Amusement: If Yoda were a Gravel Cyclist – by K-Dogg

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  • “You must unlearn what you have learned.” (Negative road racing attitude.)
  • “Do or do not. There is no try.” (Commit to riding tubeless 38mm+ wide tires.)
  • “May the force be with you.” (May the spooge be with you.) Spooge = tubeless sealant. We love Orange Seal!
  • “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” (One flat, one mechanical won’t ruin your ride. Keep going.)
  • “Named must your fear be before banishing it you can.” (Tricky descents. There, I said it.) K-Dogg sucks at descending.

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  • “Mud hole? Slimy? My home this is.” (Enough said.)
  • “When 900 years old you reach, look as good you will not, hmmm?” (Did I mention I’m in my 60’s?)
  • “Much to learn you still have my old Padawan… this is just the beginning.” (Again, tricky descents plus staying ahead of Dr. Pain in sugar sand.)
  • “The boy you trained, gone he is. Consumed by Darth Vader.” ( Avoid criteriums at least if you return to road racing.)
  • “Not victory, Obi – Wan. The shroud of the dark side has fallen.” (USA Cycling appears interested in gravel cycling now!)

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17 comments on “Amusement: If Yoda were a Gravel Cyclist – by K-Dogg

  1. I couldn’t agree more about wider tires and going tubeless. Orange Seal is indeed awesome stuff! I rode past many riders fiddling with tubes during this weekend’s muddy and gritty Mountain State Dirty Double out of Rowlesburg, WV. I just don’t understand their refusal to go tubeless. It makes no sense!

    Mark
    Richmond, VA

    1. Mark, I am blown away that K-Dogg has finally gone the way of tubeless tyres!

      How was the Mountain State Dirty Double? JR Petsko is a fab promoter, we love Hillybilly Roubaix!

  2. Don’t get me wrong……I still hate dealing with all the little messy details of tubeless…
    when you DO flat you have a mess on your hands throwing in an inner tube and hoping
    you can reseat the tire without leaving a lump. You also have to change your spooge
    out every few weeks…..and what the hell do you do with the little warty voodoo dolls
    rolling around in there?

    But they do end pinch flats. No doubt!

    If someone would just come up with pinch-less tubes so much better all things would be.

    1. I think YMMV when it comes to tubeless. Went tubeless at the same time you did. So far, nothing but a positive experience. I used a tubeless ready rim and tubeless ready tire. No leaks, burps, boogers or flats. Holds air just as good as a tubed tire. Was using a different brand tire with a latex tube before this. The tubeless ride is so much better. Absolutly no more tubes for me!

      Best of luck to you and the GC crew at DK200.

  3. I specifically skipped a gravel event in Lawrence, KS since they were registered and insured though USAC. Promoters should strongly consider not involving USAC in their gravel and dirt rides/races!

  4. Interesting Ken…..
    We’ll have to keep an eye on this trend. Not good.
    Gravel Cyclist has had some communication with officials
    as USAC. They were polite but just didn’t get it.
    How do you change a culture? You vote with your feet.
    (Your pedals?)

  5. I love it!! Good ideas wrapped up with Star Wars humor…all good ideas except possibly for USAC getting interested in gravel cycling. I can see the good and the bad of this…most gravel races appear to be grass roots community events that have a soul and a vibe to them that make them alluring and fun to everyone. Yes they are competitive and draw pros and amateurs alike…will USAC take all that is good and turn it evil? Hmm…opinions?

  6. I just started gravel grinding and have never “raced” before, if you call my snail crawl race worthy. What is all this about USAC and what is it? I am doing my first races this year, have never done them before. Can a 62 y/o newbie ride in USAC races?

    1. Hi Marcus, thank you for writing in! USAC is USA Cycling, which is the national governing body for the sport of competitive cycling in the United States. In the past, this non-profit organization has affiliated itself with road, mountain bike (sometimes) and track cycling. Gravel racing is making a huge impact in cycling – whether there is a correlation, the numbers of people joining USAC as license holders has dropped off considerably the past few years. Consequently, USAC has taken an interest in the gravel racing scene. They are offering promoters of such events insurance for their riders and racers. There are two categories of insurance on offer with USAC; competitive with cash prizes and non-competitive with no prizes. The fees related to this insurance are typically rolled into the entry fee for the event. Additionally, USAC are not looking to regulate gravel events.

      Let it be known that promoters are under no obligation to use USAC for insurance or otherwise – but there is a lot of resistance within the gravel scene against USAC.

      Regardless of people’s opinions on the matter, for a USAC sanctioned gravel event, you do not require a license – anyone can ride at a USAC sanctioned event.

      I hope my lengthy prose provides the answer you were looking for.

      JOM

    2. I am a 51 year old that races in Cat 5 road races when they come along…I am not close to being competitive in a lot of events but I learn and grow more after ever race. I have made quite a few friends and have a local group to ride with. Go racing and have fun!!

  7. I prefer Gravel over Road racing because:
    Virtually no vehicle traffic on these dirt backroads and trails so it’s much safer.
    Less selfish behavior. The challenging terrain is your main competition and doesn’t
    encourage wheel sucking or negative racing.
    I have never seen a “field sprint” in a gravel race. The mountains, mud, sand or stream crossing thins the pack very quickly and keeps it that way.
    Nobody crashes you. It is up to you to do that all by yourself.
    There are much fewer rules. No yearly dues, no cranky officials. No yellow lines-you can move up at anytime since you are probably alone.
    There is usually free beer and a hand shake from the promoter at race’s end.
    Everybody leaves happy and non-argumentative because you had so much fun from start to finish.

    1. Cheers to JOMs nice explanation of USAC involvement in Gravel, and, K DOGGs choice of gravel over road.

  8. Road Wars:-
    My experience is that road cycling is dominated with officials who have an insatiable lust to take any “FUN” out of cycling. Having been on the wrong side of the “old boys’ club” numerous times, I seemed to be fined at races for offences everyone else was committing.

    Officialdom STRIKES BACK?
    I’m lucky here in OZ, gravel events are still low key and grass roots. I hope you guys in the US, band together and resist the USAC’s “dark side” insidious attempts to rule all types of cycling

    Return of the FUN?
    Q1: How do you reconize a road cyclist after a race/ride?
    A1: They’re the ones with the sad, angry and aggressively hungry look!

    Q2: How do you reconize a gravel cyclist after a race/ride?
    A2: They’re the ones with the HUGE smile!

    1. You nailed it Steve! My first few gravel races I put on my roadie race face expecting
      the same negative vibes. To my amazement everyone was friendly, open
      and helpful before, during and after the race. How often do you see roadies enjoying the company of fellow racers while actually racing?
      K-Dogg

      1. K Dogg,

        I’m hearin’ yah,

        I raced what you would call Cat 1 in Masters and Cat 2 with the young dudes and rarely saw a happy face, myself included. You know that hungry, starved look….must train like a pro….must race like I’m trying to qualify for the Olympics….etc etc ad nauseam.

        I am convinced that, particularly in road cycling, there is a high level of autism/aspergers, which would explain many of the weirdly obsessive traits and very unfriendly anti social behaviours displayed before, during and after races and EVEN training!

        Gravel and MTB, I’ve found, are fun. Even the officials are very helpful and friendly at the few MTB races I’ve done….in fact, they LOL when I told them I fell off in the mud on the first lap, but quickly asked “Are you OK?”

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