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Old 02-05-09, 07:33 PM   #1
somuch4bigsur
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Georgia Pave

My first collegiate road race is on Feb. 14th and I just found out 6 miles of the race is going to be over dirt roads. Any advice for tactics and riding on dirt roads?
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Old 02-05-09, 07:42 PM   #2
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Get out front so you can pick your own line and avoid sand and thick gravel. Accept the penalty of thicker tires.
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Old 02-05-09, 07:50 PM   #3
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Would GP 4000's hold up
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Old 02-05-09, 08:21 PM   #4
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Would GP 4000's hold up
Big fat tubulars.

If not, the biggest, fattest clinchers that will fit your bike.
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Old 02-05-09, 08:32 PM   #5
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is it 6 miles of say a 9 mile loop, or is it a total of 6 miles of dirt? You should ride on some dirt sometime if you're not a cx/mtn bike guy. It's not really a big deal, but you want to know what you're getting into and be relaxed so you don't cause a crash. You can run the GP4000s if that's what you've got, but maybe look into some 25c (or even 28c !!) if you've got the time. Given the question, I'm assuming you don't own a pair of tubular rims.
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Old 02-05-09, 09:00 PM   #6
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The Vittoria Pave 24mm would be your best option. But really more important than the tires is how you handle it. If you have never been on dirt or gravel before it could be a real shocker.
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Old 02-05-09, 09:34 PM   #7
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cue my grumpy old man rant: we are roadies. a dirt road is still a road. learn how to ride it.
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Old 02-05-09, 10:05 PM   #8
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stay loose on the bike... hands on the tops... don't over-correct when the bike moves around and you should be able to keep it upright.
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Old 02-06-09, 05:01 AM   #9
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keep the weight off the front and 'steer with the rear'. use your saddle as a rudder and don't do much with your hands... hold the bars with the same grip you would use to hold 2 baby birds.

fight to be in the first group onto the dirt and then just have a blast :-) it's fun stuff... good luck.
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Old 02-06-09, 05:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by somuch4bigsur View Post
My first collegiate road race is on Feb. 14th and I just found out 6 miles of the race is going to be over dirt roads. Any advice for tactics and riding on dirt roads?
dirt is not pavé.
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Old 02-06-09, 05:48 AM   #11
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If this dirt road is bumpy (ruts, holes, whatever) and your water bottles aren't snug in their cages there's the risk of the bottles bouncing out. Consider using alloy cages and bending them a little so the bottles are really snug in there.
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Old 02-06-09, 07:30 AM   #12
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watch for the nearly invisible potholes....another good reason to be at the front.
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Old 02-06-09, 08:24 AM   #13
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We have a "dirt" race (Webster-Roubaix) that has 1.8 miles of dirt every 9-mile loop. 23's work just fine, but less pressure is smart. 6-6.5 bar (87-94lbs) is plenty.

Like Botto said, "dirt is not pave", so nothing special should be needed.
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Old 02-06-09, 08:47 AM   #14
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Lower your psi, keep your weight back. Turn into slides and keep that back wheel moving (I pedal at a slightly higher cadence).
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Old 02-06-09, 10:23 AM   #15
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At Webster-Roubaix last year (see YMCA's post above) I ran Conti Gatorskins for a little extra flat protection.

Three suggestions regarding the dirt (in addition to the "stay-near-the-front" suggestion above):

1. stay seated and turn a bigger gear when on the dirt.

2. don't fight the handlebars. Be smooth and deliberate. No sudden or jerky movements.

3. spend an hour or two during the next week riding some dirt just to get a general feel for how the bike handles differently.

You might be surprised to find that if you concentrate on pedaling smoothly and strongly and on going fast, you'll soon forget that you're even on dirt.

Bob
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Old 02-06-09, 10:33 AM   #16
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There's a big variety in what a 'dirt road' could mean.

Is it nice, smooth, and compacted, there's not a massive amount of difference except maybe on sharp turns.

If it's rutted dirt that could have mud spots, that's rather different.
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Old 02-06-09, 10:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
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1. stay seated and turn a bigger gear when on the dirt.

Bob

Not too big of a gear though. Have to stay on top of the gears, otherwise "bogging down" will take full effect and you'll lose speed quickly.
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Old 02-06-09, 03:30 PM   #18
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Bigger gear was advice I would always give for MI dirt roads, because they were pretty bumpy and it puts more weight on your feet. Lots of potholes (just like the paved roads!) and washboard wherever cars or pickups tended to brake. Im not too familiar with GA dirt except for what I see on old Dukes of Hazzard re-runs
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Old 02-06-09, 03:33 PM   #19
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That was California dirt not Ga
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Old 02-06-09, 04:23 PM   #20
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Find some local dirt roads and ride the hell out of them. Push your comfort zone. Descend fast, take downhill curves on gravel, etc. The advice already given on how to handle it is good: ride maybe a gear higher, let the bike "float" underneath you, stay loose on the bars, keep your weight back and RELAX. It's not unlike riding singletrack or skiing in that once you find a rhythm, you'll be smooth and confident. Lose your groove or get knocked off-balance and it gets very scary.
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Old 02-08-09, 07:01 AM   #21
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what race is on Feb. 14th in GA on dirt roads?
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Old 02-09-09, 08:24 AM   #22
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The Georgia Southern Battle in the Boro. It is the second race of the SEC collegiate cycling season.
I found out that the road has ruts and loose gravel in it from one of the local riders. They say hat they are going to sweep out the turns but other than that it sounds like we are just going to have to deal with all the loose gravel and ruts.
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