Wednesday, May 29, 2013

MudHoney Metamorphosis! turning a Seven cyclocross race bike into a gravel grinder

I never planned on doing this. Sure, when I got my Seven Cycles MudHoney the thought of riding it on dirt roads in the summer crossed my mind. I do train quite a bit on gravel roads & dirt farm track during cyclocross season. For that sort of riding adding a bottle cage & a seat pack is all the adjustment necessary. But the requirements of racing a gravel grinder, especially a 200 mile one, are entirely different.

A substantial part of preparing for the Dirty Kanza 200 has been figuring how to turn this bike:

Into this bike:

Cyclocross races are short in cool weather. Gravel grinders are long & Kansas in June is hot. Rarely do I need a water bottle in a cyclocross race. I expect to go through 25-30 oz an hour at the Dirty Kanza 200. After trying triathlon seat rockets, handlebar mounted cages, camelbak's, I finally tripped across the idea of putting a hydro bladder in a frame bag. Perfect! One water bottle plus the bladder gives me over 100 oz. of re-hydration on board.

Did I mention that there is no crew support on course between check points. If you have a flat, break a chain, ect, ect, ect, you're the one fixing it. So an extra large saddle bag is needed to carry the fixings

 That's two tubes, tools, patch kit, a bit of chain, and other fixing things in there.

Bonk is the killer of dreams at these type of events. In any bike race it's easy to forget to eat often enough. In a race that will last 12 or more hours, that is a recipe for doom. It is easier for me to remember to eat when my feed bag is strapped to the bar in front of me.

Yes, those are mini-aero bars on a cyclocross bike. Imagine chasing into a 15 mph head wind for 40 miles. Now imagine nothing, no hills, no buildings, not a single tree that will provide you shelter from that merciless wind. That's Kansas weather on an average day. So I'm rocking the aero bars no matter what anyone says.

Beyond that, the tires are Bontrager CXO file treads, the gearing is a 50x34 up front & a 11-27 cassette. I trust that my tires will hold up to the Flint Hills, but I'm bringing plenty of spares just in case. So far this bike set up has worked exceeding well on 130-150 mile training rides. The 38c tires have enough traction and float on New England's rough dirt roads & jeep trails. Bontrager grippy gel tape with extra gel pads have kept my hands comfortable. I like Fizik Gobi saddles for every bike. We'll know come June 1st how it all held together.

No comments:

Post a Comment