Yeah, Kristen Legan is a pal of ours who also happens to work for the PR company that fronts for Shimano. And she’s also married to accomplished ultra-distance gravel freak & Shimano brand manager Nick Legan who authored what’s to date the most authoritative book on the new age of gravel riding (aptly titled Gravel Cycling).
With all of the gravel races we’ve planned for still up in the air, we chased Kristen down to find out more about what she’s learned from the 1000’s of miles she’s ridden in the numerous gravel races she’s competed it. Kristen’s tips are helpful for anyone looking to dabble in the dual-sport world.
What was your cycling experience prior to becoming a gravel honch?
What kind of specific training do you embark on when you’re about 4 weeks out from a big race?
What kind of dietary routine do you follow – does it change specifically heading into an event?
What are some of the most basic tips you would give to someone wanting to start riding gravel?
What would be the most important equipment choices to make?
Has there been any seismic shift in how you approach gravel from say four years ago?
What’s a list of your gravel race day equipment look like?
* Firefly Bicycles – Custom titanium gravel adventure bike. I absolutely love this bike. We designed it as gravel bike that is still zippy enough for cyclocross racing. Firefly used a cool 3D printed chainstay yoke to keep the stays short and snappy but it has big tire clearance for gravel racing. The Ti frame is super comfortable for long gravel races and it just looks slick.
* Shimano GRX Di2 – I run a 2×11 setup with 48-31 crank and 11-34 cassette because I like having small gear steps and I think this combination offers solid drivetrain efficiency, especially in the bigger gears. Sometimes I think the 11-34 cassette is overkill but at DKXL last year, after about 300 miles of riding and 50 left to go, I’ve never loved that granny gear so much with countless kickers still to go.
* PRO Discover bags – I’ve been training with the Discover small frame bag all winter and it’s been a huge asset. I can stash extra gloves and gear when it’s really cold and don’t have to shove it all in my pockets and look like a camel out there.