By Chris Magerl — “An ice cream headache of bike setup choices”
Like any gravel event, at some point you have the wrong bike. From multi-time participant Aaron Phillips after the 2018 event: “Gravel races provide an ice cream headache of bike setup choices, and the challenge of riding gravel is answered by a dizzying array of setups. Ultimately, if the gearing is not terrible, you have good tires and good luck, and you are comfortable on the bike, then I recommend letting go of the worry and running what you ‘brung’.”
What did the fast folks ride in recent years?
Breanne Nalder, second place (2017), first place (2018-19) woman, The Wild Horse: “Cannondale Slate with a fast rolling MTB tire on my front wheel and gearing similar to my road bike. With those two adjustments and a saddle positioned for off-road stability, I felt confident to get after it!”
Meghan Sheridan, first place (2016), second place (2018) woman, The Wild Horse: “This is my third year doing the race, and my first year doing it on a cross bike. In 2016 and 2017 I rode a hardtail mountain bike. Despite having my PR in 2016 on my hardtail MTB, I think a CX bike is more fun and a superior choice.”
Mark Currie, first place men, The Wild Horse: “I chose to ride a Why Cycles R+ frame, ENVE M525 wheels with WTB Resolute 42mm tires, ENVE cockpit and a SRAM 1×11 drivetrain. The equipment was absolutely dialed, and truly worked flawlessly. Already stoked for next year!”
Thomas Cooke, second place men, The Wild Horse: “I rode the same rig I rode in last year’s Dirty Kanza 200, Crusher, and RPI: an Open UPPER with a single front chainring. A little bird who raced last year, who may or may not be named Jamey Driscoll, told me to run my 650b wheels with fat tires, which was good advice that I ignored. Instead, I rode Gravel King 700c x 43c tires with waaaaay too much pressure. I should have stopped to let some out, but I doubt the winner would have waited for me!”
Aaron Phillips, first place men, Little Wild Horse: “Due to the fairly rough condition of the road in general and my tender spine (herniated disc), I opted for a full suspension race 29er equipped with suspension lockout with 2.2” tubeless tires. While perhaps 2% slower than a gravel bike on the course overall, I felt the comfort and confidence associated with this ride made the mental game of the race a bit easier, and I reasoned that it was probably “sixes” with respect to bike choice.”