A Tire might be the single most important component on the bicycle. When tackling a 100 mile race, the tire will need to handle a large variety of terrains from pavement, to rocky sharp stones, to fast rolling single track, to loose sand, to wet dirt, etc. In addition to perform in various terrains, the tire needs to hold the air reliably.
Personally, I use only 2 different tread patterns:
The new Fast Trak rolls so well, it is my first choice for any race. Then, it is just a matter of choosing the casing between the super light “S-Works” and the slightly heavier “Control” casings which does offer much more protection. However, as I experienced firsthand at the last Syllamo’s 125k race; some courses require even tougher casing; next year I will be riding on the “GRID”.
Obviously, it is a good idea to keep a record of the tire selection for a particular course. However, it is important to also write down the weather and trail conditions as well as any tire failure.
Nothing will smooth your ride more effectively as a low tire pressure. I put comfort ahead of rolling resistance. One of the most used tire sealant company propose formulas to calculate the tire pressure based on the weight of the rider. It works well for me.
If you have been riding for awhile, you probably heard all those stories on how the tire sealant was not plugging the hole and putting a tube is just messier because of the fluid inside the tire. So why bother setting up the tires as tubeless? The obvious answer is because it works! In most cases, the sealant will allow me to reach the finish line or at least the next aid station where volunteers can help with extra hands and shop size pump (instead of the mini pump or CO2 cartridge). I don’t experiment at all with the width of the tires but that is something you might want to investigate. For reference, I use 2.0” wide tire.