Saturday was our first ever Official Gravel Metric Training Ride.
Turnout was pretty amazing for a cold Saturday morning that promised only headwinds and gravel…about 40 riders. Once at North Central Cyclery, we grouped up, and talked routes.
We did a group rollout of town…
And then hit the rolling hills o’ DeKalb.
The route was 26 miles, on varying surfaces…some loose gravel, some soft, some groomed…some pave.
We had about 40 riders show, and everyone completed the route. That included many who “aren’t bikers” and many who had never ridden gravel before. Fun was had by all.
There was a wide array of talent and experience. We had riders rocking singlespeed mountain bikes, fatbikes, road bikes, gravel bikes, cross bikes, hybrids, and everything under the sun. There were bright, shiny, brand new Ti Warbirds. There were vintage ‘mountain’-ish bikes with steel rims. There were runners who had never ridden a bike on gravel. There were cyclists with a ton of experience. It was a considerably huge cross section of cycling humanity.
That’s the goal folks. It was an inclusive ride. We were humbled by the turnout. (Note: those on road bikes, riding skinny tires, got along this time. The next route might not be so skinny-friendly.) We’ve talked about inclusivity before. For us, inclusivity doesn’t mean “everyone come do this cool thing we’re doing.” Inclusivity means “everyone, make some reasonable preparations, and then come do this cool thing we’re doing.” Reasonable preparations means come with a helmet, a flat kit and tube, and the ability to exercise good judgment regarding your own abilities. The ride was self-supported, there were flats, and those with flats were self-sufficient. We’re not going to leave riders in the countryside to perish…but these are training rides for the upcoming Gravel Metric. It is important that riders be able to do a self-supported ride. If you don’t know how, talk to us, and we’ll show you. Inclusivity is comprised of equal parts “we invite you” and “you show initiative.”
This ride featured a cue sheet with mostly accurate directions, and a map. The next ride is April 13. For that ride, mileage will increase to 40 miles. Cue sheets will be street names and mileage only–no maps. There will be a group rollout, but there will likely not be designated sweep-riders to help you ride (or in some cases, literally push you) back into town. It will be a little bit more realistic, a little bit harder, and a little bit more fun. A few weeks thereafter, there will be a ~55 mile training ride that will bring folks one step closer to the reality of the Gravel Metric.
One final note on the reality of the Gravel Metric: it is self-supported.
Yeah, yeah, we know. We’ve said that before, and yet we’ve had support at 2-3 stops each year in the past. We’re serious this time. We mean it. Self-supported–as in “no support.” No rest stops, no water, no oranges, no squirt guns. The Gravel Metric will be self-supported.
But you’ll be ready, because you’ve been riding. You’ll be ready because there are 2 more realistic training rides to go. You’ll be ready, because you’re listening to us as we say: self-supported.
40 people had a killer ride last Saturday. You should join them on April 13. Rollout will be 8am prompt, at North Central Cyclery. Plan on being there at least 15 minutes early to ensure a prompt rollout. If you didn’t make the First Training Ride, then click below, and bring a completed waiver.
See you 4/13.