We’re going back to the basics this year.

It’s still on gravel.

This is a self-supported event.

This is Illinois. The flat part. The course is not extreme or demanding. We’ve got wind, but that’s it. On paper, this “endurance event” should be a cake walk. But, blessed or cursed, we’ve have extreme conditions every year that has given this little ride a reputation. It’s also forced our hand to offer support. This year, we’re going back to our original plan of having “checkpoints” and not “rest stops”. We will not have water for you. You will need to plan on having enough water to get you from start to finish. There will be one gas station slightly off-course that will be noted on the cue sheets.

Because we’re nice human beings, and because we care about other human beings, we’ve had support out on the course due to extreme weather the past couple years. Many people have said they probably wouldn’t have made it had we not been out there with water. If signs are pointing to another year of apocalyptic weather, we’ll do our best to help. But in that case, it’s important that you know your limits and ride/don’t ride accordingly.

DSCN0687

Course Preview

The Route
We’ll have a new route this year. We’ll still hit the highlights of courses past, but we’re headed southeast this year instead of northwest. Chad is the new Route Commander. He took an exploratory mission last night and found most of the “unroads” impassable due to snow drifts and ice sheets… so, they should be perfect by May.

Route Preview.

Lookin good, IL.

We’re excited to say Chad found some trees down south of here, so we’re going to route the course through them. That should be fun.

We will not be marking the turns this year, but we will make 100% sure every road has a signpost. The cue sheets will have very specific distance cues, so it’s in your best interest to have a computer on your bike to track your mileage. Some people like using GPS units, and those people are called nerds. Just kidding. I like nerds. I don’t like GPS users, sometimes.

Do not trust the riders in front of you. There is a history (tradition) of the fastest riders missing turns and getting off course (hilarious).

We will not be posting the route before May 26th. There will be GM Bandanna Cue Sheets available for purchase for $10 to raise money for Axletree. There will also be cue sheets available for free on microfiche.

We want to retain some sort of adventure here. And the internet told us winning the GM has become something of a prize among the those-who-cares-about-that-stuff crowd, so we’re keeping things honest by not spoon-feeding everyone the course this year.

Checkpoints
At each checkpoint (there will be one, or two, or three) there will be people with punches. Riders will need to stop and get their wristbands punched. If you’re afraid of those checkpoints being a bottleneck, we suggest you sprint for them. The wristband with all the punches on it is your beer ticket.

It’s important that you act like a gentleman or lady at these checkpoints. The punchers will have the power to withhold your punch if you’re a jerk. That means you won’t win. And you won’t get a free beer. And people won’t like you.

Growth
We expect this year to be big, or bigger, anyway. Based on the explosive attendances at Barry and Almanzo this year, we think we might see substantially more people. We’re asking everyone to let us know you’re coming on the old Facebook, or, if you’re bringing a group or team, to email me at tobie@gravelmetric.com.

We’re going to do our best to be prepared for the increase, but we ask for your patience if things are a little crazy. Just remember this is a free event and we’re riding bikes together.

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