• Several TeamHalfwayThere squads raced USARA Nationals 2014 in Deep Creek, MD

  • Michelle paddle-boards class-III whitewater at USARA Nationals 2014

  • Bev and John plot their night orienteering strategy at USARA Nationals 2014

  • Check out our latest clinic on Stan's NoTubes!

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Posts by: lukas

This past year I picked up a Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Grail Pro wheel set to ride on my Niner RLT9 gravel racer. The bike came with some pretty sweet wheels to start with: Stan’s Iron Cross. I loved those wheels did several races on them including a Dirty Kanza 200, Florida Sea2Sea 3-day Adventure Race, Ragnarok 105, and The Bear 100. The Iron Cross are amazing wheels but are a bit more focused on cross racing. They have a limit of 45 PSI which, while great for racing, isn’t designed to be an all-around rim. So I upgraded to the a set of Pro Grails and they are such an amazing ride. I have ridden them with narrower tires at 60PSI as well as 40mm tires down to 30psi and even lower. The rims are a little deeper and wider the the Iron Cross rims so are a little more aero. With a wide rim I was able to ride at very low pressures with feeling much squirm under the tires. And like all Stan’s wheels they make going tubeless as easy as using tubes. Riding on 40mm tires at the Heck of the North this past October I was able to bomb down the rocky sections without fear because these rims are bombproof. The ability to run high volume tires at lower pressures also aided me in the muddy sections and the long grassy sections on snowmobile trails.

I’m happy to be riding the Grails and expect to put several thousand miles on them in 2017. I would recommend them as the best all around gravel wheel out there. If cross racing is all you do, go with the Iron Cross. If you are a gravel racer that wants to ride some road, commute, ride single track, and maybe even race cross, Grails will serve you perfectly.

If you don’t use Stan’s wheels and/or sealant yet, I highly recommend trying then out. I’ve finished 2 Dirty Kanza 200s and only had one tire issue when I had a small sidewall tear that required a shot of Stan’s fluid to get it to seal. During an adventure race in West Virginia, I went over a nail in the rain at about 3am and could hear the tire hissing and spitting. Several revolutions later the Stan’s had sealed up and I never even slowed down. In either case using tubes would have cost me valuable time.

One month ago Shenandoah Mountain Touring hosted the second annual
Virginia’s Rough Roubaix. The alarm went off bright and early at 4:20 so that I
could get to Barry’s house so we could all carpool down to Harrisonburg together.
A few hours later we were ready to roll at Westover Park in Harrisonburg. I was riding my brand new Niner RLT 9
and was excited to see how it handled on the gravel roads of Virginia and West Virginia.

Chris Scott paced us out of Harrisonburg and onto the gravel roads towards Stokesville. I stayed up front early knowing that when the
lead group accelerated I would get dropped eventually. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I was riding when at around mile 12
Jeremiah Bishop went by me in his way to catch the lead group. I hung on his wheel for a way and then he went up a hill like it wasn’t there.
I rode the rest of the way solo to Stokesville. There I picked up a group of three other riders and we climbed up and over into West Virginia.

The climb into West Virginia is long but never that steep. It is followed by an ripping descent that had switchbacks, potholes, washboard road and more.
The Niner RLT9 handled like a champ on the rough roads. I was especially happy with the Stan’s Iron Cross rims and the Schwalbe Sanny Slicks I had setup tubeless. I flew down the mountain without fear of flatting and the low pressures I was able to run kept the ride from being too rough.

After the descent back into West Virginia I got dropped out of the pace line I was in and soloed into the second aid stations.
I left the aid station with two other riders and we headed up Route 33. The cramps started in earnest as we climbed back into Virginia.
As we created the pass, I could see the two riders ahead of me but was always just a few hundred yards away and was never able to catch either rider. I soloed all they way back into Harrisonburg expecting a fairly easy descent back into town.
But it wasn’t so easy. In the final 15 miles Chris decided we needed to climb a few nasty hills on the way back into town.

I rolled back into Westover Park just a few minutes over my 6 hours goal. I was surprised to only see a few people at the park and was even more surprised to find out I finished 5th in the 90-mile classic route!

Chris Scott and Shenandoah Mountain Touring put on an amazing day of racing in the Shenandoah Mountains and I can’t wait
to go back and race again next year.

Paul and Barry

Submitted by Paul Morris

Magnus Gluteus Maximus is the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club’s annual “Fat Ass 50K” which is a fantastic tune up prior to the holidays. This year the trail run was held on Saturday, December 15th and is touted as an official Fat Ass 50K with no entry fee, no awards, no wimps and some aid. The Fat Ass 50K is an out and back course in which nearly 200 runners travel along Bull Run between Hemlock Overlook and Fountainhead Regional Parks, as well as the unmarked Do Loop. TeamHalfwayThere.com/Spokes, Etc. had a strong showing at this year’s event with Andy, Victor, Paul, Barry, Michelle, Cathy and Kelly all participating (results). Congrats to all the finishers and especially the VHTRC folks for hosting another amazing Fat Ass 50K and check out the post race photo of Barry and Paul.