Year of the Gravel Ride?

I keep hearing that Gravel is where you ride, and not what you ride.

I also wonder if an explosion of events follows the explosion of sales of a particular type of bike.

Case in point: Everyone and their mother started hawking their trail mountain bikes. 4-6 inch travel bikes that are fun for riding pretty much anything. Not really XC light, not really DH burly. Right around the same time, you start seeing Super D (Is it Enduro now?) events popping up all over the place. Shoot, there’s even an Enduro World Series now and it looks amazing!

Well, what other type of bicycle has been increasing in popularity? What is the fastest growing cycling discipline in the US?  

The answer is cyclocross! And since cyclocross is traditionally only run from September thru January, what are people gonna do with their CX bikes for the majority of the year? If I were an enterprising race organizer, I’d definitely come up with some sort of event that would be semi-specific for CX bikes in order to tap into that market.

Enter the “Gravel Race.” Yeah, I know gravel isn’t exactly CX. There are gravel specific bikes out there. But I would consider them under the same umbrella. Mixed terrain with some road, some dirt, some off the bike and lots of fun.

And for some reason, these events also have a reputation for being long. And for me, where most of my events are 60 minute or less Crits or CX races, anything over 2 hours is really long.

Last year, I raced two such events. The local Redlands Strada Rossa and the infamous Belgian Waffle Ride.

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Those two rides were some of the most epic things I did all last year. And yeah, since this is the CrossDoc blog, I figured I should do something that actually involves the Cross bike this jaar.

So this is the year of the Gravel Event! I’ve smartly, or stupidly, signed up for four events so far, each spaced out so I can actually recover in between them. And we’ll see how it goes. Each one seems to have its own flavor and challenges. I’ll have a “race” report after each one. So here goes.

1. Sambarn’s Rock Cobbler 3.0

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2. Inland Empire Biking Alliance’s Strada Rossa 

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3. The 2016 Belgian Waffle Ride

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4. And finally, the 2016 Crusher in the Tushar 

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By the way, event organizers, maybe chose some riders who are smiling or having a good time for your posters and flyers. The guy for BWR and Crusher look like they are having an enema and a root canal at the same time.

Thanks for reading, sorry I’ve been in radio silence for a while, and I hope to see you, out at the Gravel events?

-crossdoc

 

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