Thursday, June 27, 2013

Announcing The "New" Gravel Grinder News

Finally! It emerges from the primordial ooze!
Wednesday is usually my day off from wrenching at the shop. I usually have a pretty chill schedule which includes a bike ride somewhere on some bicycle or another. But this Wednesday was not to be anything like that....

Going back to 2008, I had an idea on this blog. I thought "somebody" ought to be cataloging these gravel events into a list where we could find information on them, plan dates to attend, and maybe show the "world out there" that there were more events going on than they thought. Well, that "somebody" turned out to be me in the end. I found a new home for the Trans Iowa History site I had been working on, and turned that old Blogger site into "Gravel Grinder News". 

I figured that while I didn't need a fifth blog to watch over, it would be easy to just add links whenever the odd gravel event popped up in my inbox. The thing was, I got a lot more events sent to me than I ever thought I would. I kept finding out about others by word of mouth, looking at Facebook, and perusing Twitter. Then I got a review written on a Salsa Cycles rig. A new model at the time dubbed the "Vaya". My good buddy, MG suggested we try a review, and the next thing ya know, traffic on the site went berserk compared to pre-review days. It only got worse after that. Well......worse if your original intentions were to just have an easy to maintain list of events!

So, in an effort to make the site more than just an after-thought, to make it easier to use for the riders out there, and to satisfy an emerging demand I was seeing from the industry for a place like this, I suggested to my buddy in California, Grannygear, that we move forward on an idea he pitched to me to upgrade Gravel Grinder News to reflect all those things. To make it better than it was.

Riding into the future....
Grannygear and I started this project in earnest at the beginning of this year. We looked at tons of ideas, kicked around a lot of concepts, and got a development site going where we could play with, experiment with, and tweak out our ideas. Things were cruising along really, really well. That is until some interweb behemoth called "Google" reared its ugly head and stymied our intentions.

Well, we've got "real jobs", real lives, and families. It isn't like we can work on stuff like Gravel Grinder News whenever we want, and many times we can't get to it when even when we are free to do so.  Anyway, the thing sat dead in the water for weeks. Meanwhile Trans Iowa happened, a family vacation, work, and get the idea.

Then Wednesday came: I was trying to squeeze in a lot on Wednesday. I wanted to get some work done, so I could leave Friday to attend Odin's Revenge, which I was going to have to travel most of that day for. That meant no work on Friday. I also was dreaming of getting out for a bit of ride testing for Twenty Nine Inches, which has been sparse due to the very wet weather we've had around here. It had rained Tuesday evening......again! So, I went to work first, thinking later on, it may be okay for a ride.

Then I got a call from Grannygear. He was making headway on the switchover, but a new snafu had arisen. I made a suggestion, and after a couple more phone calls, it was looking good to go. Meanwhile I had a couple packages to mail out, one which I had to do some online research to get the postage right. This was cutting into my time! I was a bit frantic, and then I got a call that the site was live, in the meantime, I missed an important call from family. Wondering what the heck that call could have been for made me more amped. Then I found out the reason for the call. My Uncle Paul had died. I had to do a few quick things to get the news on GGN out, post a promised review up on GGN that I had said would be on the site when it went live, get the packages mailed, and deal with the news I had gotten. Needless to say, I was wrecked. I didn't get that ride in. But.....anyway.....Gravel Grinder News new site is finally live! 

All that to let you know the site is live. I just felt I needed to get the story off my chest, to let some folks know what the deal was who were "in the know" about the changes, and not to gain any sympathy for my troubles. It's been a tempestuous week so far, with many ups and downs, but getting this site upgraded and changed is a goal that Grannygear and I have had for a while. I am happy we've reached it, and I hope all that check out GGN find it to be an improvement, useful, and worthwhile.

We're particularly proud of the Calendar Of Events, which we hope will be much easier and informative to use. Check it out when you get the time. It's really the whole reason for the site in the first place. We're also going to, (hopefully), get more contributions from our riders in the field, like MG, who has contributed another great bike review on the Singular Kite here. Look for more from him and from Monika Sattler, whose articles will be re-posted from the old site very soon. There will be some reviews on gear being completed soon, which you will see, mostly on tires. Stay tuned!

Thanks for supporting Gravel Grinder News, and as always, keep sending in the news on events and I will get them on the calendar.


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