- finish the ride
- average 10 mph
- have fun
Here's my RiotGRRRaveL Race Rundown:
First off, I finished the race! That is an accomplishment in itself because a couple of weeks ago I was about to give up on riding gravel. My longest gravel ride ever was only 16 miles long and my longest ride of the year so far was a road ride of 27 miles. I know 30 gravel miles is nothing to a lot of riders but it was a lot for me. And who is comparing anyway? I mean, who cares of someone else thinks 30 miles is easy? This was my race, not anyone else's race so what someone else can do just doesn't matter. I rode my race and I finished. I am happy!
|Here's Lisa and I about to ride over the RiotGRRRaveL finish line (and the RiotGRRRaveL photographer, Kate)|
|Here we are having FUN along the RiotGRRRaveL race route|
Other things that contributed to the FUN factor of RiotGRRRaveL (yep, this gets kinda long but read on if you feel so moved)
FIRST OFF - Ellie, the person who came up with this RiotGRRRaveL race in the first place. I'm so grateful that Ellie decided to create "a fun, accessible ride that is woman & family friendly." When I saw the race announcement, I think it was on the Salsa Cycles Facebook page, I was SO excited! I'd wanted to do a gravel race but have been totally intimidated by the typical 100 mile ride length. I had been wishing for a ride just like RiotGRRRaveL and am just thrilled that Ellie forged ahead and made the ride happen. When I saw the info on RiotGRRRaveL I signed up immediately because I knew this ride would be perfect for me. And it was.
My family (husband, Owen, and kids, Rose and Ryan) acted as our cheering section along the route. They cheered as we took off from the start line, stopped at a couple of places to cheer for us enroute and were at the finish line to cheer for us and congratulate us when we finished - and they cheered for the other rides on the race, too. Also, Rose washed my bike the night before the race and Owen gave it a once over to make sure it was ready to go. In short, Owen, Rose and Ryan were wonderful and supportive. Thank you! Thank you!
Good weather - Mostly sunny. No rain. Not too hot. Pretty much perfect.
A Fine Race Route - the original race route had to be changed because of flooding. Though we missed out on a more challenging route, I was okay with the change as the new route was somewhat flatter than the original and the gravel was consistently nicer with very few loose gravel spots. In short, it was not too intimidating but still enough of a challenge to be, well, a challenge.
|Kris, Myrna and Lisa before the RiotGRRRaveL race|
Cool Bikes - I like bikes and couldn't help but check out all the bikes on the ride. There was a Vaya just like mine, probably 20 fat bikes, lots of bikes from Salsa, Surly and All-City Cycles and all sorts of other cool bikes. There was also a tandem (the tandem riders came in 8th place) and the cool cargo bike.
Prizes and like that - Banjo Brothers, Twin Six and Erik's Bikes contributed cool prizes to the race (Lisa won a t-shirt from Twin Six and a phone wallet from Banjo Brothers). There were lots of prizes! I know Freewheel Bike hosted a few seminars on gravel riding and flat tire fixing as well. There were cool t-shirts and water bottles with the RiotGRRRaveL logo on them as well. I'm probably missing something or someone...
Kate the Awesome Photographer - at several spots along the route Kate the photographer would be alongside the road with her camera. Kate not only took great pictures (check them out at her Flickr page) but it was such a treat to see someone along the route who would smile and wave at us. Plus I felt sort of famous getting my picture taken a lot.
|Another great picture by Kate Lockhart of a bunch of RiotGRRRaveL riders|
Awesome Volunteers - The RiotGRRRaveL race could not have happened without many great volunteers. There were people to sign us in, mark our times as we crossed the finish line, ride the route before the race and re-route the route the night before the race. There were volunteers like Max (who I know from playing in the Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra and from LEGO League) who helped along the route and passed out snacks, and ride organizer, Ellie's, family (husband, Tony and daughters Cedar & Zelia) who, I'm sure, lived and breathed RiotGRRRavel these past few months. Our ride start and end was at Hope Lutheran Church and church members stepped up with snacks before and after the race and let us use the bathrooms - yay!
So that's it - RiotGRRRaveL 2014 is a wrap. It sounds like Ellie and crew may offer the ride again next year. If so, I'm looking forward to doing it again!
Thanks again, Ellie, for RiotGRRRaveL. You are fabulous!
Thanks again, Lisa, for pedaling every mile of the ride with me and for keeping me smiling :-)
|Riding on down the RiotGRRRaveL road. Photo ©Kate Lockhart|