Big Sugar - Oct 2023

Kasia came to race!!! Sofia was up there for awhile but has now abandoned.

ETA - Lifetime just said. Sofia is still in the race, but not contending anymore.

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Very solid performance from Kasia.

That’s the kind of performance difference I’d expect between top women’s World Tour pro’s and domestic level athletes.

That kinda puts a bow on it for me.

The ‘if it was longer,’ ‘if it was US style gravel,’ debate might finally end. Although, I expect some dying embers of new specific criteria. Maybe some sort of ‘if they had to run under spirit of gravel parameters’… I don’t know what those parameters are. Likely some form of fashion gravel apparel rules combined with exact fancy beer consumption rate…

Physiology is physiology. If you’re stronger over 5hrs, it’s very likely you’re stronger over 8hrs.

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I think taking any one race and making a definitive conclusion either way is a bit premature.

Also worth noting that Sofia really didn’t race today.

But no doubt Kasia showed everyone today what a great talent she is….dominant performance.

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Maybe Lifetime is figuring it out….40 min recap video already out for Big Sugar. Not bad, overall….they could stand to hire professional annoucners vs. Kijmo and the Lifetime staff, though.

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I always enjoy a good touchdown dance with lots of snark and condescension, well done sir…well done!

That’s a cool recap vid. thanks.

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I thought they were pretty good announcers, down to earth and relatable.

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My apologies for what might be a little bit offtopic, but does anyone here have any insights/yt links/anything on how the Little Sugar race went for Tom Pidcock and why did he finish so low overall (25th)? And I do agree with @TheBandit 's sentiment regarding Kasia’s performance at a gravel race, but Tom’s case is similar except that it went in the exact opposite direction. Curious to know why.
TIA.

Correction: called him Tim first by mistake. Fixed.

It is pretty awesome that they’re spending money to have helicopter and atv coverage like this. Far better than anyone else does for gravel so kudos to Lifetime on that.

Now, how do they continue to tweak the grand prix? I heard they’re going back to 30 riders of each gender down from 35. There needs to be more incentive for the riders to actually participate. Both years there have been riders who don’t bother showing up to events or are not incentivized to necessarily race when they are there. For example, and I don’t blame her, but Sofia was at Big Sugar but didn’t actually race it. They should add more incentives (maybe prize money in each event?) so that someone like her who has it wrapped up will still want to race. Maybe the season is just too long and shrinking the window will help? Regardless, year two was better than year one so I trust that they’re working on all of these things.

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He apparently chose to stick with Race Kings, instead of going to a beefier tire, flatted badly and it took him a while to get going again. Hopefully lesson learned for him and Ineos…

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even the people that went beefier STILL had problems. Someone said that both Big and Little Sugar had worse slicey slashy rock than Unbound by quite some margin. Bring the armored tires even if they’re “heavy” as not stopping is more beneficial than light weight.

Watch the highlights from the last XCO race. The post race interview asked him “what’s next” and his response was “holiday.” He was gassed after a long season and this was probably not much more than a sponsorship requirement. He didn’t want to be there…

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I don’t know if it was a sponsorship requirement / request…I suppose Pinarello could have made the request to boost the visibility of their new MTB for he US, but even that would be a stretch, IMO.

Was really hoping he would stay another week and race Big Sugar, though…

Theory doesn’t hold much water as he was in the front group until he started having flat issues.

Probably not Pinarello, because Cam Wurf was there but rode a (presumably borrowed) Allied.

I bet Pidcock got a fat appearance fee.

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Of course he was going to go out in the lead group. He is Tom P. Gotta sell the flop. :grin:

I don’t know if he was gassed or not because he seems like the kind of guy that could go hard whenever he wants. It did seem like he was there for a sponsor obligation though because he was on vacation after MSA. As for the tires, the guy flatted twice at Snowshoe so to think he could ride the same tires and style in BV would be crazy if he actually cared. Seems like he didn’t. He was on the start line of a 62 mile race with the wrong tires and two small bottles and no idea of how to plug a tire. It sure seems like a ceremonial race participation to me.

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Still a bit strange to not go with a different tire. Even if he wasn’t taking it seriously, not much fun in having to stop and fix flats. Would have been a lot more “fun” to ride a tougher tire and not have to figure out how to plug a tire…

Did anyone else see Keegan’s picture of his tire after Lil Sugar? It had a full vertical slice of the sidewall rubber but it didn’t penetrate the protective layer underneath.

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A lot of the top World Tour riders are surprisingly non technical.

Tom seems to be more hands on, but clearly he or his support team have a bit to learn on event specific tire choice. To be fair, punctures are a lottery anyway.

Results are still course specific. I would expect Tom to be competitive here due to the terrain. However, he would struggle on other flatter courses, as he’s only 58kg.

With air in his tires, targeting this event, against this competition. I’d have him as a heavy favorite.

As gravel is developing we’re starting to see the rider types narrowing. Given the far higher rolling resistance, more powerful riders have an advantage. It’s not such an extreme w/kg comparison as road cycling. Obviously, course dependent. Higher sustained power, often more of a w/cda and w/rr equation. Add in technical skills, self support, unsupported fueling and you have a new kind of athlete.

I’d say that a rider like Keegan is close to the ideal size and weight, however as the sport grows he would struggle against larger classic type riders like Wout, MvdP etc on flatter courses.

As an all round gravel rider, I’d speculate that a 70kg to 80kg rider would be the ideal size. Basically, 5kg ish heavier than the road equivalents. Events like Leadville trending lighter, obviously.

It is a shame that we’re not seeing the best riders racing these events. I guess it will continue to be a national level field with retired road pros. The UCI gravel worlds seemed very popular this year, so I expect that race will be where we see how everyone stacks up in the future.

It’s interesting, I wonder, will pro gravel continue to grow globally? Will US racing really just become a majority off road events?

What will it look like in ten years?

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First of all - what a great event! The weather was excellent, route was great, plenty of support and aid stations. And Whistling Springs Brewery was hard to leave, what an awesome stop.

I don’t know what all the fuss was about how “chunky” the route for Big Sugar is. I guess it’s all just compared to what you’re used to?

Compared to what I’ve been seeing in my local gravel race series (Mississippi Gravel Cup), the gravel at big sugar was pretty average for what we see. I passed a TON of people fixing flats. Maybe I just got lucky, but I didn’t have any issues.

I ran Maxxis Ramblers (EXO, 120tpi) in 45c FWIW. 31psi front, 32psi rear. Or at least that was the pressure at 6:00am when it was 55 degrees outside.

Either way, I didn’t so much as hear my rim hit a rock.

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