Last minute bits to chew on.

Hey everyone.
We’re wrapping up the final details around here and we have a few reminders for you:

1. Please come prepared. We will not have enough water to fill 1200 waterbottles. There are no guaranteed places to refill your bottles on the course, so be prepared to carry 3-4 bottles.

2. We will be getting a police escort out of town leaving NCC at 9am. Please be prepared to roll out with the group. Position yourself appropriately in the corral so as not to be jostling during the neutral rollout. (This generally leads to premature shenanigans). We will be able to roll without stopping all the way to the first bit of gravel. During this neutral leadout, it is absolutely unacceptable to swerve into the oncoming traffic lane in order the jockey for a better position. Stay to the right of the yellow lines. We will have a line of Axletree folks herding the group and watching out. Don’t be the juicebag that gets caught doing this or we’ll put gum in your hair.

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3. Once we hit the gravel, we’ll be halting the start until the whole group has made the turn. At that point, we’ll open the course and you can get wild.

4. It looks like we might have a spot of rain on Sunday, so please come prepared for it. Ride safe, have fun, and please stick around for food and drinks even if it’s raining. We’d prefer not to lose our funds for all those meals.

5. We’re very humbled and thankful to have so many people rsvp’d and so many pre-orders for GM goods. Thank you for your support! Please be patient with the volunteers on Sunday – this will be, by far, our biggest gravel event to date and we’re a small crew.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

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Good goods for the common good.

We’re lining up some things to sell at the Gravel Metric and we’d like to know if you want some. Click here to get right to it, or stay on the line for more information.

We worked with some friends in Omaha to come up with some new branding for the Metric this year. It was a fun project.

The main design for the t-shirts comes from some of the research we did into old advertisements in DeKalb. DeKalb is the home of barbed wire, and the apparatus you see here was called “The Rattler”. It was a tool used to tension barbed wire between fenceposts. We thought it was very apropos.

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We made men’s and women’s t-shirts in lieutenant green. Pre-order here.

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As is our custom, we are printing bandana cue sheets. We dig this idea, since no amount of rain, sweat, blood or mud will take the ink off of them. And they are a great memento. We will nor promise to have printed cue sheets, so we recommend ordering one.

2015 bandana

Our generous sponsors, Moots and Clement, contributed towards a run of Purist MoFlo bottles for the event. They will be available for $10ea at the Metric, but you can pre-order them 2 for $15 here. Purist22_f

All of the above goods are being sold to raise money for Axletree, our non-profit dedicated to Events, Advocacy, and Awesome. We have no paid officers and get no perks from the non-profit. All of the funds go to our advocacy and events. This month alone, we have worked with multiple community foundations to provide 20 helmets to the local library and 20 bikes and helmets to people who need them most in DeKalb. We excited to host events like the GM to make these things happen. We appreciate your attendance, but we also greatly appreciate your support in buying our goods and donating at the event.

If you appreciate what we’re doing and want to get all of the goods together, we are offering the AXLETREE LOVE BUNDLE – including a t-shirt, 2 bottles, a bandana and an added donation to Axletree. Thank you in advance for clicking hereGM BUNDLE

Pre-ordering all of these is good for a number of reasons. Four, to be exact:

1. You actually get it, in your size, for sure. This guarantees we don’t run out of the item in your size. This is important. 

2. We will have it ready at the start so you don’t have to wait in a (long) line like a sucker. 

3. We will sleep better knowing we didn’t just order a pile of goods no one wants. 

4. We will share your name in lights (twitter, at least) if you buy a LOVE BUNDLE.

So please, click here and show your support. We are looking forward to it. 

 

 

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The Whole Enchilada of Information & Cats.

Thank you to everyone who has registered on Facebook or given us an RSVP via email. We have a pretty good idea that this is going to be the biggest, baddest and best GM ever. Unless it rains, then it will be all those things and more.

Before I get started on some updates, I want to say thank you to everyone for coming out to our GM Training Rides. We had a good turnout to both of them and enjoyed seeing you all.

Ok, we have to get serious for a second.

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During the training rides, we were also reminded that no matter how much we talk about behaving well on the road and being good representatives for cycling, we still have people come out and act like jerkbags. This may sound harsh, but if you take offense to it, then you are probably an offender. Our good times on bicycles do not merit conflicts or confrontations with the other users of the roads. We ask that all riders that come out by our invitation be mindful that your behavior on a single ride affects how local riders are treated on every single ride. 

For example, riders should not clog an entire lane so that oncoming cars have no choice but to swerve off the road to avoid a collision. Your draft is not more important than the safety of those drivers. The GM isn’t a race and it isn’t a closed course. Be cool out there.

If you hail from a cycling culture that rides as if it owns the road, or you think your team kit is famous or fast enough to merit special consideration, we recommend getting together with your team to ride in circles somewhere else that day.

We’re not serious about much, but we’re serious about this.

Now, down to business. Funny business.

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Here’s the parking situation.

GM PARKING 2014

When you get here, park anywhere in the green.Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 3.35.52 PM

Sign a waiver (or sign it beforehand, you smart and handsome person), grab a cue sheet (or print one out beforehand, you clever one), and buy some rad goods. Gravel Metric goods and Axletree goods will be for sale outside (first come, first served)(please bring cash). If you’re a smart cookie, you’ll jump over to the pre-order site by clicking here and nabbing some of those goodies ahead of time. Pre-ordering guarantees your goods and speeds up your check-in process on the day of the event. Again, click here.

NCC will be open for business starting at 7am. That means that after 7am, you may enter the bike shop and purchase any last minute items you need for the ride. It also means that, if you have to go to the bathroom, you can USE THE BIG JOHNS OUTSIDE. Please do not obliterate our kind little facilities. Speaking of, there will be coffee.

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Our friends from Heritage Bicycles General Store will be present at the start to sell great coffee – with proceeds going to Axletree. Please support them supporting us. Thanks for the support.

Please watch for traffic as you register and get ready. We’ll be exiting the south end of the Staging lot at 9am. We’ll have a police escort out of town. (Thank you, City of DeKalb).

On the way out of town we’re going to have a pace car take us all the way to the gravel. We were dismayed when people crossed the double yellow during the neutral leadout in order get a better position. We’ll have a line of Axletree riders keeping everyone in the fun zone and out of the danger zone. Once we hit the gravel, the course will be open.

Please check out the route. It’s the same as last year, so you know. Come prepared. Have a ton of fun.

You’ll want to mind the out-and-back on Woodlawn (go south from Houghtby, even if you see riders going north) and hit the checkpoint to get your wristband punched. All riders with a punched wristband get a beer ticket at the after-party.

Finish the course, sprint for the RR tracks (even if you’re alone), cool down on the way into town, and arrive safely at the starting line. Remember what I said before and be cool to drivers as you’re coming into town.

After you’ve put your bike down and used the Big John, please join us in the Gravel Metric Beer Garden. You’ll need an ID. Show ID and a punched wristband at the door and get your free beer ticket. Once you’re in, we’ll have beer and food available.

We’re asking for a $13+ donation for food. Axletree is footing the bill for the catering to keep our permits straight, so we’re hoping you’ll help us cover and exceed the costs of the day. Cash is best, again. If you’re interested in more beers, those will be available as well. Donate as you wish for the drinks. Do not exit the beer garden with alcohol. For the sake of all future Gravel Metrics, keep all alcohol in the beer garden. Do not bring your own and drink in the parking lot or you run the risk of ruining the fun for everyone.

We’ll hang out until the food and drink run out (which they will) and then we’ll accept any willing hand in the tear down process.

That about wraps it up! Come have fun! and bring cash, if you could be so kind.

If you have any questions, please email tobie@gravelmetric.com

 

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MARK THE DATE

The Gravel Metric 2015 will be Sunday, May 24th.

We have a Facebook event page up here.

Please RSVP there, or by sending an email to tobie@gravelmetric.com.

There is no formal pre-registration, but we do like to know how many people might be there so we can be ready. Or at least look ready.

 

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Gravel Metric Training Rides are back

For the last couple years, we’ve hosted a few training rides out of the shop to get us all moving and ready for the GM. This year we’re going to host two rides.

April 4th – 30mi – 8am

May 2nd – 50mi – 8am

We’ve had fantastic attendance for these rides, so we hope to see the same this year.

Please bring a friend and come prepared. We will provide a route, but beyond that, you are on your own. We may have something tasty waiting for you when you’re done, but no promises.

If you have any questions, send an email to tobie@gravelmetric.com.

 

 

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The (perfect) Gravel Metric

You know, the “P” word is a dangerous word. To call something perfect is to say it can’t be improved upon. It lacks every flaw. It is the spotless example of that thing.

It’s unrealistic to call any event “perfect” but I’m going to stick with my original assessment – this year was the perfect Gravel Metric.

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It’s not to say there weren’t things we can change or improve – and I can point out more than a couple flaws. But the GM this year was a perfect example of the type of event we’re shooting for. It was tough, but not too tough. It was fun. It was inclusive. It built relationships. It tested people. It raised money and awareness for advocacy. It was perfect. And I don’t think we’re alone in thinking thusly.

(For reference: When I say “I”, I’m writing as me, Tobie. When I say, “We”, I’m writing as Axletree)

The very first thing I want to do is thank our partners and sponsors. If I put this at the end, no one will stick around to read it, so I’m putting it here at the top. The Gravel Metric is a simple beast: Here’s a route, show up, ride it, hang out after. But the amount of preparation that goes into even a simple event can be staggering. We could not have done it without a few very key people. Dean Frieders made magic happen with numerous permits and permissions this year. Hosting the post-ride event ourselves added a huge layer of complication, and Dean bore the brunt of the work in making it happen. He may say he’s a lawyer, but he’s a wizard in my book. We’d like to offer a huge thanks to Mike Pittsley and Christine Lagatolla for making the beer garden become a reality. They’re generosity in helping supply tents, tables, and chairs truly made the event a success for Axletree. Mike’s solid “you need this, I’ve got that,” attitude was a huge asset this year. Thanks, Pitts.

We had a number of sweet volunteers from the Bonebell, Robots <3, NCC, and Axletree that served in the setup, takedown, and support duties during the weekend that were invaluable. Thanks to Paolo and Amy from the Bonebell for coming out and running the checkpoint. (And taking pictures!) Thanks to Beth for her amazing Elvis bars, and thanks to the whole Robots <3 bake sale crew. Thanks to Chad Gregory for the amazing signs (worth stealing).

A huge thanks to the Stagecoach Theater for letting us hang out in your backyard!

Thank you to the City of DeKalb for their permitting of the event and the wonderful police escort.

And, last, but far from least, we’d like to thank Moots and Clement for being such incredible supporters of our little event here in the middle of nowhere. It’s an amazing honor to have such great companies have a physical presence at the Gravel Metric. Thanks to Jason from Moots for coming out early to show of amazing bikes and for being such a good friend.

Donn at Clement has been a supporter of the GM for three years now, and every year, we’re humbled and amazed he takes the time and spends the money to bring Ben and other riders to the event. Donn is one of the finest guys in our industry, and we are flattered he even knows where DeKalb is.

Donn is so nice. Pic by Amy Dykema.

Donn is so nice. Pic by Amy Dykema.

Thanks for making great product and bringing such incredible riders every year. A special thanks to Ben Berden and Jamey Driscoll for coming out and strutting your strength and savvy. Great work on the win, Jamey!

And, finally, thank YOU, all of YOU, for coming out and riding, buying Axletree goods, and hanging out with us. We appreciate your attendance and support. You looked great out there, keep it up!

Now, moving on…

This year was something else.

We were totally unprepared for the massive jump in attendance this year. We had a 40% increase in riders this year; over 370 riders. I didn’t expect that. In the days leading up to the event, I started to feel we’d see an increase, but not that much.

To be honest, I was expecting either the same as last year or just a few more. I figured we’d lose a number of the gravel riders to the many new and many more interesting gravel events in the midwest these days. A few years ago, the GM was a lot more unique than it is now. Now there are gravel events, longer and shorter, filling the calendar from April to November. I assumed riders who’ve ridden the GM before might skip it this year to ride something else longer or different; especially since we published the route beforehand and let people know it was the same as last year. We knew we’d see new riders – we had invested time and energy into promoting the GM locally and encouraged new riders to train with us on the GM Training Riders. We promoted the event solely on social media, but we didn’t advertise the event to new audiences. It was word of mouth. Lots of mouths, I guess.

From where I stood on the morning of the GM, it looked like an swarm of locusts coming in – cyclists rolling in and walking in from every direction. They just kept coming, too. The reg process was super simple this year, so we never had a huge crowd at once (thankfully), but we could sense the masses because people just kept coming. The merch table was a success – we were happy to raise a good amount of money for Axletree over the course of the day. We know, they were white shirts, we know. It was intentional – no one does white shirts anymore – so we did white shirts.

We’re selling the leftover GM/MOOTS Purist bottles at our webstore, so if you missed out, or if you want more, jump over there and buy some. They’re great.

The rollout was a sight to behold. I was truly jealous. At that moment, I regretted volunteering to stay back and make sure the post-party setup went smoothly. I’m glad I did, but at that moment, everyone was riding their bikes and I was not.

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The swarm poured out of the lot for multiple minutes. I’d never seen that many riders in DeKalb. It was amazing. We had a few talented people on the course taking pictures, namely Seth Deming and Chad Gregory. They’re uploading pics this week, so there will be more, but Chad has some of the pics up on his There a bunch of gems on there, but this series of Robots’ and Comrade comrade Steve Parkes is pretty great.

14287119104_d6485a6497_zAnd pretty man Dan.

14284186051_d570763518_bAnd this is the just precious:

14275635751_ae59f17754_bThere will be more pictures! Stay tuned.

The day got hot! People were pretty torched as they rolled in. The Clement boys rolled in just over 3.5 hours after they began. They made their move at the creek crossing (remember that!). They were all smiles at the finish line. Jamey rolled over the line two inches in front of Ben. This is the first time we’ve had Jamey at the GM. It must be a pre-requisite for that team to be a genuinely nice person. Everyone Donn has brought to DeKalb has been super cool.

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The riders finished over the next few hours and enjoyed the post ride beer garden. We loved having this feature this year. The community vibe was much stronger.

2014-05-25 14.04.02The lanternes rouge rolled in around 4:30. We were proud of them – it was their longest gravel ride… by 100%. There was also a gentleman who rode a tandem with his 8 year-old, and a viking who rode a big dummy with a dog on the back. We love these people.

Stay tuned for more recaps soon.

Our goal in raising money is not simply to perpetuate our own events, but to raise money for local advocacy projects. We had a successful day in that regard, and we’ll be sharing soon how we can put that money to good use.

Thanks again everyone, for a perfect Gravel Metric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last blasts – Crucial info, Elvis muffins, and beer tickets.

okeedokee.

Be sure to arrive as early as possible. Park in the right place.

GM PARKING 2014Sign a waiver, grab a cue sheet, buy some rad goods. Gravel Metric goods and Axletree goods will be for sale outside (first come, first served)(please bring cash) and NCC will be open for business starting at 7am.

Please watch for traffic as you register and get ready. We’ll be exiting the south end of the Staging lot at 9am. We’ll have a police escort out of town. (Thank you, City of DeKalb).

Please check out the route. Come prepared. Have a ton of fun.

You’ll want to mind the out-and-back on Woodlawn (go south from Houghtby, even if you see riders going north) and hit the Bonebell Checkpoint to get your wristband punched. All riders with a punched wristband get a beer ticket at the after-party.

Axletree and Robots <3 will be hosting a BAKE SALE (BOOYAH) at the infamous creek crossing. Bring a few bucks! Our very own Beth Oftenbaker will be preparing her incredible ELVIS Bars (Bacon, Chocolate, Banana, Amazing) (GF) (Vegan version available) and Cran-Orange bars. $1ea. Seriously, they’re incredible.

BAKE SALEFinish the course, sprint for the blue sign on Rt 23 (even if you’re alone), cool down on the way into town, and arrive safely at the starting line.

After you’ve put your bike down and used the Big John, please join us in the Gravel Metric Beer Garden. You’ll need an ID. Show ID and a punched wristband at the door and get your free beer ticket. Once you’re in, we’ll have beer and food available.

We’re asking for a $12+ donation for food. Axletree is footing the bill for the catering to keep our permits straight, so we’re hoping you’ll help us cover and exceed the costs of the day. Cash is best, again. If you’re interested in more beers, those will be available as well. Donate as you wish for the drinks. (Do not exit the beer garden with alcohol. For the sake of all future Gravel Metrics.)

We’ll hang out until the food and drink run out (which they will) and then we’ll accept any willing hand in the tear down process.

That about wraps it up! Come have fun! and bring cash, if you could be so kind.

If you have any questions, please email tobie@gravelmetric.com

 

 

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