Gravel Metric


It’s difficult to provide too many tips for the ride as the heat was the main factor.  There is simply no way to determine whether or not your body will start to shut down from heat exhaustion.  I think I went through about 8-10 bottles during the race and twice that post race, including electrolights, but still spent a good part of the evening vommitting and sweating.

As for tips for next year (yes this will become an annual ritual hopefully):

1. Gel or double-padded handlebars can provide some relief since the gravel is pretty rough

2. People were flatting pretty consistently running low-tire pressure; the highest you can stand with less-grip and more vibration, the better for preventing pinch flats

3. Ride your own pace as much as possible.  I find more and more in these gravel road rides/races that riders are pretty pitchy and will accelerate/decelerate for no reason.  Stay out of the wind as much as possible but don’t burn yourself out riding someone elses race

4. Get to the front as soon as possible.  For a “ride,” there were still a lot of early crashes from folks jockeying for position.

5. If you find yourself riding gravel for 65 miles in 100+ degree heat, do not turn down a cute farm girl spraying you in the face with water.


Gravel Metric – HOT!  Oven baking hot…evening getting hosed down didn’t reduce the core temp from soaring.  The course was terrific with a mix of asphalt farm roads, a lot of various gravel roads, and three sections of single track, including a creek crossing.  Most would have been able to tear this course up if you weren’t battling the heat.

Being not an official race, the support was excellent.  Three check points with iced water that you are required to get a bracelet punched as well as signing in before and out after the race to secure the safety of all participants.  There were a number of tumbles that stemmed from trying to run road bikes on gravel, just poor handling, or heat exhaustion.  Highly recommend CX or MTB bike.  I myself miss judged a line change on my CX bike in the single track and went down.  Half thinking that it would be soft dirt, I unfortunately found out that it was like cheese grating concrete and shredded my arm and hip.

The post party was an excellent gathering, with enough raffle free stuff that almost everyone there walked away with something.  Great team event for the non-racers and racers trying to hone their mixed surface racing!


A few tips:

1. When it’s really hot (or in general) make sure you have an electrolyte drink or tablets, they can help prevent severe cramping.

2. When it’s really hot, it’s nice to have one bottle of electrolyte drink and one bottle of plain water to squirt on the back of your neck and face.  It really helps cool you off and makes you forget that you’re suffering so much, well just for a bit.

3. When you ride on gravel or on a dirt path on your road bike or cross bike, just pretend that you’re like flowing water, nice, smooth and undisturbed.  You are the Zen Master of gravel.  Loosen your grip on your bars, relax your arms and upper body, pretend your legs are like springs and hover over the saddle over the real rough parts.  If the bike moves the wrong way, don’t lock up and freak out, just shift your body weight the way you want the bike to go and it’ll go there.

4. You know you’re a real cyclist when you’re pushing hard against the wind, the searing sun, uphill and on gravel .. or you’re just dumb.  Whatever makes you smile.


I wrote a report here!