chas
Winning a pro level cross country mountain bike race on a gravel bike???

Wow,

I had thought about doing Ice Man (our pro level 29 mile mountain bike race) on my Gravel bike with some 29’er tires. The ride is not super technical and as much about speed and endurance as anything. Once I figured out I could ride the race more like a road race (high cadence) and not like a mountain bike race (high torque), I started passing a lot of people. Doing training rides this year on my gravel bike, I was climbing faster and had a higher top end than people much stronger than me on mountain bikes. But could a gravel bike work in a serious cross country mountain bike race? I had wondered if it was legal, and if I would get laughed off the start line. I didn’t even try it.

Looks like I wasn’t the only one with this idea. First place went to a rider on the Open UP gravel bike. This article is fascinating to me:
Wow,

I had thought about doing Ice Man (our pro level 29 mile mountain bike race) on my Gravel bike with som 29’er tires. The ride is not super technical and as much about speed and endurance as anything. Once I figured out I could ride it like a road race (high cadence) and not like a mountain bike race (high torque), I started passing a lot of people. Doing training rides this year on my gravel bike, I was climbing faster and had a higher top end than people much stonger than me on mountain bikes. But could a gravel bike work in a serious cross country mountain bike race? I had wondered if it was legal, and if I would get laughed off the start line. I didn’t even try it.



Looks like I wasn’t the only one with this idea. Open UP gravel bike gets ridden to first place:

How (and why) Kabush won Iceman on a gravel bike
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7rider
According to the winner, Geoff Kabush,
Quote:
"I grew up riding rigid mountain bikes up here. The Open is quite an advance from the first bikes I started riding."

When I'm riding my Roker Comp on trails, I've had similar thoughts. The light weight, vibration damping carbon fiber frame, hydraulic disc brakes, and tubeless tires make the experience a lot nicer than the non-suspended steel bikes I rode back in the late 80s and early 90s.
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chas

Don’t laugh

(well, maybe just a little)

But I’m still riding my carbon mountain bike from the early ‘90s on single track.  Lord knows I’ve had the time to develop the skill set on it on the trails around here. 

So taking my CX/Gravel bike on single track with mountain bike tires isn’t a stretch (on trails that don’t need suspension).  Having a bike that weighs ½ of what many mountain bikes weighs is a huge plus (But don’t jump it!).

 My ‘90s mtb is light, nimble, and climbs amazingly – seems like mountain bikes don’t care about that so much these days – its all about going downhill.   But many of us don’t live in a mountainous part of the country. 

 

One caveat:  with my gravel bike I find it harder to justify a 1.5 hour round trip drive to the trail head, when I can just ride the gravel bike out my front door. 

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