“Pirate Cycling League brings you the unparalleled grassroots gravel race. The 2018 Gravel Worlds promises a unique challenge for the gravel enthusiast. The pirates are charting a route of approximately 150 miles and near 10,000 ft of climbing – adventuring through the rural farmlands of Southeastern Nebraska.” – Pirate Cycling League
Also, “World Championship jerseys are up for grabs in the following categories: Open Men, Women Open, Master Men (50+), Master Women (40+), Single Speed Men, Single Speed Women, Tandem, Fatbike/Cargo Bike/Recumbent Men, Fatbike/Cargo Bike/Recumbent Women”.
Let’s get it abundantly clear right now. I’m in the Open Men’s category at 40-something years of age. Thus, I have zero chance of scoring a win in this category. Therefore my race goal is much more humble. Don’t die, don’t dehydrate and enjoy the rolling gravel hills of Nebraska with a bunch of other like-minded gravel cyclists!
My training coming into 2018 Gravel Worlds hasn’t been optimal. Just three weeks ago, I contracted a bout of tonsillitis from a fellow co-worker who dragged their illness into the office. Thanks heaps, good onya! That followed with a course of antibiotics over 10 days to kick it to the curb, and shortly after by a knackered back. I blame that one on myself. Too cheap to fork out for a yard service, my antics around my house had my humble abode looking sharp, but I could barely stand up straight. Good thing I could still ride 🙂 This getting older bollocks with a piss weak core is rather irritating… I have an item on my to-do to list to correct that.
All of those excuses aside (remember, any good cyclist has a pile of excuses for a dodgy performance), I’m looking forward to the race. I haven’t ridden big miles of late, but I’ve ridden plenty of shorter gravel rides in the heat, so I’m hoping that will bode well in the summer days of Midwest USA. 94F / 34.5C here in this part of Florida and Southern Georgia (one of my favorite places to ride) is plenty toasty, but factoring in humidity as well, you’re in for a guaranteed fun time.
What follows is a gallery detailing some of my preparation for this Saturday’s Gravel Worlds race, kicking off on August 18, 2018.
Stooging around on the wrong side of the tracks, again, during an in-town mixed surface ride. This ride was about enjoying the evening and turning the legs over nice and easy.
The 3T Strada is a 1x / single chainring road bike that I’m working on a co-operative review with my friends at BikeRumor.com – I’ve been using the bike for a lot of my roadie group ride interval fests. With that said, I’m not very scientific. I don’t use a power meter, coach or even analyze my heart rate data. I ride by feel and generally do whatever my mate K-Dogg does.
Above, this was a more serious training ride on my machine for Gravel Worlds. Lynskey PRO GR shod with a pair of Xentis Kappa 2 650b wheels. The wheelset is another cooperative review with my friends at BikeRumor.com – It will be my first time racing on 650b wheels – I love these wheels and look forward to seeing how they perform on the gravel of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Above, my 2018 Team Gravel Cyclist kit (Founder’s edition aka Aussie stripes edition) that I’ll be wearing at the race. A huge thank you to Champion Systems for sponsoring myself and the team, and Orange Seal, for providing the only sealant I use and trust – Endurance Formula.
Above, the tyres I’ll be using at the 2018 Gravel Worlds. The excellent WTB Resolute in 650b x 42mm.
Those who are regulars on the Gravel Cyclist website know I frequently use my Ritchey Breakaway CX gravel travel bike to fly to remote races. That bike is doing just fine (watch this space for a detailed video of the bike), but I really wanted to ride a bike with bigger tyre clearance and one I’m very comfortable with. Because the Lynskey PRO GR pictured above doesn’t break into two distinct pieces, it will be flying to Nebraska with me. Fingers crossed I don’t receive too much of monetary beatdown at the airline ticket counter! Many thanks to my good mate Dr. Pain for the loan of the bike box.
Nothing in life is ever easy, and during disassembly of the bike for packing, I discovered the titanium seatpost had become stuck. I attribute this to some improper preparation on my part. Titanium doesn’t play well with aluminium, and the sleeve material used inside the top portion of the Lynskey seattube is constructed of this material.
With leverage, PB Blaster and the strength of Paul and the lads at Bike & More in Gainesville, Florida, it came free pretty easily.
A liberal coating of anti-seize specifically for titanium / aluminium has since been applied. Thank you so much to Paul and the lads!
Above, some of the food I’ll be consuming at 2018 Gravel Worlds. Historically at events such as Dirty Kanza 200, I’ve relied 100% on liquid hydration with the odd Lara Bar and energy chew thrown in for good measure. I’m sticking to the same proven formula at Gravel Worlds. Hydration is critical in this race and will be a challenge as drop bags are not supported. Thus, my top tube bag is filled with Gu’s Roctane mix for bottle refills at the checkpoints, and as many Lara Bars as I could jam inside. Speaking of bottles, I’ll be relying on my trusty Zefal Magnum one-litre / 33-ounce water bottles, complimented by a very slender Camelbak Razor – or foldable Platypus bottle.
Above, the bike is packed and ready to fly! Not pictured, my suitcase containing all manner of clothing, shoes, video equipment, etc.
Finally, one of my Gainesville, Florida transplant friends now lives in Lincoln. Bobby, a solid rider in his own right, is contesting Gravel Worlds for the first time. This will be his longest race and I’m pretty sure he’s going to do well.
See everyone soon in Lincoln, Nebraska for 2018 Gravel Worlds!
The one-man writing/video wrecking crew of Gravel Cyclist.