No Lance - It's all about the bike
Nothing Technical Here Folks:
The Gibb River Road is essentially an unsealed road, established to link the deep port facilities of Derby and Wyndham with the vast pastoral leases of the west, central and east Kimberley. The road is graded annually by the Shire of Derby West Kimberley (SDWK) and the Shire Wyndham East Kimberley (SWEK) and subject to seasonal considerations, suitable for a diverse range of vehicle travel. In places the road is corrugated, in others it is heavily rutted with rocks and stones and in others still, soft sand will create a wildfire burn in your thighs. It would never be considered a ‘technical’ course by any mountain bike definition, though it is as equally challenging as it is rewarding, with magnificent vistas through an ancient landscape, in the most remote corner of our beautiful country.
Hard Tail Vs. Full Suspension:
Full suspension (Duallies) bikes have an apparent advantage on the corrugated super highway of the Gibb River Road, maintaining rear wheel traction where hard tail (front suspension only) bikes tend to skip and bounce on the corrugations, compromising their forward momentum. Duallie riders are further advantaged with reduced fatigue as they can remain seated through much of the day and have greater pedaling efficiency than hard tail riders who are forced to stand and ride out the harsher patches of corrugation...........yeah, they're the size of bloody speed bumps!
Don't even get me started on the 26" Vs 29" Vs 27.5" wheel size debate.
After nine years, my Orbea Alma (hardtail) was finally retired from service. She endured the dust, corrugations and hundreds of creek crossings but it came at a heavy cost. The running gear had been changed out a half dozen times, the rims were replaced before her final year and the frame wobbled about like a crazy woman's poo. I don't reckon she would have seen out the first day..........
Living by the mantra of n+1 (n being the number of bikes you currently own) I jumped wholeheartedly on the FAT BIKE bandwagon. A stunning rocket red Specialized Fat Boy now rocks my world.
Rule #9 - Fat Bikes are the future.
Pimp Your Ride:
The best investment I ever made for my 9kg, European marque, race bred, carbon fibre hard tail mountain bike was;…………… a set of second hand aero (tri) bars! WTF?
Hear me out. The Gibb Challenge ain’t technical. There are often times where you’re grinding out the kilometres like a roadie – even forming bunches like our lycra clad, asphalt loving brothers and sisters. Aero-bars are the bomb. Put a pair on your stead and you’ll save a bucket load of effort and squeeze out an extra couple of kilometres per hour from your legs.
Mate, check the quick teams. They’re running high pressure Continental Travel Contacts because they’re super tough, reasonably light and have very little rolling resistance. Don’t try and roll these puppies on your favoured single track at home though, they have absolutely no off road manners and offer bugger all cornering traction. Put them on the Gibb though and you won’t need anything else. Purrrrrrrfffect.
Me? I'm going FAT.
Retail Therapy- it’s still about the bike
- Tubes – Presta or Schrader? Get the right ones for your wheels.
- Stan’s Sealant – If you are going tubeless, make sure you have spare sealant and tubeless compatible tyres and rims.
- Tyres – Be sure to have at least a couple of spares in your team, just in case.
- Floor Pump – These pumps have a gauge built-in and will get you up to pressure easier than a hand pump. Check your tyre’s pressure every day.
- CO2 Canisters – This is the quickest and easiest way to get air into your tyres. If you are going tubeless and need to reseat the bead, this is the way to go.
- Chain Cleaner – Clean your drive train every day.
- Citrus Degreaser – This is for your chain cleaner. Grab an aerosol can as well to help keep the driveline moving parts clean.
- Chain Lube – After cleaning, rinsing and drying your chain, put a good quality lube on it. Don’t use CRC or WD40 or anything else that is not a dedicated bike chain lube for dry conditions. When applying the lube, only apply for one complete revolution of the chain, cycle through the gears and leave for 3-4 minutes to soak in and then wipe off the excess.
- Brake Cleaner – This cleaner is what you can use on your disc brakes. Do not use degreaser on your brakes as they will not work afterwards and squeal like a banshee.
- Chain Quick Links - To replace broken links on your chain.
- Shock Pump – This is the high-pressure pump to change the air pressure settings in your forks and rear shock.
- Bike Lock – Look, Lock & Leave.
- Gore Cable Upgrades – These fully sealed cables will stop the dust getting in and minimise the chance of having sticking gears.
- Multi-Tool – On the track break downs can generally be fixed with these handy devices. Get one with a chain breaker if you know how they work.
- Garden Sprayer – Save Mo and the team from Broome Cycles a wealth of work and get your bike clean each night. Garden sprayers with a bit of detergent and water are perfect to clean the dust and grime from your bike’s drive-train, cables and moving parts. Clean bikes are a lot less likely to let you down tomorrow……..
Retail Therapy Continued – now it’s about you
- Knicks – Get the very best you can afford. You will need at least a couple of pairs for the ride but always buy quality over quantity. Knicks are meant to be worn ‘Commando Style’ – no undies. When you’re resting between transitions, get out of your knicks and let the boys (or girls) breath. Salt can build up through drying perspiration and lead to saddle sores, cuts and a level of intimacy with your riding partners you NEVER hoped to achieve.
- Anti Friction Cream – Grab a tub and slap it on before each of your transitions for extra comfort.
- Jersey – Cotton t-shirts just won't cut it. Better to have a couple of proper cycle jerseys for the event. Consider having a team jersey custom made – you’ll look a million bucks! An event riding jersey is included with your registration.
- Shoes – Go clip-less if you dare. You will have better power transfer and prevent sore ankles and Achilles tendons. It’s actually bloody tough keeping your feet on the pedals smashing the corrugations without clip-less pedals.
- Socks – A couple of pairs each day works a treat to keep the feet dry and healthy.
- Helmet – Needs to be in good condition and fitted correctly. Australian Standards apply. No ice cream containers and no leather motorcycle helmets boof head.
- Glasses – Keep that sun and dust out with interchangeable lenses.
- Halo Headband – This handy addition will keep the sweat (and sunscreen) out of your eyes and keep your head cool.
- Gloves – Short or long just make sure you wear ‘em. Gloves protect the third of our contact points with the bike;1.bum, 2.feet and 3.hands.
- Camelbak – Hydrate or die. Hydration is essential whenever you ride or exercise but absolutely critical during The Gibb Challenge. Take a sip every few minutes rather than waiting until you’re thirsty. Your pee should be the colour of straw. Dark yellow urine indicates the onset of dehydration and you’re at risk.Hydration packs are best filled with water only. Use your bidon (bottle) for your sports drinks because they are easier to clean and inspect. If you leave sugary fluids in your hydration bladder, you’ll risk rapid bacterial growth that'll make you crook.