Year after year, we find ourselves humbled and amazed by the attendance. Every year we’re reminded that the type of people who want to ride 62+ miles of gravel are our kind of people. Thank you for being good people.
We want to thank our sponsors – Salsa Cycles, Clement Cycling, GORE Bike Wear and Skratch Labs – for their physical and metaphysical support this year. Having friends from those companies come and experience the event with us is what makes them great partners. Thank you to Donn from Clement for bringing Ben Berden and Caroline Mani to ride this year – Ben was the first rider back (he won) and Caroline won the award for nicest rider on the course, entertaining riders and fixing their bikes along the way.
We wanted to thank everyone for bringing sufficient water and food. We were so so so so glad people took that warning seriously. Luckily the weather was fairly cool this year so you didn’t need 10 bottles like in 2012.
I (Tobie) thank my cohorts and collaborators, without whom this event never would take place: Chris Jensen, Chad Ament, Josh Arends (and John Arends, and Jack Arends), Erica Chianese, Dean Frieders, and all of their respective and lovely teams: Robots <3, Half Acre Cycling, Axletree, The NCC Crew and the City of DeKalb (that’s Dean’s team). Thank you to all of our fantastic volunteers, including but not limited to Anna Anderson, Amy Dykema, Kevin Clark, Lily Povlich, Jessi, Dan Eiten, Eleanor Blick, Pip Potter, Aaron Nevdal, and many more.
This year we changed it up and the changes were mostly well received. We achieved our goal of making the event more simple, basic, and more adventurous. We thank our map man, Chad Ament, for his hours of route planning. Finding interesting terrain in northern Illinois is no simple task, but somehow he managed to milk every foot of incline, find every rutted stretch of unroad, and avoid all but 4 miles of pavement over 68mi. Very impressive, mon frer.
One unfortunate mishap that sent the riders into confusion was the fact that one of two marked turns on the course in the State Park (an actual turn, as opposed to a veer, a jog, or an intersection “no cue=go straight”), was robbed of it’s marking between Saturday night and Sunday morning. This was unfortunate. The cue sheet indicated the length to stay on the path and relied on that marking to keep riders exactly on course. We apologize for that; we believe it was either the two kids hunting frogs (Did you see them?) or gophers (very territorial). Although it may have felt like a maze in there, once you made that turn and stayed on the path, without straying from the path, you would have eventually seen our other sign that survived the gophers and made your way out of the park. Regardless, it was an adventure. You’re welcome.
The self-navigation really threw some people for a loop. A big loop. Like a 30mi loop, off course. All the streets were marked with street signs or signs that we made, but that doesn’t mean they were easy to see. Our hand made signs are visible from space, but some of the green street signs were hard to see if the intersection was wooded. Locust.
We realize this type of racing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, so if you’re not 100% satisfied with your 2013 Gravel Metric, we’re offering a 100% refund of your registration.
We’re already making plans for 2014. It’ll be 120° outside, so start your desert training today.
Don’t be strangers, now. We’ve got the NIGHT BISON on Sept 1st – see you there!
Photos courtesy of Eric Sucharski and Eric Fredrickson.