This year’s Stagecoach 400 event challenged those brave enough to face the snow, rain, and uncomfortably low temperatures. Winner Jeff Kerkove persevered through it all, finishing on Sunday morning in 2 days, 2 hours. Here’s a detailed breakdown of Jeff’s bike and gear, plus photos from Dave Malwitz…

Posted by Miles Arbour

Words by Jeff Kerkove (@jeffkerkove), Photos by Dave Malwitz (@gravelstoke)

The Stagecoach 400 has been on my to-do list for a few years now. There was a lot of appeal to the route, having it crisscross three of Southern California’s unique ecosystems: mountains, coastal, and desert. Any rider who challenged themselves on the Stagecoach route knows that the weather can and will do anything. The route typically leans toward warmer and drier overall, so that’s how I prepared and packed. Only a few days out from the start did the weather opt to go in the direction of wet and cool. This really didn’t affect my gear other than adding a few more waterproof items, which I would end up wearing for a better part of the first 250 miles of the route. Staying dry and warm was no doubt a key to maintaining forward momentum.

Due to all of the rain leading up to the start of the Grand Depart and in the forecast, much of the singletrack in the San Diego metro area was eliminated from the route in favor of pavement. This decision was made by the ride organizers in order to preserve the singletrack. Bypassing these singletrack sections did lead to some faster travel times through the San Diego area, but the rains had done their damage. I’m sure all riders can relate and say that much of the hardships or difficulties faced during this year’s Stagecoach 400 would be staying dry/warm, dealing with landslides, trail washouts, and wheel-stopping mud.

  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400

Jeff’s Canyon Exceed CF

  • Frame: Canyon Exceed CF SLX, size L
  • Fork: Fox 34 Step-Cast 120mm
  • Saddle: Ergon SM Men Pro, size M/L
  • Grips: Ergon GS3, size S
  • Crankset: Shimano XTR w/ 30T chainring
  • Pedals: Shimano XTR
  • Cassette: Shimano XTR 10-51, 12 speed
  • Shifter: Shimano XTR
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano XTR 12-speed
  • Brakes: Shimano XTR Trail
  • Rims: DT Swiss XR391
  • Front Hub: Shutter Precision 8X Boost Dynamo
  • Rear Hub: DT Swiss
  • Tires: Maxxis Rekon Race EXO TR 2.35
  • Headlight: K-Lite Bikepacker Ultra
  • Headlamp: Black Diamond Icon zip-tied to Limar Air Pro helmet
  • Taillight: Topeak Redlite Aero USB 1W
Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400

Bags

  • Topeak RearLoader, 6L (seat bag)
  • Topeak TopLoader (top tube bag)
  • Topeak FreeLoader x2 (handlebar/stem bags)
  • Topeak FastFuel TriBag (top tube/seat tube bag)

Clothing

  • Primal QX5 bib shorts
  • Primal Equinox jersey
  • Primal Thermal Arm and Leg warmers
  • Gore base layer
  • Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow jacket
  • Gore Active Trail Pants
  • Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Hooded down jacket
  • Gore C5 Gore-Tex Gloves
  • Buff (2)
  • Gore C3 Overshoe
  • Outdoor Research Revel Shell Mitts
  • Gore R7 Windstopper lightweight hooded jacket
  • Gore Windstopper Thermo Gloves
  • SockGuy Wool socks
  • Limar Air Pro helmet

Repair Kit

  • FinishLine Ceramic Wet Chain lube
  • 2oz Stan’s sealant
  • Topeak Tire Plug
  • Tubolito Tubo-29 tubes (2)
  • Tubolito Flix Kit (patches)
  • Tire Boot / Lever
  • Shimano XTR 12sp Quick link
  • Spare Derailleur Hanger
  • Topeak Mini 30 Pro multi tool
  • Topeak Mountain DA mini pump
  • Shimano XTR Trail brake pads (2)
  • Zip ties
  • Leatherman Mini-Tool

Electronics

  • iPhone
  • GoPro
  • iPod
  • AAA Batteries (4)
  • AA Batteries (2)
  • Garmin eTrex 32x
  • SPOT Tracker
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400
  • Jeff Kerkove 2020 Stagecoach 400

Misc

  • GU water bottles (4)
  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
  • CNOC Vecto 2L water filter bag
  • Peregine Koa 22 Dry backpack
  • HydraPak Seeker 2L bladder
  • Oakley EVZero Path Photocromatic sunglasses
  • Topeak wallet with ID, cash, debit card and race cues.
  • Sunscreen
  • Chapstick
  • Caffeine pills
  • Aleve
  • Lidocaine Cream
  • First Aid kit
  • Chamois Butt’r
  • AMP Human

Nutrition

  • GU Roctane Drink Mix (6)
  • GU Roctane gels (4)
  • GU Chew (4)
  • TrailButter (2)
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Misc. gas station bars, chips, etc.

Sleep System

  • SOL Escape Lite Emergency Bivvy

Congrats to all the participants in this year’s Stagecoach 400, especially considering the conditions. At the start, there were 31 riders registered on Trackleaders, seven of whom have since scratched from the event. Jeff’s finish time was 2 days, 2 hours, followed by Gregg Dunham at 2 days, 9 hours, and Rylee Sweeney at 2 days, 15 hours, 7 minutes. It looks like there are still a handful of riders out on course, so make sure to follow along live here. Also, be sure to check out the full route guide here.

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