I did a search on "adventure race fork" (I didn't enclose the search in quotes). I didn't get much back. Now, I am looking for some feedback on forks these days, but I am interested in anyone with feedback on general parts used in adventure racing.
1. Re Forks: I bought a cheapy (Manitou Axel), and now I am willing to shell out cash for the RIGHT fork. But, again, there is a lot of talk about forks on various threads, but not much "these 5 forks do similar things for what you're looking for". That's what I really need.
So, here's the specs I need to meet. . .
a. Gotta maintain good steering (so we're looking at 100mm travel or less - probably 80).
b. Gotta be serviceable - for less money than just buying a new Manitou Axel after each race.
c. Gotta go through wheel-diameter-deep water - yes, right up to the headset -- I will drop into the lowest gear combo and keep pedaling until I fall in the drink and start wading across rivers/streams with the bike on my back. I would rather not start out fearing for my dear sweet ride and just jump in.
d. Gotta deal with Georgia clay mud - and deal with it in a way that won't send me back to the lbs after "every 80 hours of service" - again, may as well just buy a dozen Manitou Axels each year and keep them on a shelf (I DON'T want to do that)
2. Re Other parts: tools are also included. We ARs already carry enough crap around for sometimes 3 days, wearing the same sweaty, muddy, sometimes mildly puked-on clothes full of burrs, thorns, and occasionally, large spiders (that's another story). We amateurs don't have access to a bike tech at transition areas (TAs), so WE NEED STUFF THAT IS LIGHT AND LASTS WITHOUT FAIL. Any suggestions (aside from "stop adventure racing" or "you're too demanding, quit whining") will be dandy.
Remember, although I might not buy the coolest stuff, ARs, among folks in their 30's and 40's, are mostly middle/upper middle-class boobs like me who need to get their rocks off doing something besides marathons and triathalons -- but we tend to spend A LOT OF MONEY on gear. So, speak up, WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT REALLY REALLY WORKS!
Oh, and I really do mean to start off by getting past the "fork buyer's guide" and get some direct advice on the right fork for an AR (yes, we go up and down mountains, through waist-deep water, in mud, during thunderstorms and snow and ice, carrying sometimes 25 pounds of climbing/cycling/running gear plus food and water - so we're heavier than what the bathroom scale says). Oh, and there is usually no one around if our equipment screws up, except our teammates, so no bike techs anywhere to be found.
You guys are the bike experts. I am asking for your direct help. If I could help myself, I wouldn't have posted a thread. Think of it this way, if you're looking for advice on raising a kid - I've been doing that for 7 years and will offer you direct help if you post to a child care advice website. Now, I am turning to you because I have been raising a kid while you've been out riding your bike(s).