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Mountain bike wins gravel race

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Mountain bike wins gravel race

Old 06-12-21, 02:41 PM
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Mountain bike wins gravel race

Lael Wilcox won the women's Unbound XL (formerly Dirty Kanza) on a Specialized Epic hardtail with drop bars.



Is it a mountain bike or is it a gravel bike? This was the XL race - 357 miles. She chose to push the extra weight around to have comfort. Interesting trade-off. Successful trade-off.

Last edited by tyrion; 06-12-21 at 09:22 PM. Reason: added "hardtail"
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Old 06-12-21, 02:45 PM
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It’s an MTB with drop bars, of course, making it the same kind of bike Jackie Phelan rode to NORBA national XC championships in the early ‘80s.


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Old 06-12-21, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Is it a mountain bike or is it a gravel bike?
Haven't you heard? Grountain bikes are the latest thing!

Wilcox could've probably won it on a beach cruiser, though. She's amazing.
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Old 06-12-21, 02:47 PM
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I don't really care what her bike is categorized as. I'm happy for her.

I actually like that gravel bikes can be whatever we want them to be. Maybe they are a road bike that only fits 32mm tires. Maybe they are at MTB with drop bars.

Who cares?
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Old 06-12-21, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Hmmm View Post
I don't really care what her bike is categorized as. I'm happy for her.

I actually like that gravel bikes can be whatever we want them to be. Maybe they are a road bike that only fits 32mm tires. Maybe they are at MTB with drop bars.

Who cares?
Who cares? Well, directly relevant to the matter, the UCI, for one.
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Old 06-12-21, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Lael Wilcox won the women's Unbound XL (formerly Dirty Kanza) on a Specialized Epic with drop bars.



Is it a mountain bike or is it a gravel bike? This was the XL race - 357 miles. She chose to push the extra weight around to have comfort. Interesting trade-off. Successful trade-off.
Very cool. 357 miles is a grind.
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Old 06-12-21, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Who cares? Well, directly relevant to the matter, the UCI, for one.
UCI isn't yet in the Gravel Racing business. https://www.uci.org/road


Many don't want the UCI to get into the Gravel Racing business.

The gravel race scene in the United States has grown and thrived absent any involvement of the sport’s governing body. In fact, much of the discipline’s popularity owes to its grassroots ethos and lack of the constraints of sanctioning.

https://www.velonews.com/news/road/t...gravel-racing/
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Old 06-12-21, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Lael Wilcox won the women's Unbound XL (formerly Dirty Kanza) on a Specialized Epic with drop bars.



Is it a mountain bike or is it a gravel bike? This was the XL race - 357 miles. She chose to push the extra weight around to have comfort. Interesting trade-off. Successful trade-off.
Smart choice IMO.
I did a ride on an Epic once and it was the fastest MTB I've ever been on. Not plush enough for my taste for having fun on rocky trails but great for milder trails
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Old 06-12-21, 05:21 PM
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I love my drop bar MTB. It’s my preferred bike for casual riding but it might be good for a hardcore gravel race


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Old 06-12-21, 05:22 PM
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Impressive that she bested a bunch of roadies on an MTB on the gravel, with a suspension fork.
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Old 06-12-21, 06:01 PM
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If anyone isn't familiar with Lael Wilcox's ultra endurance exploits, do a quick search. Unbound XL was short for her. She's an absolute beast.

There's a GCN+ film on ultra endurance with Jenny Graham, Mark Beaumont, Lael Wilcox and a few others.
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Old 06-12-21, 07:08 PM
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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.
She dominates long distance events.
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Old 06-12-21, 07:25 PM
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I see it was a hardtail Epic. In other races she’s used a full squish version
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Old 06-12-21, 07:29 PM
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See that smile? She was just getting warmed up!

Let's hope the UCI stays out of gravel, they would take all of the fun out of it...
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Old 06-12-21, 07:38 PM
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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 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...
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Old 06-12-21, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I see it was a hardtail Epic. In other races she’s used a full squish version
Ahhh. I assumed she was on full suspension. When I see Epic or Stumpjumper I automatically assume full suspension these days.
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Old 06-12-21, 08:41 PM
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More photos here. Super short stem, typical gravel bar. A hub dyno, or some other wire to the front hub. And is that a mudguard on the RD? Cool bike

https://bikepacking.com/news/lael-wi...und-gravel-xl/
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Old 06-12-21, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Is it a mountain bike or is it a gravel bike?
Depending on specificity, both. What matters is the intent and how the bike has been optimized for what purposes. If Specialized made a revision of the Epic Hardtail with drop bars and sold it as a "gravel bike", I doubt the result would be getting perceived as noteworthy.

Here's the bike I rode today:



The construction and geometry puts the frameset pretty close to "beach cruiser" territory. Specialized made it in the mid-1980s and called it a "mountain bike, " particularly a Stumpjumper.

But if I refer to it as my "gravel bike," nobody bats an eye.

She chose to push the extra weight around to have comfort.
Apparently not. Most mass-production gravel bikes are massively overbuilt for the vast majority of users. According to Wilcox, her Epic is actually lighter than her Diverge.

The Epic is likely less aerodynamic. Stuff like those wide cylindrical fork stanchions aren't aerodynamically free, and she has said that she's set up the Epic with a relatively upright posture.
Someone who prefers a narrow q-factor might also have issues with that on an MTB frameset, although I have no idea if this applies to her.

Last edited by HTupolev; 06-12-21 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 06-13-21, 05:08 AM
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Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
Who cares? Well, directly relevant to the matter, the UCI, for one.
One of the many reasons the UCI should stay out of Gravel. No good can come from it.
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Old 06-13-21, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cb400bill View Post
UCI isn't yet in the Gravel Racing business. https://www.uci.org/road


Many don't want the UCI to get into the Gravel Racing business.

The gravel race scene in the United States has grown and thrived absent any involvement of the sport’s governing body. In fact, much of the discipline’s popularity owes to its grassroots ethos and lack of the constraints of sanctioning.

https://www.velonews.com/news/road/t...gravel-racing/
My point exactly. They’re not in yet, but they still care.

This week the UCI confirmed to VeloNewsthat it is working toward officially recognizing gravel racing as a stand-alone category in what would be a key first step in creating a gravel racing world championships.”
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Old 06-13-21, 05:24 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
One of the many reasons the UCI should stay out of Gravel. No good can come from it.
You may be right, and I was just pointing out to the question of what does it matter what kind of bike it is, that given how the UCI operates (i.e. regulates cycling categories), if they start sanctioning gravel events, Wilcox may be precluded from using that kind of bike in their races.

I believe they’re going to enter the category, and have already set forth rules to manage and limit unpaved sections in road races, undoubtedly in order to avoid blurring the lines between disciplines. Of course, as noted above, they’ve also said they’re working towards sanctioning gravel, and I don’t see what would stop them from doing so.
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Old 06-13-21, 05:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tyrion View Post
Lael Wilcox won the women's Unbound XL (formerly Dirty Kanza) on a Specialized Epic hardtail with drop bars.



Is it a mountain bike or is it a gravel bike? This was the XL race - 357 miles. She chose to push the extra weight around to have comfort. Interesting trade-off. Successful trade-off.
She resembles Juli Furtado in that shot.

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Old 06-13-21, 07:36 AM
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In what way, both of them are smiling?
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Old 06-13-21, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
snip . ..

Here's the bike I rode today:



The construction and geometry puts the frameset pretty close to "beach cruiser" territory. Specialized made it in the mid-1980s and called it a "mountain bike, " particularly a Stumpjumper.

But if I refer to it as my "gravel bike," nobody bats an eye.


snip . . .
Old Stumpjumpers make fine drop bar/gravel bike conversions. The single track around where I live is mainly non-technical and the bike is fine for that as well. Here's mine:

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Old 06-13-21, 07:44 AM
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I meant that in OP's picture, she reminded me of Juli in the 90s in many ways. Not specifically that picture, it was just illustrative of the resmeblance that I see.
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