Gravel

Six Updated Roves For 2019

THE SWISS ARMY KNIFE OF DROP BAR BIKES

Wherever you may Rove… Is the perfect place to be. On-road, off-road, gravel, touring, bikepacking- the Rove is the bike of all drop bar trades. With six offerings in multiple wheel sizes, gearing configurations in both 1x and 2x and frame options in both steel and aluminum, you can truly get the Rove you’ve always dreamt of for whatever size adventure you’re planning and at whatever budget best suits your needs.

Rove LTD

“This bike has it all.” “How can it get any better?” “I’m speechless. It’s perfect.” It’s not uncommon to hear people talk about the Rove LTD in similar terms. Simply put, there’s nothing left out of this thoughtfully spec’d bike. Reynolds 853 steel is the chassis for SRAM Force 1 components, our full carbon flat mount CX race disc fork, and WTB ASYM i23 wheels.

“Whether weaving through lush, green ferns like a speeder bike on Endor, or sprinting it out on the pavement, the Rove LTD felt stable without being too muted, but still playful enough to wear the Kona badge.”

– Bike Rumor

  

 

Rove NRB DL

We had fun designing the Rove NRB DL. With homage to its steel cousin, the NRB has creative geometry to allow for bigger tire clearance, and custom dropouts that are easily used with fenders. Size XS comes with smaller 40c tires. Nicely dressed with a Shimano 105 2×11 drivetrain, a carbon fork and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, the NRB DL is a unique bike that is ready for anything.

Rove NRB

Sometimes we hit a crossroads where the pavement ends, and the dirt begins. Enter the Rove NRB. 650b wheels, a carbon flat mount disc fork, and mechanical disc brakes mean that transition from pavement to dirt is seamless. Couple those features with a SRAM Apex 1x drivetrain, and the Rove NRB is begging to take you away from your traditional route and into territories unexplored.

“This rig is a go nearly anywhere and ride nearly anything drop-bar rolling fun factory.”

– Peloton Magazine

Rove ST

For those that have a love affair with steel, the Rove ST will slide rightfully near the top of your “next to buy” list. New this year, the Rove ST runs on 650b wheels that are tubeless ready right out of the box. A SRAM Rival 1 drivetrain and flat mount disc fork round out what we consider to be a killer value.

Rove DL
When the ride requires speed, it’s important to pay attention to the little details. Fenders for bad weather and 9 speed gearing provide the comfort and range needed to access any kind of road in any kind of weather. The Rove DL is the answer to your road needs no matter when and where you ride.

Rove

The intention is in the name, as the Rove is the perfect bike to use as a wandering companion. Our most traditional drop bar offering, the Rove is willing to go the distance whether on pavement, dirt, or even gravel. Outfitted with Hayes mechanical disc brakes, and a wide range of gearing, the Rove is an affordable, road-ready steed.

“Kona hasn’t pushed the boundaries of what is possible with a gravel bike, but they’ve created a bike that is happy across a broad spectrum of riding and perhaps the beginning of the reinvention of the road bike market with a focus towards more versatile and adventurous experiences.”

– Road.cc

 

Toni Lund’s Custom 2011 Kona Dew FS Allroad Bike

Bikes have always been my passion. I pretty much live the ‘n+1’ concept. The bike industry brings something new every year and lately a more capable gravel/all-road bike has certainly been something I have wanted. I like to explore small, rugged gravel forest roads and for my liking 700X40C tires are just not enough sometimes. Sure, I could pick up a 29+ bike or even a fatbike, but sometimes there are longer paved transitional sections to those gravel and forest roads so a well-rolling and faster bike makes a lot of sense.
I have built several new roadplus bikes at work like Kona NRB bikes. 650BX47 roadplus tires or even slightly wider tires look like the right size for my needs. However I can’t afford a complete new bike at the moment. But living with the ‘n+1’ syndrome often means that there are some old parts in the garage. So, I found a brand new 2011 Kona Dew FS frame from Kona’s warehouse and the plan was ready: build a completely custom allroad bike. A bit of inspiration came from my coworker who had built a Dew Drop as a roadplus bike.
There were several things I wanted to achieve with this bike project:
– Build a very unique bike
– Reuse the old parts and save money
– Build the wheelset myself
– Run largest possible tires that the frame accepts
– Front dynamo hub for USB charging
– White/blue Suomi-Finland color theme
After several late evenings building the bike after work and building the wheels during the midsummer the mission was accomplished. Here are some shots of the bike. All the photos where shot on the Hanko coast, the southernmost point of Finland.
Something new and something old. New: Ritchey Comp VentureMax 42cm handlebar, very comfortable and spot-on tuck and top positions. Old: Shimano 105 STI 8-speed gear/brake levers. The front fork is one of the many Kona P2 forks. I painted it myself. The complete build looks very good indeed.
Handlebar tape is Lizard Skins DSP 3.2mm, definitely best looking and most comfortable tape out there.
Thomson Elite Setback seatpost has been my favorite on my fatbikes over the years so it was a natural choice. Kona saddle from the original Wo build.
Kona clamp came with the frame.
Stem is a Thomson Elite X4, 90mm +/-10°, slammed as -10° as as low as possible to get better top position.
The headtube is pretty massive at 18cm. Kona’s metallic head badge is very nice.
Shimano Deore 175mm triple crankset (smallest chainring removed) with Hollowtech bottom bracket, Shimano Tiagra rear derailleur from the old parts, Shimano HG-93 XT 9-speed chain (8-speed in the picture, 9-speed is MUCH smoother!), Shimano Ultegra 6703 triple front derailleur with Problem Solvers adapter.
Then to the wheels, starting with the hubs. I’m using a dynamo hub for the first time .It’s a Shimano DH-3D32-QR.
The rear hub is the reliable Shimano XT 756A.
The front dynamo hub required a 36-hole rim. Not many rim choices for 27.5 so I ended up with the NoTubes Arch MK3. 36 spokes front, 32 spokes rear. Spokes are DT Champion and DT brass nipples.
Tires are Schwalbe Thunder Burt Evolution SnakeSkin TL-Easy 2017 27.5 x 2.10 / 584-54, set up as tubeless with Muc-Off NoPuncture sealant. These tires are fast! I have averaged 30-31 km/h on my 40 km commuting route!
WTB TCS tubeless valves in blue of course.
Brakes are Hayes CX Expert (originally on my Kona Rove ST 2015) with Hayes rotors.
Top tube is frame taped to protect from frame bags.
The bottom bracket sits pretty low at 26cm. It’s too low for trail riding but this bike is surprisingly fast on all roads, and that is really the main purpose. This bike will see different setups with bikepacking bags and other adventure equipment. I’m pretty excited for future allroad adventures with this bike!

A Heavy Weekend of Racing for Cory Wallace

Kona Adventure Team Rider and 24 Hour Solo World Champion, Cory Wallace, had a somber start to his racing last weekend. Prior to the Squamish Spakwus 50km race, he received word that one of his close friends had passed away while racing his bike in Nepal. Cory took his grief and poured all of his emotion into a powerful victory in the race. He followed it up with a 120km race in Alberta the next day. Cory is a true machine with a huge heart.

Cory wrote about processing his friend’s passing and channeling it into his racing in his most recent blog post. Our condolences to you, Cory. Thanks for always being a true champion.

Racing in Alberta has its perks

Cycling Ireland

Irish cyclist David Flanagan has recently completed a book about cycling all around Ireland’s gorgeous countryside. The book is gorgeously illustrated with route maps, elevation profiles, and detailed descriptions of dozens and dozens of rides. The photography features a Kona Sutra in various gorgeous environments.

A word from Flanagan:

“This book documents the best cycling that Ireland has to offer. With eighty routes spread across the entire island, there is something for everyone; from gentle, traffic-free cycles, ideal for the whole family, to long challenging routes packed with relentless climbs.

The routes range in length from 8km to 207km on a variety of surfaces including tarmac roads, gravel tracks, canal towpaths and singletrack. – David Flanagan

Each route description includes:

  • A full-colour map.
  • Turn-by-turn directions.
  • A route profile.
  • A detailed description of the route.
  • Advice on variations, extensions and shortcuts.
  • A downloadable GPX navigation file.

The book also includes details of over fifty family-friendly greenways and trails, information on Ireland’s long-distance cycle routes and sixteen pages dedicated to cycling along the Wild Atlantic Way.

This comprehensive guide is packed full of detailed information and inspiring photography that is sure to appeal to everyone interested in cycling in Ireland.”

 

The book is available for purchase here for the price is €25 which includes shipping worldwide.

 

“David Flanagan is a publisher, writer and freelance journalist from Dublin. He is the author of a number of climbing books including Bouldering in Ireland, Bouldering Essentials and Rock Climbing in Ireland. In 2016 he published Exploring Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, a collaboration with Kerry-based photographer Richard Creagh. A keen cyclist with a particular interest in off‑road exploration and bikepacking, he published Cycling in Ireland in May 2018 after more than 18 months of research.”

Imaginary Domination Under the Eye of Stravaman

After suffering a mishap 15-miles in to a 54-mile day, Adventure Team rider Spencer Paxson shares his experience of what possessed him to keep riding real hard through the forests of the Black Hills.  

On the penultimate day of March, spring seemed preterm in the Black Hills (Capitol Forest) outside of Bordeaux, WA. Just shy of 200 bike riders gathered in the chilly, misty fields of the Evergreen Sportmen’s Club, set at the edge of the forest. Named for its border with the Black River, which is named for the “dark water” of Black Lake, the woods of the Black Hills did not hide their sinister nature. Indeed, the Eye of Stravaman loomed over all who pedaled through.

Spooky woods

Bordeaux, WA circa March 1903. Not much has changed except that there are bicycle races here on the weekends.

This was the sophomore year of the Cascadia Super G, put on by the Race Cascadia crew, which is best known for its regionally popular Cascadia Dirt Cup Series. This event was intended as a blend of enduro-meets-road-racing, or what these days we popularize as “gravel racing”.  At 9:30am we set out on a 54-mile course (shortened by 1 mile due to logging activity) to see just how we would fare. Unfortunately, the enduro timing system (which was supposed to record special downhill segments along the way) had been stuck in customs, so aside from the clock ticking at the finish line, we were all left with the Eye of Stravaman to decide the (unofficial) champion of the “race within the race”.

They say few can endure its terrible gaze, but for better or worse, with the Eye staring down, it didn’t matter so much when I suffered a nasty gash in my sidewall just 15 miles in, which I proceeded to have trouble fixing. After a few false starts of plugs, CO2s, boots, pumps, and even a nice helping hand who pulled over to see that I was alright (thank you, kind Sir!) I had lost around 18min. The race was rightly over, so it was time to go in to TT mode and let the Eye see what I was made of.

Blazing through moody clearcut vistas and spooky woods, I got to say hello again to most of my fellow bike racers who had passed me while I dealt with my mishap. For the next two hours I carried on with the Computer of Power weighing ever heavier on my handlebar. Lured by the Eye, I saw just how fast I could sustain.

With cracks beginning to show at the seams, I crossed the finish line a bit over 3 hours since I’d left it. According to the the clock I was 5th, but according to the Eye, I’d logged the fastest times on the major climb and descent segments. Be that as it may, the Eye grants no real dominion, only imaginary domination. And thus the ride was done and we left the Black Hills behind for another go some other day.

Chris Mcfarland

Racing against myself after getting rolling again…flat-out from mile 15 to 54.

Relive ‘Morning Ride’

 

Spring petals and pastels. Super Jake dressed pre-race like it was ready for an Easter egg hunt (it was Easter Weekend).

Super Jake with CX/MTB gearing combo (46/36 front, 11-40 rear) was the ride of choice for the 2018 Cascadia Super G

Super Jake, super gravel style. It was just an unlucky matter of physics and statistics (okay, and probably rider error!) that got the better of an otherwise burly tire setup.

The Computer of Power, displaying some heavy numbers from the day. It was “flat out” despite “flatting out”.

Crown Town

Bike Rumor posts their Rove LTD First Impressions “It’s a bike that is distinctly Kona in its execution”

“The steel purists should love the LTD, but even those who don’t have a “steel is real” tattoo will be able to appreciate the ride quality.”

We had Zach from BikeRumor.com join us in Squamish recently for the launch of our new Rove LTD and Rove NRB models and his first impressions are online now. You can check them out in full here.

Kona Rove ST… Now with Thru-Axles and More Tire Clearance

With new Kona models arriving in your local bike shop over the next couple of weeks, we’re doing a series of posts here on the Cog to introduce the new bikes. Keep an eye here all week for rad new bikes and updates to current models. Next up: the venerable steel Rove, further modernized…

Rove ST

Our venerable steel adventurer is back, offering that smooth steel ride and a great parts spec in a package with a whole lot of potential. This year the Rove ST gets flat mount disc brakes and thru-axles on its cromoly frame and fork, as well as more tire clearance at the chainstays to let you squeeze even more tire into it. Big ol’ gravel tires? Yep. High volume 650b conversion? Sure. The Rove ST keeps its wide-range SRAM Rival 1×11 drivetrain, and tubeless-ready wheels and tires. Where will the Rove ST take you? That’s up to your imagination.








Keep an eye here on the Cog and on Konaworld.com for new models arriving at Kona dealers every day!

Say Hello to the Kona Rove NRB and Rove NRB DL!

With new Kona models arriving in your local bike shop over the next couple of weeks, we’re doing a series of posts here on the Cog to introduce the new bikes. Keep an eye here all week for rad new bikes and updates to current models. Next up: The all new Rove NRB and Rove NRB DL.

Rove Line Expansion

Multi-surface, multi-purpose: the new Rove is Kona’s take on a modern, all-day drop bar bike. Two all-new frames set the stage for the Rove line’s expansion: The flagship Rove LTD features a Reynolds 853 steel frame, while the Rove NRB and Rove NRB DL feature a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame. All three new models are paired with a full carbon, flat mount disc brake fork and high volume 650b tires.

Making use of WTB’s new range of tubeless-ready high volume 650b tires, the Rove can now go further than ever before while maintaining its quickness on smooth surfaces. The Rove has always been quick on the pavement yet capable on a variety of surfaces, and the move to high volume 650b wheels and tires extends that capability yet again.

Rove NRB DL

Consider a simple question: what does a modern road bike look like? If you ask us, it would be quick on the pavement but completely capable of putting in time on a variety of surfaces. Thru-axles, hydraulic brakes, and room for big tires. The Rove NRB DL is a distinctly Kona take on the modern all-day road bike.








Rove NRB

The Rove NRB is the evolution of the bike that was doing gravel before it became a buzzword. An all new frame and fork with thru-axles and flat mount disc brakes combine with the legendary Kona ride to make a modern drop bar bike that pushes the limits once again.










Keep an eye here on the Cog and on Konaworld.com for new models arriving at Kona dealers every day!

Nous vous présentons le tout nouveau Kona Jake

Des vélos de cyclo-cross polyvalents et prêts pour la course

Compétition de cyclo-cross, vélotaf, bikepacking, le Jake est l’un des vélos les plus versatiles de la gamme Kona depuis son introduction au catalogue il y a 20 ans. Tout a commencé avec un vélo dédié à la compétition en cyclo-cross mais qui est rapidement devenu pour un véritable vélo à tout faire.

Une refonte en profondeur

Cette année le Jake a été complètement redessiné avec de nouveaux cadres en carbone et en aluminium, une fourche en carbone, des axes Shimano “thru-axles” et des freins à disques hydrauliques “Flat Mount” sur toute la gamme.

Joe Brown, chef de produit Kona à propos de la nouvelle gamme Kona Jake 

Trois nouveaux modèles

Née dans les ornières boueuses et les tranchées sablonneuses de la Coupe du monde cyclo-cross, la série Jake de cette année redistribue les cartes avec un tout nouvel ensemble cadre / fourche en carbone. Cela fait deux décennies que les coureurs apprécient le Kona Jake et qu’ils savent que ce n’est pas n’importe quel vélo de cyclo-cross. Pour 2018, le Jake est plus léger, plus rigide et conserve l’essence de ce qui en a fait un vélo de classe mondiale, apprécié par tous ceux qui l’ont roulé.

Super Jake

Le Super Jake est fait pour la course. Un tout nouveau cadre et une fourche en carbone avec fixation d’étriers de frein Flat Mount, axes Shimano thru-axles avant et arrière et fixations pour garde-boue. Voilà les éléments communs à la famille Jake de cette année. Le Super Jake est au sommet de la gamme, équipé d’une transmission SRAM Force 1x, de freins à disque hydrauliques, de roues et pneus Clement tubeless-ready. Que vous visiez la première marche du podium ou que vous rouliez simplement pour le plaisir, le Super Jake sera votre allié.

Super Jake Specs

Spécifications Super Jake :

  • Cadre : Kona Race Light Carbon
  • Roues : Clement Ushuaia Wheelset Tubeless Ready
  • Fourche : Kona Full Carbon Flat Mount CX Race Disc 100x12mm
  • Pédalier : SRAM Force 1 X-Sync
  • Transmission : SRAM Force 1 11spd
  • Poste de pilotage : Kona Road Light bar, Kona Road Deluxe stem and Kona Cork Tape
  • Freins : SRAM Force 1 HRD
  • Pneus : Clement MXP Tubeless Ready 700x33c
  • Selle : WTB SL8 Pro

 

Major Jake

Notre tout nouveau cadre et fourche avec fixation de freins à disques Flat Mount et axes Shimano thru-axles à l’avant et à l’arrière est l’évolution du Jake, né dans les ornières boueuses et les tranchées sablonneuses de la Coupe du Monde de cyclo-cross. Un groupe Shimano 105 2×11, des freins hydrauliques et une paire de jantes WTB montées avec des pneus Clement tubeless-ready. Major Jake : taillé pour la course, parfait pour tous les jours.

M

tubeless-ready. Major Jake : taillé pour la course, parfait pour tous les jours.

Spécifications Major Jake :

  • Cadre : Kona Race Light Carbon
  • Roues : WTB i19 Asym
  • Fourche : Kona Full Carbon Flat Mount CX Race Disc 100x12mm
  • Pédalier : Shimano RS500
  • Transmission : Shimano 105 11spd
  • Poste de pilotage : Kona Road Light bar, Kona Road Deluxe stem and Kona Cork Tape
  • Freins : Shimano 105 hydraulic flat mount
  • Pneus : Clement MXP Tubeless Ready 700x33c
  • Selle : WTB SL8 Pro

 

Jake the Snake

Le Jake The Snake a longtemps été le vélo de cyclo-cross à tout faire : course le dimanche et vélotaf le lundi. Cette année le Jake reçoit un tout nouveau cadre aluminium avec passage des câbles en interne, une nouvelle fourche carbone et les axes avant et arrière thru-axles. Une touche de modernité pour un vélo intemporel, alors que les fixations pour garde-boue et porte-bagages sont toujours présents, conférant au Jake sa polyvalence légendaire.

Spécifications Jake the Snake :

  • Cadre : Kona Race Light 6061 Aluminum Butted
  • Roues : WTB STP i19
  • Fourche : Kona Carbon Cross
  • Pédalier : Shimano
  • Transmission : Shimano Tiagra 10spd
  • Poste de pilotage : Kona Road bar and stem, Kona Cork Tape
  • Freins : Shimano Hydraulic flat mount
  • Pneus : Clement MXP 700x33c
  • Selle : WTB Volt Sport

 

Cross/Roads with Kerry Werner

Le coureur pro Kona Kerry Werner est un athlète insatiable, il voit chaque entraînement comme une occasion de se dépasser. Regardez la vidéo ci-dessous et découvrez l’album photo du tournage en cliquant ici.

Kerry Werner met en lumière la polyvalence du nouveau Major Jake dans Cross/Roads.

Rendez-vous sur Konaworld.com, pour connaitre tous les détails des nouveaux Jake et sur cette page pour les caractéristiques techniques.

Nadia Richer arborera fièrement son Kona Sutra LTD aux French Divide cet été!

Nadia, québécoise, a choisi un Sutra LTD pour s’envoler vers la France cet été afin de participer au French Divide. Après son passage à Radio-Canada, elle nous explique plus précisement ses ressentis sur sa future course et sur son nouveau vélo.

 

Le French Divide est une course de Gravel, de la Belgique jusqu’au Pays Basque. Le French Divide, c’est 30% de route, 70% de chemin et 100% de dépassement de soi.

« Le French Divide part de Belgique, ensuite nous avons 4 villes étapes. Le tracé du parcours n’est pas encore sorti. Nous ne savons pas encore à quoi nous attendre. Mais c’est ce que j’aime – je ne suis pas stressée à l’idée de passer la nuit dehors ou de manquer une douche, c’est l’aventure, ca apporte du piquant dans la course! »

 

Nadia aura 15 jours en août prochain pour parcourir 2100 kilomètres, ce qui représente environs 140 kilomètres par jour. Ce n’est pas la première fois que Nadia aura à se confronter à de longues distances comme celle du French Divide.

« J’ai depuis toujours été sur un deux roues, depuis mes années étudiantes où j’entreprenais des randonnées de cyclo-tourisme en Europe de plusieurs mois, en passant par les week-end où je pars en Raid pour faire de 80 à 100 kilomètres par jours, j’aime le vélo, et tant que je peux accrocher mes sacoche dessus, ca me va. Mais là c’est un autre défis : le temps est limité »

 

 

En effet, ce n’est pas une course comme les autres. Nadia sera munie d’un GPS tracker, et devra passer par des étapes. Mais son voyage se fera en complète autonomie.

« Je me prépare à partir seule sur la route. Avec 39km de dénivelés positifs, sur deux semaines seulement, c’est un très gros défi pour moi. Il faut être constante tous les jours, je n’aurai pas de répis. »

 

Nadia se prépare depuis de longs mois déjà avec son Sutra LTD.

« J’ai un coach sportif qui m’aide à me préparer. Ma vie est orientée vers ce défis. Depuis plusieurs mois, je travaille main dans la main avec mon Sutra LTD et je sens que mon volume et ma qualité d’entraînement se sont améliorés. Ca me pousse à aller encore plus loin! Au niveau du matériel, je pars avec le strict minimum, c’est à dire une bâche que je vais tendre sur mon vélo et un petit matelas de sol pour dormir. Je suis à la recherche de matériel léger, et mon Sutra LTD est parfait pour cela. »

 

 

Nadia à acheté son Sutra LTD à La Boutique Le Pédalier à Quebec, qui ont bien sû la renseigner.

« Je dois encore passer à la boutique Le Pédalier pour passer mes pneus en tubeless, pour avoir plus de confort. Ils ont bien sû me renseigner: j’avais déjà un vélo de route et de montagne, mais il me fallait un gravel, pour avoir la vitesse d’un vélo de route, mais à la fois avoir un vélo assez costaud pour entamer les sentiers et chemins forestiers. Pour le budget que j’avais, ils m’ont proposé un Sutra LTD. Et c’est un super vélo, j’en suis très contente. Il est très bien équipé, en plus d’être très beau. »

Sur ces photos, Nadia est partie lors d’un long week-end en Gaspésie, avec une moyenne de 100km par jours, pour essayer son vélo et son matériel.

 « Après avoir essayé le Sutra LTD sur de longues distances, je peux vous affirmer que c’est un super vélo. Le guidon est très confortable, et le rapport dérailleur-cassette est parfait. De plus, il se manie très bien une fois chargé. C’est le vélo idéal pour ce que j’entreprend. Enfin bref, il fait vraiment bien la job comme on dit au Québec!»

 

Ti Tuesday: Tim Wiggins, his Ti Rove and the Dirty Reiver

It’s time for something a little different for Ti Tuesday. UK Kona Grassroots rider Tim Wiggins recently took part on the 200km (120 miles) Dirty Reiver and chose his Ti Rove to tackle the gravel course. We are going to kick things off with his race report and then get into his bike check. Read on.


Dirty Reiver 2017 - 45am. The sun glistens on the reservoir and bounces off morning dew. Kielder Forest – the largest forest in the UK, sits silently; its paths and tracks ready to welcome the largest gravel event in the UK – The Dirty Reiver 200.

A Reiver was a border knight – an armored horseback rider, patrolling the border between Scotland and England.

Today, 800 riders will take to the same trails and tracks that were ridden by the Reivers; except these riders will be on a plethora of cyclocross bikes, ‘gravel’ bikes and mountain bikes.

The Ride

Massed in front of Kielder Castle, the pre-event kit chat continues; as it has done for the preceding months.What tire width are those? How’s that Lauf suspension fork? Have you double wrapped your bar tape? Personally, I’m more concerned about how many flapjacks I can wolf down at each feed station, and whether I have enough supplies in my back pocket…7am. We roll down the hill from the castle, along the road for a short section, and then plunge into Kielder Forest.Gravel tracks take us from shady forest onto open heathland. Miles of expansive trails, punctuated with surprise climbs and off-camber gravel bends. The mass start is soon strung out. I decide to split from the small group I find myself in; opting instead to ride within my

The mass start is soon strung out. I decide to split from the small group I find myself in; opting instead to ride within my limits and play the ‘tortoise’ race tactic, which has worked well for me in the past. By 10 am the sun is strong, and I’ve passed through the first well-stocked feed station. I’m pleased to say I managed to grab 4 pieces of flapjack, and a banana #fuelfortheride. 90 kilometers in, and my legs are feeling accustomed to the challenging terrain; whilst my mind is getting accustomed to the rear wheel drifting around the gravel apex of every corner.

110 kilometers. Two feed stations passed (more flapjack, banana and Jaffa Cakes consumed). I am riding solo, and picking up several places from riders who went into the red early on.

At 140 kilometers, I pass a duo of riders. Ant White (a well-known endurance mountain biker) is one of the pairs and jumps on my wheel as I pass. For the next 20 kilometers, Ant and I swap places and shelter behind each other in the building wind. We rush into feed station #3: he foregoes the food, whilst I miss the drink. 200 kilometers on 2 bottles was not on the plan, but I dare not lose that wheel…

By 170 kilometers, we can see the Kielder reservoir coming back into sight. Having ridden a lap of the lake the day before, I move my hands down into the drops and push on: a smile spreading across my face as I take in the swooping pinecone strewn trail.

Dirty Reiver 2017 - 1 (1)

As I roll onto Kielder Dam, and then onto the final ‘straight’ home, I glance back to see that Ant has dropped off. There’s nobody in my sights ahead, so I just lay my forearms on the tops, and push on for the final road section. A little bit more twisty singletrack, one last energy gel, a sprint up the hill to the Castle, and I cross the line.

07:51:04 hours of riding. 3,250 meters of climbing. 4th place out of 800 riders.

The challenge, excitement, and diversity of mixed surface endurance racing makes it clear why this kind of event is getting such a great following.

One big day out. One great day in the saddle.

dirty reiver

Clothing

My clothing choice was all about being versatile and comfortable. I opted for ¾ length Windstopper shorts from Gore Bike Wear, as well as the Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Power Zip-Off Jersey.

A GripGrab Cotton Cap, GripGrab Raptor Gloves, and GripGrab High-Cut Summer Socks protected my extremities. The only other piece of kit I took was the superb Gore ONE 1985 SHAKEDRY Jacket (which luckily remained stuffed in my Restrap framebag for the duration of the event).

Dirty Reiver 2017 - 10

Accessories

To keep me grinding through the gravel, I took a few additional accessories to normal.

These included a Lezyne Rap20 Multitool (so many tools!), a Lezyne Road Drive Pump, 3 spare tubes, a spare gear cable, and a few other bits. My navigation came from the the Lezyne Super Enhanced GPS.

Dirty Reiver 2017 - 16

One for your bucket list

The Dirty Reiver took inspiration from the Dirty Kansas – a huge gravel race in the USA. This second edition on UK soil has the same incredible mix of fun, drama and challenge. I can see this event growing rapidly year-on-year, and I thoroughly recommend adding it to your bucket list. I’ll be back for sure; and I am also avidly hunting down other ‘gravel’ events, both in the UK and abroad. ‘Gravel’ is growing, because it is such great fun to ride.

Kit Choices

Despite trying to abstain from the rampant kit-chat, I had made some customizations to my bike and kit for this event. In fact, it was pretty much a custom ‘gravel’ bike build, and a very carefully selected set of clothing and accessories.

The Kona Rove Ti

Built around a titanium Kona Rove frame, my bike for the Dirty Reiver was fitted with a Lauf suspension fork, 44cm carbon handlebars, and a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain – all to provide added comfort for hours in the saddle.

The day before the Dirty Reiver I made a very good decision to upsize my tires to the Panaracer Gravel King 40c Tubeless. The added grip, bounce, and puncture protection was very noticeable and very beneficial.

Dirty Reiver 2017 - 13

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