Hey, it’s my first bike race of the year and I DIDN’T DFL! I was feeling strong on this 7.5 mile per lap course. The race was a total of 30 miles with one solid painful climb and was set up for a nice rhythm, which I hit about lap three of four. I chose to ride the Ti Fargo with Schwalbe Racing Ralph 2.2 tires. The gearing was perfect for the climbing, but those tires… they provided some great stability while bombing the loose-gravel hills, but they were a bit too aggressive for the course. I would have done well with switching tires to my good ole standby, the Ritchey Speed Max folder in a 35 or 40. I know you are probably thinking “why wouldn’t you use (insert new specialty gravel racing tire name),” and I want to remind those of you with that mindset that
1. People have been riding gravel on all sorts of tires forever
2. I have been riding Ritchey Speed Max on gravel almost exclusively for at least 4 years. I have had 2 flats in thousands of miles. They roll fast, and feel stable and sure-footed when the roads get dicey. And I just found out they make a 40mm. Ordering some today.
3. It’s really tempting to pick up some new school gravel tires. I have heard great things about a few of them. BUT see #2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Speaking of picking up new tires and not wanting to change from old favorites, I am eagerly awaiting the release of the WTB Nano in 40mm. I have been riding the 2.1 for a few years, and I love them for fast, reliable all around dirt travel. The possibilities of having this baby in a lighter, faster rolling size bridges a gap in tire selection for me, and these will more than likely be the go to tire for the Targo.
Back to the race, all in all it was a great day to be on the bike. My only minor complaint was the dustiness of the trail. I neglected to bring along a handkerchief to protect my lungs from gravel grime. This made for a few days of me hacking up like I was still a smoker
Did I mention that I did not DFL?