Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Detailing my final TransIowa v9 Bike Setup...

It's time for the one we've all been waiting for -- TransIowa time is here -- and it looks like this year's event is set to be a good one. We're expecting weather in the mid-60s with sunshine during the day, and lows in the upper-40s during the night, but most importantly, it's forecast to be DRY, which is quite alright as far as I'm concerned. You can bet with all the rain the area's gotten over the past week, the B-roads are going to be awfully damp anyway... but the gravel, yes the gravel should be primo.

So, with all that in-mind, my steed for the Big Dance is already packed and ready. No joke. Everything is ready to go, and I wanted to show you all the Singular Gryphon I'll be riding this year. So, without further ado, here it is:
The complete bike -- fully-loaded, I'm not sure what it weighs, but it's well over 30 lbs. That said, I won't need to wear any sort of pack on my body. That was a major consideration in what I did here. 43c Bruce Gordon Rock 'N Road tires are super-stable, reasonably light and pretty darn fast. They're tubeless on my bike (they are designed to run w/tubes, however).

There's a lot going on at "bar central", with a NiteRider Cordless 600 light sharing space with a Garmin Edge 200 GPS computer (on a Tate Labs BarFly mount) and a map holder of an origin I forget (maybe Detours?) The CamelBak drink tube is mounted on a magnetic steerer-mounted retractable leash made by Veleau, which retains the hose very well, even on bumpy roads. A Planet Bike Snack Shack is stuffed to the gills with caffienated Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews. Don't kid yourself. Caffiene is good...
The Garmin Edge 200 is a recent change, and it lets me use one computer on all of my bikes -- a great change. On this bike, the BarFly mount also helps facilitate the multi-tasking necessary during 300-plus mile gravel grinders such as TransIowa. I'm running BarFly mounts on both of my drop-bar Singulars, in fact. The rest of my bikes are stuck with standard Garmin mounts, however. Due to the 16-hour battery life of the Edge 200, I had to come up with a charging solution to get through TransIowa, which is that mini-USB plug you can see in the background, behind the Garmin. It is actually a cable loosely zip-tied to the brake cable, so I can easily plug it into my Edge 200 when the battery runs down, even on-the-fly.

The lithium-ion battery unit sits in the back of the non-drive (shallow) side of my Jandd frame bag.

The cable running out the back of the frame bag, up the seatpost and onto the top of the rack bag goes to a little surprise...

... solar charing. With the capacity to take the Li-ion cell from zero-to-full in eight hours of sunlight, I figured it was two ounces of weight worth carrying, as I can charge not only my Garmin, but also my Niterider headlight with the same cable. The solar cell is always plugged-into the Li-ion cell, so it'll charge the battery anytime there's enough light.
My Salsa Minimalist rack securely carries the Arkel TailRider bag, and also offers an easy mounting point for an old Zefal clip-on fender, which I secured with zip-ties.

I also made myself up a homebrew QR nut light mount out of an old broken carbon fiber handlebar, a Bontrager QR nut and some 10-minute epoxy. I knew that carbon bar would be good for something!

Finally, in-case we end up needing to portage our bikes, I decided to pad the underside of my saddle with a piece of an old camping pad. It actually works pretty well. Since it works better to portage the Gryphon with the nose of the saddle (due to the frame design), this is a good solution. We'll see how much it ends up getting used (I hope not much).

I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of friends in Grinnell at TransIowa v.9. Thanks to my wife Laura for giving me the opportunity to attempt this again, and to Marty Larson (the Prairie Peddler) and Sam Alison at Singular Cycles, and Rob Versteegh at Oakley, for the support of my riding and racing. Also, thanks to Guitar Ted for once again putting on TransIowa -- the granddaddy of gravel grinders!

I feel good this year and believe that, with luck on my side, anything is possible. This is the type of event where to finish is to win, so when you're listening to the TransIowa Radio broadcasts, don't be surprised if you don't hear my name among the race leaders in the early going. There's a good chance you'll hear my name among the finishers though -- I'm confident of that much.


Wish me luck! And thanks for reading...

15 comments:

swanson said...

Good luck!

Guitar Ted said...

The high tech Trans Iowa rig! Who-da thunk it back when this started?

See ya soon!

Ridge Rider said...

Nice set up and well thought out. Good Luck MG!

MG said...

Thanks guys... Yeah, this is the culmination of all my experience participating in TransIowa, combined with a year off from the event, so I could think hard about how I needed to evolve my bike since my last run at the event. Hence, the bike you see.

Perry, there's an envelope on its way to you now... Sorry for the delay.

Thanks again to you all!

Cheers,
MG

D.Roth said...

Good luck MG it has been a pleasure putting in some bike time with ya this past winter. I will be looking for your name come Sunday.

sam@singularcycles.com said...

Awesome Matt, have a great ride!

Ari said...

Good looking rig. I hope to be able to ride with you a bit this year.
Ari

D said...

That bike is the culmination of many years experience at TI. Well thought out and well executed. Solar panels...ingenious! Have a great TI, MG!

MG said...

Thanks guys...

Sam: thanks especially for your support, and for building such awesome bikes. My Gryphon is going to be the perfect ride for this mission.

The anticipation is building! I'm stoked!!

Derek weider said...

I'm running a Peregrine with Rock n' Roads also. 1st year out to TI, really looking forward to this weekend :)

MG said...

Awesome, Derek! It'll be cool to see your setup. I bet the Peregrine will be a fantastic ride for you (as I'm sure you know).

Look forward to seeing you in Grinnell!

Cheers,
MG

Jim Brandon said...

Thanks for sharing. I'm looking to do some of these longer, multiway races. In my first one I was way over packed. I'm curious if you take any spare clothes with you. I worry about getting wet and cold. Do you take rain gear? What about a tent or sleeping bag. Thanks again. Sweet ride.

MG said...

Thanks Jim -- I did pack a rain jacket for TransIowa, but left the pants at home since there was effectively a zero-percent chance of rain on race day(s). I used the rain jacket in the early morning when it was coldest, as a wind-blocking layer, which was just enough. That said, I didn't make it to the overnight this year due to some bad strategic decisions (which you'll read about in time), so I didn't feel the full brunt of the nighttime cold, as many racers did. I understand there were a number of folks buying $5 sweatshirts at one of the 24-hour gas stations along the course in order to keep warm.

At an event like TransIowa, you ride through the overnight. You don't sleep, so you don't carry a tent, pad or bag.

Cheers,
MG

AK said...

Where did you purchase the solar charger from?

MG said...

@AK_ I purchased the solar charger & battery from TheClymb.com.

Cheers,
MG