I have been thinking a lot about if it is going to be possible for me to finish the Gravel grovel in less than 5 hours. I know a lot of people do it but not sure I have done the work to be one of them.
Earlier this year I would have thought it would not be a problem. I have slacked off the riding some lately and been eating way too much. The legs show some promise when I do ride but it will still not be easy. The last big ride I did was a 45 mile gravel route there was not as many hills as there there needed to be and I felt like I didn’t have a lot left in the legs. The time it took to complete leaves me thinking it will not be possible.
I know there are a lot of things that will be different race day but not all of them will be a good thing. The main reason I think it should be doable is that in 2011 I finished in 5:21. I was on my ss and was way out of shape. 2012 I also rode my ss but that year I put cross tires on to help be faster. It didn’t work. I finished in 5:45 and ended up walking the last 3 miles or so because of a flat tire. It was near the end and it was more hassle to change than I felt like putting in at that point. 2013 I rode a geared bike in hopes of beating 5 hours but ended up just over 6.
There are a lot of things I can do differently but will they be enough to take off 40-50 min.? Maybe my legs have that much time in them. I am also going to ride a cross bike. I think this will make some sections a lot faster. But at the same time it could make some sections slower. I am fairly good at bike handling so I feel like I can ride it on the off road sections well enough to warrant the increased speed in the road sections. The only things I am really concerned about with this bike is the climbing and flat tires.
I will be changing my gearing some to help but it will not be the same as my mtb. Most of the time I think it will be fine because my fastest times were on ss bikes with a lot bigger gear then I will have available. Flats are always possible. I had one the year I rode with cross tires. I do have some bigger tire options than what I have used in the past but there are some issues with using them too. I still have not decided on what tires will be used. All I really know is no matter what I use, it should be a good time.
It took me a little while to post this and now the route has been posted. It has a few changes that could make some things interesting. There is a section that I don’t really have much time on and not sure what to expect. The good thing is that it is more off road and less on road, so it should be for the better. With all the changes I am not sure what this will do with the actual finish times. If I make my time cut off, I will always wonder how it would have compared to previous years. I know I can see what the fast times are and it should give me an idea but not exact. All I can hope for is to ride well enough to be happy with the effort. Hope to see you next weekend!! There is still time to sign up!!