Michael Garrison can normally be found racing on the road for Hagens Berman Axeon. But last month the 21-year-old shook things up a bit and entered his first American gravel race, Big Sugar Gravel, in northwest Arkansas.
He quickly found out gravel racing is its own beast, experiencing some bad mechanical luck in the form of an unfixable puncture that depleted his complete store of C02 canisters and tubes, not to mention eating up precious time. A wheel gifted from Lachlan Morton, whose bike failed, helped Garrison get to the finish, though that tire would have its own problems too.
Despite that odyssey, he finished the race and was in good spirits, writing on Instagram afterwards that, “although the race didn’t go as I’d hoped mechanically, I’ll remember the adventure forever.”
We got a closer look at Garrison’s BMC Kaius 01 ONE, a recently released gravel bike purpose built for racing. (VeloNews had the opportunity to ride the same bike as well at Big Sugar).
Michael Garrison and his BMC Kaius 01 ONE at Big Sugar Gravel
It’s built with a 1x SRAM Red eTap AXS group, Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels and Pirelli tires.
A 10-44T cassette paired with a 42T chainring provides plenty of range for Big Sugar.
With an integrated cockpit and free of any visible cables, the Kaius has a super clean look.
The Kaius features very narrow handlebars, measuring just 36cm at the hoods. A 12.5-degree flare nudges them out to 420mm at the drops.
Internal cables and an integrated gravel-specific cockpit combine for a super clean look.
Featuring tightly spaced tread, the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H tires are meant for hardpack terrain.
The Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt’s large display is perfect for navigating gravel courses.
The Kaius features aero tube shapes to help make it as fast as possible.
It’s hard to go wrong with shimano XT pedals for offroad riding.