Digging around on the web for the last couple of weeks has yielded all kinds of advice:
guide/174720-buyer’s-guide- gravel-and-adventure-bikes- plus-16-best
articles/gravel-grinder- racing-what-you-need-to-get- started
With so much free advice that's maybe even worth what you paid for it out there on the net, I'll add some things I either tried or learned from last weekend.
- Go paleo/low carb well in advance (say, months) of the ride. That way you don't have to eat during the event, and you'll avoid the dreaded "gut rot." Here's a motivational book that'll tell you everything you need to know: Eat Bacon, Don't Jog. Of course, effortlessly losing 20 lbs doesn't hurt any either.
- A little bit of non-carb electrolyte powder or squirt-tube concentrate helps the water absorb better. It's light to carry, and you can pick up water along the way – usually.
- When it comes to gear, go with proven stuff you know. Even if it is a little worn, so long as it's still serviceable it's better to go with familiar gear.
- When it comes to gear, when in doubt, go with the heavier duty option. Skip the flyweight CX competition tubes for heavy butyl with kevlar tire liners, that sort of thing. You're out there in the elements, not zipping around a short closed course.
There. Notes to self before the next grinder complete.