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Reply To: Gravel Loop Tires

KenH, August 3, 2016 at 8:03 am

The gravel loop was no problem on 38mm tires and neither were road cracks and most other road hazards, which is why I run them. The loop was harder this year because it was hotter, hillier, and the depth of the loose gravel off the compacted tire tracks made it harder to pedal through than last year. I was hot and tired enough by the time I hit the loop that I stayed to the compacted automobile tire tracks the whole way. I was not in the mood to exert the effort required to pedal through the loose stuff at that point although I did take pity on those of you brave souls who did the loop on 23s. As you came up behind me and wanted to pass I moved over into the loose gravel to make life easier for you. You should really buy me a beer sometime, don’t you think!?

For the most part you 23 mm guys and gals were riding the packed tracks and riding faster than me but on every downhill you were all riding your brakes. I spent the whole loop dropping behind y’all on the uphills and then catching you up on the downhills. I did one downhill run with no one in front of me so I just let it run. Yeah, at about 25 mph it did start to get a little “interesting”!

I saw one person fixing a flat and I saw one inner tube that someone else had discarded so unlike last year there must have been some significant amount of pinch flatting (I assume) going on. Just over a mile before Imogene I came upon a little knot of people assisting someone who had crashed. You could see the rut in the gravel he created when his front tire got away from him in the loose stuff. I don’t think he was seriously injured but since he was older (my age!) the others had convinced him to wait for an ambulance. A middle aged couple had “adopted” him by then and were determined to wait with him until the ambulance arrived so after making sure they had enough water and anything else they might need while waiting the rest of us rode on. I don’t think he would have had any trouble riding the rest of the week and perhaps after getting checked out by the medics he was able to complete that day’s ride. He was on a touring bike with fairly wide tires so he was well equipped to handle the gravel. Sometimes it just gets ahead of you.

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