Sunday, January 31, 2010
I was able to get to it this weekend and knock it out. So here, for your own uses and devices, is a route that goes across the state of Iowa on mostly gravel. It does stop in bigger towns on occaision, but pass through towns are at a minimum. It just so happens that the stopping points for each day coincide with the 2010 RAGBRAI route. Other than that coincidence, there is no affiliation between this route and what the Des Moines Register is doing.
Following are links to Map My Ride that will get you the route for each of seven sections.
Disclaimers: While I have used my experiences and knowledge to the best of my abilities to make this route, there are NO GUARANTEES of ANYTHING! I did this from the cozy confines of my home at the seat of my computer desk. So just remember that if you do this and come upon roads that are truncated, B-roads, or bridges that are no longer around. If you get lost, that is your problem. If you get hurt, that is on you. If you think that it sucks worse than any route you've ever done, that is on you too.
So, beyond the obvious, here are some things of note........
Day One: You would be coming out of a highly trafficked, urban area. Be very careful here! Once out in the country, you will be greeted by unrelenting rolling hills. I have never been on any of this part of the route, so I have no specifics to pass along.
Day Two: Straight up to the Trans Iowa V2 route which you would join at the Little Sioux River. There is a heinous climb just north and east of Sioux Rapids, but other than that it is pretty dead pan flat with miles of straight roads to Algona. The Park in Algona is where we had our first Trans Iowa checkpoints and is the hometown of T.I. co-founder Jeff Kerkove.
Day Three: Bonus! The first chunk of the ride is the never before revealed beginning of the second half of T.I.V2. NOTE: When you get to Pilot Knob State Park you will be obliged to find and ride the approximately one mile of rutted, horse hoofed single track bridal path. It spits you back out onto 340th Street at the end of it. Where the route turns straight south is where you leave T.I.V2 course and head for Clear Lake. (Note: I spelled Clear Lake wrong on the Map My Ride header. Sorry!)
Day Four: Clear Lake to Charles City via the Shell Rock River valley. I've seen some of this route, but I haven't seen much of it. Should prove to be a scenic, easy ride.
Day Five: Charles City to Waterloo. I've been on this entire route and ridden a lot of it by bicycle. Easy ride.
Day Six: Waterloo to Manchester: I've ridden some of this route, some of it I've done on recons for Trans Iowas, and some is sight unseen. Mostly rolling hills and should be easy.
Day Seven: Much of this day will be very difficult. I've been in this neck of the woods a lot. Some of the middle of this route is T.I.V4 course. Dubuque County is unknown to me and much of this may be paved.
So, there you have it! A gravel route you can ride anytime and do just parts of if you want. There are fair amounts of pavement mixed in this route. I didn't spend a lot of time trying to eliminate paved miles like I would for a Trans Iowa route. Avoiding pavement miles is way harder than you might imagine, and I had nothing to gain by working that hard on this. The entire route in one chunk would be 491.22 miles. Again, it isn't an event, or anything like that. Just a suggested route. Do with it what you want! Choose your own adventure!
Note: Special thanks to Tim Jackson of Masi Bicycles for the name, "GravelBRAI" and to Rawland Cycles for inspiration.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Barry-Roubaix: The registration process is underway for this grinder that takes place on March 27th in Michigan. The registration is on-line or by mail in form and Barry-Roubaix is offering a free pint glass to the first 200 registrants. Day of registrations will be accepted at a higher fee. No roster limit is posted.
B.A.L.L.S. The Third: This gravel ride in Central Wisconsin happens on April 24th and 25th. Basically an out and back, you simply send in $20.00 as instructed on the forum thread I have linked and you're in. No limit on the roster is posted.
Gravel World Championships/Good Life Gravel Adventure: This event in and out of Lincoln, Nebraska, is going to take place August 21st. Registration is by post card and there is no fee, with a roster limit stated to be "10,000". Send your post card in by the end of February and you are guaranteed a spot.
That's it for this weekend report. Stay tuned for gravely updates!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This past weekend saw the first running of the Red River Riot near St. Jo, Texas. The event was held at the historic Breaks at Bar H mountain bike ranch on Saturday, the 23rd of January in a steady rain for the first part of the event. That didn't stop the 122 riders from starting, but it did limit the number of finishers to 16.
Event promoter, Kevin Lee filed this report for us:
"The race started at 8:00 on the dot and the rains started at 8:01 and didn't let up until about 2:00. The vast majority of the riders completed the first 53 mile dirt roads section and decided to call it a day and hit the kegs. We had to close off the singletrack sections because of the weather. Comments have almost all been enthusiastically positive despite the weather.
The leaders completed the first dirt road section right at 3 hours, and took about 20 minutes to reload and rinse off components. The top 4 finishers were all on CX bikes, but several who did the full course were on MTB's."
Race photos by Ric Ceron can be found here. Full race results, course maps, and another report can be accessed here. Kevin went on to sum up the experience as follows:
"We've pretty much decided to do the exact same course next year without the singletrack. Many of the riders were simply amazed at what we offered on the dirt roads in "flat" North Texas. Bryan's time of 7:01 is a nice little carrot to dangle out there I think. The event was a solid success all the way around. I had an absolute blast putting it together and the participants all had a great time"
In fact, Spinistry, which is the shop related to this event, is so encouraged by the results of the Red River Riot, they are going ahead with plans for another ride;
Texas Chainring Massacre
Over 100 miles, requires navigation. Winner takes all purse.
http://www.spinistry.com/ for updates
Thanks to Kevin Lee for his assistance in this report.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Another new event has sprouted from the experiences gained in the Southeastern Minnesota gravel scene with this century gravel event based out of the west side of the Twin Cities. Called the "Westside Dirty Benjamin" the event is set to roll out on June 12th.
There will be a registration process that includes sending in a post card. Details will be released at a later date. Until then, follow all the goings on at the blogsite set up for the event here.
Registration has been opened for the first 150 riders to sign up for Bike29.com's Gravel Grinder Spring Classic. George Wissell, proprieter of Bike29.com and promoter of the event says that he has been surprised by the growth of this event. It has gone from 60 riders the first year it was held, (where several riders were turned away) to the current limit of 150. George says he still expects the Vermont based ride to sell out quickly.
Check out the Bike29 blog to read up on more details for this event set to roll out April 18th.
Monday, January 25, 2010
The Gravel World Championships will be held out of Lincoln, Nebraska and will entail the riding of an approximately 150 mile loop. Unique to this event is that "checkpoints" are strategically set up at convenience stores that sell Nebraska Lottery tickets. Riders purchase a ticket at each "checkpoint" to prove that they were there.
What if someone wins "The Big One?" Any prize tickets gathered at the end of the event are split evenly with the riders in the event. This is a self supported, self navigated event. Remember! You are responsible for yourself out there on this event.
Stay tuned for further updates as we get them.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
The old address will still show up for a bit, and your browsers will be redirected to the new address automatically, but you may want to make the change in your book marks if you want to.
This means that you can expect some changes as this site grows in the future. Nothing spectacular for the short term. I was starting this as a trial baloon of sorts to see if the idea had any traction and it seems that you folks out there think it is a worthy endeavor, which has encouraged me to step it up a notch.
That said, this site is powered by you.
I rely on your suggestions, and also your tips to keep the info you find here fresh and useful to gravel afficiandos all across the nation. Please keep the info and suggestions flowing by e-mailing me anything pertaining to gravel and back road events, races, and results.
Thanks and I hope you all have great adventures out on the gravel in 2010!
Starting time is 10:00 a.m. and we’ll be departing from the 4 way stop right downtown next to Gingerich’s Dutch Pantry . It’s “show-n-go” so there is no participation fee. Just show up and we will provide route maps and all the gravel riding you can handle. This will not be a race but don’t let that frighten you back into your den.
The 2010 route will traverse the hills and hollers of the Green Hills region with some “aggie flats” thrown in for recovery. Riders can choose either the “Full Chucky”-60 mi. or the shorter “Lil Chuck”. Most of the route will be on smooth crushed limestone suitable for cross or mountain bikes. The route will be posted and blazed the week of the ride so we can hopefully stay away from any fresh gravel maintenance “large gravel” and pick the best route.
Jamesport is an Amish community, so expect to see horse and buggies and prepare to take a little step back in time. There is a small grocery, some restaurants, and a “watering hole’ for post ride libations.
Please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you are coming so we’ll have plenty of maps and so I can forward the route to you via email.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Riders in the Des Moines area will be gathering for a ride this Saturday near the Cumming's Tap around 8:00am. Plans are for a metric century. Interested riders should show up at the Cumming's Tap a bit early and be ready to ride self supported.
Kansan cyclists can hop on a gravel group ride Saturday too with the Spring Hill ride scheduled for 10:00am. They will be taking in a 46mile route. From the "Guru's Gravel Grinder" blog:
"Our next gravel grinder is again south of the metro and begins/finishes in the wonderful town of Spring Hill, Kansas. Spring Hill is Johnson Counties first historic district and has a rich history of stamina and a fun-loving spirit. Both of which will come in hand Sunday as Mr. Cole leads us on a 46 miler.
We will meet at Price Chopper off of 169hwy and 223rd Street. Address is 22350 S Harrison St, Spring Hill, KS 66083. NOTE: Do not come down 223rd from 69hwy, it's closed... Cut over on 199th, or 179th street to 169HWY."
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Hermann Gravel Grinders: Several rides will be happening all throughout February in Missouri. See the site for details on each ride as time gets closer. These are more of a training/group ride event. Here are the February dates: Feb 7 - Jeff City Team Redwheel - 50+ miles. Feb 14 - Hermann Cycling 50+ miles. Feb 21 - Owensville 50 + miles. Feb 28 - Hermann Cycling 60+miles.
Cup-O-Dirt Challenge: It isn't too late to get started. Check out the site and get to riding!
CIRREM: The first big event in 2010 on gravel here in the Mid-West is CIRREM, which also kicks off the AGRS. The popularity of the AGRS is huge and I would expect a pretty big crowd at the event even though it is late February.
That's it for your upcoming events. Stay tuned for any updates and news.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"The Pirate Cycling League (PCL) is also going to be hosting two more low-key gravel grinders in March and April, both of which will take off from Lincoln. Details will be up soon on the PCL Website for the PCL "Lincoln-?-Lincoln", and the PCL "Tour of Dirt Roads III". Keep an eye on the Website for more."
Monday, January 11, 2010
If you missed gettin in, here is our Wait List process...
To begin with, all of us here at Heartland Sports Promotions (HSP) want to thank you for your overwhelming response to our recent registration process. Registration opened yesterday at 12:01 am ET. Based on past years, we expected it would take approximately four weeks to fill all 150 slots. As it turned out, we sold out in less than 14 hours. Boy, were we surprised!!!
No sooner than the registration process closed, we began to receive requests from dissappointed individuals, asking to be put on a Wait List. As it stands currently, just one day after the close of registration, we have already received 20 such requests. It is interesting to note this group includes four past DK champions who failed to make it in.
So now we begin the "Wait List Process". Here is how this will work…First of all, if you are registered and you determine you can not attend Dirty Kanza, PLEASE contact us as soon as possible. Send an email to Joel Dyke at email@example.com. Joel will then put you in contact with the first person on our Wait List. It will be up to the two of you to work out whether or not the "replacement rider" will reimburse the "original rider" for the cost of registration. We will not issue any refunds. Once that has been worked out, the "original rider" needs to confirm to us that he/she is relinquishing his/her spot to the "replacement rider". We'll then update our records and send confirmation to the "replacement rider" that he/she is in.
If you want to be placed on the Wait List, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Despite what you may have seen previously, it will be Co-Promoter Joel Dyke who will manage the official Wait List. Any of you who have already sent emails to either myself (Jim Cummins) or to the HSP website, your names have been forwarded to Joel. As Joel receives cancellation notices, he will work down through the Wait List to get as many of you registered as possible. We always have cancellations, so chances are good we will be able to accommodate many of you.
A special note… As mentioned earlier, we have four past DK Champions on the Wait List. They will be the first to receive spots as they become available. Sorry if that offends anyone. We feel they have earned first shot. It's our race, and that's our decision. In actuality, there was only one person ahead of them anyway. And we fully expect enough cancellations that in the end it won't make a bit of difference to anyone's chances of getting in.
One additional note… The astute observer will notice our list of registered riders will increase from the current total of 160 to about 175. That's because we have numerous slots for sponsor employees and other individuals who have significantly contributed to the success and growth of Dirty Kanza. It is NOT because we are "sneaking" in friends through the back door. We just wanted to be totally up-front about that. So there you have it. Thanks again to all of you for your overwhelming support of the Dirty Kanza 200. As we've said previously, 2010 is shaping up to be a banner year for DK. We are extremely excited about our upcoming event, and look forward to welcoming you all to Emporia next June.
Look for any further updates on the Dirty Kanza 200 here when they become available.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Given that 160 are on the roster that was previously reported to be capped at 150, it is obvious that some ten entries were pre-allowed to be taken by the event directors, but to no avail, as the event was filled within 12 hours of registration opening.
Jim Cummins, co-director of the event commented the following:
"We are FULL!!!
Crazy... Absolutely Crazy.Just 12 hours after registration opened, and we have 159 riders signed up for the 2010 running of The Dirty Kanza 200. (We'll actually have a few more than that, as we have a few sponsor spots to add manually.) We felt pretty sure we would fill up. But never in our wildest dreams did we expect to fill up so quickly."
A Waiting List is available to get on by contacting . www.heartlandrace.com and selecting "Jim Cummins". Then send your name and a way to contact you.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
The new events listed include the venerable Flint Hills Death Ride, arguably the grand daddy of gravel grinders, which will be taking place in July this year. Another interesting grinder happening is the Hermann Gravel Grinder events which are headed up by a fellow that used to be local to me. The gravel grinding he did here may have inspired him, eh? Well, if not, it is still pretty cool that these weekend events are happening all over.
I arranged all the event links into Alphabetical order for now. Chronological order would be better, but that would entail a massive re-do of the link bar. Please remember that I will be doing a monthly post that will detail out coming events, so I hope that will help with the timing of events for you. I also will try to post registration openings for the competitive events, if I can catch it, or if I am tipped off.
Finally, the bottom of this blog now has links to sites that are portals to other gravel based events. Check these for updates and news as well. (Scroll all the way down!)
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Starting Thursday evening with a metric century, the event is sounding pretty low key, but don't expect it to be easy. Having personal experience setting up a few Trans Iowa events in that area, along with last years Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, I can personally guarantee you will be worked over but good! Add in the potential for extreme weather and you will have an epic three day adventure on your hands.
For all the details see the Spring Training In Decorah site.
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The Second Annual Fargo Adventure Ride: This is an event inspired by a bicycle and it's fans. The Salsa Cycles Fargo model is a bike that is truly adept at gravel adventures. The ride is open to all types of bikes, but Fargo riders are especially encouraged to show up. Look here for details.
The Fargo Adventure Rides are moderately paced, no rider left behind type events that are centered around fun and a challenging, yet scenic route.
Gravel Grinder Spring Classic: My friend up in Vermont, George Wissell, started this ride a couple years ago, (at least!) and it takes in some incredibly tough, scenic roads in the out of the way places in and around Waterbury, Vermont. Here is a brief description of the ride from George:
The Gravel Grinder Spring Classic is a dirt road ride up and down all five
hills of Waterbury, VT + extras. Last year 60 riders tackled 3,000 feet of
climbing for a serious early season lung-burner. This year we are going to add
distance, elevation and a little bit more adventure. You will be zonked after
this ride. Entry fees go to support Waterbury trail maintenance and Stowe Mtn
So there you have it. Stay tuned to the Bike29
Blog for an update on the 2010 version set to take place April 18th, 2010.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Corey is a well seasoned veteran of gravel events and is also a promoter of the excellent "Good Life Gravel Adventure" with his band of merry gravel grinders called "The Pirate Cycling League" (I love that name! aarrrrgh!). Corey lays down some excellent points and reinforces some of the things I have related as well. I highly recommend going to the XXC site and downloading the issue #5 and reading not just Corey's great article, but the whole enchilada. Great media there!
XXC is the brain child of Jason Mahokey and is chock full of great reading and awesome photography all dealing with ultra-endurance cycling. Available as a download for a small fee, or as a print magazine for about $14.00 delivered to your door. Check it out.