Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The Anatomy Of A Gravel Ultra

Since I got started in the gravel riding scene I've been fascinated by what motivates the riders. Ever since the very first Trans Iowa in 2005, I have been curious about seeing what it takes to participate in these events, not to mention the finishing of such events. 

I was anticipating the experience of just being around the ultra-distance legends of the day back in 2005. Mike Curiak, Steve "Doom" Fassibinder, Ira Ryan, the LaLonde brothers in 2006, and several other stalwarts of the 24hr racing scene who came and allowed me to mingle amongst them. I wanted to learn from them, but more than anything else, I just wanted to observe how they went about their business. 

I got to soak in that for fourteen years of Trans Iowas, and as a participant in other events, like Odin's Revenge, Gravel Worlds, and the Dirty Kanza 200. I came to an understanding of the "what it takes" to do these events, and I know a bit about what these events do to a person. But explaining that, well, that's a tall order. 

But recently a man who goes by the name of Bill Jeffery documented his ride at the 2024 Unbound XL, a 350 mile gravel event that happens the same weekend as the Unbound 200. I thought the 37 minute documentary was eye-opening with some very compelling content. 

I think Mr. Jeffrey does a really great job here because he was motivated to share his experience in a very transparent way. He didn't have to put this out into the World. Secondly, this isn't some sponsored content. It isn't done from an influencer's viewpoint to drive clicks to any money-making for him. I think that all is important here because it speaks to an authenticity that is pretty solid. 

Finally, if you ever were curious, like I have been for years, about how a person gets up for one of these events, how that effort unfolds over the course of more than one day, and what can happen to your mind and body while doing an ultra-distance gravel event, then check this documentary out. There is a TON of course views as well, so if you've never experienced the Flint Hills of Kansas, this documentary will bring you all the good stuff to see. 

Anyway, I was impressed by the work of Mr. Jefferey and I recommend this as a good way to see into the workings of one ultra-endurance racer. And maybe you might get what this whole "Spirit of Gravel" thing is really about as well. See the documentary HERE.


MG said...

What an awesome video… He captures the ups and downs of that event so well.

Tony said...

So many things start going through your mind when you're out there riding alone, especially in the dark. I admire him for being able to share his thoughts and experience.
I'm going to ride those roads again someday...