Saturday, October 07, 2023

Adventure Riding Not Racing - Focus For Gravel Kansas

The focus is on routes for riding, not racing.
Several years ago I rode in the DK200, (the "Mud Year") , and afterward I had a bit of a revelation. There was something I felt I was missing, and I figured it out or myself. Since that time I have been less focused on doing races and more focused on riding. Riding for fun. Riding for adventure. Riding to meet new people. As I think about that, this, more than anything else about "Gravel™", was what was most important to me. 

The thing is, I do love riding on gravel roads and dirt roads. That child-like excitement to see what's over that next hill and around that corner, is what drives me to seek out new routes and loops to do. And I'm not the only one that feels this way. The thing is, it isn't easy to choose where to go. Throw a dart at a map? Just search around with no real compass for the "good stuff"? That seems like not such a great plan.

Had something like Gravel Kansas existed in 2016, maybe I could have learned the story behind Chalk District 3.

Seems that, for many folks, you need a map, a guide, a plan of some sort. A story line to follow might make things more interesting. Maybe you'd see and feel things you may have missed easily had you not had the information ahead of time.  Well, at least in Kansas, there is  a resource like this now.  LeLan Dains came up with another idea that combines his love of gravel, adventure, history, and community. It's called "Gravel Kansas", and it is going to be the central source for routes and rides that will allow folks to pry into those nooks and crannies of Kansas that you never knew existed. 

Routes will be curated on the site by region and level of difficulty. Information about each route will illuminate the history and the importance of the area to people of Kansas past and present. (Example here) Riders will be able therefore to appreciate and experience the route in a way that you could not unless you had a guide rich in the local history. More rides will be added as time goes along.

Makes me jealous, it does! We should have something like this in Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois, and all over wherever folks have cool gravel routes to share, discover, and connect with stories. Then you could, say, get a few of your friends together, go to a state, pick a route, delve into it with the guidance from a site like Gravel Kansas, and taste the local scene in a way that couldn't be done, or done easily, without such a resource. 

I raise a toast to Gravel Kansas. It's a capital idea, and one that we all should support and emulate.


Phillip Cowan said...

Gravel Kansas seems like an awesome idea for people like me who like gravel but have zero interest in racing. The weak link seems to be the Ride Spot app. From what I can tell it forces you to use your phone as a navigation device with no way to load a route into a Wahoo or Garmin. I wouldn't want to end up somewhere in the Kansas countryside with a dead battery. I'm not the most tech savy person so maybe I'm missing something. Also reading the App Store reviews this app seems to be a bit glitchy. Some of these routes may be listed by name on RWGPS . I'll look when I have more time.

Guitar Ted said...

@Phillip Cowan - Thanks for that comment. I agree, an idea like this is only as good as the app that supports it. Unless you offer cue sheets. ;>)

LeLan Dains said...

Phillip, good news for you. Routes will be changing over to RWGPS in the next 2-4 weeks. Enjoy!