However; please understand the following: I am not PROMOTING THESE EVENTS! I am amplifying them. In other words, I am acting here, (quoting the Dictionary.com meaning) " to make larger, greater, or stronger; enlarge; extend." these events bandwidth in terms of their message. That's it. That's all I am doing here.
So, if the site goes dark, the dates change, if you cannot get a hold of the race director, or if there are issues on your side with attendance, etc, I AM NOT THE PERSON YOU SHOULD CONTACT. I will not reply to such queries. I am merely informing you of the existence of an event. Period.
So, today I have three events, Iowa and Minnesota based ones, and these came from my trolling of social media. I'm not going to "amplify" everything I find on social media, only events I think look interesting to me. So, again- this only works well if readers and riders engage. If this is going to rely on myself finding events to "amplify", it won't be nearly as effective. especially so as I start to use social media less as time goes on. So, now you know! On with the amplification.....
Location: Northfield Central Park Northfield, MN 55057
Date: May 20th 2023 (Long, 380 mile option starts earlier, see event site for details)
Why It's Cool: The Heywood Ride is the direct evolution of the venerable, early gravel scene event , The Almanzo. When Almanzo founder and Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame member Chris Skogen moved the Almanzo 100 and satellite events to Northfield Minnesota, he eventually asked that the name be changed. The inheritors of the event, Marty Larson and Ben Witt of Northfield, Minnesota, now run the ride as "The Heywood".
So, essentially this is a relocated, rebranded Almanzo, sort of. You'll have to check it out to see what I mean. Low cost to enter and there is assistance for those in need to be able to join in the fun. I know these folks that put this on and I highly recommend the event.
Caveat: Almost none, but May in Southeastern Minnesota can bring variable weather, so be prepared for wind, rain, excessive humidity, heat, or maybe even a late frost in the morning!
Location: Houston, Minnesota
Date: September 23rd, 2023
Why It's Cool: This is one I came across that is being held in an area I toured through by bicycle in 1994. It is a beautiful part of the Driftless Area. The website claims the routes, (three choices of 40,60, or 100 miles) is "mostly gravel with a touch of pavement", so if that holds true, this will have steep climbs and high-speed descents which will keep you on your toes. This event is in a similar area to the Spring event, the Ragnorok, so if you are familiar with that route, you'll understand what I mean.
Caveat: Those aforementioned climbs and descents. If you question your ability to conquer high speed loose gravel, or if you don't like really steep roads, this won't be for you. Also, the website isn't updated as of this posting, so I don't know what the costs are for this, but judging from the tone there, I feel like this should be a good time for not a ton of cash.
Location: Waukee, Iowa
Date: May 6th, 2023
Why It's Cool: This, to my knowledge, is a brand new event in an area known for awesome gravel riding. Essentially, this is a route that takes you over the Hogback Covered Bridge in Madison County, Iowa. The route is 70 miles and uses some of the same roads used in Trans Iowa v13. (Note: Not to be confused with the "Hogback Divide" which is a gravel event in Virginia.)
Caveat: It's a brand new event, so I cannot vouch for how it will be run. Again- big hills mean lots of climbing and speedy descents. The weather could be all over the place too, which will dictate the difficulty level of this event to a great degree. Be prepared!
That's a wrap for this edition of "Gravel Amplifier". Got an event you think needs amplification? Hit me up in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org
One that I did for the first time this past May and absolutely loved is the Bear 100 out of Laona, Wisconsin. Still midwest-ish, but in the Wisconsin northwoods so a very different experience than I'm used to in most midwestern type gravel rides. It's pretty inexpensive and all proceeds go to Laona Rescue to support their EMS. I did the 100, but they also have shorter distances, and the 30 was a great intro for a friend that went with me that is pretty new to gravel riding. I suppose it's kind of "mid-sized" with a 500 rider cap, which they met for the 2022 version at least. http://thebear100.com/
@Ben - Thanks! I'll check it out, although I do remember that one being on the old calendar I used to curate, so the name is familiar to me. I think that event has been around a while. Cool! Thanks again!
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