Hopefully everyones' training is going swell. Some of you might be interested in the set-up that I would use if I were doing this race (note: many of you probably have much more experience with these types of things, plus EVERYONE is different so there are quite a few grains of salt). Mainly I wanted to get something else at the top of the page so people know we're still here. Here goes:
For most of my longer gravel road excursions I use my mountain bike, which happens to be a steel 29er built by Walt at Waltworks a few years back. It started out life with a suspension fork and derailleurs, but then I lost brain cells and decided to simplify. Rigid fork and an ENO hub solved that problem. Gearing for the roads around here is a solid 34-16.
I like the hand/wrist position offered by the Mary bars. For longer rides/races I'll even slap on some barends to the inner portion of the bars for an added hand position. With some creative bar-taping that gives three unique hand positions, which for me is a good thing.
Tires for me tend to gravitate to semi-slick mountain tires ahead of cross tires. My favorite set-up is a Kenda Karma 1.9 in front, and a Bontrager Jones XR 1.8 (Front version) in the rear pumped up to maybe 55-60 psi.
Nice blinky red tail light and a couple little blinky white lights in the front are a standard gravel road accessory (front and rear lights - can be tiny and blinky - are required for the 'Rök). For incredibly long and hot rides I will throw a couple of Two Fish water bottle cages onto my fork legs to up my water bottle carrying capacity to 4 bottles (I don't like having tons of weight on my back).
I hope to get out on some of the roads on Saturday with the studs on. Maybe I'll post some pictures.