Preparing For The Dirty Kanza 200 | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling

Preparing For The Dirty Kanza 200 | Ask GCN Anything About Cycling


– Welcome to another
episode of Ask GCN Anything. This week, ahead of
Katherine’s Dirty Kanza epic, it’s a gravel riding
special, so let’s get started with this one from Marc Snelson, who asks, “What are your thoughts
on flared handlebars?” – It’s a bit of a Marmite
subject isn’t it, really? I think some people absolutely love them, and have ridden with
them for years and years. Some people maybe haven’t tried them or just aren’t to their taste. How about you? – Appearance-wise, honestly
it’s a bit of a no. I’m kind of, more traditional,
I think like the classic, round handlebars look good whatever. Utility, I haven’t used them
so I can’t speak to that. – Yeah, I mean I’ve got a
pair that I’ve been using for a few weeks now. To start with, it was a bit of an issue ’cause I couldn’t actually
get them trough my front door. (both laughing) But after that, I think it was descending on the drops on a gravel bike, they really come into their own because you get that much
more stable position. So, yeah, I could be a bit of a convert. A bit too early to tell I think. – So anything bike-fit, don’t really knock it
’til you’ve tried it. – Yep.
– Might be good for you. If you can get it through the front door. – Right, what we’ve got next? This is like an age-old
question in gravel biking. “Tubeless or tubed?” – Ah, well, it surely
has gotta be tubeless, if you’ve got the right tires. – Yeah, it’s tubeless. – There we go, tubeless.
(Katherine laughs) – Simple question, fewer puncture repairs. Next up, we’ve got one
from Matheus Barbosa. I quite like this one, it says, “Are 700 by 28c slicks
on a normal road bike “enough to ride gravel? “I don’t want to have a bike
for every variation of soil.” – Yeah, this is really
cool, ’cause I think it’s really important to remember you don’t have to get a different kind of bike to ride gravel. Most people will be able to ride, like, a road bike on gravel, but the limiting factor’s
gonna be the amount of clearance that you have to allow you to fit those wider tires. – Yeah, I reckon 28c’s are
good enough for most stuff, though aren’t they? You know if you look at–
– Yeah. – Although Paris-Roubaix isn’t on gravel, it’s on pretty extreme, pretty
different road surfaces. And the riders there are using 28’s, 30’s, and they’re kind of fine. And sure they are good
professional riders, but if the tires will stand up to the punishment in that race, there’s a good chance that
kind of whatever you can throw at it, they might be all right. So sure, once you’ve ridden a bit on 28cs you might want to graduate to something that’s even better suited. – Yeah. – But will they be good for a taster? – Absolutely.
– Yeah, sure. – Yeah. – Okay, what about, Boris
Khvostichenko, sorry Boris, who asks, “What is the best tire tread “to use on different types of gravel?” He’s talking about deep,
loose gravel with big pebbles, compacted dirt and mud, et cetera. Probably not 28C road tires Boris! (Katherine laughs) But I will pass to Katherine on this one. – Yes, something again that we get a lot. Daan, also asking common
tire width and PSI. I think there is no holy grail, and that’s why there are so
many different combinations of pressure, of tread, of
width, and it’s all gonna depend not only what kind of trail
you’re on but the conditions. So if you’re riding in the winter, for example here in the UK,
it’s completely different to in the summer and we’re
really lucky to have had some nice, dry, dusty conditions,
very hard-pack recently, and it’s completely different
type of tire to the winter where you’re looking at
absolute slop of mud. – I think tire width,
when you think about it is literally the cheapest thing that you could experiment
with on your bike, it’s free except for
a little bit of effort so if you, you know, if you are unsure about your tire pressure, you can just go out and experiment with it and by altering your tire pressure you can alter your tire width, you can alter how the tread
interacts with the ground, depending on what the road or off-road surface, rather, is like. So yeah, tire pressure,
go out and experiment, take a couple spare tubes
with you just in case, and go from there! – Yeah, this is a really
great one from Dan Lancaster. “Are gravel or adventure
riders as vain as roadies? “Sorry GCN, have a road bike
but not vain enough to ride. “Bought a gravel bike and
enjoy wearing what I want “and not worrying about sock length.” Lasty, what do you think? – Well, I guess, Dan, I’m
sorry that your experience with road cyclists has led
you to think that as a group, we can be that vain and judgemental. I think it’s really sad if
someone is not, you know, wants to ride their bike but feels they can’t for appearance. If you wanna wear no socks, I
know we joke about triathletes but that’s genuinely absolutely fine. We love the fact that people ride bikes and I think most, if
not all road cyclists, have that approach too. Gravel riding, given the
terrain, might be a bit, like you say, it might be
that the appearance-focus, for some is a little less
obvious, because you’re out, kind of, off road, matters
maybe less what you wear. It’s not about aerodynamics. – Yeah, it’s less
performance-orientated I think. I really like it, it’s
pretty liberal when it comes to what you can choose to
wear, or use, you know, if you wanna go out in a
denim shirt or use a bum-bag, then you can do whatever you
want, really, it’s up to you. – But yeah, there’s a line in the script that Katherine hasn’t read that says, “If you’re most comfortable
wearing a tank top, “cut-off jeans and SBD
sandals then go for it.” And the answer is, sure,
while that would look very different from what a
lot of cyclists would use, and while actually those items of clothing are not the best items you
can use for the purpose, so, you know, they’re gonna
be a bit less comfortable, especially if you’re
riding in cut-off jeans for four or five hours. Still, if that’s how you wanna ride, and you enjoy road riding, do it, it’s great, or if
you enjoy gravel riding and you wanna ride like
that, do it, it’s great. – Go for it! – Okay, next one, this one is
possibly even more contentious with cyclists at the
moment than what to wear. It’s, “Single or double chain ring?” – Single! All the way, I think it’s
one less thing to go wrong, which if you’re in the middle of nowhere, which often you’re led to in
gravel or off road riding, then that’s really useful,
save a little bit of weight, not quite such an issue. And I think the only
real downside is maybe, if you’re going pretty
fast downhill on road you might spin out but maybe that’s just a good time to chill out. – Yeah, free-wheel, tuck, go faster! I’m a bit torn on this because I started, I hadn’t ridden, I guess, gravel, I’d come from a cyclocross background where some people rode single chain rigs, but most people still stuck with doubles, and I quite like the range of gears that a double chain set offered, especially because I was particularly good at going slow uphill, so
I really enjoyed that. However, I would really like to get out and try one of the single ring set-ups with a really broad range cassette. – Yeah. – Simon, our very own Simon Richardson, did a video on whether or
not a one-by drivetrain was right for you and a
few of you thought it was, a few of you thought it wasn’t, and it was extremely contentious but it’s well worth checking
out so we’ll put that on now. – Before we get on to
how, let’s tackle why you might wanna use a one-by drivetrain, because for normal
cyclists like you and I, there’s less maintenance
and it’s easier to set-up because you’ve only got one
de-railer to worry about. It can also be lighter, depending
on the exact combination of sprockets that you choose to use. – Make sure you let us know in the comments below
this video, actually, do you ride a single
ring or a double ring? And if you ride one or the other, would you consider switching? Look forward to reading your responses. Next up Katherine, we’ve
got one from SioLazer from beneath the Dirty Kanza
training video who asks, “I’m dreaming of doing this some day. “Thanks for talking about training. “I’ve got loads of natural
melanin and the ability “to build a base tan going
into the cycling season, “but you might not be similarly inclined. “What is your plan to keep “your skin protected during this event?” – I think the only way is
just a lot of sun-cream, factor 50 to the max. I’ve been recommended some
factor 50 lip salve as well, ’cause that’s important. Decent eye protection
and just keep reapplying throughout the event, really. – So the sun protection
plan is lots and often. – Yes. – Because it’s going through a bit of a heat-wave now, isn’t it? – Yeah, it looks like it’s about 39 degrees Celsius
or 100 Fahrenheit, so something we’re not really
used to here in the UK, it’s gonna be fun! – Yeah, I don’t think
it’s ever been that hot. (Katherine laughs) – Okay, so we’ve got some
more DK specific advice. This one’s from Nero Wolfe who
says, “If you’re gonna ride “the Dirty Kanza 200, tires, tires, tires. “Pick the right tires! “Pack the maximum number
of latex inner tubes “you think you’ll need then double it.” I always thought that if
you’ve got the right tires, you might need fewer inner tubes but maybe not, never ridden it. “1c, get good at or practice
replacing inner tubes, “you’re going to be doing a lot of that.” – Hopefully not. – What’s your tube change time? – Ooh! Never practiced, sounds
like a good challenge. – Never practiced, there’s about 72 hours,
– Well, not at speed. – Or so, got a couple of evenings in the hotel before the event. – That’s gonna be fun. – And then number two, “With
so many punctures flats, “tubeless set-ups often fail
on the Dirty Kanza 200.” I wouldn’t have presumed that. – Let’s hope it doesn’t – Okay, so, thanks, Nero, that does all sound like solid advice. – Yeah, I am taking 10 tubes. Hopefully I wont have to use all 10, what does that work
out, one every 20 miles? – How are you storing 10 tubes? – I’ve got quite a large backpack. – Okay. – Yeah, I mean, I’m hopefully not gonna take all 10 at once. – Oh, right. – If I have 10 flats
between 50 mile checkpoints then that will be pretty spectacular. – That would be.
– Yeah. – Yeah, very, very, very
annoying, presumably. Are you taking patches as well? – Yeah, and I’ve got those little worms, the tubeless repair
kit, super glue, Sugru, all bases covered.
– What don’t you have? Okay, so Robin Hood, don’t know if Robin is trolling us here but Robins says, “Number one on your list if
you’re gonna do a gravel ride “is buy a hard tail mountain bike.” And I get that because it
wasn’t until a few years ago that people just rode
mountian bikes on fire roads, before they rode road bikes there. And, you know, in truth if you wanna do, something a little bit more
extreme than gravel riding or gravel road riding, mountain
bikes are a good option. – Yeah, for sure. – But I’d recommend that you check out the actual experts on that so we’re gonna throw this
over to our mates at GMBN who did a video recently on
the pros and cons of hard tails and full sus mountain bikes. – Now many of the top
riders actually travel with both bikes, they’ll decide which one they want to use depending on how rough and how technical that course is. So, today, I’m gonna compare the two. (energetic music) – Yep, so if you’re into mountain biking and haven’t subscribe to GMBN yet, definitely make sure that you do. Next up, Katherine, it’s
a training specific one, something you’ve got a
lot of experience of, in the last few months, for the DK, It’s from Pete Smyth, and Pete asks, “When training for an
endurance gravel ride, “how much training do you do on gravel, “and how much would you do on road?” – Yeah, that’s a really good one actually, and it’s something that
we covered a little bit in the training preparation
video with Ollie, my coach. You’d have thought that you’d try and ride predominantly on gravel
because it’s a gravel event, but actually a lot of it is on road and a lot of it is about
building up your endurance and actually going from road into gravel, sort of preparing in a more easy way, ’cause adding in gravel
and adding in elevation makes things a lot harder. So I have been doing quite
a lot of road riding. Although, I find I have
to intersperse that with a few off-road sections
just to keep me interested, much to the despair of some of my mates who have been training
with me on road bikes. Yeah, maybe 50/50. – Okay, what’s been your
longest training ride in preparation for the Dirty Kanza? – On road I did 175 miles. – Okay. – It was alright, it
was pretty flat though. (Katherine giggles) – That’s still quite a long ride. (both laughing) Alright, we’ve got one
last one and I think this is, again, one that
may be more in the form of very kind advice.
– Yeah. – It’s from Kevin McGrath who says, “For long events like DK200, “you could store a CamelBak
or extra water bladder “in a frame bag and use a retractable clip “to keep the nozzle on your bars.” Interesting advice and also says, “Regarding a support crew, “make sure that they have
cleaning supplies ready “to rinse off your bike
and lube your chain.” We’ll let our film maker know. (Katherine laughs) “Clothing and spare lights, if needed, “spare socks and gloves,
extra chamois cream “and a variety of snacks
including some heavier food, “like a burrito” Sounds pretty good! “Or a sandwich. “Also a bonk-breaker snack like
chocolate, a cold soda, or,” and this is a kind of pretty
left-field suggestion, “Pickle juice”. Which I’m guessing is for cramps. – Hmm, I might steer
clear of the pickle juice. (both laughing) – You wimp. – I have heard that there’s a delicacy over in Kansas called a PAYDAY though. – What’s that? – Which is like a marshmallow, peanut brittle, caramel type thing, so I’m pretty stoked
about trying some of them. – Okay. – Might be a pretty massive
sugar rush, but I dunno! – Have to have one per 10 miles just to keep the sugar spike flat. – On a high! (both laughing) But seriously, yeah,
hydration I think has been one of the most difficult
things to get my head round. So I can top up on water every 50 miles, so with it being about 39 degrees, that’s a lot of water to carry I’ve got two GCN CamelBak
bottles squeezed into my frame because I’ve got quite a small frame, so that’s one and a half liters, I’m gonna have a CamelBak chase vest with one in a half liter CamelBak in there and I’m actually considering
taking a few extra bottles to put in the pack as well ’cause the last thing I want
to do is run out of water. – So you’re gonna hit the
point where you’re carrying so much water that you start to dehydrate. – Sweat! A lot! – Dehydrate more rapidly as a
result of carrying all that. – Yes, gonna be a mess, yeah. – Right so, before we
go, we should probably let people know how they can
keep up with your progress, while you’re over there, so you will be on the Global
Cycle Network Instagram account which we’ll link down in the description. – Yep. – And as of this video going live, there’s probably around
like 48, maybe 36 hours, before you start.
– Mm-hm, or less. – So good luck, make sure
you hit the thumbs up button, and if you have any last minute advice, leave it down in the comments too. – That’ll be great, I’ll
be looking at the comments. – And what video should they watch next? – Well, we’ve got the
training and preparation so if you’re looking at doing
gravel events for yourself, we’ve got that one just down here. – And make sure you subscribe to GCN because, that way, you’ll
find out when Katherine’s vlog from Dirty Kanza goes live.