The Road to 2018 Gravel Worlds – Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

“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

2018 gravel worlds

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!

Thankfully, this is my first time at Gravel Worlds. Along with Mr and Mrs K-Dogg, I contested the 2016 edition. Follow the links to read my 2016 Gravel Worlds race report and race video.

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.

2018 gravel worlds
My crappy course notes, converted to Kilometres.

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!

JOM
The one-man writing/video wrecking crew of Gravel Cyclist.

14 comments on “The Road to 2018 Gravel Worlds – Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

  1. Sounds like a perfect time for some manufacturer to make a break away frame that accepts tire widths greater than 35c eh?

    I’m just sayin’

    1. The new Ritchey Carbon Outback will accept a 40mm tyre, but I’m still pretty sold on the virtues of Titanium for a travel bike… plus I really want to ride these 4-spoke wheels in Lincoln.

  2. I have soured on WTB tires…..they have failed me on New England potholes 3 times (2 biways and a resolute) in the last 2 years….nice tires until they don’t hold air

    1. Using this post to complain about your WTB experience isn’t overly cool. Moving along, in my experience, you can puncture anything, anywhere.

      1. True enough, My post was intended as a warning not a complaint. I was on brand new tires Monday however and my plans were to ride the D2R2 on Resolute’s this weekend but I’ve had to rethink that less than a week out. Good luck

        1. Tony, if I were you, I would contact WTB and inform them of your issue. Maybe you’ll get a warranty? I rode the full monty D2R2 on the Specialized Renegade tyre in the 29’er aka 700c x 1.8″ width.

          1. Wow that’s a lot of climbing. I have a set of Clement/Donnelly MSO’s but no idea what they feel like on dirt…my other wheels have Teravail Ramparts on them but those are nearly slick. I wish Specialized made the Renagade in 650b is looks like just that I am looking for

      2. On a positive note I just tried the Pecan Pie Lara Bar and wow is it tasty….goes down easy and sits well on th stomach

        1. I have to be uber careful with Lara Bars in the house… I’ve been known to snack on them late at night. D’oh! They are killer for riding / racing. A lot of calories in a very small form. Good luck at D2R2!

    2. Three flats in two years isn’t something to complain about. It’s really not that big of a deal and almost certainly not WTBs fault as most riders have good success with their tires. Possibly you are not using enough air pressure or maybe you just simply make poor decisions when it comes to line choice or avoiding obstacles.

  3. Good luck in the race to you, K-Dogg and the Mrs. K-Dog. Georgia and Florida are excellent for heat/humidity training, got to love it and I’m living it in central Georgia. Still loving my Lynskey GR250, awesome ride it is. I’ve never had a more comfortable bike. Thanks for all your honest, real world reviews.

    1. Hey Gil, thank you! I’m the only member of GC at Gravel Worlds for 2018. The Dogg duo are taking a much-needed vacation starting very soon.

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