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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Cuba Gravel Crisis

Old 10-16-16, 08:51 AM
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Cuba Gravel Crisis

I attended the Cuba Gravel Crisis yesterday. I meet Jackman at the start and we had a chance to chat. Jack lives about 30 minutes from the area, I'm looking forward to his full ride report. I enjoyed the day, but my day was reduced to 20 miles after flatting early. I decided that I was under-tired for the event and without secondary spares, I took the shortest route back to town.


But it was a great event in a great town, and the weather was warm enough for summer kit. The terrain and the roads were outstanding. I noticed at the start-line a large number of mountain bikes with large knobby tires and gravel bikes with 700x40 or larger tires.


Out on the road, the route was demanding and surface technically challenging. The gravel was recently graded and many areas had round river-bed material that doesn't pack well. The tires swim and float more than grip. It's doable, but advanced bike handling skills are an advantage along with bigger tires. The 700x40 I ran on the front was big enough for stability, but the 700x35 I had on the rear succumbed to pinch flatting at 60psi.


Unpacking in Cuba;









Out on the road, a rider can exceed 30 MPH while searching for a firm line.







The route had a few paved sections, but was 80% gravel





One of the most outstanding participants, a recent mother with her 8 WEEK old twins completed the route.





My grimy Pedal Force




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Old 10-16-16, 10:10 AM
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Looks like a blast.

I'll be looking for events like this next season.

Picking up the game a bit and will focus on gravel a bit more.

Thanks for the fotos.
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Old 10-16-16, 12:03 PM
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Ive been in STL this weekend for a wedding- fantastic weather for a fall race!
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Old 10-16-16, 12:20 PM
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Great pics.Looking forward to riding the Buffalo 105 gravel event next weekend with @mstateglfr,

Buffalo 105 Gravel Race -
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Old 10-16-16, 08:18 PM
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Complacent of Finishing it again because of having finished its Inaugural last year from which i am more experience and have 2K more mileage on my legs.. being an amateur i even set a goal of crossing the finish line under 9hrs.

Bammmm.. the gravel are so LOOSE and yet to settle. Organizers did warn us its going to be rough and treacherous because MODOT just poured in those gravel that same week on some parts. But damn. That some parts means over 20 miles of it and heck the downhill and the uphill part are the worse. Aside from bike tracks you can see a lot of shoe tracks on it. I only saw one fatty bike, seems like he got the best rides of his life.

To sum my ride.. i didnt finish the race. I got a double flat on one of the downhill. And another double flat on the next downhill. 70miles out and I call it quits. With no more reserve and I know that the next 30miles is a just the same as the other 70miles i passed by. Yup.a ride in a pick up truck of a stranger is the best way to go for me..lol
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Old 10-16-16, 09:35 PM
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I rode the 50 mile option this year, and yes there was a lot of looser gravel and quite a few areas that had creek run gravel (rounded gravel the doesn't pack very well). I am from just 20 miles away in rolla so i am used to these conditions as the county roads are very similar to our gravel roads. I felt I was pretty well prepared as I have over 3500 miles under my belt this year. Bought a new gravel bike 3 months ago which is a Fuji Altamira CX 1.3 which is pretty light and set up for CX and gravel. It has 1X 44 on front with 11-36 on rear with hydraulic disc brakes. I had this set up with panaracer Gravel King 32 MM tires, which have small knobbies on them.

First I would like to say that the Race/Ride was the best run cycling event I have been a part of. Very well organized, with lots of well informed volunteers. The entire organization that ran the race was very positive and encouraging. Lots of clapping and cowbell ringing at major stops and junctions. The entire race course was very well marked with blue arrows on turns (Not easy to do on gravel roads). The weather was gorgeous with 62 at start and 70 at finish. The gravel was very rough in many areas. Lots of wash boarding and lots of loose gravel in quite a few areas. The course did feature quite a bit of Creek Gravel which is gravel pulled out of the creeks without lime dust (fines) so it doesn't pack and has a tendency to be very difficult to pedal through. Many counties use it around here because it is more economical than buying crushed limestone from the quarries.

So the ride was described best in one word, TOUGH! I Have ridden my share of gravel, but riding this far (53 actual miles), with this much climbing (3248 Feet) riding as fast as you can with minimal breaks, trying to finish in as quick of time as possible with a 12-14 MPH wind out of the south, is difficult to say the least. I rode the first 25-27 miles with a couple of friends (Dennis & Jamie Noel) which became one friend (Jamie), due to Dennis Flatting. There were lots of flats. The gravel was rough and contained some pretty big rocks which caused a lot of punctures. The first half was pretty good as we were mainly heading North with the wind to our backs and we were averaging about 16.2 mph. On the second half, I stopped at the halfway aid station for about 1 minute to get some additional liquids, Pickles and to refuel with a Honey bun. Jamie wasn't aware i stopped and kept on going. I did pick up another riding partner at the midway (Greg Niemeyer), which we would end up finishing the race together. We rode out of the station pretty close and we caught up to my original friend (Jamie) within 7-8 miles. What I found out about Greg is that He was a better descender, and I was a better climber, so we really ended up helping one another. He was doing the race for the second time (He finished 4th last year in the 50).
The South wind was just brutal at times. There would be times when we would turn to the south and even on pavement it was tough fighting that wind. Fortunately we were able to take turns and fight it together and help pull one another. Within 5-10 more miles Jamie couldn't hang with us and he dropped back. At about mile 38-40 I was starting to think, could I actually finish this race? Not very Often do I have those kind of thoughts. It is just so different than road biking as you basically never get a break. You are constantly pushing against the gravel, and constantly pushing very steep (10-15%) although relatively short (usually no longer than 1/2 mile) hills. I was a bit concerned about the 1X gearing (44 up front) with the 11-36 in the rear, but it proved to be just perfect. There were quite a few hills where I was pushing in the 36.
I learned some great descending skills from Greg as he would really fly down the hills and by the end I was keeping up pretty well. I would catch him going up on the hills.

The last 8 miles things started to get better as you start to realize you don't have much to go and it will be done, soon. We picked up the pace, and finished very strong as there is a 3 mile pavement section that is pretty flat and we sprinted in a pace line switching back and forth to finish as fast as possible. They have posted results and these are my ride figures:
52.9 Miles, 3284 Ft Elevation, 14.9 MPH Avg Speed, 3Hrs 36 Minutes moving time. (garmin said 3hr 33 min 48 sec)

They have now posted the results for the 50 mile race, and I came in 7th out of 84 riders. I guess, I cant complain for my first gravel race for this old guy (57).


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Last edited by Jackmen; 10-18-16 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 10-17-16, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Jackmen
I rode the 50 mile option this year, and yes there was a lot of looser gravel and quite a few areas that had creek run gravel (rounded gravel the doesn't pack very well). I am from just 20 miles away in rolla so i am used to these conditions as the county roads are very similar to our gravel roads. I felt I was pretty well prepared as I have over 3500 miles under my belt this year. Bought a new gravel bike 3 months ago which is a Fuji Altamira CX 1.3 which is pretty light and set up for CX and gravel. It has 1X 44 on front with 11-36 on rear with hydraulic disc brakes. I had this set up with panaracer Gravel King 32 MM tires, which have small knobbies on them.

First I would like to say that the Race/Ride was the best run cycling event I have been a part of. Very well organized, with lots of well informed volunteers. The entire organization that ran the race was very positive and encouraging. Lots of clapping and cowbell ringing at major stops and junctions. The entire race course was very well marked with blue arrows on turns (Not easy to do on gravel roads). The weather was gorgeous with 62 at start and 70 at finish. The gravel was very rough in many areas. Lots of wash boarding and lots of loose gravel in quite a few areas. The course did feature quite a bit of Creek Gravel which is gravel pulled out of the creeks without lime dust (fines) so it doesn't pack and has a tendency to be very difficult to pedal through. Many counties use it around here because it is more economical than buying crushed limestone from the quarries.

So the ride was described best in one word, TOUGH! I Have ridden my share of gravel, but riding this far (53 actual miles), with this much climbing (3248 Feet) riding as fast as you can with minimal breaks, trying to finish in as quick of time as possible with a 12-14 MPH wind out of the south, is difficult to say the least. I rode the first 25-27 miles with a couple of friends which became one friend, due to flats. There were lots of flats. The gravel was rough and contained some pretty big rocks which caused a lot of punctures. The first half was pretty good as we were mainly heading North with the wind to our backs and we were averaging about 16.2 mph. On the second half, I stopped at the halfway aid station for about 1 minute to get some additional liquids, Pickles and to refuel with a Honey bun. My friend wasn't aware i stopped and kept on going. I did pick up another riding partner at the midway, which we would end up finishing the race together. We rode out of the station pretty close and we caught up to my original friend within 7-8 miles. What I found out about my new riding partner is that He was a better descender, and I was a better climber, so we really ended up helping one another. He was doing the race for the second time, also (he indicated he finished 4th last year in the 50).
The wind was just brutal at times. There would be times when we would turn to the south and even on pavement it was tough fighting that wind. Fortunately we were able to take turns and fight it together and help pull one another. Within 5-10 more miles my original friend couldn't hang with us and he dropped back. At about mile 38-40 I was starting to think could I actually finish this race? Not very Often do I have those kind of thoughts. It is just so different than road biking as you basically never get a break. You are constantly pushing against the gravel, and constantly pushing very steep (10-15%) although relatively short (usually no longer than 1/2 mile) hills. I was a bit concerned about the 1X gearing (44 up front) with the 11-36 in the rear, but it proved to be just perfect. There were quite a few hills where I was pushing in the 36.
I learned some great descending skills from my second half riding partner as he would really fly down the hills and by the end I was keeping up pretty well. I would always catch him going up on the hills.

The last 8 miles things started to get better as you start to realize you don't have much to go and it will be done, soon. We picked up the pace, and finished very strong as there is a 3 mile pavement section that is pretty flat and we sprinted in a pace line switching back and forth to finish as fast as possible. They haven't posted results yet but these are my ride figures:
52.9 Miles, 3284 Ft Elevation, 14.9 MPH Avg Speed, 3Hrs 33 Min 48 sec moving time.

They haven't posted the results yet for the 50 miler, but I am thinking I came in somewhere between 5-10. I guess, I cant complain for my first gravel race for this old guy (57). I'll amend the post when they post the actual results.

Hi Jack,


It was good to meet you on Saturday. Great report and an excellent result for the day. My group averaged about 13 mph and commented that it felt more like 75 miles than 53 miles. One of our group was on a road bike with short reach brakes and 700x28 tires. It was amazing that he finished, but he said it was miserable. I expect to hold a 13 mph average next year for the 50 mile route.


Gravel Grinders add another dimension to cycling. The Cuba event route was unlike any of the packed trails I've used in Illinois, Wisconsin or Ohio. I was expecting a surface like the KATY Trail, firm enough for a 700x28. Damn, the gravel was really loose and finding a completely packed line was problematic about 50% of the route. I'll need to both upgrade the tire selection and to ride up grades during the next year to improve the motor.


Michael
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-17-16 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 10-18-16, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Jackmen
I rode the 50 mile option this year, and yes there was a lot of looser gravel and quite a few areas that had creek run gravel (rounded gravel the doesn't pack very well). <snip>

So the ride was described best in one word, TOUGH! I Have ridden my share of gravel, but riding this far (53 actual miles), with this much climbing (3248 Feet) riding as fast as you can with minimal breaks, trying to finish in as quick of time as possible with a 12-14 MPH wind out of the south, is difficult to say the least. <snip>

They have now posted the results for the 50 mile race, and I came in 7th out of 84 riders. I guess, I cant complain for my first gravel race for this old guy (57).


https://www.facebook.com/CubanGravel...90693367902438

Congrats on a great result. Is 50 the new 20?


.
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-18-16 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 10-18-16, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv
Congrats on a great result. Is 50 the new 20?


.
I feel Like 50 is the new 20! I'm in the best shape of my life and the lightest I have been since I was a Freshman in College!

I don't feel old, and enjoying life's challenges
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Old 10-16-17, 12:01 PM
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Anyone here attending the 2017 Cuba Gravel Crisis out of Cuba, Missouri this weekend? I'll be there along with several friends out of the St. Louis area.
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 10-16-17 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 10-16-17, 03:19 PM
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OK I was thinking Cuba, the COUNTRY.
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