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14th December 2017 / Comments (0)

What Kit for Yorkshire True Grit

Yorkshire True Grit (Photo © Michael Kirkman)

100 kilometres over every sort of terrain that the North Yorkshire Moors can throw at you poses a unique challenge for kit choice. With plenty of time to start your plan for True Grit 2018, James provides his kit insights used in the second edition of the Yorkshire True Grit.

Decisions, decisions…

As is often the case, as soon as I enter any event, and the True Grit was no exception, I start to deliberate over kit choice months in advance.  The thoughts on kit selection ran strong…

What bike? The organisers had made it very clear that there was no right or wrong choice here, the course had a little bit of everything thrown in.

What clothing? Even in summer, the weather can change in an instant up in the North Yorkshire Moors.

What tyres? This is one area that myself and John argued over several times. Even actual wheel size was discussed.

After much debate, tinkering and testing, the choices below are what I finally set on for the 100 kilometre challenge.

The bike – Mason Bokeh

My main requirement was a bike capable of mile munching at speed and in comfort. Which the Mason Bokeh excels in. I made the decision to build the bike up from scratch using a both new components plus a number of tried and tested parts that I’ve used on previous long distance adventures.

Mason Bokeh gravel bike

Mason Bokeh. Ready to do Moorland Battle!

Specialized Adventure Gear Hover Bars, wrapped in fat Lizard Skins DSP 3.2mm bar tape, would provide the comfort required for rutted bridleways or rocky trails. My trusty old Fizik Antares saddle was attached to a Cannondale SAVE flex post to help dampen any trail buzz. The final build is one that delivers comfort and speed in equal measure. It was the perfect choice for the Yorkshire True Grit.

Tyre choice

John and I had an enthusiastic tyre debate ahead of the True Grit; what volume, what tread and even what size wheel should we run? After seeing some course inspection photos just days before the event, John opted to fit 650b wheels to his Mason Bokeh and run 2.1 MTB tyres.

In complete contrast, I equipped my Bokeh with 700c Specialized Trigger Pro in a relatively skinny 37c. These semi-slick tyres have been a favourite of mine and prove a lot more capable than their diamond tread pattern suggests. Run at roughly 36 psi, there is enough volume and bounce to roll over rocks, grip on the gravel ascents, and corner well on the dusty trails. They also had enough rolling resistance to allow me to really sail along the tarmac sections of the course with relative ease.

The clothing

Weather in the North Yorkshire Moors is a lottery at the best of times. I lay awake the night before listening to rain pinging off the roof of my campervan, dreading the thought of a wet ride. Luckily the clouds cleared off by the morning and this year’s True Grit was blessed with good weather;  perfect for a long day in the saddle. A stark contrast to the inaugural event held in 2016 which was wetter than an otters pocket!

A cool breeze, warm sunshine, and an air temperature around 16 degrees Celsius, meant the waterproofs were left in the van along with the leg warmers. In the end, I got away with a Castelli Core mesh base layer and short sleeve jersey, teamed up with a gilet for the first few miles, until I warmed up.

Mason Bokeh on the Yorkshire True Grit

Some sections are exposed to the elements. If the wind picks up, you’ll soon start to feel cold. (Photo © Michael Kirkman)

I did stash an Endura Pak-A-Mac in my jersey pocket, just in case the weather changed. These light jackets are also useful to chuck on to keep warm should you have to stop for any amount of time such as to fix a mechanical. There are a few exposed sections up high on the Moors where the wind can really blow and send your core temperature down. In the end it came in handy just to keep me warm.

It’s best not to take a gamble with the Yorkshire weather, so take some waterproof clothing as a precaution!

The accessories

The kit list for Yorkshire True Grit includes a few safety essentials, like an emergency foil blanket and a whistle. In addition to these, I took the following spares and accessories:

CO2 cartridges and head – super fast inflation when you don’t want to be hanging about
Park Tool tyre levers – minimal faffage
Lezyne V10 Multitool – all the tools to get you need in a compact design
Giant Saddle Bag Medium – Not trendy but it carries all the spares
Apidura Top Tube Bag – easy access storage for gels and chewy bars
Continental Inner Tube x2 – punctures can happen
Chain lube – avoid a squeaky chain half way round the course

Get Out & Gravel!

The Yorkshire True Grit was an incredible ride. 100 kilometres of gravel tracks, rocky descents and dusty trails. There really is no ‘right bike’ for the event. You’ll wish for a mountain bike on some sections, a gravel bike on others and near the end, you’ll be wishing for a road bike!

Yorkshire True Grit

No right bike: Mountain Bike, Gravel Bike… You’ll wish for both at different times throughout the ride. (Photo © Michael Kirkman)

Entries for the Yorkshire True Grit 2018 are now open. To enter “one of the toughest UK Adventure Rides” on the calendar, visit the Yorkshire True Grit website.

Last modified: 14th December 2017

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