Hey all -

Thinking about signing up for BWR but want to make sure I have the right ride for the event... I have an old surly cross check and a soon to be built black mountain cycles road +. Would either of these rides be able to hang? Any suggestions or advice? Of course, all about completion... 
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The wafer is half the distance but covers most of the dirt sections. Id call some of it more technical than a standard gravel ride. There is some mtb single track and some rocky up and downhills. That said people ride it on everything from road bikes with 28s to full on Gravel rigs with 650 x47s. There is a decent amount of paved road riding so it really comes down to your comfort level on the dirt and how much tire you need.
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I've done it 3 times. The first 2 on my old Merlin Agilis with tubeless 28 slicks, Last year I used my new Giant Revolt with Panaracer SK 35's. It was much more enjoyable on the Giant. I think 35's and disc brakes are the best combo for the wafer.
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Done BWR 5x, 36th in 2018. It's mostly road. Dirt sections are mostly smooth hardpack. The one rocky section at Lake Hodges was smoothed over in 2019 by the parks dept. One very brief sandy section, like 100m at most.

Most years I ran Hutchinson Secteur 28c, never flatted or felt like I needed more tire. 2019 course rumors were for more technical dirt sections so I ran Hutchinson Override 35c. 2019 rumors turned out false, same course as 2018 so I had more tire than I needed. Probably a third of top 25 finishers were on road bikes.

This year I'll run my 2020 Trek Domane with the optional longer, lower "Pro" geometry available through their Project One program. Conti GP500 28c or possibly Maxxis Re-Fuse 40c (slicks). Tested the GP5000's on a long mountain dirt ride and love them. Have not tested the Re-Fuse yet so we'll see.Plan to try the 40C Re-Fuse for DK200 this year if I get in. My bike:

If you are really strong, you can make do with a lowest gear of about 35 gear/in. I'll run a 46/34 with 11-40t for a low of 23.5 gear/in and high of 115 gear/in
With a 40c, that top is about the same as a 52x12 on a 25c. First paved section features a 4 mile downhill where the fast riders fight for position at 40mph+
In my experience a high top gear never matters for any grave race except BWR. The final climb up double peak features an extended section at about 14% at about mile 130. Macho gearing not recommended 🙂
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Running GRX 600 gets you about 95 inches high and 23 low. Anything else requires mechanical gymnastics beyond my ken... and legs.Should do.
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