Photos from last year:
Gravel grinder tips (written for this ride last year, new version coming soon, but this gives you some ideas):
OK, I am riding a fixed gear, mtb frame set up with cx components (skinny carbon fork, drop bars, etc). My gear ratio is 2:1 (34-17), but I like to spin a little more than the average guy to save my knees for later. If this were a race, I would probably run something more like 2.3:1 (34-15, 39-17, 46-20, 43-19, -ish ranges). I have front brake only and feel like this should suffice, not too many hardcore sketchy downhills, as long as the roads aren't too icy :) For tires I have a 38cc Specialized Crossroads in the front and a 35cc Ritchey Speedmax on the rear (both are faster rolling treads with side knobbies, highly recommend them for gravel) and I plan to run about 55 psi up front and about 58-60 psi in the rear. I would recommend around the same PSI ranges for your Cross bike set-ups. (Now I run 34-15 exclusively on gravel, the 17 was just TOO much spinning, especially on a fixie)
If you're coming on a mtb don't worry! I've done plenty of gravel grinders on my fat knobbies. Definitely try to get some fast rolling tires if you can or even some fatty slicks would work. I've done gravel grinders on full suspension bikes, full rigid mtbs and front suspension mtbs. For full suspensions I recommend putting on your pro pedal or locking out the rear suspension and probably the front for most parts too, until you get fatigued (suspension on gravel is really nice sometimes :) Run 60 psi in your fatty tires, they'll suck up a lot of shock and higher psi will let you roll faster.
For rigid mtb guys, 50 psi will take a little of the edge off and still not make you feel like your bogging in the sand. Ergon grips are helpful as hell, so are bar ends. Dead wrists due to bad position and lack of position options is way too common in these type of rides...move around your bars, a lot, your arms will thank you later.
make sure you have at least 2 tubes, and a hand pump or co2. I will have a schreader adapter for gas station air when we roll through towns so we can pop some in there if needed, but you gotta get there! Also recommended is multi-tool, chain breaker, extra links, zip ties, patch kit, and emergency tire boots. And TP. This is what I'll be packing, along with 2 water bottles.
dress in layers...it's supposed to be 28 when we take off and around 40 by rides end. I recommend starting cold, we'll warm up fast in the rollers south of town, and go through 3 towns for warm-up opportunities and gain 12-15 degrees during the time we'll be out.
See you December 17!