In search of sun, miles, and some quality time together, we’re heading south to kick 2018 into high gear.
Look, Michigan is great. Really, it is. But after six months of frozen hellscape, we’re ready to duck south for a warm-up. This week, most of the team is heading to a Helen, Georgia.* A little mountain town with a population of 510 souls, it’s a spot that Al has ridden in for hundreds of years.
In addition to the promise of some much-needed warth and sun, Helen is located in the Appalachian Mountains. There are a half-dozen categorized climbs right outside the front door of the team house, including the Cat 2 Unicoi Gap, which you can climb from both directions, and you know we will. A look at rides like this should give you an idea of what we’re in for.
Joining us for the first time will be our TC contingent, Cody and Sean. The guys are really looking forward to see what the trip is all about, and also getting onto some of those big mountain passes. Cody’s earmarked Hogpen Gap, a 6.9 mile climb that brings riders up 1,800 feet at an average grade of 5%.
It won’t be all fun and games, however. On Saturday, March 3, the team is all set for the 2018 edition of Southern Cross. Nearly 60 miles and over 6,000 feet of elevation, it’s a gravel race with some singletrack thrown in to keep you on your toes, perhaps even literally. There’s a great video (with some questionable music) to give you an idea of the wide variety of surfaces and terrain the course tackles.
Getting just the ride set-up for a race with asphalt, fast gravel, techy singletrack, and a chance of heavy rain is often down to personal preference. As the race gets closer, we’ll show you how each rider turns their 3T Exploro from an all-day road machine into a monster cross crusher with just a few part swaps. We’ll give you the run down on gear selections and specs, wheel sizes and tire choices, and for the real nerds out there, we’ll even let you know what psi we’re on.
We’ll be sure to send you a postcard, just like last year.
*To be clear, this is the American Georgia, not the small country nestled in the Caucasus Mountains between Europe and Asia.