This article speaks to me. I totally agree, and I think it captures so much of how I feel around the difference between events like Unbound, and events like what Big River Gravel and the folks who organize Snaggy are doing. Some of it I think comes down to why the organizers are putting in the effort. I can’t believe that folks that are doing Unbound and the folks that are doing 1904, are doing it for the same reasons. Maybe that’s bias because I know Luke (BRG), I’ve race with him (he always wins ;)), and I’ve talked with him and Dan (SR) about what they’re doing and what they are trying to do, both at the sharp end and, more importantly, at the other side – and everywhere in between. There’s room to celebrate the whole spectrum of riders who come out to these events. Getting out there is winning.
I feel that at the local events. I feel it during the race. I feel it after when we all gather around, take a piss, drink some beer (or whatever, no pressure, seriously Brian you can stop now). I haven’t been to enough of the MEGA events to say that it doesn’t exist there. I did Gravel Worlds last year, and it was cool, but it didn’t feel the same. It was great to do it, but I’m not sure I would do it again. After the clear, obvious, hostility displayed by the folks at Unbound this year, I will never do that.
So, where is the Spirit of Gravel? It’s right here, on the gravel path. It’s at the event with less than 200 riders. It’s three miles from a paved road or highway and one mile from a rundown convenience store in a town with a population of 585. It’s in the eyes of other riders who ride with you for a short while or those who stick with you for the whole ride. We spend our time looking at big-name events for direction, to learn “who is who,” and to see what new innovations will be changing the face of gravel cycling in the future.