Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Gravel Grinder News: Changes To Almanzo, Gravel Worlds

Notice something missing from the Gravel Worlds livery this year?
Some interesting tidbits hit the innergoogles concerning a couple of big gravel grinder events within the last two days. First off is a tidbit- a minor detail to most folks- but something I actually was drug in to by association. This has to do with the Gravel Worlds and the rainbow stripes they used up until this year. You can read a bit about it in an article published on the World Wide Web here. I had been asked to hold off commenting on this by the Gravel Worlds folk and not to say anything, as they said,  "until we are ready".

Apparently they are ready now, since they let go with some comments about this. However; that ain't all there is to the story.

You see, on Friday, August 25th, 2017, I received an e-mail from the UCI asking that the rainbow stripe design be ceased from being used by Gravel Worlds by August 31st, or legal action would be taken. Now, that was quite an eye opener. First, it was readily apparent that the UCI thought had something to do with running Gravel Worlds. We (Ben, my partner, and I) had to set them straight on that. But what then? I certainly wasn't going to throw the Gravel Worlds crew under the bus. I sent those guys an e-mail forewarning them of the impending action from the UCI, so at least they wouldn't have a heart attack at unawares! Ben succinctly told the UCI that they should contact Gravel Worlds, which they did, and of course, you can read what they decided in the linked story above. But I have to say, my heart rate went up a notch or two that Friday!

And now you know the rest of the story.......

Will this stay true in 2019? My bet is- yes, it will.
The second thing, and a bit of a shocker, was the announcement that Almanzo events founder, Chris Skogen was "taking back the reigns of Almanzo."

There was about a four year span where the event was taken up by the Spring Valley Tourism board, and specifically that meant one person, Kathy Simpson. Apparently she wanted to "take a step back" and  that was going to leave a void which Chris Skogen decided to fill, saying in the press release, " I cannot see another person more capable of taking control of these events than myself".

So, there you have it. Almanzo and its events are back in the hands of its founder, Chris Skogen. What can we expect? That is the question which remains to be answered. I would speculate that you won't see a big change unless it is a change which benefits the towns involved in the Almanzo events even more greatly than it does now. It's hard to conceive of a way for that to happen better than it has up to now, but anything is possible. funds in the local economy there just to supply our checkpoint. Things like that are not only sought after by these small rural communities, but are coveted once they get them. I doubt seriously that anyone wants to see these benefits go away which happen in regard to how the Almanzo events have been run in the last several years.
New Almanzo logo- Reminds me of an Army symbol for the 6th Army.
If we use history as a guide, Skogen has been against "barriers to participation" since the Almanzo 100 was founded in 2007. It would be hard to fathom that a limit to riders, an event fee, or that any other traditional race categorizations that limit participation would be employed now that Skogen is again at the helm. It also would seem improbable that the basic event format would change since the economic impact of the Almanzo is vital to the area. I know that the "tip jar", which was put out at our checkpoint in Cherry Grove, brought in a significant amount of money with which the Cherry Grove Community Center needed to maintain itself another year. That's just one thing. Heck, we spent a bunch of

But, you never know. My bet is that things stay pretty much the same as always. But again, we will have to wait to see how this plays out.

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