|Before CVAST, before Ingawanis Woodland- There was the Turkey Burn!|
Then there was a bunch of reporting on the Trans Iowa v6 recon which was occurring at that time. This was going to be the very first one out of Grinnell. Little did I know then that I would be going back there to recon for gravel events to this day. (Not Trans Iowa! That's over, but the C.O.G.100)
But with the news that came out this week about Life Time Events debuting a new, fancy gravel event at 100 miles for $140.00 a pop, I thought what I said ten years ago about some news in the gravel world of the time was relevant to today. Here's the bit I am talking about:
"Well, you knew it had to happen sooner or later! Yes, some of the "under the radar" classics are banding together into a series. Mostly located in Minnesota, the Almanzo Gravel Road Series "Race For The Cup" consists of The Almanzo 100, The Ragnorok 105, "The Gentleman's Ride", The Heck Of The North, and the lone Iowa event, CIRREM.
Of course, there has been talk of creating a "Gravel Triple Crown" series for several years now, even before a Nebraska based event existed. Now that the GLGA is up and running, the talk of the "Gravel Triple Crown" has resurfaced with Trans Iowa and Dirty Kanza 200 filling out the limestone triumvirate. Of course, it is all just talk right now, but if what I am hearing actually happens? Yeah.......... Crazy stuff!!! And throw into that mix that the GLGA is going to be the "Official Gravel World Championships" , well, things could get "big". And well........I have some reservations about that.
I'll keep it brief and just say that these developments most likely signal a slippery slope downwards. You see it all the time with stuff like this. You can call me pessimistic, crazy, and downright wrong if you want to. I say, let's revisit this in five years and see. I am not saying this is all doomed, just doomed to change, and I wonder if it'll be for the better. I'm not feeling all that great about it sitting here today. That's all I'll say."
While none of the above from ten years ago is about the monetization of gravel events for the support of individual's lifestyles, it was a bit concerning in that the whole "freedom to shape events" seemed to be going away. The trappings of "events" that many in the scene at the time were going to gravel events to avoid was creeping in. Series of events, rules governing series, more serious levels of competition, race venue trappings like finish lines, trophies, prizes, and the like. It was a bit of "growing pains" that was the issue, I think.
As I said then, and the same applies now- "Gravel riding and the events connected to that are not doomed, but they are doomed to change". Even more than before. Will we see things get better? Or......is this the beginning of the end?
Ask me again in five years........