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Mountain bike wins gravel race

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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.

Mountain bike wins gravel race

Old 06-13-21, 09:28 AM
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Colin Strickland recently wrote a nice opinion piece in VeloNews about the widely different philosophies of gravel vs road racing.

Rather than UCI taking over gravel I hope it goes the other way, I'd like to see more of the gravel philosophy of racing on the road.
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Old 06-13-21, 10:14 AM
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I think Ted King has said he'll never again race in a UCI event. I wonder if there are other top gravel racers that will follow that lead and minimize the UCI's influence on gravel.
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Old 06-13-21, 11:03 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I think Ted King has said he'll never again race in a UCI event. I wonder if there are other top gravel racers that will follow that lead and minimize the UCI's influence on gravel.
Hard to imagine such a thing happening when high profile events like Unbound don’t even offer prize money, while UCI races do.
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Old 06-13-21, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by zen_ View Post
I don't think many roadies did the XL event (the field was 50, and there were 46 finishers).

Seems pretty smart to use that type of bike on the Unbound course that has lots of chunk gravel to bounce riders around since comfort is paramount for these ultra-endurance events, and the S-Works Epic only weight 9.5kg. Also have to consider though that Lael is a sponsored athlete, and while she probably gets to pick equipment at each event, I'm sure Specialized is more than happy to sell any aspiring ultra-endurance gravel rider a $12,000 Epic in addition to a Diverge...
as far as I can tell their results data is messed up. They had a larger field this year. I had a friend do it and she said they had 120 in the field. She dropped out when there were 50 people left.

I agree that not mainly “roadies” would choose to do the XL.
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Old 06-13-21, 11:13 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
I think Ted King has said he'll never again race in a UCI event. I wonder if there are other top gravel racers that will follow that lead and minimize the UCI's influence on gravel.
I absolutely love having fast guys like former road racers doing doing gravel events. It’s cool seeing the times they put up. And IMO UCI in gravel is unnecessary and will only bring a myriad of stupid rules that are unnecessary. Gravel is clearly grassroots at its core. UCI will ruin that. If you wish to alienate 75% or more or the field then feel free to bring in the UCI.
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Old 06-13-21, 11:17 AM
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I'm more worried about USA Cycling getting interested in gravel, since they are wholly responsible for the sorry state of bike racing in the U.S.

Lael rode that bike when she rode the Oregon Outback twice in the previous week, also 350+ miles each time. I assume Spesh is paying her something to ride it, but Jan Heine said she was much faster in the rougher sections of the Outback.
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Old 06-13-21, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Who cares? Well, directly relevant to the matter, the UCI, for one.
The UCI cares how the winning bike is categorized? Why?
Maybe they will care in the future, if they decide to dig their talons into gravel racing, but I dont think the UCI cares how that bike is categorized.

And if Unbound doesn't become a UCI event, then the UCI won't care how it's categorized in the future.
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Old 06-13-21, 05:06 PM
  #33  
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I think this goes to show that "Gravel" races can vary as widely as "Gravel" bikes.

Jan Heine must be pretty happy about this one (she was running RH tires).
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Old 06-13-21, 07:14 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by biketampa View Post
as far as I can tell their results data is messed up. They had a larger field this year. I had a friend do it and she said they had 120 in the field. She dropped out when there were 50 people left.

I agree that not mainly “roadies” would choose to do the XL.
Makes sense, I know they are pretty selective, but it did seem kinda miraculous to only have 3 DNF's (on paper) for such a grueling event.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:47 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Who cares? Well, directly relevant to the matter, the UCI, for one.
Please tell me where the UCI has stated or implied that they will not allow front suspension on "gravel" bikes in these future UCI gravel races that do not exist yet.

I'll wait.
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Old 06-14-21, 11:18 AM
  #36  
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As others have noted, Wilcox could have won riding anything.

I did a 106 mile grave ride last Saturday. There were about 20 people on the ride. It's worth noting that of the five who started the ride with MTBs, only one finished. The one who finished bonked at about 70 miles. For the next 15 we did the drop and group up, drop and group up routine. After that I just stayed back with him to chat and bring him in. There's nothing worse than falling behind, falling behind, falling behind. I wonder whether it was about MTBs or MTBers. The rest of us were recovering roadies on gravel bikes (I picked up just a few weeks ago the Kona Rove NRB I rode). Roadies just kind of hit a pace and keep it for whatever distance. MTBers are more used to doing up and down all out for 25-30 miles. Very different riding style.
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Old 06-14-21, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
In what way, both of them are smiling?
Heh, yeah, both are smiling at the end of some grueling race that would leave the rest of us wheezing and puking. Much less winning.

But there is a similarity in their facial structure.
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Old 06-14-21, 01:27 PM
  #38  
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She mentioned in a podcast a while back that she prefers to use front suspension because her hands are jacked up from so many miles of riding rigid forks.
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Old 06-14-21, 02:26 PM
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The point (that maybe we are missing) is that most people on the XL event used larger tires. If you are going to be doing a 24hour endurance gravel event, you don't need to be able to sprint, or even to go fast. You need to endure. So yeah, makes sense there.

For the most part, people doing the 50, 100, or 200 mile races were on gravel bikes with 40mm tires.

I've done competitive gravel on both. My gravel bike can sprint faster, climb faster and descend faster on gravel . My mountain bike can handle rougher terrain, "gravel" that is bigger than 30mm, corner faster, and descend single track like roads faster.
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Old 06-14-21, 02:30 PM
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Gravel bike wins mountain bike race

Then again - can you show me where a gravel bike wins a mountain bike race?

how 'bout this? Our local 26mile XC mountain bike race
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Old 06-14-21, 03:57 PM
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There's a guy that dominates our local CX series on a flat bar rigid fork MTB. He races in the Masters 35+ group and UCI doesn't regulate local races, so no restrictions on tire width, etc.
More specifically to that point, even though the UCI regulates CX racing, the vast majority of CX racing in the US is not affected by UCI regulations. The same would likely apply to gravel, if the UCI decides to get into that game.
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Old 06-14-21, 09:06 PM
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There is a nice bit about Lael at the end of this video about Gravel bikes at Unbound (her segment starts at 11:25)

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Old 06-14-21, 09:33 PM
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I get the sense she sets up her own bikes, she certainly spends enough time on them to do so... not like a team rider in the pits. I did wonder why a MTB with a drop bar and not a gravel bike with a suspension fork. My best guess is that she didn't want to replace the Specialized suspension steerer with something more adequate because of proprietary fitment. Her bike page on her website says she tried a Lauf fork on it a few years ago but here she is on the real thing. It would be fun to ask her but more fun to ask her about GDMBR
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Old 06-15-21, 02:04 AM
  #44  
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Funny that, this of bike is what I actually want... Hard trail MTB for gravel groupset (road is to hard or offroad, MTB too slow on tarmac) and 25deg flared bars.. a bite like kona sutra ultd... but the "problem" with these bike is the weight; they are rarely under 10kg or if they are, they are very expensive compare to a carbon gravel grinder...

I did ask planet X if they could build one of their titanium hard tail MTB but fit dropbar and gravel groupset instead... never got a reply
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Old 06-15-21, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Fentuz View Post
Funny that, this of bike is what I actually want... Hard trail MTB for gravel groupset (road is to hard or offroad, MTB too slow on tarmac) and 25deg flared bars.. a bite like kona sutra ultd... but the "problem" with these bike is the weight; they are rarely under 10kg or if they are, they are very expensive compare to a carbon gravel grinder...

I did ask planet X if they could build one of their titanium hard tail MTB but fit dropbar and gravel groupset instead... never got a reply
There's heaps of light / fast bikes out there, they're just pricey.
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Old 06-15-21, 06:42 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by surveyor6 View Post
Impressive that she bested a bunch of roadies on an MTB on the gravel, with a suspension fork.
I assume that for longer rides, having the suspension fork and huge tyres will mean a lot less fatigue from the rough surfaces, particularly with the hands
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Old 06-15-21, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I did wonder why a MTB with a drop bar and not a gravel bike with a suspension fork.
Lael replies to a few questions about her setup for UGXL in the comment section of the bikepacking.com article. She said her drop bar Epic HT is actually lighter than her Diverge (which is saying a lot, considering it has a suspension fork). She also ran fairly wide tires (a 700x55mm and a 700x48) which are a lot wider than the Diverge can handle.
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Old 06-15-21, 08:19 AM
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I know someone that had a full rigid MTB that he put a suspension fork on. The better suspension forks are light, and in his case, the suspension fork was lighter than the stock aluminum rigid fork.
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Old 06-15-21, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
the suspension fork was lighter than the stock aluminum rigid fork.
Three pounds, and twelve hundred dollars…

Originally Posted by SapInMyBlood View Post
There's heaps of light / fast bikes out there, they're just pricey.
Word to that. All the big parts (frame crank rims bar and post) need to be carbon and the tires pretty thin. And 11 speed dome cassette…
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Old 06-16-21, 07:02 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
There's a guy that dominates our local CX series on a flat bar rigid fork MTB. He races in the Masters 35+ group and UCI doesn't regulate local races, so no restrictions on tire width, etc.
More specifically to that point, even though the UCI regulates CX racing, the vast majority of CX racing in the US is not affected by UCI regulations. The same would likely apply to gravel, if the UCI decides to get into that game.
I think I raced against that dude. That bike has a pretty strong motor!
No reason why a light weight hard tail (and fatter tires) wouldn't be better at those races (he got first place). Kinda defeats the purpose of riding a road bike off road though.
On gravel, the light weight and much broader gearing (esp top end) make my gravel bike faster than my mountain.

I'm thinking there is a large contingent that wants to keep UCI out of gravel. But we'll see.
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