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Apr 13, 2021

This week on In the Dirt, we tackle tire volume (courtesy of a Rene Herse discussion in The Ridership), Road Tripping, Group Riding, the AZT 750 and vaccinations.   

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Rene Herse Tire Volume Discussion 

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Episode Transcription (please excuse any errors)

GRP In The Dirt Ep. 19

[00:00:00] Craig: [00:00:00] Randall welcome to the show

[00:00:01] Randall: [00:00:01] Always a pleasure to be with you Craig. How are you my friend?

[00:00:04] Craig: [00:00:04] I'm doing good. At this point I think you can almost say Craig welcome to the show

[00:00:09] Randall: [00:00:09] Yeah  you're still hosting vastly more often than I am so I need to up my game here.

[00:00:16] Craig: [00:00:16] Speaking of upping your game you've transported yourself yet again since our last broadcast So you were in Utah

[00:00:23] Where are you?

[00:00:23]Randall: [00:00:23] So I am back in San Francisco staying in the marina for the month I was very fortunate to have some friends who were out of town and just said here are the keys to the apartment So I have been road tripping and house sitting and otherwise Taking advantage of a very flexible situation over these months which has been great

[00:00:41] Craig: [00:00:41] Yeah it was cool on your way back from Utah did see you in Palm desert California was nice for an hour for a coffee and a little conversation

[00:00:51] Randall: [00:00:51] Yeah

[00:00:52] we had a coffee and a slush tone My Watching your son go down and slip and slide the bunch of other kids in Palm desert

[00:00:58]Craig: [00:00:58] That may be interesting to some of our listeners I think where are you headed next even more interesting is that before or after you headed to the grand canyon

[00:01:06] Randall: [00:01:06] That

[00:01:06] was after So I had been in Southern Utah for a couple of weeks podding with a couple of friends and actually my youngest sister which was great So we hit up Bryce and Zion and a few different Parks in that area a lot of trail running a lot of hiking and a lot of just being outside Brought a fire pit along since sitting around sitting outside around a fire pit making things in the walk really lovely time and [00:01:30] a reminder of what life was like before pandemic two of my friends had been vaccinated and the rest of us got tested And so we did it in his safe away as we could and then being

[00:01:40] Craig: [00:01:40] It's so nice to have some of that Normalicy creeping back into our lives I feel the same thing There's just been some casualness to my interactions with people that wasn't present A month ago prior to me getting the first shot of the vaccination Anyway

[00:01:55] Randall: [00:01:55] Yeah And I just got my first shot today which I'm very pleased about and it's no panacea the effectiveness with new variants is still being tested and is shown to be a little bit less or potentially quite a bit less effective with new variants and then there's still research to be done on how long it lasts But with boosters and with more people having some degree of immunity does seem like the worst is behind us which is such relief Plus the risk of serious illness is significantly lessened with these vaccines to so strongly encourage everybody to take advantage as it's opening up to the full population

[00:02:30]Craig: [00:02:30] And after this is published tomorrow I'm going away for my second shot So I'm excited about that.

[00:02:35] Randall: [00:02:35] Very cool Very cool

[00:02:37] Craig: [00:02:37] So you actually made it you actually made it into the grand canyon Did you not

[00:02:41] Randall: [00:02:41] I did after I left my group of friends and my younger sister there drove down to the south rim and camped out and then woke up the next morning had a lovely breakfast and coffee on the rim and then ran down to the river A really nice way to spend a day got back up at about one o'clock or so one 30 [00:03:00] then, Had a beverage with a friend in Flagstaff and then continued on to Sedona

[00:03:05] Craig: [00:03:05] Nice Is that a 3000 foot drop off the edge

[00:03:09] Randall: [00:03:09] I think it's 48


[00:03:11] Craig: [00:03:11] Been a hell of a day of getting back out

[00:03:13] Randall: [00:03:13] Yeah I was more beat than I was expecting to be but granted it was a bit brazen of me to do aGrand Canyon run relatively off the couch. I haven't been training much at all I've been using this time to Recover overall And I was definitely hurting towards the end of it but it was something I'd been wanting to do for some time and was really a day well spent

[00:03:33] Craig: [00:03:33] Yeah the one time I went down there I remember the way out It was like it was all good until it wasn't and that's like still got another 1500 feet to hike out of here

[00:03:42] Randall: [00:03:42] Yeah Yeah It was it was stunning though I just went didn't out and back on the south Kaibab trail for those in the know or who are curious there's also you can do rim to rim I didn't do that People who do that rim to rim in a day that's pretty ambitious and you can also go up the Angel's Landing trail I believe which is a bigger loop which I didn't tackle because it was another seven miles of flats And I didn't need that.

[00:04:05] Craig: [00:04:05] Okay Hey did you know that the Arizona trail race the AZT there's the 350 and the 750 And the 750 involves hiking the grand canyon rim to rim with your bike on your back

[00:04:21] your tires are not allowed to touch the ground. You can't ride in that park as you probably saw, so to complete the Arizona trail 750 [00:04:30] you have to hike down and out the other side

[00:04:33] Randall: [00:04:33] oh that sounds awful and even if you were allowed to ride your bike down it would probably be a bad idea at least not without a proper dual suspension mountain bike with knobbies And on which case you have that much more bike to carry up all the stuff that is completely unrideable

[00:04:50] Craig: [00:04:50] Yeah for the listener There are a few really good documentaries I've seen on Netflix I believe Maybe Amazon prime about the AZT 350 and the 750 Really cool, Definitely not gravel bike terrain It's purportedly a very difficult Rocky route In fact many people find it just too rough to even attempt but it's one of these bike packing races that has a grand de par day And people just go off and it was finished Days and weeks apart from one another

[00:05:22] Randall: [00:05:22] Okay So people are stretching it out over a period of time enjoying the scenery It's not like a 24 hour slog or something like that where people are just knocking out 300 400 miles a go.

[00:05:33] Craig: [00:05:33] It's longer than that but it's definitely raced So I think every year there's people who are doing it as dare I say tourists but that's probably not the right word but there are definitely people going forward and there's definitely an FK T For the AZT Three 50 and the seven 50 that people are gunning for periodically

[00:05:51]Randall: [00:05:51] Beast mode. That's that's a lot of riding or more than I I have the stomach for at the moment

[00:05:57] Craig: [00:05:57] Exactly So speaking of riding [00:06:00] and racing I actually had a good time I think both Saturday and Sunday I saw the return of proper gravel racing. And while it may be a little too soon for me to don a number of both physically and really just where I'm at in terms of the pandemic it was really cool to see my buddy Sam Ames' race the rock cobbler go off outside of Bakersfield in California The race has been around a number of years He's been a guest on the podcast I was excited to see they were sponsored by Bianchi this year So getting a little bit more resources behind the event. Sam's known for the quirkiness of his events. The first year I think had riders ride through someone's house part of the course Which is crazy So I was waited with bated breath to see what's was going to be the shenanigan of the year And the one thing I saw Courtesy of our friends at pure gravel who were filming a lot of it Was they had a ball pit can say from the footage I saw unequivocally If you're ever presented with a ball pit in a gravel race do not try to ride it I think 100% of the people I saw crashed and some crashed heavily

[00:07:13] Randall: [00:07:13] How deep is this ball pit I suppose there's like a there's a zone where if it's not deep enough it's really bad. But if it's deep enough it's you're still going to crash but it'll be delightful.

[00:07:23] Craig: [00:07:23] Yeah I think it was I think it was not deep enough for the way that people were grimacing when they stood up

[00:07:30] [00:07:29] Randall: [00:07:29] Oh geez

[00:07:31] Craig: [00:07:31] But anyway I mean that the guys again follow pure gravel on Instagram They've got some footage of that race and I think people get a kick out of and then another account on Instagram I started following with Southeast gravel And there was event called the Greenwood gravel grinder which had some hitters out in it Out on the east coast and it was fun they had a motorcycle out there capturing footage So it reminded me of maybe mid south in 2019 where I was just able to sit as an armchair quarterback and watch athletes just rip through these gravel courses fun Again we were as we were talking about a few minutes ago Just the sort of senses of a return to normalcy beginning to be there And so that was a lot of fun to see

[00:08:13] Randall: [00:08:13] Excellent Yeah I have a couple of events that I'm looking at for the late spring, early summer on the east coast And It does feel like these things can be pulled off safely Now granted with a lot of good protocol and people adhering to it

[00:08:27] Craig: [00:08:27] Yeah I think when you subtract out maybe the food and beverages afterwards or at least alternate how they're delivered you really do have the opportunity If writers are being safe then I think you can pull these things off

[00:08:40] Randall: [00:08:40] Yeah I think the biggest thing is out on that I can think of is like you can stagger the starts So people are all grouped together but really having a rule around drafting and things like that Cause it's actually in that draft That is also the sweet spot for any sort of vapor coming out of one's mouth And so it's a good place to get a good dose of [00:09:00] COVID if you're drafting somebody

[00:09:02] Craig: [00:09:02] That's the trickiest thing for me because as when I'm dying late in the race if I see a wheel to follow I'm definitely going to hop on

[00:09:08] Randall: [00:09:08] Yeah Yeah It definitely needs to be an explicit rule that stated and that everyone agrees to I think so for all you event organizers out there something to consider

[00:09:19] Craig: [00:09:19] another event popped onto my radar that I thought the listener might be interested in in Trinidad Colorado lifetime who's the owner of crusher and the Tuscher and Unbound gravel formerly dirty Kanza And started a new event called the rad dirt Fest And it's part running festival part gravel festival

[00:09:38]Long time listeners may be familiar with Trinidad Colorado because I had an interview back in 2019 With Ron Della Rocha reached out to me and said I really want to make this region of Colorado which is in the The very Southern tip very close to New Mexico A gravel destination because we've got phenomenal roads We've got some nice mountain passes just a perfect place for gravel racing So it was interesting And I reached out to Juan and asked him if he had been in contact with the lifetime team And he said he had interesting that they're picking another kind of mountain community To impact and hopefully in a very positive way for a region that doesn't have going on Now that certain industries have left the region

[00:10:25]Randall: [00:10:25] Very cool it's springtime in the gravel events world

[00:10:29] Craig: [00:10:29] Yes [00:10:30] the blossoming of gravel again once again hopefully this tail end of the year is were hoping 2020 would be where gravel events were plentiful The investment and organization levels were continued to increase and improve And people were just out there having a blast

[00:10:47]Randall: [00:10:47] And it ties into the other end of the gravel event spectrum now that we are going to chat about today which is impromptu gatherings of people and being able to facilitate that more effectively

[00:11:00] Craig: [00:11:00] Yeah Yeah

[00:11:01] exactly Speaking of impromptu gatherings you had a bit of an adventure last weekend right

[00:11:07] Randall: [00:11:07] I had a great adventure so talk about quirky events.PanocheSo there's the the super pro series here in California which my good friend Isaac has done in the past and has volunteered for And so he had all the beta on the route that we did in the Panoche Hills which is not a very well known area of California but it is stunningly beautiful And we got there it's halfway between LA and San Francisco off the five So off the five kind of and then if you go west of there on the other side is Hollister and there's Panoche road That goes through and it's a pockmarked paved road but lots of potholes but I was fine barnstorming it in my Prius So a really stunning area And we got there before everything had dried out So you had these beautiful hues of different greens and wild flowers out and then some brown Hills in the distance and a good amount of [00:12:00] elevation I think the highest point is 3000 plus hella steep like brutally steep in sections both at the end down so we definitely got worked and it was a just a really delightful time weather couldn't have been better And we stayed at the Mercey Hot Springs which is a stunning little sanctuary in the middle of this desert area Where there's the only Grove of trees for some distance and it's just filled with birds that wake you up in the morning and you wake up to a beautiful sunrise really fantastic

[00:12:29] Craig: [00:12:29] That's awesome How would you characterize the dirt as compared to  Marin county

[00:12:33]Randall: [00:12:33] Marin county the actual trails themselves are way more fun to ride I would say what's unique about being out there is the vistas and the beauty of the terrain and the fact that you can be so remote So close to a major metropolitan area it was just gorgeous for that And being able to do a monster loop and just see the whole ridge line that you're going to tackle as you're riding

[00:12:56] Craig: [00:12:56] Was it a sort of double track slash fire road Or were you on single track

[00:13:00]Randall: [00:13:00] Mostly Doubletrack And some of it was properly fun and technical I tend to like the faster flowy mixed Doubletrack single track stuff that we have here in the bay but this was rewarding in a different way This was a cover lots of ground slog your way up a big hill Get a beautiful view rewarding ride

[00:13:19] Craig: [00:13:19] So out of intellectual curiosity if you were living in that area you think your wheel set would be different than it normally is And for normal I always have in my mind that you're [00:13:30] a 650x47 guy

[00:13:32] Randall: [00:13:32] Yeah actually no I wouldn't run any more and I wouldn't run any less in Marine I would run more and in fact in when we'll keep that mostly under wraps but I do have some plans for something that would allow for a little bit more in the future

[00:13:47] Craig: [00:13:47] Yeah I was find it interesting as everybody knows I'm usually in that 650x47 although I'm down to 43s right now camp And I wonder if I went somewhere with a little less technical terrain whether I would opt for something narrower as plenty of riders do

[00:14:02]Randall: [00:14:02] It actually ties into another thing we're going to discuss today which is this article from Rene Hearse Who you had on the podcast before that was shared in The Ridership talking about whether wider tires are slower or faster And its findings suggest that tire construction is a major determinant there not tire volume And so there's really no upside to going with those 650x43s but there is the downside in that you don't have all that extra volume to take the shock away. So I would I'd be sticking with minimum 650x47 for the sort of stuff that we ride I am curious about how you find those though

[00:14:41] Craig: [00:14:41] Yeah I'll let you know since I'm just switching over to them again I've on this journey to test the limits and everything in between So I've got a 700 by 32 slick setup but a durable tire from Panaracer gravel king plus And then the Gravel king SK [00:15:00] 650x43 now that the set up on and I should disclose And I'm very excited about this I was invited to become a Panaracer ambassador for the year

[00:15:10] Randall: [00:15:10] Awesome That's great.

[00:15:12] Craig: [00:15:12] And it's a little bit like coming home. It's fun because the Panner racer gravel king SK on my original open 650x48 Was the tire and the bike set up that really opened my eyes to what gravel could be and mean And I don't think I'd swap that tire for two years In fact I only stopped running it when I got my open simply because WTB or WTB was the tire offering that that you guys had to offer on the Thesis yeah it's fun coming full circle and seeing if these tires were everything that I remembered them to be And as I said I've set up these super narrow road tires It's super nice It's funny to say super narrow at 32 millimeters But I've slept them up and I've been trying to ride a little bit of dirt on them just set again just to test the limits and also encourage myself to choose different routes. Get further north into Marin before I hit the dirt and try some new stuff

[00:16:12] Randall: [00:16:12] I do find it remarkable how capable that set up can be on hardpack. I've ridden around here on the peninsula this the Sweeney Ridge loop that has a section of single track going up and some beat up broken down paved sections coming down and between [00:16:30] 700x30 setup on our wide rims and then having the dropper post So I can really take the edge off by using a bit of body English letting the bike dance underneath me it's remarkable how fast that stuff can be hit especially if you I think I have the added advantage of knowing that I can replace the rim cheaply enough but So I take I might take more risks than most but nonetheless

[00:16:52] Craig: [00:16:52] Yeah I was riding I was in Topanga for the last weekend and I was riding it on some dirt those 32s And I will say it was definitely in my head descending no problem whatsoever climbing As it was flowing I felt good I didn't feel like I was getting too crazy in the corners but as I started to pointed downhill I really found myself backing it off

[00:17:13] And that's where the big tire volumes You just don't have to think about it I think that's what I love about running big it'll get up the Hills and no problem when you're going down the Hills you can just hit more stuff

[00:17:24]Randall: [00:17:24] And I want to come back to this article that I was brought up a moment ago because it's relevant to this conversation It's talking about essentially they're making the argument that without a well constructed which means higher end materials generally what in the aftermarket with tires like Rene Hearse there are others who make premium tires as well with similar construction incidentally in their case by Panaracer  you're not losing out on rolling resistance And in fact it was a very interesting phenomenon that they found here Which was they're looking at tire pressure And

[00:17:56] Craig: [00:17:56] favorite subject

[00:17:57]Randall: [00:17:57] Yeah and I this is actually something that it [00:18:00] makes sense to me having read it but I definitely didn't Intuit it at first. I want to use his words here So he's looking at optimal tire pressure And what they found was that   Having a lower pressure can have low rolling resistance or relatively high efficiency having a higher pressure can have a relatively high efficiency but there's a middle pressure where it's actually the worst of both worlds And the mechanism that they suggest is this, and this is a quote is the tires are pumped up harder Suspension losses caused by vibrations increase more than the hysteric losses caused by deformation of the tire because those as those go down as a result the total combined resistance goes up at first So you can either minimize suspension losses with low pressure Or hysteric losses with high pressure but the compromise means that both suspension and hysteric losses are relatively high and you go slower than you would at either end of the spectrum. Which for me is a license to continue running low pressure which I was going to do anyways.

[00:18:58] Craig: [00:18:58] Yeah it's fascinating And I will link to my conversation with the author Jan Renee from Renee Hearse cycles And I encourage everybody to check out his blog on Rene or stock com and we'll link to the conversation in the ridership and you'll be able to find your way to these blog posts but it was fascinating And as you and I were talking about offline I'm not totally sure I've got a crappy gauge on my pump relatively crappy I'll say and it's just consistent Like it's crappy [00:19:30] across every time I pump up the tire So I know what I think I know I'm not exactly sure where I'm at I do a little bit by feel and a little bit by the gauge But I'm concerned that I may end up in the middle zone because I think that's the easiest place to be it's pretty easy to your tire up to the maximum recommended tubeless pressure And know that you're too high on the pressure

[00:19:54] The too low side is maybe something that's we fear hitting Because there are realistic concerns right Of going too low on the tire pressure You're going to bottom out You might damage your rim but how to avoid being in the middle for your individual weight and set up is tricky and it's probably going to involve a little bit of personal trial and error maybe that's all investing in a little bit better Quality tire gauge

[00:20:19] Randall: [00:20:19] Yeah it's the tire gauges that come on the vast majority of bumps are pretty rubbish and they're good from a relative perspective measuring from one day to the next in comparing those pressures So if you ever pressure you like stick with it but not as an absolute measure of accuracy And so I'll probably be investing in the same So at the same time There's still that element of knowing how I ride how things feel and that limits of where I can tell that I'm close to bottoming out a rim on the terrain that I'm riding And that tends to be one of my gauges cause I ride pretty hard So that limits the low end of the pressure I can use especially A bit of [00:21:00] the dropper posts and a bit of body English helps to mitigate that to some degree but at the same time one bad line can be a bad day with a cracked carbon rim

[00:21:09] Craig: [00:21:09] Yeah I think my experience on the mountain bike is definitely so much time and time again like experiment on the lower side of the spectrum not the higher side of the spectrum

[00:21:17] Randall: [00:21:17] Oh yeah you don't want to poke a stick

[00:21:21] Craig: [00:21:21] Exactly fascinating stuff as always And as we know people will geek out over tires and tire pressure all day long

[00:21:28] The other thing that was cool I wanted to highlight is you've been getting together with That select group of people via The Ridership And of the things we all have always talked about in the ridership is we're out of this pandemic How do we facilitate getting people together and think about tools to make that coordination easier and better

[00:21:50]Randall: [00:21:50] Already we're seeing this behavior just emerge so we're currently running the forum on slack And so in slack you can have direct messages with I think up to eight people Is that right. So in this case one person suggested it. And then another person chimed in with a route And then three more people hu We're interested So the hell's Yeah and I think from there it went to a DM or maybe it started in a direct message thread. And these are people who I had met One was a good friend two others I actually met through Thesis they were early Thesis riders And then the fourth was a friend of theirs And we had only ever interacted as a group [00:22:30] Out through the forum and then described came together and started planning the camping arrangements Who's bringing what and all that stuff And just being able to do it asynchronously but quickly in this sort of format and invite people and share materials like routes and campsites And so on on the fly was a great experience And so there's some things that we could probably do to enhance it further and we'll be experimenting with some plugins and so on in slack but it was really just very encouraging It's this it's the second or third time that I've had this sort of thing come together and we're seeing other people do it as well Other people in the regional channels saying Hey I just got vaccinated does anyone want to plan a ride for later in the month This sort of thing

[00:23:11] Craig: [00:23:11] Yeah That's what it's here for not to overly plug The Ridership but everybody listening is invited a free forum to connect with other riders And as Randall said we're actively listening to everybody in the forum and trying to build great things that are going to enhance your cycling experience

[00:23:30]Randall: [00:23:30] Online tools for the facilitation of offline connection and experience And everyone gets a free RideWithGPS account as well

[00:23:37] Craig: [00:23:37] Yeah Absolutely I think that's a good time for us to call it quits for this week Good to reconnect And now that you're in the bay area before you leave again and we're going to get for a ride together

[00:23:48] Randall: [00:23:48] Yeah

[00:23:49] I will see you on Friday

[00:23:51] Craig: [00:23:51] Right on