Alpine Loop GF Tires

Anyone here ridden the Alpine Loop GF in Harrisonburg VA? Their website recommends road bikes equipped with sturdy tires (Gatorskins or similar) due to the 11 miles of gravel and dirt. I get the feeling that Gatorskins or a similar tire are overkill for a 110 mile road ride with 11 miles off-road.

How bad are those dirt sections, and would I be okay with 25mm GP5000s? I have ridden those on mild gravel sections plenty of times with minimal issues.

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The rockiest sections are on the dark side of Reddish Knob. It’s condition changes year/year depending on weather and prior use. One year it had lots of unrideable sections bc of a moto race the day before. There are some pretty big rocks, shale-ish outcroppings, and washout gullies. I have passed lots of people with flats on all kinds of tires on that. I had good luck with panaracer gravel kings (file tread) and Rene Herse - both 32s and both with tubes. There are a few gravel descents too that are pretty fast/sketchy.

That climb is at least an hour (if you are pretty strong), more of you are more average. Fultz Gap is another 20-30 min and generally smoother, but much steeper.

I would be concerned with the 25s flatting, perhaps at least go up to 28-30s? Agree Gatorskins are overkill.

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I thought that they took the backside climb out and you do a paved climb instead. At least when I did it in 2019, it was just Fultz gap. If you run 28s or 32s in pretty much anything you’ll be totally fine.

If that is the case this year, then totally agree 28s are fine. Seems that way, according to Bikereg.

Nevermind then! :slight_smile:

I will consider getting some 28s.

Also I’m pretty sure the 2021 route has some unpaved surfaces on it.

The older route with gravel side of Reddish Knob made Gatorskin-type tires critical. The new route can accommodate a much wider variety of tires. The Fulton Gap KOM section is gravel, but not too gnarly, and the slow speed up the climb makes it easier to avoid sharp rocks etc. There is also an untimed gravel section later on, but road tires will be fine for that (can be slippery descending when muddy, but Gatorskins don’t help that).

The Alpine Loop is a great event. Ben King and Joe Dombrowski (Virginia natives and World Tour pros) are signed up this year. Because it’s not a go-from-the-gun race, randos like me sometimes have opportunities to ride briefly with pros when they are taking it easy. The host also likes to offer cool little treats, like posting a banjo player on a tough climb or hiding a moonshine bottle near a summit.

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So the gravel side of Reddish Knob is not in the route this year? If so, I think I will stick with my 25s.

I live in Southwest VA and ride some mild gravel roads on my 25s frequently. Almost never flat from the gravel - but sometimes shit happens. I guess that’s the risk you take!

Looking forward to this for sure!

I have only seen the 2019 routes on their website, but it sounds like they will stick with those. That version included three timed KOM segments: the steep and beautiful Fultz Gap gravel climb, a long paved climb up Reddish Knob, and a short climb up Mole Hill after the last feed zone.

When I did the 2019 route, I was on Gatorskin 32s, but that felt like overkill. If I am able to ride it this year, I’ll be on tubeless 28 road tires (not Gatorskins). I’ll have a tire boot to repair sidewall cuts, darts, tubolito, CO2, and pump.