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A Look Back: Rider Portraits from the Inaugural Race on the Oregon Timber Trail

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A Look Back: Rider Portraits from the Inaugural Race on the Oregon Timber Trail

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.

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Fail 3

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!”

Four Gravel Stages in the Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve: the 2021 Migration Gravel Race Recap

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Four Gravel Stages in the Masai Mara Wildlife Reserve: the 2021 Migration Gravel Race Recap

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.

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Flashpoint MVMNT Turning the Pedals Together

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!

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Wahoo Frontiers: Ian Boswell Unbound Gravel

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…”

Speedvagen Ready Made CX Team Edition Framesets

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Speedvagen Ready Made CX Team Edition Framesets

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
-Enve Stem
-PF30 or T47 shell (single speed or geared)
-Turn around time 5-6 mo
-Deposit $1000 (deducted from the total price)

Ride the Gamut: A Massive Unbound Gravel Gallery

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Ride the Gamut: A Massive Unbound Gravel Gallery

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.

Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part IV – A New Record, 12 Years in the Making

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Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part IV – A New Record, 12 Years in the Making

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.

The Open Road: the Orbit 360

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The Open Road: the Orbit 360

2021, March 14th, 5:16 pm Runa, Portugal

Runa is a small village that looks like it was supposed to become a town, it just never happened. Not much to see around here.

Traversed by a fast road right through it, longing a deserted train station that never felt so vain.
All along that single file highway, tiny factories, warehouses, abandoned, emptied in a rush. Nature is invading, reclaiming those empty spaces, plants, and trees through the cracks and walls.

I press on the pedals.

A bit further down the strange fast route, a tiny park and one big tree, one massive tree, an old man walks around, talking to himself, or rehearsing what seems to be a speech or sermon, rehearsing those words while mastering their hand choreography.

Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part III – A Cyclocross Specialist Turned Ultra Racer

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Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part III – A Cyclocross Specialist Turned Ultra Racer

This is the third part of an ongoing series:
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

Back in the late 2000s, I was a geology Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado and a devoted cyclocross racer. I got up early and did intervals in the dark before class and I raced around in little circles every weekend from September to December, chasing other skinsuit-clad guys hopping on and off their bikes for rather contrived reasons. I flew around the country to some of the biggest race weekends, chasing UCI points and top-20 finishes. I was infatuated with the sport until I rather abruptly became bored of those little circles.

Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race

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Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part II – The First Modern Bikepacking Race

Read part I here:  Full Circle on the Grand Loop: Part I – Trail Visions Ahead of Their Time

With the ambitious origins of the Grand Loop being shared in Part I of this series, let us now dive into the impact the route had on the evolution of bikepacking, and more specifically, bikepacking races. After all, the Grand Loop Race (GLR) was arguably the first of the modern bikepacking events and is responsible for creation and evolution of some of the most popular and longest-running mountain bike ultras in the United States – the Colorado Trail Race and the Arizona Trail 300. The Grand Loop was also the first long and particularly difficult off-road route to become a notable draw for bikepackers.