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 :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Wet Gravel Grinder Gear

Old 05-17-19, 07:58 AM
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Hypno Toad
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Wet Gravel Grinder Gear

I love gravel grinders, I typically ride one per month April to October every year. This means there is a good chance you'll be riding/racing in the rain. With that has come lessons in what wet gravel can do to your skin (& gear).

Tomorrow I'm riding the Royal (Almanzo's 164-mile course) - the forecast is for rain all day and temps in the mid-40s. So it'll be another chance to dial in my cold & wet gravel kit.

Things I learned from other long gravel rides in 40*F wet weather:
  • Leg warmer's grippers combined with wet sand will leave marks on your upper-thighs that will take weeks to heal - now it's either old Ibex knickers or bibs with bare legs
  • The back of my neck was rubbed raw from the wool skull cap getting coated with wet sand - by turning my heads, I was rubbing the back of my neck with sand paper
  • Wool is the key to keeping warm
  • Don't stop too long at check points (muscles will lock up)
  • CamelBak is a great way to have a drink without getting a mouth full of grit
  • Everything, EVERYTHING, everything you eat will be coated in sand
  • Also the issue of "man parts" - you want tight enough base layer that nothing's moving around in your bibs (that was an awkward injury to recover from). For tomorrow's ride, I'll have a pair of tight Zoot tri shorts that will be under my Ibex knickers.
Anybody else have lessons learned and wanna share?

The pic below was the 2017 Almanzo (the Toad's on the drop-bar fatbike).


Photo credit - David Phillips / Spring Valley Tribune

Last edited by Hypno Toad; 05-17-19 at 09:50 AM. Reason: 47 typos
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Old 05-17-19, 08:25 AM
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Wow, good list.
I like $5 merino wool or cashmere from Salvation Army when I know its gonna get used hard.

I use a beaver tail fender on my bike. (Lets people draft behind me. LOL)

Good luck tomorrow!
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Old 05-17-19, 08:32 AM
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I don't ride like you but I have found this useful: a small supply of cloth (or paper towels) to wipe my lenses. I know they'll get dirty again but wiping with a dirty glove over & over can be improved on by bringing a small supply of something else to use
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Old 05-17-19, 08:52 AM
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A few critical pieces of kit for wet gravel events:
Castelli Gabba long sleeve. Adjust base layers for the temperature.
Fenders - at least a minimal rear fender to block your saddle region. Full fenders are amazing for keeping you clean and dry if you aren't riding in a group.
Gloves with a cloth patch for clearing the glasses.
Don't use knee/leg warmers. Three valid choices are winter cycling tights, running tights over the bibs, or embrocation.
Lake boots (if it's cold enough to justify them).
Tall wool socks.
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Old 05-17-19, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Wow, good list.
I like $5 merino wool or cashmere from Salvation Army when I know its gonna get used hard.

I use a beaver tail fender on my bike. (Lets people draft behind me. LOL)

Good luck tomorrow!
Thanks!

FENDER! Yes, that is a big miss on my list!

In the pic above, I had a PDW Mud Shovel, but Ray (in orange jacket & black helmet) said that it wasn't really helping with the spray off my 4" tires.

On most of these rides, you take your pick: face full of sand slurry to get out of the wind; or all the wind but not inhaling who-knows-what off the next rider's tire.
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Old 05-17-19, 10:54 AM
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+1 on merino wool.

Toad, what sort of rain jacket do you favor?
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Old 05-17-19, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
+1 on merino wool.

Toad, what sort of rain jacket do you favor?
I'm a fan of O2 Rainwear - they are based a few miles from my house. Their gear offer good water and wind protection, plus the material breather better than other rain gear I've used.
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Old 05-17-19, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
Castelli Gabba long sleeve. Adjust base layers for the temperature.
+1

The Gabba and Perfetto products are stellar, either short or long sleeve.

The Perfetto Light jersey has an open nanoflex fabric in the rear to vent heat.

The Gabba is a badass jersey for wet, nasty cold conditions.

The rear hem on both drops way down to keep wheel spray off.
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Old 05-20-19, 07:38 AM
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Royal update: The rain was not a factor. A major storm front pushed through as I drove to the start line, but there wasn't a drop of rain during the 14 hours it took me to ride the 167-mile course. It never got much over 50F, never saw the sun, and the wind was very mean to us all day - headwinds for the first 80 miles, some tailwinds in the middle, but the last 15 miles was back into a stronger headwind. Winds started out of the East (odd) and by afternoon were coming from the Northeast. Weather reports for the region recorded wind speeds average 16 mph, with sustained speeds up to 24 mph and max gust at 32 mph. The course was up and down most of the river valleys in the area, so the low areas gave some breaks from the winds, but never enough!

We had 30 riders step up to the start line, out of 115+ registered. No race results were recorded (by design), but I'd estimate only 5 riders DNF.
Here's the Toad (white helmet and suffering) at the top of Shady Lane Trail - a tough climb early in the day, only 200 ft climb, but starts with 15+%. It was like this all day, over 11,000 ft of climbing with short-step hills.


Thanks Michael for the photo.



Finish line pic of the Breeze Radar Pro

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Old 05-20-19, 07:46 AM
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Nice! Good job showoing up and completing the course!!! What is worse – DNF, or DNS? Lol

FYI, I put my fender as low as I can (mine is a little longer than yours) to minimize back spray to others – but Ray is probably right, either way. Besides – if I put it too low and it gets off center, knobby tires (even small knobs) do a good job at eating away into the plastic.
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