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2023 Lakelander Gravel Advice

  • 29-06-2023 6:35am
    Registered Users Posts: 164 ✭✭

    Hello all,

    I signed up for this event. Going for the 100K route.

    A few questions aimed at those who have done it before or done a similar distance event......

    Tyre recommendations. Width, brand, thoughts. Currently on 35mm Vittoria.

    Gearing. Currently running stock Topstone 1 gearing. 46/30 front and 34/11 rear.

    Any other tips appreciated.

    New to this gravel malarky but not to cycling.


  • Registered Users Posts: 166 ✭✭pairofpears

    I havent done it but the gearing looks good to get you through. Unless there are 15% grades or higher the gears will be fine. I have 40mm gravel tyres on my bike and have run it over smooth gravel to bog roads and they have stood up fine. I have used my CX tyres on some rough gravel and never had an issue.

    I would say fueling is going to be the big thing and staying consistent in your pace and not getting carried away on the road sections and burning matches you will need later.

  • Registered Users Posts: 164 ✭✭Dr.Tom

    Thanks for your reply.

    I am thinking of converting to 40mm alright before the event.

    Good to hear gearing should be sufficent.

    Gotta agree with you on fuelling and "calming" myself. Something I need to work on between now and October.

  • Registered Users Posts: 166 ✭✭pairofpears

    Fueling and the calming yourself will be the key to it. I did Gortin Glen Gravel this year and when the grades got too extreme I just got off and walked, same when I did the Oldcastle Adventure X. No shame in a bit of hike a bike.

    I bought a 1l hydration backpack from Decathlon to go along with the 2 water bottles I will have on the day. It was only €15 but will be worth it so I dont run out of electrolytes. I dont know how many food stations will be on the spin so will be loaded with figrolls and bananas. It would be better to have way too much than not enough.

  • Registered Users Posts: 164 ✭✭Dr.Tom

    Ill have my 2l Camelbak with "essential" spares aswell as obvious fluid onboard. Might go top tube bag for on bike snacks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,345 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    I've done it twice now - no need for extra water options imo. There's 3 water/ food stops on the 100km route.

    Tyre wise, it kinda depends. I felt a bit "over tyre'd" (?) last year as the fireroads were a lot smoother than the first year I did it (which I think was the first one). There were a lot of punctures that year, albeit tyre's have probably come on a bit - but it was also a lot dryer so less mud than that first year too. It's all fireroad, apart from a short and smooth single track by a lake.

    I haven't the pass organised yet, let alone entry, but plan to be back anyway!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,138 ✭✭✭nilhg

    It's a great day out, but tough, I'm hoping to get back again this season, I had a ball last year.

    I was on 38mm Panaracer Gravelking SK which measure up slightly over 40mm on the rims I have, I was very happy with them last year, would be happy to use them again if I make it up.

    Gearing wise I have a topstone too, same gearing, the gearing was fine but some of the hills get steeper towards the top when your legs are really feeling it, and it can be hard to get out of the saddle without wheel slip

  • Registered Users Posts: 164 ✭✭Dr.Tom

    All great info and advice. Thanks folks.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,345 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    Hutchinson Tundra is what I had (and currently have) on my gravel bike. Probably a bit knobbly for the lakelander in last years conditions. First year I was on tubed gravelking SK (and no punctures, but also no comfort in combo with a full al Kona Rove!). I should've mentioned, AL Topstone for me, and found the gearing ok.

    Regarding tyres, they normally give an update if there's freshly laid gnarly sections in the weeks leading up to it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,838 ✭✭✭fat bloke

    Is it Cyclocross-able?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,059 ✭✭✭Sinbad_NI

    First year I did it I was on 33mm CX tyres, was fine tbh. M8 also on CX tyres, he got a couple of flats but I’d none.

    More comfortable on 40 mm Schwalbe G-One bites, the last couple of years but really depends what work has been going on in the Forrest and how the tracks have been left.

    Hardest parts are the climbs, the one near the start up past the GoT cave filming location goes on a while and the Navar ending climb has a very steep short section at the top, 15+% but only for 50 yards maybe. View at the feed station not long after makes it really worthwhile though, stunning. It’s about 7k feet climbing total so that’s def the biggest challenge, leg sapping.

    3 food stops so 2 bottles is plenty, they’re pretty equally spaced, so all good.

    Fantastic event.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 664 ✭✭✭Whatwicklow

    It's a tough event, completed it twice now on my cx bike on 33mm tyres *only one puncture. (first year I did it on 1*10 gearing 38-11/36 it was a mightmare

    100km with 2000m of gain really bites when your in the way home.

  • Registered Users Posts: 164 ✭✭Dr.Tom

    All great info. Was a toss up whether to get a 1x setup when getting a gravel bike.

    Glad I went 2x now (not saying it cant be done on a 1x mind).

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,276 ✭✭✭kenmc

    Did in in 2021 on MTB with the narrowest affordable tyres could get, conti mud kings think about 1.9" or so (run 2.6 and 2.4 when mtbing) great but tough tough day was wrecked at the end. 30x11-52 gearing, I used every single one one those going up the naver-fcukin-ending climb and would have taken even lower gearing if available. (Even considered throwing up to lighten the load!)

    This year signed up again, on gravel bike this time, probably 40mms. 40x11-42 gearing but bike probably 5kg lighter than MTB so hopefully won't need as much gearing.

    Also doing the galway gravel grinder in August, did that last year too, also excellent - can actually gain weight there such is the culinary offering!

  • Registered Users Posts: 164 ✭✭Dr.Tom

    Digging this up again. Who completed it.

    The Topstone held together with 35mm tyres anyway despite their best effort to self destruct on the last 5k.

    The double dose of sealant deffo helped. I wouldn't see any issue running 35mm tyres again.

    A great challenging event although I would have really enjoyed a few extra teeth on my cassette.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,345 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    Third time, same slow tyres. I did go extra gears this time on the Topstone, but still ended up looking for more! It's a hard, but great, event that I use to close out my season. I try to push on, but can't seem to break the 5 hours total time! Definitely spurring me on to do more S&C over the winter, as my back muscles were (and still are) in a bad way. The steep seated climbs and closed hip angle seem to do the damage. Hopefully back next year, perhaps for the Mad Dog!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,874 ✭✭✭De Bhál

    yep, 2nd time doing it. Biggest ring on the cassette last time was 25 and ended up having to walk some of the Navar ending climb. So was determined this time to not let that happen. Got a proper hill cassette and it made it a lot easier. Still an awful pull though.

    50mins faster than when I did it in 2021. Bit lighter and fitter than then

    First 15 to 20km from the sign-on spot is tough going and rarely lets up much the whole way round.

    Weather was perfect, warm and overcast. Burger and beer at the end are well earned. Great day out

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,276 ✭✭✭kenmc

    Did it for second time, loved it this time round, the gravel was a lot faster than previous, a much more defined smooth line. Bit shocking though how many people are unable to descend at any sort of speed. Didn't get close to the 3h33 winning time but took an hour off previous so dead happy and felt remarkably human after. Think I'd stick with the big dog though, mad dog doesn't really pique my interest

  • Registered Users Posts: 164 ✭✭Dr.Tom

    Before making a call on it id like to see the Mad Dog proposed route. The added 60km could all be downhill (highly unlikely).

    After investigation of the bike when I got home my freehub bearings have died. I had the feeling of a buckle from the first road section that got progressively worse yet the wheel was still running very true.

    Not great on a 6 month old bike. Wheel upgrade deffo on my to do list to have a gravel ready bike for the winter.

    For those experienced and from the point of view of gravel specific events (of which this was my first), where does the Lakelander fall in. One of the toughest?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,276 ✭✭✭kenmc

    Tougher than the galway grinder 125 imo; haven't done gravel grind west though to compare it to that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,345 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    It's the only official one I've done, but lads in the club that have done Gravel Grind West have the Lakelander as much harder. The Lakelander parcours would be a tough enough road spin, if it was all paved.

    I think the Mad Dog will be more of the same to be honest - it's all rolling country around there either side of the border (border crossing was mentioned regarding the Mad Dog) - I think it's really the lack of flat that really makes the Big Dog hard.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭LCD

    Don't choose whichever tyres I had on, 4 bloody punctures! First about 12km in, pleasure of a double puncture at the 88km mark and final puncture 1km from home. Also went over the bars when I stupidly attempted to ride down the steps at the entrance to the single track.

    Very good event, though incredibly hard. Isn't an event you could bluff, to do the 100km you need to have some level of fitness. Ran a lot fasters this year than last. 2022 I had 2 punctures.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,874 ✭✭✭De Bhál

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,345 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    They were teasing a 160km "Mad Dog" for next year at the start. Sounds horrendous - sign me up!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,874 ✭✭✭De Bhál

    Don't know if I'd be physically able for 160kms of that. I'd have to start at about 8am to begin with and probably have to stop for something substantial to eat as well. Even Saturday from about the 90 mark I was just counting down the kms to the finish line.

    Come to think of it, 160 ain't aimed at someone like myself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,345 ✭✭✭Macy0161

    The two previous times I've found the last gravel section hard going. It wasn't too bad this year, despite nearly exactly the same time overall as last year. I'm maybe more aware of not going too deep to the turnaround, but I'd be lying if that was conscious on the day! There was no promises on the Mad Dog anyway - I'd say more red tape if it is going across the border.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,276 ✭✭✭kenmc

    The border up around there would be about as porous as it comes I'd say 😃 can't imagine there be much red tape needed. No matter, the big dog plenty big for me.