Our favorite gravel event, the Ruta Del Jefe, is returning in 2022 with registration opening up November 21-24th. This event takes place in Southern Arizona, in and out of Patagonia’s surrounding mountains and dirt roads. It’s an amazing weekend and hopefully you can make it to the 2022 event! That said, there’s a lot to digest about how you can enter, where the RDJ is being held, who is a part of the event, and what the event’s intent is, so for those unfamiliar with the Ruta del Jefe, read the full press-release from Sarah Swallow below and check out our event Reportage in the Related Archives. Holler in the comments with any questions and we hope to see you there!
Marley Blonsky is using her platform, All Bodies On Bikes, to bring awareness and accessibility to one of America’s most famous gravel events, SBT GRVL. Read on below for a full press release about how you can enter for a chance to win one of fifteen spots for non-traditional athletes…
There’s dust, cold, chaos, and bikes. Bikes everywhere. Almost more bike tracks than footprints in the thick dirt of the Laguna Seca Raceway paddock, where rows of tents and more flags than the eye can count have taken over for the weekend – this is The Sea Otter Classic. It’s my first time not only to Sea Otter but to a bike expo- having gotten seriously into cycling during the quarantine this first wave of events post- pandemic is also my first wave of cycling events- period. I did my first bike race two months prior, and while there was an expo there it nowhere near compares to this ocean of logos. Being a photographer in the cycling world this weekend is a chance to connect with clients I haven’t seen in a while, touch base with connections I have prior only talked to through emails and DM’s, and hug the bejeezus out of the rad gravel ladies I photographed for ‘The Leaders of Gravel’, a series here on The Radavist.
Trans Cascadia explored a new region this year in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. This land is the traditional indigenous territory of the Wenatchi and Syilx people. As a blind enduro, racers are given each day’s map the night before, with no chance to explore the trail prior. Race Director Nick Gibson was excited to get started. “I’m stoked to get people on course after a year’s delay. We’re excited to show people this area, this is the first-ever bike race on these trails.”
With a full volunteer staff, spending countless hours in preparation, racers shuttled into Foggy Dew Campsite, their home for the next 5 days. A remote backcountry experience with all the amenities save cell service, racers are treated to a camp that feels more like a living village. After Covid testing and orientation, participants devoured a stunning southern-inspired meal prepared by Hannah Carlos of The Bayou Catfish under the stars…
The beauty of bikes is in the people who ride them—and how they all have a story. I have little doubt that everyone—serious riders, aeroed and grimaced, and carefree cruisers alike—have experienced that epiphanous fresh-air feeling of freedom that accompanies spinning your legs astride two wheels. Sometimes we just enjoy it at the moment—letting the short-lived wave of release and clarity wash over us during a weeknight burrito run, or a trip to the coffee shop. Other times we chase that feeling down with the hope that, somehow, it might change our life.
What first intrigued me about Josh Uhl was, however, not his history with bikes but his podcast Here For Now, which he started in February of 2021. Josh uses this platform to have intentional and intimate conversations with his guests about motivation, struggle, and the big whys of life. Listening to an early episode with Peter Hogan, where the recovering addict asserts that “Bikes aren’t God,” and to a later episode where the writer Zoe Röm reflects on the delusion of “authenticity” on social media, I found myself frequently nodding along. Yes, exactly.
Last month, bikepackers from all over the country gathered in the southernmost Oregon Timber Trail Gateway Community of Lakeview for the inaugural OTT700 Race. Lakeview’s mayor, Ray Turner, set up his famous BBQ station the evening before in the city park and treated the racers and their families to a final warm dinner before days of eating ramen and snickers bars. It was great to see the camaraderie already building between riders and proved the value of bringing the rider community together around an event like this.
“Expect the Unexpected”
The MGR is a 650 km gravel route, 4 stages, about 8000 meters of elevation,
some like to call it a disguised mountain bike race with a bit of gravel,
some will argue that this is the spirit of gravel, a limitless exploration of where the bike can take you.
Rapha just posted its Unbound Gravel XL video, showcasing Lael Wilcox’s efforts along the 350-mile course. Check back here on Monday for Lael’s Unbound report!
The Volta As Aldeias Historicas is a 450 km route in Portugal with 8000 meters of elevation.
It links up 12 medieval villages and their castles.
Our contributor Ryan Le Garrec went to tackle it for his “Fail” video series,
alongside friends Sjors Mahler and Tiago Cacao,
It seems Ryan got bored of castles and failed at reaching them all.
“Those things are nice but they’re all at the top of a village already perched up a hill,
and the road to each is ridiculously steep,
I love villages and I love Portugal
but somehow castles just make me think of Middle Age wars,
I don’t really dig that,
I skipped a few and the guys did too!”
A week ago, 61 contestants battled it out over 4 stages through the Masai Mara wildlife reserve, during the inaugural Migration Gravel Race in Kenya. While an epic adventure in itself, there’s more to this race than meets the eye. The MGR is one of the prongs of the Amani project, aimed at creating more race opportunities for East African cyclists to measure themselves with the best on an international level.
What better way to do so than to bring in the very best? With the attendance of 2021 Unbound-winner Ian Boswell and runner-up Laurens ten Dam (who claimed the victory at MGR), the bar has been set for future editions. Sule Kangangi, Kenyan pro cyclist and coordinator of Amani’s activities in Kenya, and 2021 Unbound winner Ian Boswell share their thoughts on this unique first edition.
After 2020, I wasn’t sure when I’d be back at events documenting bikes, races, and places. So far in 2021, things seem to be picking up steam and this weekend I found myself in Ogden, Utah at the ENVE Builder Round Up Open House and Grodeo gravel race…
The Flashpoint MVMNT, a gravel team made up of Kathy Pruitt, Nehemiah Brown, Amanda Schaper, and Andrew Jackson, finally got a chance to get together in person, share some thoughts about what makes them turn the pedals, and best of all, play on some new terrain. It was hot, dusty, and a ton of fun – the smiles tell the story. Check out what inspires this new crew of riders working to change the face of cycling…
Don’t miss our profile of Kathy Pruit in the Related stories below!
Wahoo‘s newest Frontiers video features Ian Boswell and his win at Unbound Gravel.
“In December of 2019, Ian Boswell announced his retirement from road cycling and his shift in focus to gravel racing. Ian set his route to all things adventure. Riding is fun. Racing should be fun. But it’s hard to remember that when focusing on wins and watts, podiums, and purses. He transitioned away from the status quo to experience the joy of racing again. With a pandemic and training solo, Ian is back into racing with the rest of the world.
In this episode of Frontiers, Ian Boswell shares his story of racing gravel post-pandemic, being back with a group of riders, and experiencing both the comradery and competition once more to become the Unbound King of Gravel…”
After a year off from racing, everyone is more stoked than ever to say #crossiscoming. Over at Speedvagen, they’re so excited that for the first time they are offering Ready Made Cyclocross Team Editions as Frame-sets only. This is in part due to the supply shortages plaguing the industry.
Cyclocross was the beginning of Speedvagen and cross bikes are still among their favorite bikes. Light and nimble, ready to get rowdy. Not over-built like most “gravel” bikes today. A pure cross bike is something magical. Sacha has always said if he had to pick a bike for the apocalypse it would be a single-speed cyclocross bike.
THE RMCXTED Frameset Specs:
-Two Super Sparkly Paint Schemes, New for 2021 Team Blue or our traditional Team White
-Stock sizing 50-58cm
-Enve CX Fork
-Enve Post Head
-PF30 or T47 shell (single speed or geared)
-Turn around time 5-6 mo
-Deposit $1000 (deducted from the total price)
Last weekend the town of Emporia, Kansas hosted the world’s largest gravel race, Unbound Gravel. When the event started in 2006, it only offered the milestone 200-mile route. With the growing popularity of gravel racing and in an attempt to make the race more accessible to all cyclists, Unbound Gravel now offers a total of six racecourses. Participants can now choose between 25, 50, 100, 200, and the big, bad 350-mile course. There’s even a High School event! While the 200 is still the marquee distance for the event, Unbound has something for everyone looking to get dusty out in the Flint Hills.
After coming off of an epic 2019 win at Gravel Unbound, Amity Rockwell reflects on the role of cycling in her life and how it has motivated and inspired her to push her personal boundaries.
This weekend brings about Unbound Gravel, in Emporia, Kansas and I managed to catch up with a few friends who are taking on the 200-mile route… on a tandem. It’s not just any tandem though, so let’s check it out in detail below.
This is the fourth and final part of an ongoing series:
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part III – A Cyclocross Specialist Turned Ultra Racer
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race
Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time
2020, the year that virtually nothing has panned out as expected, delivered an unexpected opportunity for me to return to the Grand Loop. I flew home to Arizona in late March after an aborted tour across Alaska as the Covid-19 pandemic worsened. My body was exhausted from winning a 4-day-long Iditarod Trail Invitational – conditions were challenging enough that the race took twice as long as it does in “good” years. After the race, I continued touring farther along the trail for another 250 miles before Native villages began closing to visitors. When I returned home, my body was worn out. The next month was devoted to recovery as I watched in awe as the world as we knew it ground to a halt amid the worsening pandemic.