If you plan to attend the Desert 100 this year you are probably already packing and thinking about what you need to take, what does your bike still need done, etc. If you have never been to this event it can be a little difficult to anticipate what you are going to need so here are some suggestions to keep the bike running smoothly and your blood pressure at a reasonable level.
One of the biggest issues I have seen is tires. If you are new to desert riding you may not realize how brutal the terran can be on tires, particularly if you are running a fairly soft tire for good traction. Pinch flats seem to be the king of problems. The simplest thing you can do to avoid pinch flats is to increase your tire pressure. If you are running a standard tube and a regular MX tire you should increase your tire pressure to as much as 14 PSI. Of course the down side to this is you are going to lose handling. You may want to take some time on Friday using the little loop track near caamp to play with your tire pressures. You should also consider getting and having at least one extra tube per wheel, and be sure to get an ultra-heavy duty. With the heavier tube you can get away with running at lower pressure, but don't be fooled, even ultra heavy duty tubes will get pinch flats. The ideal is to run a heavy tube with a desert tire like the Maxxis Desert IT or the Kenda Parker, or even better a Tubliss system. Whatever way you choose to go be sure to have plenty of zip ties in your pack so if you do get a flat and are not able to fix it on the trail you can at least keep your tire more or less in place and protect your rim while you limp back to camp.
Air filters is another big issue for the weekend. We might get lucky and avoid the really bad dust this year but don't hold your breath. You will be money ahead by having a second or even third filter ready to throw in when needed. I had to change filters in the pit one year because the dust was so thick and my bike would only run at wide open because the filter was so plugged. Keep mind, trying to save $30.00 on filter can end up costing you a $1500+ for a top end rebuild.
Gas, gas and more gas! Over the years I seen lots of folks pushing their bikes the last few miles because they ran out of gas. Don't be that guy! This is where you should have a good idea how far your bike can go on a tank of gas. And then subtract several miles. You will go through much more gas doing the poker run and the race than you do on normal trail riding. If you are unsure, carry extra fuel bottles. Yes it is a pain, yes it is a bunch of extra weight, but you can dump them in the tank (and keep the empty bottle in your pack). I guarantee that your bike will feel much heavier if you have to push it than those fuel bottles.
Tires, air filters and fuel are probably the most common mechanical issues. But don't neglect the rest of your bike. Make sure your spokes are all tight and if they need to be tightened just get them snug, if you tighten them too much your will put a bend in your rim. Be sure you have a fresh oil and filter for the weekend. Just because you are running the latest and greatest synthetic doesn't mean the oil can go forever. The Desert 100 terrain can be very rough on an engine. Make sure your coolant is full, overheating your engine can end your day quicker than you think. Check your chain, sprockets and wheel bearings. A bearing that is "borderline" at the home will turn into a major problem on the course.
Keep in mind, being prepared for the weekend will save you lots of headache. But, even the most prepared can forget or have things happen that you can't predict. There are lots of vendors and people that more than willing to help. So if you do find yourself in a pinch it won't automatically be the end of your weekend.
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