Life Time events, the same outfit that runs Leadville, Lutzen, and the Dirty Kanza 200, announced on Tuesday that they were unvieling the "sister event" to the Dirty Kanza 200, dubbed the "Big Sugar NWA Gravel". Life Time hosted several influencers and media folks on a short pre-ride of the event which should have its inaugural running October 24th, 2020. Citing a lack of an "iconic gravel event" in Northwest Arkansas, Life Time said that they would be bringing such an event to this region. The distance was set at a very saleable 107 miles, and much is being made about the elevation gain which is said to be something around 9000ft.
Registration is not open yet, but the price for the 100 + mile event is $140.00 and the half distance is $85 bucks. Registration opens November 15th. The field limit is set at 750 riders.
The article posted to "Bicycling" about the Big Sugar NWA Gravel had something interesting about the DK200 and Life Time events intentions in the future. Apparently the limit on riders in the DK200 is going to be increased. The article states that for all DK events the rider count will increase to 3,800 individuals. 1600 will be allowed into the 200 while the field limit for the ultra-distance DKXL is set at 150 for the 2020 versions of these events.
Furthermore; it was reported in that article that Life Time events means to add at least four more gravel events under its control within "the next few years".
Comments: Once again, I have to wince at the marketing language here. When you haven't even had one "Big Sugar" yet, how can it even be said you are adding an "iconic event" to the gravel repertoire? The event's directors have pedigree, and that is maybe where the marketing should have focused, but some of the the web pages for this event and some of the press release language is a bit over the top for something that has never happened yet.
The really interesting bit, to my mind, was the price for admission, (more than a buck a mile), and that according to the language on the site, which looks very familiar to what I see on the DK200 site, a lottery process to choose riders seems imminent. Certainly, by the way I read the articles about the B.S.N.W.A.G, it feels that they expect to sell through the 750 spots quickly. Time will tell. A Fall event competes with college football, school, and many other activities that are not issues with a Summer event like the DK200.
How about that roster expansion for the DK200? Talk about having trouble getting a room, or getting around Emporia that weekend. This will really test the mettle of the area's residents. I had been told several years ago, when the DK reached its current roster limit, that there was "no way" they could ask to have more folks there during the week of the event. Life Time moves in and hey! I guess there is room to grow. No other explanation has been put forth as to how this will be accommodated........yet.
Finally, how about Life Time wanting six gravel events under their umbrella? That speaks volumes about what this genre' of cycling has become. USAC has to be steaming about missing this boat. Road cycling isn't going to ever be the same again, and Life Time's ambitious plans are a good example of this. (Ironically, on Tuesday the Tour of California was cancelled for 2020. Not that these two things are related, but.....) I've always said I really had no idea how big this sector of cycling would become, and I bet no one would have guessed it would have come to this ten years ago. More thoughts on this in another post soon. Stay tuned.....
|First snow of the 2019/20 season|
The snow came Tuesday and lasted till about noon when the temperatures got up high enough to melt the stuff where the Sun could get at it. Of course, we got dusted again Thursday too. Is this Winter going to kick in early and be a long, drawn out affair?
The questions stand and we won't know until Winter gets going in a solid way around here. I just know that I sure could use a little more time, a reprieve from Winter's icy grip, at least through November. There is a lot of gravel testing/review stuff I would like to put to bed before we get shut out of riding on the gravel roads till Spring.
Of course, we could get reprieves throughout the Winter months. You just never know. But you cannot count on good windows of opportunities to fall when you have the time to actually ride. Or the health. Spring, Summer, and Fall, well you can about bank on it being nice enough to ride when you can and when you are ready to.
Anyway, barring gravel travel, I have the fat bikes ready. I got a new Muckey-Nutz front "flap" style fender which should pair up well with my front Mud Shovel. I will be switching out the bottle cages for a frame bag soon too. The Blackborrow DS has been sitting idle since last Winter, but I cleaned it up before I stored it and it should be ready to roll at a moment's notice. I still have the Snow Dog as well. (The 2011 Salsa Cycles Mukluk) That bike is pretty much in reserve these days. That said, it could be pressed into service at any time I need to use it.
So, while I am not really into Winter coming soon, I am ready for it, and switching to that mode shouldn't be that big of a deal. Bring it on! Or not..........
|My most popular Inktober drawing.|
Now that October is gone I have to wait another whole year for "Inktober". "What is that?", you say? Well, it is an artistic exercise where you get a prompt list. It's words- one for each day- and then you sketch an image for each word in ink, of course. Well, I was asked by my daughter in 2018 to join her in this activity. I ended up really enjoying it, and so her and I were planning on this again for this October.
We took it a step further and decided that we each would post our daily images on Facebook and on Instagram. We had an informal "comparison" of reactions to our stuff, which led to a bit of fun for the both of us. Anyway, I was having a lot of fun, especially on the day that "tread" was the word prompt. I drew the image you see here, and out of all 31 images, this one was by far the most popular based upon social media reaction.
But that wasn't all. I drew an image one day for "misfit" that someone liked so much they actually bought it from me! I was shocked by that, to be honest, and it was nice to know that someone thought that much of a little sketch I did.
Anyway, I thought it was interesting too that "tread" and "ride", two word prompts I did in a bicycling theme, were the top two reaction getters for 2019. I guess most of the folks I know, or I should say, that know who I am, are into bicycles. That's a good thing.
Okay, that's a wrap for this week. get out and ride if you can. Winter is creeping in!