Podcast 435 - Sofia and Keegan

Haven’t seen a post for it yet, so sharing that TR released Podcast 435 yesterday. It’s a special episode with interviews with Sofia and Keegan talking about Leadville. Great to have Sofia back on the pod!


Stuck in isolation w/ COVID and bored out of my skull….this will help kill some time.

Thanks for the heads up!

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Ugh. Sorry! Hope it’s a light case.

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Yes, so far….but I was supposed to do SBT GRVL this weekend, so that hurts the most. :woozy_face:

Mostly just a sore throat…overall feel OK.


Oh man. That does suck.

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Here is the link :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::


Great episode. The pre-Leadville on with Hannah Otto and this post-Leadville one were my two favorite episodes for the year.

The McTubbin lead out was interesting to hear. Sofia was in on this strategy as well.

Chain ring games are now a thing. Lachy went 42t and it got Keegan to go 40t. Wonder what people show up with next year? Not mentioned in this podcast, but Lachy’s pre-Leadville bike check reported a 10-50t, rather than a 10-52t. Seems odd.

Sofia’s choice of the Tracer is interesting. Clearly she feels she is faster on them, and Specialized has got to have some data versus their mountain bike tires, but intuitively you would think a fast XC mountain bike tire with its greater volume and thinner casing would roll faster. So did she win because of the tire choice or is she just so strong that she won inspite of the choice?

Keegan’s wheel setup also interesting. Gravel wheels, no inserts, higher PSI. Sounds like he was really trying to save every possible gram. First time I’ve heard someone say they preferred the more rounded tire profile from a narrower rim vs the squared off profile from wider, but his argument was smaller contact patch that rolled faster.

Tons of other great little nuggets of info in this one.


Common thread between the two is going in with zero expectations, well at least for the women. I’m hearing a lot of that from LT riders this year in that they’re doing the work on and off the bike and then letting the fitness speak for itself. Any given race day can be good or bad, so just get on the bike and ride to the plan.


Great observations. I also thought it was interesting that the guys went with the EVO and she went with the World Cup.

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+1 on this. I think his tire pressure was like 23psi running the team aspens (I assume 2.4’s). I ran 20psi on my conti 2.2’s (ran insert in the rear) and I’m ~25lbs heavier than Keegan. 23 seems crazy high for his weight, but at the pace they are going down the chunky sections, I can see the need for extra pressure to avoid a pinch flat. I’m kind of surprised he didn’t run inserts at a lower pressure, but he clearly knows what he’s doing.

Without meaning to sound mistrustful, do we know for sure that , for example, Keegan didn’t run inserts?

I like hearing the details, but I imagine that Keegan knows that other rivals would like to hear the details too. What’s to stop him putting the wrong information out, and thereby gain an advantage?

Again, apologies if this sounds worse than I mean it, just crosses my mind when I listen to the details being revealed.


Of course we can’t know. He’s been known to do a little misdirection in the lead-up up to races :grin:. I believe him, that he was looking for weight savings, so that’s one way you can save weight if you normally would run inserts. Just take it for what it’s worth to you, and do what you need, for you.

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Dudes a machine. 18.5 mph avg at Leadville… I think a large portion of “decent amateur” cyclists would struggle to do that on a pancake flat century on new pavement at sea level.


She won in spite of this tire choice, not because of it. Specialized Tracers will certainly have a higher rolling resistance than a fast XC tire with greater volume and thinner casing on the majority of Leadville terrain. While a Tracer may be faster on the flat or downhill “champagne gravel” and road sections, these don’t make up the majority of time spent on course. Setup should always be optimised for where most time is spent, not where the longest distance is covered. In a theoretical scenario, if the Tracers save 1% on all paved road sections, the XC tire saves 1% on all single track sections, and they perform equally on gravel roads, the 1% saving from the XC tire is worth more total time as more time is spent on ST compared to paved road. Likely, the Tracers feel faster to her, and sometimes that inspires more confidence than nerdy data. With all this said, I’m just speculating, and Sofia would beat me on a tricycle at Leadville, so what do I know lol


Why would he run heavy inserts when he was clearly shaving every gram possible. Higher pressure rolls faster and reduces the risk of a pinch flat.

And is 23 psi that crazy?

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I’m not very familiar with XC tire pressures, but I run 23psi in my 40mm gravel tires, so it seems pretty damn high to me for a MTB tire.

My impression has always been a mid-high teens PSI is pretty common for MTB races.

23 isn’t that crazy. It’s high considering his weight, but for the course (non technical, in good condition), no inserts, and smaller (2.2 I think he said?) tyres it’s not wild.

Whether 23 at elevation is the same as 23 at sea level I don’t know.

Agree with everything except the rolling faster. The higher PSI might be faster on a steel drum but on the course lower PSI will be faster. Keegan cosistently has prioritized not wanting to flat, be it his tire choices such as the Refuse at Unbound, or is this case a little more pressure. He’s so strong that he it seems a trade-off he is will to make.

It would be incredible to see what he could do if he could run anything and not be tied to sponsors. Race King’s are almost certainly going to be faster than the Maxxis tires he’s been on. Better skin suit and maybe if he could get his position dialed on a dropbar bike.


I think using gravel rims likely had something to do with the 23 psi. It’s a little more than typical xc MTB tire pressure. IIRC, Jonathan uses 19 with mtb rims.

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This for sure. I’d love to see what the top 10 actually want to ride vs what they’re allowed to ride. That said, Santa Cruz and maxxis aren’t exactly 2nd tier companies…

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