Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Cleaning, Lubricating Post

If you recall earlier this year I made the call that i needed to be doing more referencing to past posts from the nearly 20 years of backlog here. Otherwise I get to thinking I should write about a topic and then I find out later that I had already done a series or several posts on that subject years ago. 

This time I am going to point you back through the fog of time to posts I have written on cleaning your bicycles and lubricating the chain a well. 

The first post I will reference here is the one I posted in 2019 about how I go about cleaning my own bikes. It was.....controversial. As one commenter stated, "... I think only old bike mechanics (who know how not to create more work for themselves) understand your bike cleaning practices."

Maybe so. But if you want the best results with the least amount of collateral damage, this is the way you should go about cleaning your bicycles. It works well for me and has for many years. Another primer for easy home cleaning of bicycles can be found HERE that I wrote as part of my Beginners On Gravel series.

Secondly, that post raised some questions which I answered in a separate post. This time it was how I clean up a drive train while it is all still on the bike. Chain lube practices are also covered here. back then I was a strong DuMonde Tech lubricant advocate, (still am), but these days I've been using a lot of Silca's Super Secret Lube. You can check that post out HERE

Questions? Suggestions? Hit me up in the comments. If I get feedback I'll do a follow-up post.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Grey Skies, Mushy Roads

From the Black Hawk County Engineers Office Face Book page.
All last week the temperatures hovered between 34° and 38°F with little variance day or night. Add in about 36 hours of rain and the nearly 30" of snow on the ground began to melt at a very rapid rate.

Most curiously, the ground, which wasn't frozen prior to these snows, remained unfrozen, so the snow is essentially sinking into the ground. Usually the scene would be that of a ton of run-off, but that happens only if the moisture cannot be absorbed into the ground. 

This week is forecast to be a little warmer, but fog continues to be an issue and clouds are not going 100% away. Hopefully we get some Sun. It's actually all good since we've had a bad drought for two years. But, it sucks for the gravel roads, which have turned into a mushy, dirty mess. 

In fact, as you can see from my snip from the Black Hawk County Engineers Office a& Secondary Roads Facebook page, heavy traffic is being discouraged at this time. I expect this situation to continue throughout this week until most of the snow is gone and only drifts remain. 

This also will - most likely - probably mean that the roads will be pretty torn up to start the gravel riding season. This hasn't happened for several years. I look for lots of rutting and mud coming through the base of the roads in several places. We won't likely have frost boils, but maybe.... Maybe a few. I don't see that being a big deal this Spring.

Scenes like this from 2017 are expected again this Spring.

Of course, we have no idea if Spring will be wet or dry or what. This will also factor into what we see this year to start out with on the gravel roads. But as I said, rutting and some forms of damage are quite likely no matter what. 

That'll be a big change over the last three or four years. Those were the years where we started out with dry roads and they only got dustier with a ton of fresh gravel being applied. That only served to accumulate gravel. That gravel never got pushed into the base of the roadway to form those familiar "three-track" smoother lines we gravel riders crave around here.That made riding harder and less fun. 

We'll see how it goes, but I don't see myself getting out until this weather gets either warmer, Sunnier, or windier. Maybe it'll take all three things to straighten up the gravel roads.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Rainy Week Maintenance

 Last week it rained every single day at some point. What a "weather-whiplash"! The week before it was all snowy, sub-zero, windy, and white. This past week it was all gloomy, grey, and gloppy. 

Not at all good for riding. However; I held out hope for a few days that the weather people would be wrong. Yeah..... They were right!

So, I retreated to the Lab and thought about what needed to be done down there. I always have at least one or two things I put off for times like these. This time it was maintenance of the fleet.

Plus I had to clean up that Paul hub/Velocity Blunt SS wheel for that single speed project that, as far as I know, is still all on for now. And that wheel was a mess! So much dust! It was so bad that I could not tell which spokes were silver and which ones were black. See, this wheel was built in my personal 'signature style' which is black spokes on one side with silver nipples and silver spokes on the other side with black nipples. 

I also had to clean a season's worth of dust off the Twin Six Standard Rando v2 as I let that bike accumulate dust and dirt to stress the Enduro Bearing stuff as much as possible for that review. It had a fair amount of dust on it to clean off, but not as much as that single speed wheel had. I didn't realize 2022 was so dusty! (Yes.....I hadn't cleaned it after switching the Standard Rando v2 to gears.)

Airing up tires....

.....and trying to figure out how THIS happened!

I was checking out my Pofahl Signature Custom and when I turned the crank it acted really oddly. Then I saw it. Rust! What the......!!! How'd THAT happen? I have the answer, of course. Water or some chemical oxidized the steel, but how did that happen is the question. I don't know, but nothing else on the bike shows any evidence of rust or staining like the chain does. 

Weird. Anyway, I obviously have to change that out. I also had to crack open the free hub body and get at the pawls because they hadn't ever been cleaned and greased in all the time I have had those wheels. That's been....woo! maybe sixteen years now! So way overdue, however long it's been, at any rate. 

These are the BB-7's you want, but they are rare.

First generation Industry 9 free hub, single speed specific.

The maintenance is still ongoing on the fleet. Lots of bikes to get through here! But once I do all that, then Spring can come at any time and I'll be ready. Heck! Even some late Winter, mild weather riding would be good right about now. Although I am speculating that the gravel roads are a big mess right after all of this rain we've had. N.Y. Roll was to have done a longer ride this weekend to check out things South of here. I'll have to find out how that all went. (Update: It didn't go at all. Too much fog!!)

What a weird Winter! With temperatures forecast to be into the upper 40's this week, who knows if Winter will ever get back to town and freeze me out again. Could certainly happen, but not anytime soon, it would appear!

Sunday, January 28, 2024

The GTDRI Stories: The Death Of The Ride

The header for the page marking the ride that never came to be.

 "The GTDRI Stories" is a series telling the history, untold tales, and showing the sights from the run of Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitationals. This series will run on Sundays. Thanks for reading!

The end of 2019 brought a lot of focus on trying to be very frugal and patient with my money. I was out of a job for the first time in 26 years. So, I had forgotten what that was like and experiencing that again was a bit terrifying. I will say "thank you" here again for the gracious gift from a blog reader here that helped tremendously to keep me on my feet throughout that time. Your generosity is not forgotten. (You know who you are!) So, that was an overiding concern during this time which pushed any thoughts of a Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational to the back-burner. 

Then there was the planning for the Iowa Gravel Expo Series, a series of events that N.Y. Roll and I had been doing for a couple of years. This was envisioned to be a way to introduce locals to the opportunities to ride in Iowa based gravel events. Previously we had done these at a local restaurant but this series was to happen in the brew room at a local brewery. Lots of time and effort went into this, so again, it pushed thoughts of the GTDRI back.

But by the time the holidays rolled around I had more time to think about the GTDRI. My experiences doing the "dirt roads" focused ride in Poweshiek County had left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth due to having to arrange support stops. I wanted the ride to go back to relying on convenience store stops for resupply, which would be easier to build a ride around.

Eventually I did ride some of the proposed 2020 GTDRI while doing the 2022 Hall of Fame Ride.

Late in 2019 N.Y. Roll introduced me to the gravel roads Southeast of Waterloo, Iowa, and I was intrigued by what might be down that way. We rode a couple of rides in that general direction with one taking us to LaPorte City. It was enough for me to investigate a ride going along the Cedar River on either side to explore that countryside. 

I also would be able to start the ride from Waterloo, which was my preference back then and now due to the ease of pre-ride sleeping/eating at my own house. So, over the holiday season of 2019, I drew up a course, looked at options, and on January 6th, 2020 I introduced the idea on my blog. 

It was to be a 114 mile course and it was to pass through several small towns and villages. Resupply options were abundant, especially compared to the year before. I was really pretty excited about the possibilities. I had a GPS file readied and I was eager to start recon after the C.O.G. 100 in March. But, as we all know now......that never happened. 

Testing the Salsa Cycles Stormchaser, Spring 2020
The first few months of the pandemic were very strange for all of us, I am sure, but it was also a bit of a blessing as well. Things were quieter, slower, calmer. I had some really introspective rides during a Spring which, for all intents and purposes surrounding cycling, was perfect. 

It was during one of those longer rides, when I was out testing a Salsa Cycles Stormchaser, that I came around to feeling different. Different over-all. I was curious as to why that was, and as I contemplated this, I realized something that was different than any other Spring in recent memory had happened. I had no plans

Everything was being cancelled, or had been, and events were going "virtual", being postponed until 2021, or in rare cases, being held "no-contact". Of course, we had postponed the C.O.G.100, I had written off doing the GTDRI, because there was no reason not to at that time.  I wasn't going anywhere to ride in an event either. I could ride, for no other reason than just to ride, and without event planning hanging over my head. There suddenly was a peace inside of me that I hadn't felt in a long, long time.

That's when I decided enough was enough. I had given back more than most anyone I knew to cycling. I didn't have to do any more. It was time to let it go and enjoy just pedaling a bicycle again. So, that was the day I decided to never have the "invitational" again, or to put on any sort of cycling event again. After 15 plus years of doing that, I retired from event promotions and planning

But I was certainly still going to keep riding a bicycle. 

Next: The last installment of the GTDRI Stories.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Gravel Grinder News: Spotted Horse, Iowa Gravel Classic Changes

 Plus News On Guitar Ted's Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame Vote and A Debut Bike From Salsa Cycles.

News broke on Facebook, January 23rd, that revealed future changes in the Iowa gravel racing calendar. Relentless Events LLC announced that it was turning over the Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra and the Iowa Gravel Classic to Cole and Kelsi Ledbetter, effective immediately. 

Relentless Events LLC stated in the Facebook posting that "Relentless Events LLC will continue to exist, but Iowa Wind and Rock will be the only event we will be promoting at this time."

Relentless Events LLC also had been running the Tour of Central Iowa, formerly known as the 24hrs of Cumming. An announcement was made on that event's Facebook page as well stating,"After much discussion, we have decided that Tour of Central Iowa will cease operations in 2024.

Furthermore; Sarah Cooper, of Relentless Events LLC, announced on the same day that she is stepping away from event promoting saying, "I have had almost a year exactly to wrap my head around stepping away from race directing." Adding that, "I will be at Iowa Wind & Rock in a different capacity this year and for as many years as I am needed and am able."

The Ledbetters also have held their own gravel event, the Redfield Rock & Roll, for several years. That event is scheduled for September 7th, 2024, according to that event's Facebook page. The addition of the Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra and the Iowa Gravel Classic would bring the amount of events under their auspices to three, along with the weekly gravel group rides that Cole Ledbetter promotes. 

Nebraska News: As an aside, it was also announced this past week that the Bohemian StoMil was ending its run of events effective immediately as well. 

Comments: This change is interesting in that we may be seeing the end of an era. The people behind Relentless Events LLC, Sarah Cooper, Dori Jansma, and Steve Fuller are all from the original school of gravel which insists on navigation by cue sheets, self-reliance/support, and smaller, more individually focused event experiences. The Facebook post indicated that "You can expect changes as Cole and Kelsi work to make these events their own." 

What exactly those changes will be are yet to be revealed, but the way the events were run is harder to do and especially with the yearly course changes at the Spotted Horse, it is a daunting task to run an event that way. The event's locations, again, especially with regard to the Spotted Horse, being in South-Central Iowa, make event production a bit tougher from the standpoint of where the Ledbetters live just North of the Des Moines metro. 

In my opinion, I would expect some changes to come for these two events. The loss of the Tour of Central Iowa maybe isn't so sharply felt since we have several more Iowa based gravel events than were around when the 24hrs of Cumming started. And it should be noted that the new events from the Iowa Gravel series, CORE4, and other regional gravel events have been taking away dates, and therefore people from being able to go to some of the older events on the calendar. 

It is also noteworthy that the Relentless team is focusing solely on Iowa Wind and Rock for now. Potentially this event could end up being a kind of "unicorn" in the gravel scene as its format and distance continues to make it very different from anything else out there, with the possible exception of the Spotted Horse, which is shorter in distance, but was a similarly run event. But now the Spotted Horse may be changing up, so IWAR may end as a lone example of the early school of gravel. How Sarah Cooper's stepping back from leading IWAR as a main co-promoter will affect IWAR going forward is something yet to be seen. 

As with anything, there is a beginning and an ending. I'm not saying anything is "ending" per se' here, obviously - these are all "just changes". But that said, if you ever thought you wanted to ride in one of these events, don't waste time wondering if this year or next is a good time. Sooner rather than later there won't be a choice because these events will go away eventually. And as with the Tour of Central Iowa and the Bohemian StoMil, that chance is gone now. 

Class of 2024 Vote Cast:

Well, I got it done! The votes have been cast and we will see what happens soon enough. The next class for the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame is going to be inducted at the end of May in Emporia, Kansas and it looks like I will be there as well.

If you've been reading these pages of late you already have read about the nomination process and how that is under review and probably will see some changes going forward. 'nuff said there....

I only will add that I found it difficult to weight my votes one through five and that after the difficulty of narrowing it down to just five individuals. In my estimation, there were nine that are on the list now that truly deserve recognition. the rest are specious choices, very niche, or really barely notable from a "hall of fame" perspective, in my opinion. 

Then there are names not even on the list. Like Rick Plite who used to be the promoter of Barry Roubaix, one of the largest (in terms of rider numbers) and longest running gravel events in the nation. That's a name that should be on the list! there are others as well. 

But it is an imperfect hall, just like any of them are. The point is, there is a GCHoF and hopefully those stories and history will get preserved for future generations of riders to learn from.

Image courtesy of Salsa Cycles' social media.

Salsa Cycles Teases New (or maybe just updated) Bicycle:

Last week Salsa Cycles began promoting a release of a bicycle at Mid-South. This will happen March 14th, before the race happens that weekend.

It won't be the first time Salsa Cycles has done something like this in partnership with the Mid-south event. The most recent time this has happened would be the 2020 event where Salsa unveiled the single speed Stormchaser model. 

It's hard to imagine that Salsa would release a new bike, especially in the gravel segment. But there are some possibilities which are feasible for refreshes or complete redesigns. For instance, it has been a minute since the Warbird was updated, and seeing how Salsa hasn't been pushing real hard on Warbird models of late, one could maybe see that a refresh is on the way here. 

Another possibility for a redesign/refresh is for the Cutthroat, which has remained essentially unchanged since it was released several years ago. We can count out the Fargo as Salsa already let the cat out of the bag there with a new color for the Fargo Apex 1 recently. We can also probably discount any news on the Stormchaser since that model has seen a couple of tweaks to spec and color over the past few years. 

My money is on a new Cutthroat here. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Friday News And Views

Exploded view of a Classified rear hub (Image courtesy of Classified.)
 Classified/Ridley Announce New Gravel Team:

The upstart hub/wheel company, Classified, from Belgium, has just announced a new professional five person gravel racing team. Contesting mostly UCI and Gravel Earth Series events, this team is an expansion for Classified who sponsored a one-man team for 2023. Furthermore, Classified has announced new wheels that are lighter with wider internal rim widths. 

Comments: The press release states that this is the 'first professional factory team in the gravel scene' and
the company boasts former professional road racer Tom Boonen as an investor and team spokesperson. 

It's obvious that racing on the Professional, UCI, sponsored level is seeing a shift to gravel with the UCI Gravel World Series and now with the rival Gravel Earth Series seeing some attention as well. How successful these sorts of ventures are will determine Pro racing's future. Can a gravel based series and a pavement based series coexist on the highest levels of UCI/Pro cycling? Perhaps we are seeing the beginnings of that question being asked. 

And as far as the hub goes, if you are not familiar, I have covered Classified here on these pages before. But essentially it is a two-speed, electronically shifted rear hub that supports a cassette (proprietary) that does what a 2X system on a normal bike would do without a front derailleur or multiple front chain rings.

From "'s social media on 1/22/24

SRAM Red AXS Images Leaked:

If you were on social media over the past weekend cruising bicycle related content you may have run across images of a supposed new SRAM Red Axs group.  

Images appeared from a Chinese source showing the claimed new 12 speed SRAM follow up to its top of the range electronic Red group. 

Comments: While little is known at the moment it is entirely feasible that this is, indeed, the new group set. It is a group overdue for a refresh and with the big glut of inventory from last year it would make sense that SRAM are holding back until retailers and bicycle brands can push some of that excess inventory out into the marketplace. 

The obvious thing here is that it appears that SRAM is making a play to dump more grams in an attempt to become the lightest group for road racing. Also notable is the lack of any leaked imagery showing a crank set or a front derailleur, if there actually is a front derailleur. It is possible that this was intended to be a 1X group but Pro teams insisted on a 2X option and SRAM had to wait until it could make that happen. (Just spitballing there, but it is a possibility)

This group is interesting, if indeed the images here are a real look at things to come. Personally? I think what I see isn't all that attractive, but that SRAM aesthetic and design language never really has appealed to me either. Not to mention how it works, which while clever in some ways is kind of a turn-off in others for myself. 

The FOCO Fondo Scratch Lottery (Image courtesy of FOCO Fondo YouTube)

FOCO Fondo #fakelottery Promotion:

Throughout "gravel history" there have been swipes taken at Pro road, the UCI, and even other gravel events. When other gravel based events decide to poke some fun at another gravel event, it usually is directed at one event in particular now that takes place in Emporia, Kansas every early June. That being, of course,  the Unbound events. And previously to Unbound it was directed at the DK200. (Note: I hold the two events as being separate. Your mileage may vary)

Early on, when it was the DK200, there were events like "Kantdu Kanza" or "Sterile Iowan". Now it seems that the FOCO Fondo is taking its turn at poking fun at the Unbound's loterry process in its offering of scratch-type lottery tickets to all its registrants for its June 21'st running of its event this year. 

Comments: Clever. I'll give them that much. That said, this event isn't necessarily all that much different in terms of what it costs than Unbound. In fact, it costs exactly the same amount of money per mile ($1.48/mile)for the 118 mile course to enter the FOCO Fondo as it does to get a ticket to ride the 200 at Unbound. Obviously they are different events, but this hits different than the previous instances of smaller, more grassroots swipes at bigger events. You can watch the You Tue video on the lottery tickets here

The new Vamoots 33 (Image courtesy of Moots Cycles)
All-Road Bikes: A New Trend?

Recently I have noted how many companies are starting to make their road bike offerings more 'terrain-friendly' in that they are not bicycles that cannot ride down certain roads. 

It used to be that any road bike was a pretty limited machine due to geometry and tire clearance limitations. Riding a gravel road on 23mm-25mm tires was something you could do, but if you are honest, would you want to? Probably not. Not worth the potential issues and rattling of bones. 

Then "gravel bikes" came along, (Hey! Just ride a cross bike or a touring bike!), and many saw an opportunity to escape the dangerous paved roads filled with distracted drivers who are speeding. The category went nuts compared to what was happening in MTB and traditional road bikes. So, you should not be surprised that those who want to offer a road bike would start to make those road bikes "all-roads" bikes instead of pavement-bound racers. 

The newest Moots road bike, the Vamoots 33, is such a beast. With the capability to accept a 38mm tire, this is truly an "all-roads" capable machine. Reminiscent of road bikes of the mid-20th Century and before which could tackle anything that a vehicle could be driven on. Gravel, bituminous, cement, dirt, or any "road" surface. 

The designers of these bikes often market these bikes by saying that they are versatile, capable bikes that "still can keep up with a club ride", because, you know, we cannot have anyone thinking these are slow bikes. As if going slow or fast depends solely on a bicycle type or design. Pfft! As if going fast as all get out is really all that matters. 

So these bicycles typically stick to skinny-tired, go-fast bike geometry, missing the boat and causing these to not be as stable and, dare I say it- fast - as a bike designed for all-roads. Jumping tire clearances is one piece of the puzzle, but a true "all-roads" bike isn't a racing bike. Racing bike geometry is for pavement racing. 

Thank You!

I just wanted to make sure I thanked all of you readers and friends for the comments on the blog, Facebook posts, messages, and texts regarding my birthday on Tuesday of this week. 

I have been extremely blessed to find myself in the position in Life that I have found myself in. I don't forget that, and I am humbled to have the shout-outs and well wishes. 

The day wasn't anything to write home about, but it was good. We had some light rain and drizzle until around 3:00pm and so I did not go out for a ride in mid-30's temps and wet conditions. But I did get to spend time with my family which is great and more important than a bike ride. Plus Mrs. Guitar Ted got me a turntable to play records on which hasn't happened for me in about 35 years.

That's it for this week! Thank you for reading Guitar Ted Productions!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Time To Vote: A Response From GCHoF

Jason Strobehn is a board member of the GCHoF

 On Wednesday I posted the feelings of frustration and concern regarding the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame election process for new inductees. Off-line I also emailed Jason Strobehn, a board member of the GCHoF, and voiced my concerns. I mentioned the blog post from Tuesday. 

Jason left two extensive comments explaining how the GCHoF works, why it does it that way, and defines some areas where the Board feels they can make things better. 

Instead of having those comments be buried in a place where most of you readers will never see them, I thought aI would make them a post here on the blog. In fairness to the GCHoF, I think it is the least I can do. So following this is the entirety of those two comments from Jason. I'll follow up behind that with a few comments. Here are Jason's words....

Ready For This

The "Orange Crush" as of today.
 The snow came and's going. Fast! We are to have above freezing temperatures everyday for two straight weeks with the end of that spell being in the 40's. This snow won't make it through that. Not for fat biking purposes, at any rate. And where I ride, it isn't good already. 

I erroneously thought we had it made with the first round of snow we got, but the second round wasn't great snow, and with massive drifting, the snow pretty much got broken down into bits. So it doesn't hold together well and it is actually pretty awful for fat biking once the temps get above 10 or so above zero. With all that in mind, I needed to pivot my plans.

There is also something percolating behind the scenes which may- or may not- happen that impacts what I am doing right now. That and the Gents Race in April has made me switch to a mode of thinking that I need to start training now.

I cannot, or more correctly, will not, speak about this 'behind the scenes' thing just yet on the blog. A couple of folks are privy to it, but since things aren't 100% solid and a LOT has to happen to make this chance come true, I feel it is best in everyone's interest to stay put for now concerning that. But be that as it may, IF it happens I need to do what I am doing NOW. 

Besides, now that reviewing stuff is not a pressing need this year, I have time to give to my passion for single speed. I think the first part of 2024 is going to be pretty heavy on the One Gear machines here. That gets me round to the ol' Orange Crush machine, and what I am going to do to kick off the 2024 riding season. 

Snow drifts from last week's storms in Mahaska County. (Image courtesy of KCCI social media)

First off, I wanted to use the Orange Crush because it has fenders and I have an extra wheel set for it that I could set up with some 45NRTH Gravdal studded tires. This might come in handy with what I suspect will be some freeze-thaw icing that will certainly occur with all this snow melting over the next two weeks. 

Secondly, those same fenders and the single speed drive train will be awesome for some January/February country "drift searching", which I hope to do soon. I've heard reports of 15ft - 18ft drifts in Iowa and I haven't seen any "big ones" in several years, so I will be searching for some nice big drifts soon. Probably North of Waterloo, because traditionally that is where I've seen the biggest ones in the past around here. 

Of course, I hope to be getting out as soon as possible, but I will be, and have been, doing urban commuting and riding already. In fact, I cannot wait for this snow to clear out as I have had four crashes in the last week and one a pretty hard knock on pavement. I don't want to continue that trend!

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Time To Vote

 I know all this election year stuff is wearing you down, but this isn't about that. This has to do with the third class of the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame to be inducted in late May of this year in Emporia, Kansas. Since people that were installed into the GCHoF are asked to be electors, I have the ballot and need to vote on the next class before February 5th. 

I received the ballot with all the nominees people selected several weeks ago. I immediately took a look at it and scratched several names straight away. Then I had a "short list" but I needed to weed that out further. 

This is where I got stuck and why I haven't completed the task just yet is what this post is about today. See, I am conflicted

First off, I want to present the "mission statement" for the GCHoF, if I can call it that. Maybe saying this is its raison d'etre is a better way to put it. Anyway....

"The Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame exists to recognize and celebrate those who explore, endure, overcome and inspire in the sport of gravel cycling."

Kinda vague, right? Sounds great, says.......nothing. It doesn't help me choose the new class of inductees, that's for sure. I'm looking for some hard and fast boundaries here. My choices should be based upon some easily understood guidelines. But there is a hint given in the email that the site doesn't have in the opening statements. Here it is; "We're so passionate about preserving the history and stories of the sport that has impacted us all so much."

History and stories. Okay, here's where I am having a problem. Obviously we're inducting people, so is this "people with a history and a story that impacted gravel cyclists and gravel cycling in general? Is this a "popularity contest" where we induct well-known, current names in the gravel scene? And if either things are the case, where do they have to have had this impactful history and story? Regionally? Nationally? World-wide?

A scene from the 2023 induction ceremonies in the Grenada Theater.

I look over the list of nominees and some I know, some I've heard about, and many of them I've no clue as to who they are. The nomination process is a very democratic one, where people can nominate anyone, literally anyone, as long as they've had a whiff of gravel dust on them, it's somehow fair game. 

I get the uneasy feeling that some people just want to see "hall of famer" behind their name and whether or not they really had any influence, impact, or did anything on the larger stage in terms of events, "story-telling", or marketing doesn't seem to matter. 

And that sort of thing just makes for confusion on my end and ends up being a lot of "noise" and clutter that I don't feel we, as electors, should even be exposed to. I get that the noms are to be "by the people", but without any fence posts or filters, you get a lot of distorted views on what makes a 'hall of fame' worthy person. Unfortunately, the whole hall-of-fame deal is one that is going to feel exclusive, discriminatory, and it is going to make some people feel left out. That's the nature of these deals. You gotta draw some clear-cut lines, and some will be outside of them. Right now, the lines, if you can even say there are any, are pretty blurry. 

I also stated last year that the nominations were chaotic in their format, length, and prose. This year's noms were better, but not by a lot. This could easily be cleared up by placing guidelines to nominating people which have to be met, be written in a concise format provided by the GCHoF, and those that are not deemed to be done within guidelines get rejected. Sounds harsh, but anything would be better than the mass chaos we are sent currently to look through. 

Some people, like Joel Dyke, co-founder of the DK200, are obvious choices

While some folks have had great influence that cannot be denied, some are regionally important, and maybe even that could be based on the popularity of the person locally. Did they have any lasting, outside their region influence? We don't often get anything to tell us that, and the nomination process doesn't demand it either. 

Historical impact? Moved the needle nationally? Worldwide? Yes. Then lets make those folk's stories known. I'm good with that. But if the name I'm looking at doesn't resonate with me, you'd better have something better on the nomination than, "I feel that 'so-and-so' deserves to be in the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame. That's great that "you" feel that way, but that's not what the GCHoF should be sending me as an elector to use as criteria for this hall of fame. I mean, just put everyone in and let's move on to something else, right

Anyway..... In my view this thing could easily get off the rails into feting popular characters, regional influencers with dubious ties to gravel history, and whomever the popular gravel personality of the day happens to be. Historical influence and good, influential stories are something else altogether, in my opinion. 

And none of this is getting me any closer to a completed vote, so I better get to gettin' .

Tuesday, January 23, 2024


Well.......I've made it this far. Today is my birthday. No big deal, but it is a "big deal" to some. You decide what it is to you. 

I joke around that once you've reached this point in Life celebrating a birthday for just one day is not sufficient to give thanks for all the things you've dodged, missed by chance, worked through, survived, or came out on the other side of miraculously that should have killed you. Maybe with a week of thanks, that would be enough time to "celebrate" a birthday once you've gotten around to seeing your sixth decade on this rock.

So, I''ll be celebrating my birthday all week folks. 

And maybe I'll go for a ride, maybe not. It is Winter here, after all, and things are pretty sloppy at the moment. We'll see if I can work it out. 

Finally - Thank you all! I appreciate you stopping by the blog after all these years and reading my writin'. I hope that you have an awesome day and get a ride in as well.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Gravel Cycling's Conflicted Soul: Part 2

It's time to bring it back again....

NOTE: Large doses of "my opinion" will be handed out in gloppy dollops today. You've been forewarned.....

A little over a week ago I wrote a "part one" on the subject of riders misbehaving at events and how that has affected events and their organizers negatively. A comment by N.Y Roll left on that post motivated me to dig up a story from 2015. Not that the year is significant. In my opinion, this subject seems to be timeless, but many people choose to look away, or are completely ignorant of the source of the problems. 

N.Y. Roll put it succinctly when he commented "Recurring theme is people are people.

This got me to consider how events end up in these pickles, and yes- the common denominator is people and their behavior. But I think there is something else to it. I mentioned what I thought during our last podcast, but in case you missed that, what I feel is that certain event promoters have some unrealistic visions and beliefs concerning people and their behavior. 

Not that I am faulting anyone specifically here. We're often brought up to believe that "people are - at their core - basically good". That's certainly debatable, but the point is, many people feel this way unconsciously or consciously. It is at the root of a lot of people's actions. The troubling thing that I found out by putting on events was that, often, that maxim about the goodness of people is often not true. 

And let me be perfectly clear - I don't think people are inherently evil either. It is a lot muddier than any "black-or-white" statement can make it out to be. The point here is that, as an event director, you have to prepare for the worst case scenarios and game plan around that. The reality is most event directors don't do that. And it shows. 

Events and large groups tend to bring out the best - and the worst - in us. (Image by Wally Kilburg)

Back to that story I dug up from 2015. It was a story about a bikepacking event called the Oregon Outback. On its maiden run in 2014 it wasn't all that well attended but it garnered a ton of buzz and social media attention. The following year the "race" was attended much more heavily. A few folks decided to do some things that were, in my opinion, pretty outlandish. The result was that the event director shut down the event for good. (You can read the 2015 take on the events surrounding the Oregon Outback HERE.)

The main theme there was the bad behavior of some affected the whole. Why would the event have to be shut down? Why couldn't rules and more education be applied to make riders understand the consequences of bad behavior?  As a former event director myself, I can tell you why that might not work. Enforcement - that's why

How would you effect enforcement of rules and regulations across hundreds of miles of trail? Would you enforce rules and regulations even if you could monitor that amount of terrain? Those two things could be monumental obstacles for any event director or organization to overcome. Especially if the event is a heavily attended, self-supported, and if the roads are remote. And furthermore; you have to have the mentality of a judge and a counselor to be able to effect these kinds of rules and regulations. Not every event director is cut out of such cloth. Diplomacy and stern and resolute decision making qualities are a premium requirement for event directing, in my opinion.  

But at the least, as an event organizer, you should try. Sometimes just the threat of enforcement for a thing is all you need to have communicated. Finding ways to cover your course with "eyeballs" doesn't hurt either, and it can be done effectively.  I managed to do a decent job covering 300+ miles with volunteer efforts and hardly any money backing me up. So - I mean - If I can figure it out......

So yes- people cause issues, but as event directors plan out events, they should be game planning for the worst case scenarios and be thinking about every way a person could cheat in the event and address those concerns. History can advise event RD's what to look for, and - of course - you don't have to "reinvent the wheel". Just ask around if you are struggling. Lots of event directors would be eager to help out with ideas. 

Sunday, January 21, 2024

The GTDRI Stories: Post- 2019 GTDRI Times

From a ride North of Waterloo, October 2019
"The GTDRI Stories" is a series telling the history, untold tales, and showing the sights from the run of Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitationals. This series will run on Sundays. Thanks for reading!

Following the 2019 GTDRI, about two weeks later, I went to Gravel Worlds and flamed out spectacularly due to being not ready and due to my life and how I was living it for the past two years before that. 

See, I was really stressed out. At first it was ending Trans Iowa. That was a very stressful, energy-consuming plan and acting it out was difficult beyond words. On top of that, starting pretty much in the Fall of 2017, I had job concerns mounting, as it became increasingly apparent that Europa Cycle and Ski was in big trouble and was going to go out of business at some near-future date. 

My health and how I was handling it was poor, to be honest, and by the end of 2019 Trans Iowa was gone, Europa was gone, and I was ready to turn over a new leaf both personally and professionally. This all was to be a positive for the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational. I saw myself being not only a better rider, but a better host.

By the time I left Europa in mid-December, 2019, the place was on the skids big time.
Things initially were on the upswing at the same time.

I had high-hopes for the GTDRI. I had high hopes for myself. I was pretty sure I had a job at Andy's Bike Shop lined up. It was a new shop, I knew Andy, and he was very supportive of me doing gravel rides like the GTDRI. I would have full-on shop support for it. 

My main goals, besides securing the new job, were to repent of my past habits in terms of drinking, eating, and exercise. I had already cut way back on the alcohol, and I was taking opportunities to do gravel group rides where possible. I was thinking of doing some other events as well. Andy was totally fine with all of that. 

From a group ride I did in November, 2019.

But, of course, we all know how 2020 went down. That changed everything. While plans were being formulated for a 2020 GTDRI, I wasn't 100% solidified on them as I had the new single speed gravel event coming up for its second year and N.Y. Roll and I were very busy trying to piece that all together. 

Then, on the eve of the second C.O.G. 100, it all went pear-shaped. The roller-coaster ride started and I didn't get off until January 2022. A LOT happened in between. All of it affected the GTDRI to a huge degree and that tale will be told next week.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Not Time To Die


                                                                         John Ingham

In a previous post, I took issue with the opinion that high levels of endurance exercise are inherently harmful. Here, I amplify my critique by noting the various ways aerobic exercise supports health and promotes longevity. There are so many, in fact, that we are led to suppose that our ability to benefit from endurance exercise has been a defining feature of human nature from the very beginning. Some benefits of exercise are metabolic adaptations to stress. Others are effects of exercise activating longevity genes and proteins. And some result from how endurance exercise can encourage connection with people and the out of doors. In all three, it appears that aerobic exercise is signaling organs and tissues throughout the body that it is not yet time to die.


Metabolic disorder underlies chronic diseases, including heart disease, many cancers, and type 2 diabetes. Its markers include high blood pressure, high serum triglycerides, low serum HDL, elevated blood glucose, obesity, and insulin resistance. Lack of exercise and high glycemic diets are principal causes of metabolic disorder. Some effects of exercise on metabolism are mediated through the mitochondria, tiny organelles within cells that turn fat and sugar into chemical energy and regulate reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with aging, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. The longevity benefits of exercise may be related to how it improves mitochondrial function and volume. Intense cardio exercise of HIIT and high volumes of aerobic exercise have different but complementary effects on the mitochondria in slowing aging.1

Cardiovascular Disease. Low cardiorespiratory fitness is a strong risk factor for poor health and earlier death. Improving aerobic fitness improves cardiovascular health in various ways. For example, hearts typically begin to shrink and stiffen after the age of 30. Sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for left ventricular stiffness. Intensive exercise regimes in fifty-year old men restore cardiac flexibility and functionality to that of thirty-year old men.2

Brain Health. Aerobic exercise improves cognition and may delay onset of dementia. It improves blood flow in the brain and thereby preserves arteries and capillaries crucial for oxygenation of brain cells. It also stimulates BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic brain hormone, which repairs neurons and dendrites, and stimulates growth of new neurons for short-term memory.3

Cancers. Aerobic exercise lowers risks for various cancers, in part by preventing obesity. One large-sample study found that exercise reduces the likelihood of dying from established cancers by 25 percent.4

Kidney Health. Exercise may help prevent chronic kidney disease by lowering systolic blood pressure and blood glucose and, at the same time, by lowering the risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It may slow the progression of established chronic kidney disease for the same reasons.5

The Immune System. Many studies have shown that exercise strengthens the immune system and partially restores its youthful functionality. The common view that intense exercise depresses the immune system is questionable. The reduction in peripheral lymphocytes right after exercise, for example, reflects the temporary refocusing of the immune system on protecting internal vital organs at the expense of peripheral tissues.6  

Inflammation is a factor in many chronic conditions. Acute inflammation is part of the adaptive response to exercise, but in the long-term regular aerobic exercise reduces systemic inflammation, in part by reducing inflammatory cytokines from body fat. Exercise also inhibits mitochondrial dysfunction and thus inflammation by stimulating FoxP3 regulated T cells.7 


Telomeres. Strands of genes or chromosomes are capped by protective telomeres. Telomeres shorten and become less protective when genes divide. Longer telomeres reduce mortality risk. High levels of exercise promote longer telomeres.8

Myokines and Exerkines. Myokines are signaling molecules released by muscles. Exerkines are signaling molecules generated by exercising muscles. Some myokines are exerkines. Through myokines and exerkines, the large muscles used in walking, running, and cycling communicate with tissues and organs throughout the body, signaling them to up their game. Some myokines and exerkines regulate longevity.  

The Cisd2 gene is one of most potent longevity genes. Its deficiency in mice accelerates aging and shortens lifespan, while high levels are associated with longer life. It is down regulated with aging, and upregulated with exercise; indeed, this effect is so strong that researchers suspect that the upregulation of Cisd2 by exercise may explain much of why exercise is so beneficial.9

The FoxP3 gene is a transcription gene, essential for making proteins. In its several polymorphisms, it is one of the genes most associated with longevity. It is involved in metabolism, regulation of cell cycles and harmful reactive oxygen species, and the elimination of senescent and dysfunctional cells. Large volumes of endurance exercise over many years are associated with elevated anti-inflammatory markers, maintenance of normal T-cell levels in the immune system, and higher expression of FoxP3.10

The KL gene encodes for the a-klotho protein. In Greek mythology, Clotho was one of three goddesses who wove the fabric of life. An anti-aging protein and exerkine, klotho inhibits disease in various organs, including muscles and the kidneys. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and reduces calcified protein in the heart and kidneys. It is stimulated by exercise.11

Taurine, another anti-aging protein upregulated by exercise, is associated with life-extension in worms, fish, rodents, and primates, and very likely in human beings as well. Food sources include fish, poultry, and meat from cattle and other wild and domesticated animals. Bodily taurine declines with age in all species. Supplementing mice diet with taurine extends life by ten to 24 percent.12  Many studies find that taurine benefits various organs in animal models and human beings alike, suggesting that it promotes longer life in human beings also.

The oxytocin gene encodes a protein that is processed into the hormone oxytocin, the love hormone. Oxytocin increases with love and exercise. It is anti-inflammatory and protects against stroke, neurodegeneration, telomere shortening, and the adverse effects of stressful isolation.13  Oxytocin also protects the heart by reducing inflammation and boosting metabolic and cardiovascular function. It can also help the heart mend itself by encouraging stem cell migration to cardiomyocyte lineages.14  The association of oxytocin with both exercise and love fits with evidence that the self-transcending effects of ultra-endurance exercise and adventure sports resemble love. Indeed, as we shall see, the distance running of early human beings was inextricably bound up with affection and connection in pair bonds, parent-child relations, inter-family relations and, beyond them, an intimate relation with nature.

I have suggested in previous posts that endurance and adventure sports encourage flow, awe, and awakening, transcendental states in which preoccupation with the self is replaced by a strong sense of connection with others and the world. Many of the various traits associated with awakening—e.g., transcendence of the autobiographical self, connection with others and nature, courage, openness, curiosity, happiness, and compassion—have been found to be associated with health and longevity. 15

Movement is a defining feature of animal life. In human evolution, it became especially important. Six to seven million years ago, when long-term drought in Africa reduced forested habitat for anthropoid apes, a group of apes came down out of the trees, broke off from the chimpanzee-like Last Common Ancestor, and began foraging on open ground. To protect themselves from an increased danger of predators in the more open environment and to maximize foraging, these early hominids became more social and cooperative than their chimpanzeelike cousins. Cooperation and sociability included pair bonding, which led to paternal recognition and care of offspring and ramifying kinship bonds between families. By 4.5 million years ago, these early hominids developed bipedal locomotion, which facilitated longer foraging treks and the carrying of babies, plant food, and game. The earliest human-like ancestors or Homo habilis emerged about two million years ago. Their brains were bigger, and they were becoming apex hunters, as evidenced by radioactive isotope traces of meat eating in their bones, stone tools, and butchered remains of large animals around campsites. It seems likely to me that they had begun to run in pursuing game that had been wounded in ambush.

Skeletal remains of Homo erectus indicate that skeletal structure and muscles had been reconfigured for persistence hunting or sustained running by 1.9 million years ago. In combination with loss of body hair and other features of improved thermoregulation, this suggests that “persistence hunting”—running game to exhaustion in the heat of the day—was becoming part of the hunt. 16  The observation that human beings differ from the apes in needing regular strenuous aerobic exercise to remain fully healthy makes this almost certain. 17  In addition to running game to exhaustion and thus making it easier to kill animals, fast walking and running would have been useful in getting to predator kills before other scavengers, and in beating them to animals that had been wounded in ambush. Although some commentators have doubted the validity of the persistence hunting hypothesis, the practice has been observed among modern hunter-gatherers in various parts of the world (use the hyperlink to The Great Dance: A Hunter’s Story below).

At some point, females developed menopause and both males and females began to outlive their reproductive years. Together, long-distance running and menopause eventually opened the door for the emergence of modern human beings about 200,000 years ago. They did this by ensuring the nutrient dense food supply required by offspring with larger, slowly maturing brains and by increasing the familial support or alloparenting available to parents raising bigger brained, highly dependent, slowly developing children. Human beings are the only primates capable of foraging on two limbs over longer distances well after their reproductive years, and they are the only ones who can hunt larger mammals or run long distances in the heat of the African sun. Menopause only occurs in human females and the females of some whales and dolphins. 18   

There is joy in movement (Image courtesy of Pasco County Schools)

The upsurge of feel-good neurochemicals like endorphins, endocannabinoids, dopamine, and oxytocin during running was as much a part of selection for persistence hunting as were modifications of bone, muscle, and thermoregulation. 19   We are wired in such a manner that we not only experience “joy in movement,” as the psychologist Kelly McGonigal puts it, but also transcend the self in states of flow, awe, and awakening; we can feel deeply connected with others and the world, and in transcending self-concern and connecting with people and nature, we can grow in openness, curiosity, courage, and compassion, the very qualities required by an extremely social species engaging in long-distance foraging in a very dangerous environment. Accordingly, aerobic movement was a spiritual experience, intricately connected with the safety of the group and indebtedness to the supernatural. This pattern has been observed by anthropologists in recent hunter-gatherers. Such spirituality could involve mystical identification with game animals, a deep sense of connection with nature, and gratitude to supernatural beings for the beneficence of nature. 20  Among the Kalahari hunter-gatherers, people often danced, sometimes all night, praying to God for rain and game. For the men, tracking and hunting were like “dancing.” They felt like they were becoming one with the animals they were following. Running was part of the hunt. They would run to get to wounded prey before the lions, hyenas, and buzzards. In “chasing hunts” they would run four to five hours in heat without stopping to drive big game to utter exhaustion. They would track while running without stopping. Tracking and dancing, they would say, made them “happy.” The experience almost surely involved flow and self-transcendence. Tracking and dancing, they would also say, “were like talking with God.” The Kalahari Bushmen danced, they said, to show “oneness” (See The Great Dance: A Hunter’s Story [The Great Dance]).

Average life expectancy in the Paleolithic was only 27 to 33 years but this average included high infant and child mortality due to bacterial, viral, and parasite infections. Demographic modeling from fossils and recent hunter-gatherer populations suggests that life expectancy after the age of 15 was comparable to that of modern populations. For those who lived to fifteen years, the average lifespan was about seven decades.21  Significantly, then as now, capacity for aerobic exercise in males and females across the lifespan was part of this extended longevity. Males and females are more equal in endurance activities than in sports requiring large muscles, and both genders are capable of jogging and running (and cycling) into their sixties and beyond (as anyone who has been in a gravel race can testify).

Throughout the mammalian order, large brains, long periods of infant and juvenile development, and longer lifespans tend to occur together. Human evolution took this complex to a new level by adding life after reproduction. Menopause freed females to devote more energy to gathering food for their families, and the longer lifespans and the ability of both men and women to walk and jog long distances allowed grandparents to help with the child raising of their children. These observations have led anthropologists to propose “father,” “mother,” and “grandmother hypotheses” to account for human longevity. By assuring survival of their children and grandchildren, parents and grandparents, according to these hypotheses, were improving their reproductive fitness by staying alive. David Lieberman and his colleagues put these hypotheses together with the “persistence hunting” hypothesis in an “active relagrandparent hypothesis” to explain not only human longevity but also the linkage between exercise and health. As they put it, “selection is unlikely to have favored longevity in unhealthy elderly individuals who were physically inactive because they would have been unable to forage, thus imposing energetic cost on caregiving relatives.” 22  Lieberman and colleagues, in short, realized that exercise must have been a signal to the body that it should keep living.

By the Upper Paleolithic, foraging technology was increasingly sophisticated. Indeed, it required the same brain power now required by literature, poetry, music, higher math, and physics.23 

Learning habits of animals; the food and medicinal properties of plants; how to track; how to hunt with weapons, nets and traps; how to fish; knowing what was edible and what was not; where to find plant foods and how to prepare them; and how to make and repair weapons took, how to defend oneself and others against dangerous predators and how to cooperate with fellow hunters and gatherers required intelligence and took many years.

In my version of the active grandparent hypothesis, grandparents increased their reproductive fitness by foraging for their grandchildren and by passing on their skills and wisdom. In other words, exercise in foraging and care for loved ones signaled to the body that it could still contribute to reproductive fitness, that it was not yet time to die. Accordingly, studies have shown that loving and being loved along with exercise are among the most potent factors affecting health and longevity in human beings. 24 

I have ventured that no other species comes close to the cooperation and mutual bonding we see in human beings. This may be true enough of primates and other terrestrial mammals, but it is hardly fair to oceanic mammals. Whales, dolphins, and porpoises are stunningly consistent with our emended version of the active grandparent hypothesis.

Killer whales (orcas), short-finned pilot whales, belugas, narwhals, and to a lesser extent some dolphins also have long lives and live for many years after females have stopped reproducing. In addition, they are very much like us in being capable of ultra-distance movement, in having large brains, and being extremely social and affectionate. The brains of cetaceans contain specialized neurons that facilitate recognition, communication, problem-solving, memory, perception, and comprehension. Their emotional brains are larger than those of human beings, which suggests that they have unusual social intelligence, which is obvious enough just from their behavior. And they fashion and use tools despite not having hands and prehensile grips: they variously make waves that can knock seals off ice; intentionally stir up bubbles or mud to confuse prey fish; carry little fish in shells in their mouths; or protect their snouts with sea sponges. Whales and dolphins are self-aware and recognize others as individuals. They tutor their calves and juveniles during the long years of their development, and like humans they engage in “alloparenting,” that is, the caring of the young by other relatives in addition to parents. They cooperate in pod defense against predators, and they communicate with complex vocalizations in dialects that vary from one pod to another. Like human beings, they play throughout their lives. I once watched from a sea-side cliff as several dolphins were surfing off a Southern California beach. Were they experiencing the same delight that human surfers experience, the same sense of self-transcendence and oneness with the waves?

Whales and dolphins do not fight among themselves. When one pod of killer whales encounters another in a hunting ground, they avoid conflict with vocalization. Orcas are arguably friendlier to human beings than we have been to them. If we could speak their language, if we could know them personally, if we could swim long distances with them, would we want to commit them to solitary confinement for years on end or pollute their habitat with sonar, plastic, and toxic chemicals, or decimate their food sources?   

Among ancestral humans, long-distance foraging and care for younger generations signaled the body that it was too early to die, that there was still work to be done in provisioning and teaching children and grandchildren. All of us descend from those African ancestors. We are wired mentally and emotionally the way they were. Riding gravel, like other endurance and adventure sports, can rekindle the exercise physiology and transformative, self-transcending brain states of ancient foraging and communality. Accordingly, riding and racing gravel will probably lengthen our lives.

We are not living in the Pleistocene, however. We are in the Anthropocene, a time when human beings are adversely impacting the earth and its biosphere as never before. As the existential danger increases, the survival of our grandchildren depends less on what we do for them and more on what we are doing to ensure the livability of the planet for all children. As pastimes go, riding and racing gravel are a step in the right direction. They have a low carbon footprint and leave no trace. And I would like to believe that they can support the caring connections with others and nature that can counteract the environmentally destructive me-first preoccupations with wealth and consumption, and the mind-numbing virtual realities that are obscuring what is happening. Even so, bicycles by themselves will not prevent the impending catastrophe. If we truly care about the grandchildren, our cycling will have to become part of a life in which we once again move lightly, thoughtfully, and reverently on the earth.     


1 J. R. Huertas, R. A. Casuo, P. Hernansanz Agustin, et al. Stay fit, stay young: Mitochondria in movement: The role of exercise in the new mitochondrial paradigm. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity (2019):
2 E. J. Howden, S. Sarma, J. S. Lawley, et al. Reversing the cardiac effects of sedentary aging in middle age—a randomized controlled trial. Circulation (2018) 137: 1549-1560.

3 B. Cheval, L. Darrous, K. W. Choi, et al. Genetic insights into the causal relationship between physical acitivity and cognitive functioning. Scientific Reports (2023) 13. https//
4 J. A. Lavery, P. C. Boutros, J. M. Scott, et al. Pan-cancer analysis of post-diagnosis exercise and mortality. Journal of Clinical Oncology (2923) 41:4982-4992.
5 H. Arazi, M. Mohabbat, P. Saidie, et al. Effects of different types of exercise on kidney diseases. Sports (Basel)
(2022) 10: 42.
6 J. P. Campbell and J. E. Turner. Debunking the myth of exercise-induced immune suppression: Redefining the impact of exercise on immunological health across the lifespan. Frontiers in Immunology (2018) April 16. Doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00648.

7 K. Langston, Y. Sun, B. Ryback, et al. Regulatory T cells shield muscle mitochondria from interferon-y-mediated damage to promote the beneficial effects of exercise. Science Immunology (2023)8: doi:10.1126/scienceimmunol.adi3577.

8 M. Sellami, N. Bragazzi, M. Shaib Prince, et al. Regular, intense exercise training as a healthy aging lifestyle strategy: Preventing DNA damage, telomere shortening and adverse DNA methylation changes over a lifetime. Frontiers in Genetics (2021) 12: 652497.

9 Z-Q. Shen, Y-L. Huang, Y-C. Teng, et al. CISD2 maintains cellular homeostasis. BBA – Molecular Cell Research (2021):

10 L. G. Minuzzi, L. Rama, N. C. Bishop, et al. Lifelong training improves anti-inflammatory environment and maintains the number of T cells in masters athletes. European Journal of Applied Physiology (2017) 117: 1131-1140.

11 H. de Luca Correa, A. Temizio Oppelt Raab, T. Marra Araujo, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrating Klotho as an emerging exerkine. Scientific Reports, Nature Portfolio (2022) 12: 17587.

12 P. Singh, K. Collapalli, S. Mangiola, et al. Taurine as a driver of aging. Science (June 2023) 380, eabn9257.

13 T. Benameur, M. A. Panaro, and C. Porro. The antiaging role of oxytocin. Neural Regeneration Research (2021) 12: 2413-2414.

14 M. Jankowski, T. l. Broderick, and J. Gutkowska. The role of oxytocin in cardiovascular protection. Frontiers in Psychology (2020) 11: doi.1033389/fpsyg.2020.02139.

15. E. Seppala. The greatest and most overlooked secret to longevity. Psychology Today, posted April 29, 2013; N. A. Turiano, A. Spiro III, and D. K. Mroczek. Openness to experience and mortality in men: Analysis of trait and facets. Journal of Aging Health (2012) 24: 654-672; Y. Masui, Y. Gondo, H. Inagaki, and N. Hirose. Do personality characteristics predict longevity? Findings from the Tokyo

16. D. R. Carrier, The energetic paradox of human running and human evolution. Current Anthropology (1984) 25; 483-95; D. E. Lieberman. Human locomotion and heat loss: An evolutionary perspective. Comprehensive Physiology (2015) 5: 99-117; L. Liebenberg. Persistence hunting by modern hunter-gathers. Current Anthropology (206) 47: 1017-1025; M. Horo, H. Pontzer, M. Struska, et al. Comparing walking and running in persistence hunting. Journal of Human Evolution 172: https://doi.1016/j.jhevol.2022.103247.

17 H. Pontzer. Humans evolved to exercise: Unlike our ape cousins, humans require high levels of physical activity to be healthy. Scientific American (2019) January 1: doi: 10.1038/scientificamerican0119-22.

18 Humans and some certaceans are the only creatures who go through menopause in the wild. Some mammals outlive their reproductive years in captivity, however.

19 D. A. Raichlen. Wired to run: Exercise-induced endocannabinoid signaling in humans and cursorial mammals with implications for the ‘runner’s high. Journal of Experimental Biology (2012) 15: doi: 10.1242/jeb.063677.

20 R. Sands and L. R. Sands. Running deep: Speculations on the evolution of running and spirituality in the genus Homo. Journal for The Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture (2010) 3: 552-557; D. E. Lieberman, M. Mahaffey, S. Cubesare Quimare, et al. Running in Tarahuma (Raramuri) culture: Persistence hunting, footracing, dancing, and the fallacy of the athletic savage. Current Anthropology (2020) 61: 356-379; C. N. Forbes. The Primal Metaphysics of Becoming-Animal During the Chasing Hunt in the Kalahari Desert. 2020. California Institute of Integral Studies ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

21 M. Gurven and H. Kaplan. Longevity among hunter-gatherers: A cross-cultural examination. Population andDevelopment Review (2007) 33: 321-365.

22 D. E. Lieberman, T. M. Kistner, D. Richard, et al. The active grandparent hypothesis: Physical activity and the evolution of extended healthspans and lifespans. PNAS (2021) 118: e2107621118.

23 Drawing on his work with Kalahari hunter-gatherers, Louis Liebenberg has argued that the origins of modern math and science can be found in the computational power required for persistence hunting and tracking: The Origin of Science: The Evolutionary Roots of Scientific Reasoning and its Implications for Tracking Science(CyberTracker, 2021).

24 A. J. Horn, C. S. Carter. Love and longevity: A social dependency hypothesis. Comprehensive
Psychoneruoendocrinology (2021): 100088.


About the Author "John Ingham is 83 now and still riding, despite getting longer in the tooth. He is a retired--one might say, reformed--anthropology professor. He did research in a rural village in the central highlands of Mexico, and specialized in thinking about the interrelation of personality and culture, with passing interest in medical and biological anthropology. 

John has been drawn to adventure since he was a boy in Southern California. as a teenager, among other things, he did spearfishing trips to the gulf of Mexico and scrambled on local rocks. He has enjoyed running, skiing, wilderness canoeing, backpacking, cycling, and especially rock climbing and mountaineering. He gave up climbing eight years ago when his hands became too arthritic and took up gravel riding instead. Being way up there and way out there are about as good as it gets for him

He is married to Mary Grove. They have a son and daughter and three grandchildren, with a fourth, "little bro," on the way, ETA just after Christmas."