Known as one of the hardest gravel races in CA, the Rock Cobbler demands early season fitness and a proper yet possibly unconventional bike setup. Climbing is steep, trails are rough, and the day is long. We’ve also heard from reliable sources that this year’s 10th anniversary will be the hardest route yet. With that in mind, the bike setup should ride the line between comfort and efficiency.
After the pounding I took in last year’s race, I decided to upgrade to the RockShox Rudy gravel fork with 40m of travel. For all the haters out there, this fork works and does the job of taking the edge of sharp ruts, washboard surfaces, brake bumps, and gopher holes. It’s worth a small weight penalty for the added control and comfort. SoCal gravel seems excessively bumpy compared to other places we’ve ridden.
The RockShox Rudy gravel fork is designed to offer a smooth and reliable performance during gravel bike riding. Installation of the fork is straightforward, thanks to its external cable routing. Once installed, it can be adjusted to compensate for the change in fork stack height with a simple tilt of the saddle nose.
In terms of performance, the Rudy offers efficient suspension with basic air pressure and rebound adjustments, eliminating the need for complex high and low compression dampening adjustments. Additionally, it features a lockout switch on the crown that can be engaged for long pavement sections, ensuring a stable and efficient ride. The Rudy fork strikes a balance between simplicity and performance, delivering reliable suspension for a smooth and enjoyable gravel biking experience.
I also changed from a 2x Shimano GRX analog drivetrain to a wireless 1x SRAM Rival AXS. The Rival levers have a better feel and the brake modulation is fantastic. In addition, a QUARQ spindle power meter was installed to replace the Stages left crank arm meter.
Since the Masi Incanto Ti is now a dedicated gravel bike, the 1x makes sense. I’ve opted for a 40T ring for the Cobbler and so far I haven’t spun out on road segments. In the rear, a 10-44T cassette gives me the climbing range I should need.
Other notables are the ENVE bars and wheels with Kenda Alluvium tires. They’ve got great traction and carry good speed on the pavement.
I’ll likely be carrying a GoPro Hero 11, 1 can of GUP sealant/air, a multi tool, nutritional foodstuffs, and an EPI pen for the bee section through the orange grove (the route is TBD as of posting this). I’ll also be wearing a slightly more flexible shoe rather than a stiff XC shoe (be ready to walk up the steepest hike-a-bike you’ve ever seen).
Good luck to all the Cobblers and Pebblers! Stay on your pace, eat and drink, and ride safe!