Monday, August 20, 2018

Gravel Worlds '18: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly- Part 1

From the roof of the Graduate Motel's parking garage 
Gravel Worlds 2018 would be the fourth in a row for me, and the sixth time I've ridden in the PCL's event dating back to when it was called The Good Life Gravel Adventure. The last few have been fun, and my friend Tony and I have been sharing in the drive and splitting costs on the room and travel, which has worked out fabulously well. So, going a fourth time in a row was a sure thing, and I am very glad that it works out so I can go.

If there is one thing I get out of any event, it is seeing all the people I get to see very few times a year. That has always been important to the gravel scene since the beginning, and it is a facet of these events that not many folks talk about in detail, but it matters more than the riding. If this people part did not matter, we'd all be doing something else rather than gathering to ride bicycles on gravel roads. These roads don't hold the scene together,'s the people you meet, and don't let anyone else tell you any different.

It isn't fancy finish lines, announcers, or trappings borrowed from road races. It isn't a "laid back atmosphere", because you can't have that without people. It isn't this nefarious thing called "grassroots gravel events", because however "privateer" and independent an event may be, without the people getting along, it doesn't matter. It's the damn people, I tell ya, and it isn't anything else. The folks I've met over the years are what makes this whole thing stick together like glue.

So, that is why I love going to Gravel Worlds. I get to rub elbows with so many folks I've met over the years and I get to see some new folks as well. The pre-event expo and social held at Cycle Works bicycle shop is an awesome time. My favorite part of the weekend, perhaps, and this year we got there early, by no planning on our part, which was a bonus to the weekend for me.

Those crazy Pirate Cycling League guys had these real swords made up for the overall Male and Woman winners.
I especially cherished this time this year because I no longer plan on doing any more Trans Iowa events, which was another great time to hook up with these folks. So, with one less chance for me to see people now, the Gravel Worlds thing becomes more important than ever. Of course, I could go to the Dirty Kanza, but that event is now so huge that it is basically a crap shoot to find anyone I know to reconnect with. The crowds essentially render the event almost ineffective at seeing folks I know from other gravel events. Well, that and the ever increasing entry fee and lottery for entry, which is another story altogether. So, while I was at the DK this year, I didn't have conversations at near the rate I did at Gravel Worlds. Somehow or another, the size, feel, and nature of Gravel Worlds just works out to bring the best, in my opinion, of experiences for me. Your mileage may vary.......

Well, anyway, we got our registration packets, saw a bunch of folks, had awesome conversations, and then Tony and I went to the Haymarket District for a burger and fries. College is just cranking back up again at the University of Nebraska, so there was no end of activity downtown. While that proved to be entertaining around the supper table, it was less desirable after we tried going to sleep at 9:00am with our motel window overlooking one of the busier streets for partying in the area. Noises persisted most of the evening and into the early morning hours. Tony and I did not sleep the best. But at 4:00am, we both jumped up, threw on some duds, and went to have breakfast which was arranged for the riders of Gravel Worlds who were staying there.

We were both excited to get to the venue where Gravel Worlds starts. I maybe a bit less so than Tony, only because I was very hesitant to believe I was in good enough shape for a 150, much less considering that my legs were still aching from my 24hrs of Cumming effort two weeks prior to this event. I was game to give it a go and to see what might happen. Tony was gunning for a faster finish, so I did not plan on riding with him much, if at all this day. So it was that we were at the start line for Gravel Worlds once again. That story will be picked up tomorrow......

Tomorrow- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Part 2

1 comment:

Robert Ellis said...

Nothing like the 2 am drag racing, followed by police sirens!