when dry and a cross bike when wet. YMMV


    "The trick, and oh, what a trick it is, is to remain consciously blind to the danger that surrounds you, and simultaneously hyper-aware of every hard bit of pavement or sharp bit of metal that enters your air space. This is the Zen koan of riding your bicycle on the road." Robot, Red Kite Prayer - rkp.com - October 20, 2011

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cooper58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    127
    That's nice that the race promoter can't even get the correct elevation for a race they have put on for several years.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    162

    Which Bike for the Gravel Grovel?

    Quote Originally Posted by cooper58 View Post
    That's nice that the race promoter can't even get the correct elevation for a race they have put on for several years.
    Well admittedly depending on the website (strava, ridewithgps, mapmyride, etc) you can get wildly different numbers for total climbing. There is no established methodology to calculate it so that is one factor. There are many others (data source for elevation). I don't believe there is any thin wrong with their number as there is no 'right' answer. Also this is a new course.


    "The trick, and oh, what a trick it is, is to remain consciously blind to the danger that surrounds you, and simultaneously hyper-aware of every hard bit of pavement or sharp bit of metal that enters your air space. This is the Zen koan of riding your bicycle on the road." Robot, Red Kite Prayer - rkp.com - October 20, 2011

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cooper58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    127
    Quote Originally Posted by clydeone View Post
    Well admittedly depending on the website (strava, ridewithgps, mapmyride, etc) you can get wildly different numbers for total climbing. There is no established methodology to calculate it so that is one factor. There are many others (data source for elevation). I don't believe there is any thin wrong with their number as there is no 'right' answer. Also this is a new course.


    "The trick, and oh, what a trick it is, is to remain consciously blind to the danger that surrounds you, and simultaneously hyper-aware of every hard bit of pavement or sharp bit of metal that enters your air space. This is the Zen koan of riding your bicycle on the road." Robot, Red Kite Prayer - rkp.com - October 20, 2011

    I did this race a few years ago and if I remember it was something like 3700ft of climbing and I noticed someone posted on their facebook page a ride of that new route with 4700ft. We all know that elevation profile can be off a few % but their showing 2303ft. vs. 4700ft is a HUGE amount to be off.

  13. #13
    jrm
    jrm is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    10,129
    60 + milers with only one hand position on the mTB. I think that once fatigue sets in it would be easier to spin on a cx bike. From the looks of this i say CX bike.

    Wreck the malls with cows on Harleys

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    162

    Which Bike for the Gravel Grovel?

    Quote Originally Posted by jrm View Post
    60 + milers with only one hand position on the mTB. I think that once fatigue sets in it would be easier to spin on a cx bike. From the looks of this i say CX bike.

    I know they are old school but try some bar ends. And the whole argument is ironic since I am running my cross bike anyway. Since my 'lightweight' MTB looks like this:



    "The trick, and oh, what a trick it is, is to remain consciously blind to the danger that surrounds you, and simultaneously hyper-aware of every hard bit of pavement or sharp bit of metal that enters your air space. This is the Zen koan of riding your bicycle on the road." Robot, Red Kite Prayer - rkp.com - October 20, 2011

  15. #15
    powered by peanut butter.
    Reputation: heartland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    588
    Quote Originally Posted by cooper58 View Post
    That's nice that the race promoter can't even get the correct elevation for a race they have put on for several years.
    The course has changed a couple times in the last few years. It changed again this year, which may account for the different elevation estimates.
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cooper58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    127
    Quote Originally Posted by heartland View Post
    The course has changed a couple times in the last few years. It changed again this year, which may account for the different elevation estimates.
    The race is promoted as having 2 extra climbs this year and if you think this elevation map is only 2303ft you're crazy. :-)

    Name:  GG 2013.PNG
Views: 406
Size:  88.8 KB

  17. #17
    powered by peanut butter.
    Reputation: heartland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    588
    All I know is that last year, when temps stayed in the mid-20s all day, I loved the climbs. It was the only time I ever got warm!

    I do agree, though, that ~2,300 ft. seems like a low estimate. The first part of Nebo Ridge that got added on this year is a fairly steep climb, though not as bad as Elkinsville Rd, IMO.
    "Never trust a man in a blue trench coat. Never drive a car when you're dead." -- Tom Waits

  18. #18
    Lazy People Suck
    Reputation: Fett's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    702
    I rode 27 miles of the course on Sunday (Nebo, Houston and Combs Rd area) and Strava says that 27 miles was 2200 feet of climbing. I tend to believe that the 4200 ft of climbing is correct for the entire route. 19 degrees at the start of the ride, brrr.

    I have decided on the cross bike with with an 11/32 cassette and mtb derailleur. I am hoping my mtb tech skills are good enough to handle the trail sections with a good amount of speed.
    "Son, The world needs ditchdiggers, too"-Ted Knight, Caddyshack

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    162

    Which Bike for the Gravel Grovel?

    After completing the course this year on a cross bike, I would definitely bring the 29r next year. My preference would definitely be for a rigid fork and lightweight ~2 inch tires semi slicks (crows, furious freds, etc)


    "The trick, and oh, what a trick it is, is to remain consciously blind to the danger that surrounds you, and simultaneously hyper-aware of every hard bit of pavement or sharp bit of metal that enters your air space. This is the Zen koan of riding your bicycle on the road." Robot, Red Kite Prayer - rkp.com - October 20, 2011

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: cooper58's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    127
    I'll be on my mountain bike too next year. That deep gravel really slowed things down on the cross bike. Oh, and my Garmin had 5410ft of elevation not the 2303ft they promoted.

Similar Threads

  1. Which Bike for a Gravel Grovel Race Coming Up?
    By Fett in forum Endurance XC Racing
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 11-25-2013, 09:35 AM
  2. 2013 Sub-9 Gravel Grovel
    By thines in forum Cyclocross
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 11-21-2013, 08:40 AM
  3. 2013 Sub-9 Gravel Grovel
    By thines in forum Midwest - IL, IN, OH, KY, IA, MO
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-19-2013, 10:05 AM
  4. Sub-9 Gravel Grovel
    By thines in forum Midwest - IL, IN, OH, KY, IA, MO
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-09-2012, 07:01 AM
  5. 3rd Annual Gravel Grovel
    By thines in forum Cyclocross
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-05-2011, 12:47 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •