Podcast: A conversation with Juan De La Roca and the concept of a gravel destination – and Tom Boss of the Marin County Bike Coalition

Our partner in podcasting, The Gravel Ride Podcast, had a conversation with Tom Boss from the Marin County Bike Coalition announcing the Adventure Revival Event in September and Juan De La Roca talking about the concept of a gravel destination.

You can also find The Gravel Ride on iTunes and Spotify.

Adventure Revival EventMarin County Bicycle CoalitionExplore Las Animas

Automatic Transcription (please excuse all errors)

TOM BOSS — Marin County Bicycle Coalition:

All right. Tom, welcome to the show.

Yeah, thanks for having me, Craig.

Yeah, I always like to start off, Tom by learning a little bit more about your background as a cyclist and how you came to gravel riding.

Sure. Um, well at first let me start by saying, um, it’s a real pleasure to be on your show. Um, I, yeah, I am generally an early adapter. Uh, when it comes to bikes. I was one of the first in my group together, a full suspension bike first to get a single speed first to go 29 or um, but I was a little late on the gravel, the gravel scene and um, I, I jumped on board, uh, at the end of last year, started to really get interested and I actually discovered your podcast serendipitously about the same time, listen to a lot of your older, I’m your archives and, and it was really nice. It was kind of a roadmap for me as I, as I jumped into gravel and I’m learning quite a bit. So just wanting to give you a shout out and thank you for, for the work you’re doing.

Thank you. I appreciate the kind words.

Okay.

Yeah. So I grew up here in Moran and, uh, I was bombing down with my friends, uh, on Mount Tam on a 20 inch BMX bike. Um, when Gary and Joe and Otis, we’re inventing mountain biking. We’re a few years younger and so, uh, those bikes were too big for us. But, um, I’ve been pretty much riding Mount Tam on a, on some form of a bicycle since, uh, since the 70s. And I’m really lucked out in finding a job at the Greene County Bicycle Coalition, uh, heading up the off road program. Uh, I get to basically promote and, uh, expand bicycling here in Marin, uh, for myself and for everybody else who, who cherishes this, uh, this wonderful place that we live in and visit and enjoy. So

it sounds like an ideal job. You certainly, yeah. I consider a Marin county to be an ideal location to be an off road rider.

Yeah, we have, uh, as we point out in our, uh, uh, and many of our correspondence, we have 50% of marines land is open as Parkland open to the public, whether it’s Mount Tam or China camp. We’ve got national parks, the CV shore, and lots of open space. And so it really, uh, provides almost, you know, almost everybody that lives in Moran is a few miles away from, you know, amazing trails and, uh, and beautiful scenery. And, uh, so yeah, it’s just, it’s part of our, uh, it’s part of the quality of life here in Ryan for sure.

From your perspective at the Marin county bicycle coalition, when did you start seeing the influence of gravel athletes start take over the trails in Marin?

That’s a, that’s a good question. So we, seven, eight years ago we started another bike ride, the, um, or a bike ride, the MCPC dirt fondant, which is primarily a mountain bike ride from the Marin headlands to the top of Mount Tam and back. And, um, right from the start, um, you know, we get a few emails, hey, is this route, you know, are these trails singlespeed friendly or are these trails, uh, uh, cross bike friendly? So, um, so there’s, I think the cross in particular, there’s a lot of people coming out to our mountain bike events, riding cross bikes and uh, so you could see, um, you know, first you scratched your head, this doesn’t make much sense, but then you saw the bikes, you know, get the, some of the wider spacing so they can put bigger tires. And then we saw from that kind of this, this evolution of gravel. And uh, so yeah, just seems like every, every year we have more and more people showing up on different styles of bikes. And last year on the dirt Fondo, you know, I’d say a third of the people where we’re not on mountain bikes Ranita or gravel or across or, or a single speed bike. So,

yeah, I, for one, have found that some of the trails in southern Marin, they’re just more exciting on the gravel bike because they’re not, they weren’t pushing the limits of mountain bike technology. Once you had a full suspension bike, you were really kind of overprepared for the headlines, if you will. When you’re riding on a lot of fire road trails, all of a sudden you get on a drop bar bike and you know, descending a fire fast fire road in the headlands, uh, could give you a thrill again.

Okay.

Yeah, it really does. You know, without the suspension and what those skinny or tires you have to pay a little more attention and pick your lines again. I used to, you know, focus on lines and in the last 10 years I, with these, you know, big tires and full suspension bikes, uh, you just, I just kind of point and shoot and uh, and, and the gravel has really kind of, I rediscovered a lot of my favorite trails, um, kind of either remembering how it used to be or discovering a whole new, uh, way of traversing them.

Yeah, that’s the exact same journey I’ve been on. Just things that I had written for the last 15, 20 years. All of a sudden felt, knew I’d always loved them and had an affinity for them, but now they’re pushing my skills technically and made them new again.

Yeah, it’s real fun. For sure.

I caught wind of this year’s upcoming dirt Fondo, which is why I reached out to you originally and I was super excited when the team at Studio Vella mentioned that you hadn’t announced it yet, but you guys had a big gravel event planned up your sleeve. So can you introduce that event Tom, and we’ll start talking a little bit about it.

Yeah, so glinted La. It was actually kind of born a little bit out of, out of, from the dirt Fondo we had, um, Erie Oswald and Vanessa, his wife had been coming out to our dirt Fondo for, for years and a few years ago, um, Erie offered, he said, if you guys ever want to do and Gramble event, let me know, I’d be happy to help you plan one. And, uh, so this year we decided to take them up on the offer and we had a meeting with him and we learned that the nor cal league was also wanting to do and gravel events here in Marine County. And so, uh, it was just a no brainer that, hey, we should just join forces and work together and make one really great day on gravel here in Marin.

So what’s it called? What’s the date and what can we expect?

So it’s called the adventure revival. And we did a lot of thinking about the name. We talked about calling it a gravel, this or that, and uh, but what we are, what we realized in, in thinking about the name and, and developing this ride that Moran has a little bit of a, uh, a history in, in this, in this style of writing. And it is a matter of fact that the guys that started mountain biking, uh, Joe Breeze and Carrie Fisher, notice guy and Tom Richey, uh, back in the 70s, these guys were actually, they started basically on the road and they discovered they found some early cyclocross tires and started taking those bikes on some of the fire roads back in the 70s. And then from there it really evolved, uh, into Ma, you know, then they found the fat tire bikes and, and, and, and started mountain biking.

But, um, so, but there’s been kind of a history of gravel or, or adventure cycling, uh, more skinny tire drop were bar writing here in Moran for, for a long time. And in the, in the, in the northern California in general. Um, so we decided that we think of it more as adventure cycling. And so we call it the adventure revival to kind of a little tip of the hat to some of those early rides on Belinas Ridge, uh, and also Tom Richey and, uh, Yost brands. We’re doing rides down on the Santa Cruz about the Santa Cruz, uh, up in the mountains above Santa Cruz, uh, back in the 70s. So the adventure revival is the name of our ride. It is on Saturday, September 7th, and it will be a journey, uh, from Fairfax, uh, out into the fire roads, trails and roads of last Moran, uh, before coming back to a big party in downtown Fairfax.

That’s really exciting. I’m super excited about that. And it also, it’s, there’s a, there’s a nice synergy between the dirt Fondo, which kind of predominantly is around the headlands and this side of Tam to starting something over in Fairfax. It’s sort of the far end of my normal riding range. I’m really excited to explore with you guys that part of Marin. So are we starting in downtown Fairfax and where do we go from there?

Yeah, we’ll be starting at the Fairfax pavilion, which is right, right downtown and we’ll be heading west on, uh, Sir Francis Drake for a bit and then we’ll be going into the marine county open space. Lands will be riding, uh, up on two. Um, Sandra on my red and, uh, two of the routes. We’ll take people on to some of the new trails and the Giacomini open space preserve, which are really grapple, friendly and beautiful. You know, you’re immersed in redwood forest. Um, and then, uh, then our, our journey, I’ll continue west out towards point raise, uh, along Bolinas Ridge. Uh, one route we’ll go down the Lima valley trail, which a lot of people don’t know about is a, a beautiful trail in the and the point Reyes national seashore. A lot of, uh, interesting, uh, geography happening down there. And then we’ll all join back up and, uh, come back, uh, on the Bolinas Fairfax road, uh, into town or we’ll have a nice barbecue and festivities waiting for the writers.

No, as soon as it is it a mixture of, of double track fire roads and single track throughout the day.

Yeah, it’s a pretty even mix. There’s a single, you know, we start a little bit on the road, get some single track, uh, up up into the White Hill area, go past the Tamar Rancho trail system. Uh, then we’re on fire road for awhile. Then like I mentioned, there’s that new, some new trails down in the jockey mini preserve that we’ll check out. Uh, we’re on the Cross Maroon trail through the Samuel P. Taylor park up jewel trail, which is a really nice, uh, trail a lot of people don’t check out. And then you’re, then you’re on that Bolinas Ridge where it’s, it reminds me of the sound of music, those rolling green hills and the cows and the smallest band, the background, really a stunning, um, visually, uh, place to be riding. Um, then then a little bit of road down highway one to get to the five Brook’s area and uh, and then on the Lima valley trail. So yeah, really it’s, it’s, I’d say it’s a good mix of road, a fire road end and trail.

That’s great. And that sounds like a fun mix. Terrain adventure. Did you also mentioned to me that you were able to get access to some pieces of property that are otherwise untouchable by riders? Yeah,

we’re working on that. This is our first year and we’re going to keep it all on public lands. But yes, but we’re, we’ve, we’ve started some conversations with some of the ranchers out in West Marin and we’re hopeful that in future years we’ll be able to, uh, to provide some routes that will be a pretty special, uh, places, one in a once in a lifetime chance to check out some of the beautiful land. It’s not part of the park system.

Nice. And are all the trails that are publicly available, are they available year round to cyclists who want to explore out there? Okay.

Yeah. So all of these trails that will be on our, uh, you can go out and check them out on your own. Yeah. Four. Well, at least, yeah. 365 days a year.

And it sounds like, let’s talk in everybody’s favorite subjects, tires, wheels. Um, it sounds like with a mixed terrain route, we may not need something super aggressive as a tire.

Yeah. There’s there, there’s enough, there’s enough trail that would have roots and rocks and, uh, depending on the conditions, you know, might be a little slippery that I think, I think you’re going to want to have a medium to two big tire, um, just to do avoid, you know, pinch flats or, or sidewall punctures. There’s Bolinas Ridge has some, some, uh, big routes that you might hit. And, um, yeah, I know on the road, you know, there, there’s, there’s a, there are some roads sections, so, uh, but, but yeah, I would, I would recommend, you know, a 30, a 38 to 45 millimeter tire, uh, for this ride.

Okay. And Are you characterizing it as more of a sort of grand Fonda ride or is as they’re racing element to this event?

This is more, it’s more fondo style where we’re, it’s a social event. The, uh, the land managers Samarin don’t, uh, embrace bike racing. Uh, so this is not a race. This is a ride. Um, but yeah, it’s, it’s, uh, personally I think travel is a very conductive of more, you know, it’s a very social activity. People, uh, you know, can go at whatever pace they like. Um, they’ll certainly be some climbs, like a tool and up brand, all that people might want to, you know, test their, their abilities on. Um, but in the most, for the most part, we’re really promoting a very fun event. Have Fun Day, we’ll have a lot of, uh, a lot of, uh, good, uh, support out on the station or out on the route with, with some really fun activities like we have. But there’s this one very rocky section at the top of a white hill fire road where if you, there’s gonna be people out there from, uh, one of our sponsors touched on climbing. If you make that section without dabbing, they’re going to, they’re going to give you a little prize for the effort. So we have a lot of little things like that plan to make it a fun, fun day for everybody.

Nice. And I think you mentioned there was a couple of different distances, is that right?

Yeah, we have three routes. Uh, we have, uh, what we call the spicy route, which is the big one. It’s 48 miles was 6,000 feet of climbing. Uh, we have the medium route, which is 42 miles with 5,000 feet of climbing. And then for people new to a gravel riding, uh, we still have a punchy 23 miles of 2,500 feet of climate.

And on the, on the, uh, 23 mile route, is that something that is suitable for beginners in terms of the type of terrain

it is, it is suitable, but there, there’s still, like I said, that one section I’d mentioned that rocky section at the, um, at the top of the wave hill fire road. Um, you know, you may have to walk that if you’re, if you’re new to this sport, but in general, uh, that route would be pretty beginner friendly. Yes.

Great. And I just have a general question about putting on an event in Marin county. Is it pretty complicated with the various public land holders to kind of organize a re a ride like this?

It is, uh, Craig, we, one of the challenges we have is unlike, you know, places like Lake Tahoe where maybe only have one or two land managers of the National Forest Service or, um, that’s who usually is the land manager. Here we have four different entities and you never know whose land are crossing. So this ride we’re having to permit, um, from we’re permitting through open space, marine county open space. We’re from writing from state parks or permitting from MWD the watershed, uh, and also the national parks. So that’s all for land managers were having to get, uh, to work with to get the permitting for this, uh, event. And uh, they’re all very supportive and uh, encourage bike, uh, bicycling in their parks. Um, but yeah, it does, uh, it is a little harder than it is in some places where maybe you’re only dealing with one permit and, and the whole ride isn’t one on one person’s land.

Yeah. I think that’s what’s great about having them Marin county bicycle coalition involved because you have the integrity and longevity of the organization to bring to bear that these land owners can trust you, that you’ve got their best interests in mind

for sure. And we also give back, for example, this part of the, um, one of the things we offered with the permitting for the national park was that we would commit one day of volunteer work on a trail of their choice either before or after the ride. And, uh, and we also have our, our slow and say hello message that we give to all the writers who really remind them that when they’re on our, I bet when they’re participating in one to borrow against their ambassadors and bicycling and they really need to, uh, be models of a good, um, trail user and you know, be very courteous and obviously obey all the rules.

Yeah. Well, I think that’s an important note in a important reminder just for everybody listening to support your local bicycle coalitions because they do a lot of work behind the scenes and it’s great when you get to come in front of the scenes and create awesome new events for us to enjoy. Um, Tom, I appreciate you coming on the show and telling us about the event. I’m really excited to myself and explore that part of Marin. We will put information about registration up on the podcast notes, um, and we’ll get this out as soon as possible, but if you’re listening to this registrations already open for this event, there is a cap this year on the number of athletes that the event can hold. So definitely click the link quickly if you haven’t already get your slot because Tom and his team are putting on an amazing event that I think is going to be around for a long time. So Tom, thanks for thanks again for joining us.

Yeah, well thank you for having me and I look forward to riding with you in September.

Juan De La Roca — Gravel Destinations

Juan, welcome to the show.

Thank you Greg, really appreciate being here with you this afternoon.

So this is a little bit more of a, it’s an interesting segment for us at the gravel ride podcasts. Cause one actually reached out over email with a simple question like many of you do and but it was what makes a gravel destination and are there gravel destinations out there in the world? And it struck a chord with me because I certainly in my life have had places I thought were mountain bike destinations like Moab or crested Butte or whistler up in Canada. And I’ve certainly had rode destinations like borders on in France at the base of Alp do as we’re Tuscany in Italy or May. Orca. And all these things resonated with me. But when he asked the question I just had no idea. Like what is a legitimate gravel destination? So one, thank you for bringing that question up and I’d love to have a discussion with you because you live in a place where you think has the fundamental building blocks to become a gravel destination.

Yeah, absolutely. So I, I’m a little bit about my background. So I’ve been in Colorado now for 25 years within the Denver Boulder area, uh, left Denver in 2015. And, uh, actually thought I was going to be done living in Colorado was in that phase where everybody was kind of moving here. We saw a big jump of population and, and uh, we started to kind of pick my, I pick my head up and looked around and said, hey, maybe there might be another place. But, um, I ended up in Austin, Texas down in central Texas, which was actually a great learning lesson because in a lot of ways, you know, often experience with Denver has been experiencing over the last several years with an influx of population pushing people out more into rural areas. So while spending some time riding my bike in central Texas, I a within town outside of Boston called Fredericksburg.

And it got me kind of thinking about, you know, what would this kind of look like in Colorado as things start to, you know, take shape and form. And, uh, ended up coming through the town of Trinidad, which is three hours south of Denver, three hours north of Albuquerque. So it’s essentially right between the two of them, uh, right on the [inaudible] a corridor and it’s an interesting area of the state in that it was sort of the undiscovered forgotten, made fun of unheard of place to go spend time, uh, area of the state. And as I started to look around, I thought to myself, this might be a place that it’s going to keep them some growth and activity moving forward as a state car to becomes more popular. And when I first got here, you know, I’m more of a mountain biker. I knew that the, the mountain biking was not going to be super strong because of just the history of the area, a lot of private property, but also too, there’s just wasn’t a much of a cycling culture.

But even a little bit of time that I’ve been able to spend here over the last two and a half years, I’ve been pleasantly surprised about the wealth of opportunities and areas to explore, especially on a bicycle. And a couple of years ago I had been doing some consulting work with the local parks and rec department and this idea of developing a product around gravel sites and really kind of jumped out at me just to kind of also take another step back. I, I come out of the advertising industry, consumer research insights trends. I’m really adept at looking at things that are happening and kind of understanding where things are gonna sort of go from there. And um, so I applied those, does that skillset to developing some cycling opportunities in this region. And, and uh, so recently in this, uh, beginning of this year in 2019, working with the Colorado tourism office with able to be in a position to create a second tourism and campaign for this region, specifically focused on the gravel category.

And had you started riding gravel bikes herself at that point?

You know, I, you know, I say yes because it’s, it’s funny, right? Cause the cycling industry, it’s always been really good at coming up with new categories and products that, you know, say no, this is like the thing that you want to have or this is the direction you want to go sort of thing. So I feel like raffles and we’ve kind of been there, but at the same time it’s never really had this sort of focus of a genre or a segment of cycling, um, like it has in the last several years. So I mean beyond my, my mouth, I can have a Tory by, uh, cyclecross bike and was, you know, just definitely somebody who likes to explore and in was open to, you know, just going out and riding dirt roads. So it was happening. It was sort of natural. But when I started to see, you know, that gravel was really starting to pick up speed and speed, uh, it was starting to get a lot of popularity and following, then that’s when I started saying to myself, you know why? Like this is more than just something that you kind of just do because you just want to have fun and explore. It’s actually becoming something a little more serious.

That’s interesting that you took your sort of professional background, your ability to analyze trends and started to see like, hey, the type of terrain which maybe isn’t super technical or accessible as a pure mountain biker in Trinidad combined with this trend of drop bar off road activity happening in the bike industry came together to create an opportunity that you might not otherwise have pursued.

Yeah, no, it is it interesting in Trinidad

because going back to the mountain biking piece, um, so it turned out it’s an interesting place. It’s, it’s going on or a lot of transition right now. It’s a rural town. You said a population of 10,000. It’s the largest campus in the largest county in Colorado with a total of 15,000 people all together. Uh, so it really has a lot of open space and little crowd. So the cycling community is fairly small here to begin with. I and the mountain biking, it’s going to take some time. We, we’ve actually had some really cool things happen here in the recent months. Uh, the state of Colorado, along with the city of Trinidad, the Nature Conservancy and the trust republic land. It’s actually just purchased a 19,000 plus Acre ranch, three miles south of the town. It actually borders the, yeah, so we’re really close to the New Mexico border and the border actually goes through the property itself.

And so that’s something that’s going to happen over the next several years, but it’s just going to take a lot of work and resources because you know, building trail is a pretty labor intensive sort of scenario. However, uh, there is also a lot of dirt roads already existing on this property, so it’s actually going to be something that’s going to fold into the overall offering that the county has. Um, the interesting thing is this here is that we have 1500 miles of county road. Uh, when I looked at that number, I thought to myself, I’m like, you know, I know that that’s not unique necessarily, but that I feel like that’s pretty distinct. And that’s a way of kind of talking about why you could be a destination. Because the reality is, is if there’s going of your Rick graveled like destination and has to be in a world sort of setting because it, you know, the urban is constantly under the pressure of development.

Rose are being lost, can you subdivisions that are being brought in. And so this idea that, you know, the southeastern portion of the state could possibly become a destination to ride a gravel bike because of the fact of its rural setting and it’s dirt roads you can’t really appealing. And it was really great because at the same time it was infrastructure was already in place. You know, going back to the mountain biking, you know? Right. It costs money to build trust. You’ve got to get grants, you’ve got to get, you know, a local buying from your government and all these things that go along with it. But, uh, with gravel, it’s really about using existing resources already in place. And, and southeast Colorado is a place where, I mean, it’s remote, it’s got back country. Uh, it’s got the history, you’ve got scenery, has got culture.

It’s got a very dynamic sort of, um, things on the plate and give it some substance and worthy of a meal for, for a cyclist, I get to say, right? Yeah. When I got your email and we had a couple of back and forth, I started thinking about, well what are the things in my mind that made a great cycling destination? And I came up with three things and I, the first one was the obvious, which is great writing, but information about the writing. So the available easy availability of roots. The second thing was a cycling, ambiance and a cycling infrastructure, right? I want to, I want to be able to go to a bike shop and get equipment that I need. I want there to be a vibe in town around cycling, even if it’s subtle. And the third thing we’re events and the reason why I listed events is cause I’ve, I felt like having events in the community gave people a taste of it and then would make them want to come back. So I’m curious as you, your vision for building out this community and this destination around Trinidad, of those three building blocks, where are you at with each of them? And do you agree with that at all?

No, I think you’re absolutely right and, uh, in all of this because, uh, you know, we, we’ve seen it already happened with the mountain bike destination in the road bike destination and each of those stages is found there. Um, I think for me right now with Trinidad where I see it, I think three of those four already, uh, very strongly in place. The fourth is going to take a little bit more of a, um, bit of time. But I think what’s interesting is going, cause, you know, you talk about information, you, the availability of information is so fast now. We are such a digitally forward a society that, uh, whereas you know, 15, even 15, 20 years ago, it took a little bit of time. You know, maybe you read it in a magazine or there was a war, you know, word of mouth has been around forever, but there wasn’t this sort of critical mass sort of way of like finding information.

You’re learning about new things. So, um, going back to the Colorado Tourism Office, uh, initiatives that we started at the start of the year. So the campaign is called explore last time dimensions, that dirt series. And, um, I was able to, to create a website, explore Las animas.com and then also start to populate it with content and, um, go out and, uh, get content that we’ll be able to speak to people who may entice people to come here. So that would be through photography and video. Uh, right now I am working on film portions of this so that there isn’t any films necessarily yet, but we’ve definitely gotten about three months worth of photography. Content is being pushed out through Instagram and the Facebook and your social media channels and giving people information, um, about where to go. And, and, and that’s something I, I, uh, I really took the time to, to, to look at and figure out how I could, you know, best articulate what the writing opportunities look like and where you could go. And so, uh, I, I essentially created 26 different routes. They vary in length. He, there’s a section, there would be 25 or less miles and then there’s a 40 year last and then a 50 to 75, 75 plus 100 plus. And in the end I ended up with 16 over 1600 miles worth of routes and they’re all now on ride with gps, Strava as well as ride spot that people for bikes.

Yeah. Well I thought that was awesome. I put a big check mark versus, uh, around information available with your project because the site is great. The, the roots are divided amongst different lengths and there’s great information. So if you were to land in that area, you, you know, you have more miles than you can do in a week easily.

Yeah, exactly. You know what, it’s funny too because I noticed that a little bit overwhelmed because so many people know little about Trinidad in general. It’s, it’s super interesting. The printed ad was probably one of the first, uh, communities, families in the state of Colorado. I believe it was 1862. Uh, it was where the Santa Fe trail came through. So we have, uh, uh, you know, this idea of traffic coming through here and then the railroad came through. And then of course the interstate though though we have this like traveler mentality, but it also had a lack of people over, especially over the last 15 years, who would actually get off the highway and look at what was here. And I think that that’s what’s the beauty of bicycles and how popular they are and, and, uh, how appealing they are to people. Just say it pushes people into places that they didn’t think they would go into.

So, you know, the, the mindset from the, from the Gecko was this was all about discovery and exploring. And so could I added that is where the great writing comes out of, right? Because the people who, you know, go down that road, they tend to have experiences and those experiences become great memories and those great memories become the things that they talk about with other people. So, uh, that’s why I think for great writing pieces that we have that it’s just a lot of people don’t know about it necessarily. But with that information, we’re really going to highlight that and, and, uh, give people a chance to get out and experience it for themselves. And then lastly, you were dot. You were talking about events do it. I think, um, we’ve been fortunate in that there actually has been an event that’s been going on here for about five years now.

It’s called the Pony Express one 16. Uh, this year we actually had them, the largest field that takes place in mid May. Uh, it was started by a gentleman named Phyllis for, uh, Schweitzer, who he runs a copy off to be saddles. And then, uh, the interesting thing with him was that he was a longtime competitor in the Lego 100 as well as the Berkey Byner, uh, a cross country ski race here in Minnesota for a number of years. She’s done a ton of events and he came down here on his own in 2012 and started scoping out the area and realize that he could, uh, create a, uh, a course that would be, you know, really in line with what was happening with gravel. So he’s actually got a hundred mile force. It’s about seven miles outside, starts an n seven miles outside of town. And uh, just last, uh, the last one, we had some really great feedback from people because it was for many of them who was their first time.

So I think you’re really are spot on with the events because the events are what introduce people to an area. Is there anything, you know, sometimes it’s just a, you know, a friendly note from a friend and be like, Hey, let’s go to this place. Let’s go check this out. You know, I’ve never there, but let’s just go see what it’s all about. And you know, they come and then all of a sudden it kind of spirals from there because they start talking to other people and then we go back to the social media police peace and critical mass starts to accumulate.

Yeah. Then I think that the hardest piece to kind of get to come together in a small rural community is that kind of cycling on Beyonce and infrastructure, but that, I think it comes with opportunity. Right? You know, you look at the stories around Emporia, Kansas who had dirty Kanza and how, you know, it’s clear that in the bars in the, obviously in the bike shops, but the cafes, they’ve just started to embrace the fact that cycling is a big part of the identity of that community and it’s developed this kind of world worldwide reputation for being a cycling hub. And I, and I think you know, business owners are not going to get there by themselves unless they happen to be a cyclist. But the sheer opportunity of meeting your customers where they’re at, I think is where a rural community like Trinidad may see an opportunity and you’ll start to see some of those cycling elements and fused in cafes and bars and different elements.

Yeah, absolutely. I need at this point, I, it feels like cycling general are essentially a key ingredient in the blueprint of the economic development, revitalization of town. You know, I, I, you know, it takes to start seeing bike lanes, you start seeing signage, you start seeing people on bikes and it really starts to dovetail into this activity that happens in a community that is both positive and economically beneficial. And so, uh, you know, right now the state of Colorado in general is, is very much focused on addressing the urban rural divide. And, uh, the cycling pieces is a big piece of it because it, it brings something fresh. It brings, you know, like I say, activity in a way where it inspires people to either get out on a bicycle or maybe start a business and, and, and cater to those people. So yeah, it’s going to be interesting.

We do have one bike shop in town’s been here for a really long time. It’s called ultimate sports, uh, in nutrition. And um, you know, they’re, they’re the only shop here but this is definitely a tower you could virtually see, you know, several bike shops. I mean you can go to a little town like saliva, which is three hours, two and a half, three hours away from us. Uh, definitely more known for it’s mountain biking, but you know, that’s account or it’s smaller than Trinidad, 6,000, but they have a seven bike shops. You know, that’s pretty impressive. Yeah.

Well this is really interesting discussion. One I, I really truly appreciate you reaching out to me and kind of putting it in my mind cause I do think it’s very interesting for our listeners to think about and for the listeners out there, let me know, Ping me if you think your neck of the woods is a gravel destination and let us know if kind of the criteria that we laid out make sense. So I’ll put the link to the website in the show notes so everybody can check it out. It definitely sounds like a pretty exciting region. And like I said on the website, there’s plenty of rides, just spoonfed Tisa if you’re within driving distance, definitely put it on your summer tour. And if it’s a flight away, maybe look at the pony express one 60 as an event to be the cornerstone of your trip. But get out there and check out Trinidad and let, uh, let one know what you think.

Yeah. I encourage everyone to come and check this place out because I think it’s one of those places where right now everything that you wouldn’t think it would be, but you want because you’re on a bravo. It’s got all the things that you want to, you know, find and, and see on a ride, you know, from wildlife to scenery, uh, to just, you know, history, you know, history is the big thing. I think that really distinctly puts us in a, in a different sort of place because a history, something that you know, uh, you see and you feel when you’re, when you’re around it. So that’s the beauty of it.

Well, that’s super exciting. Thanks for the timeline. Okay.

Thank you, Craig. I appreciate it.

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