Podcast: A Conversation with Sarah Cooper (Iowa Wind & Rock) & Matt Scott (Canada’s Ride for Water)

gravel ride podcast episode 24
Photo by Iowa Wind & Rock.

The Gravel Ride Podcast

Our friends at The Gravel Ride Podcast had a conversation with Sarah Cooper, promoter of Iowa Wind and Rock/Spotted Horse Ultra, and Canada’s Matt Scott, promoter of Ride for Water.

gravel ride podcast episode 24
Photo by Ride for Water.

We continue to explore the different riding conditions, different types of events and different distances and how they impact gear choices.

 

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

Automated Transcription (please excuse all errors)

Sarah Cooper – Iowa Rock and Wind, Spotted Horse, Iowa Gravel Classic

All right. Sarah, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for having me. I always like to start off by learning a little bit more about your background in cycling. So can you tell the listener about how you got into the sport and what part of the smart excites you right now?

Um, I got into cycling by way of triathlon. I just jumped into triathlon that we have here in Des Moines and from there went on to do a half iron man distance iron man distance and kind of worked my way through that genre, ended up with a running injury, um, and then just focused on cycling for a while. I jumped into a double century and ended up winning overall and decided that it was time to focus on ultra cycling for a while. And so, um, have moved through the entire realm of oak ultra cycling from 200 mile to 500 mile, two or 3000 hours across America. And in the process of that, um, you know, you get on Google and you find this stuff stuff to do. And I stumbled across Trans Iowa and I thought, Oh wow, I really need to do that. And so I entered the world of gravel cycling with Trans Iowa is my first growl event.

Amazing.

Yeah. And, and just it kind of took off from there. And then, you know, as I’m training for these longer and longer events are really don’t have a lot of pavement here in Iowa to train on. And so it gets, it gets pretty dull if you try and jail your miles on pavement. And so I just started doing a lot of writing gravel and finding just these incredible amazing roads, both regular gravel, dirt road B level road, and it’s like, wow, this is going to make a fantastic race course. And so 2016, um, I put together a spy at horse gravel ultra and then it’s just kind of taken off from there with, now I have a total of three events.

That’s amazing summary of how someone went from just discovering cycling too. We’re heading Transamerica, America, Trans Iowa.

Yeah. I, you know, life is just so different nowadays with the Internet and social media and you just see all this stuff that’s out there that’s like, wow, that would be really cool to do. And um, you know, that I’ve seen, you know, you find yourself in a completely different task in life that you never imagined.

Was there something about the long miles on the bike that appeals to you either physiologically or psychologically as an athlete?

I think it’s a combination of both. I’m, I’m definitely an introvert. Um, and so long miles alone on the bike, it appeals to me in a way. I think that maybe somebody who’s more extroverted doesn’t need, uh, for me, when I get on the bike and I’d go for a long ride, I come back and it feel centered and reset and I burned off some energy and I’m ready, then I’m ready to interact with people and take on my day and stuff. And so, yeah, psychologically I think that, that I’m just very well suited to that. And physiologically I think as well I have, you know, I have some orthopedic issues and so, you know, I’m trying to try to do a credit where you’re turning out huge watts and that kind of stuff. I’m just not terribly talented at that. So, but like that, that kind of hard effort that you just sustain for a really long time. I can do that and do it pretty well.

Some of the events you were mentioning are obviously multi-day, many, many day events. It’s an area we really haven’t described, uh, having explored on the ground ride podcast to date. Can you just sort of walk us through, what’s that like? I mean we’re, we talk about races where you get on your bike and ride a hundred miles and you’re, you’re out the beer garden that evening, sharing stories about your day. But you’re, you’re talking about events that are taking you overnight. How do you manage things like gear and sleep and you know, all the many things that must go into those types of events.

Yeah, there’s definitely a lot more planning and forethought that goes into an ultra event. Whether it’s got or a road, um, you can make a lot of mistakes on a century ride and still finish and actually finished quite well. Um, when you stretch that into a couple of days, that stuff starts to eat it too. Um, and so yeah, there’s definitely a training and thought and planning and trying things out and having things go wrong and coming back and trying again. So it’s, it’s, there’s less winging it I think in ultra cycling, whether it be paved or gravel.

And Are you typically using supplies that you’re bringing with you or are you stopping in convenience stores along the way? How does that work

for the ultra gravel events? Those are generally self-supported. And so, um, you know, a race director and as most race directors do, you plan the route with Reese supply, um, at reasonable intervals. And so you, you carry, um, like for I will leave Iraq, which is 340 miles. People will have to carry all of the clothing that they might need, um, over there of 34 hours, um, with them. But there’ll be able to stop. Okay. Every hundred miles and get fluid and get food and that kind of stuff. So you carry a lot. Um, your bike is quite heavy, but it’s not like you have to carry all the water, the for the entire event or that kind of thing. Um, there are opportunities to resupply.

And is there a sort of breaking point for most of the writers in these events where, you know, if it’s a 200 mile day, they’re not bringing any sleeping bags or anything like that, but if it’s a 350 mile ride they’re doing, they’re bringing, sleeping here with them.

It really depends on the event for um, for Iowa wind and rock, the, the time on this are such that you don’t have time to sleep. You’re writing that entire time to get to the finish line in time so that you know, you’re not bringing the sleeping bag. You might bring an emergency bevy of things go to hell, but you’re not planning sleep. Um, whereas something like the Alex Zander, which is 380 miles, people Durney cutoffs for that and time wise. And so people might choose to break that into a couple of days and sleep somewhere or camp and take it in a more relaxed pace. So really just depends on the event,

on the long, long events. Like you said, you did a transamerica events at one point, right? Race across America. America. Yeah. And that’s, you’ve got typically like a van supporting you in that type of event.

Yeah, that’s the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Um, in terms of support, you’ve got everything you need right there. And if you don’t have it, they go get it for you. That, I mean, that’s a test and just a different, a different, um, realm. Because your goal is to not get off your bike. You’re basically only allowed off your bike for your 90 minutes that you sleep. And then, you know, if you got to change your kid or go to the bathroom and stuff like that. So you, I mean, you just try not to stop as much as possible for the entirety of the race. And so, you know, the, the crew takes care of everything for you.

Gotcha. And so you, you had done, you said the Trans Iowa race on a number of occasions, is that correct? Yeah,

yeah. I started four times in finished twice. Yeah. I, well, one of those things, I had a friend that did it and I’m like, wow, that sounds really cool. I’m just going to do it. And so jumped in and my very first gravel race, um, yeah, everyone said you should probably try something shorter first. And I just, you know, I just didn’t how time it was just how it worked out. So I jumped and got a, got a gravel bike and bought some bags and figured some stuff out and did fine. Really. I mean, I’ve, I finished dead last and tied for first, so I really couldn’t imagine a better way finished my first gravel of it.

Okay. And how long was that Trans Iowa?

That one? I think it was 335 miles. And um, it was, it was crazy, crazy weather. We had all four seasons. We had spring, summer, winter thunderstorms, um, like it went from sunny and 50 to raging thunderstorms or you’re, you know, there’s crazy cloud to ground lightning and we’re hiding in the barn for a couple of hours. And so yeah, it was, it was fantastic and not just, you know, if you like that kind of thing, it just, you know, from there it was like, okay, give me more.

Well, how long does an event like that typically take? Like what’s their range from say a winter to the last place finisher?

You know, you can’t even predict. It’s all based on the course and the weather. And so it’s a complete crap shoot. The weather is usually the, the biggest, um, the biggest thing and the road conditions because the roads here in Iowa will just go to complete crap if we get heavy rain. And so you might have a strong writer that’s capable of averaging 18 to 20 on gravel was steep hills and suddenly they’re going 12. And so you just, you don’t know, you can’t, you can’t say you’ve got 34 hours to finish it. And it can take even the strongest people every minute of that.

Right. Jason add the gravel state cyclists introduced us and wanted us to kind of jump into some of the events that you are now organizing yourself and designing yourself. So can you tell us about the three events that you’re organizing and how you got into race organizing in the first place?

Yeah, my first event, um, that this will be its fourth year running is called spotted horse grab an ultra and the spotted horse comes from um, a race that I did, I called the silver state five oh wait, where are you need a tote him an animal totem that’s your, your instead of a number you have a total on. And so I used that totem to name the race and that it causes a grab what ultra because as an ultra cyclist, I wanted this to be long. I was looking at, you know, maybe a four, 500-mile race, but you know, calm. Our minds prevailed and they’re like, look, really

I shorter distance to start with that. So I started with a 200-mile event and, and that’s just what it stuck with. We also have 150-mile distance co, which we call the sprint jokingly. And so that is held in Madison County at the Madison County winery. And it basically heads through south central Iowa. My thing for that race, if the weather is cooperative, I try and run it down as many d level dirt roads as I possibly can, which you know, in a 200-mile course I can have up to 50 see miles of those beyond these beautiful roads. And if you’re not familiar with those are basically unmaintained county roads. And so they can be smooth, they can be righted, they can have trees down across them. Um, and we’re just a blast or ride. So, um, you know, it, the downside to that is if we get a lot of rain and they’re not rideable and so I ended up having to edit this out, but either way, it’s, it’s a very hilly, very scenic area, very, very low traffic.

Like you can ride for five hours and maybe see two cars. And so, um, my second event is called Iowa grab a classic and I just started that. This, it’s the first year will be in July and it’s at white rock conservancy, which was in coon rapids, Iowa. Completely different area of Iowa, also very hilly, lots of river valleys. Um, again seeing it fund dirt roads. Um, and white rock conservancy is a local land trust and they have, they also have mountain bike trails and hiking and kayaking. Lots of fun events. So we’re, we’re hoping to bring in people for the weekend. Maybe they can bring their families and just have a, have a great weekend. And that is more of a starter distance. We have a hundred k and a hundred miles.

Nothing, no big deal. That’s just a hundred.

Yeah, yeah. Talking to me, I mean that’s like a short day. You know, you ride four hours redundant and then you’ve got the whole weekend to do other stuff. So to me, that short. Um, and then our, our third race is called Iowa wind in rock. And if you’re familiar with Trans Iowa, that race retired this past year. And so we started a similar race, um, in the same vein as Trans Iowa and that it’s completely self-supported, a cue sheet navigated. So there is no GPX file like you get with my other two events. And um, yeah, it’s, it’s the end of April, which is both an amazingly wonderful and completely horrible time to ride bikes and Iowa and the course is completely confidential. So like this thing is locked down. It’s a, it’s 100% secret. And so the writers will not find out where they’re going. And so the morning of the race and they’ll get the cue sheets for the first section and then once they get to the first checkpoint at Mile 80, they’ve got the key shades for the next section. And so that’s how it goes throughout the race.

Is that common in that type of racing?

No, it was, it was a unique thing to Trans Iowa and it was, it’s just an amazing experience really to do it because you don’t have any idea. And, and I live in Iowa, you know, and I’m, I’m familiar with Iowa, but every Trans Iowa I did until the very last one that I, when I, I had no idea. Right. It’s like wow, you know, you just find these amazing backroads and, and places that you’d never otherwise visitors see on a bike. And, and so yeah, it’s a pretty unique thing. And, and that’s, that’s one of the reasons we wanted to kind of keep that going because there just aren’t a lot of people doing that now.

So you’ve got a QC down your handlebar with mile markers and it’s just basically saying, you know, 20 miles they had, you’re going to turn right kind of thing.

Pretty much. Yeah, that’s it. There’s no, there’s no other direction on there whatsoever. It just has the street name, the direction you turn, and then you follow that. And the towns aren’t listed on there. The points where we supply are listed on there. Really nothing. It’s just a set of directions. And then if you follow them correctly, you’ll end up at the next checkpoint and it’s, it’s incredibly challenging. And that particular facet of it really got me at my last Trans Iowa that, um, I didn’t finish because I was so hypothermic, um, from the rain and the weather, I ended up pulling out six miles from the next town because I didn’t know, I didn’t know how far that town was. You know, it could have been 50 miles for all I knew. So yeah, it’s, it’s a unique aspect to that race that just really adds to the challenge

cyclists and events around these really long distances feel here in California. Maybe this sort of the nature of the climbs in the mountains that we ended up encountering, like the idea of running hundred mile races in Marin county. You know, you’d be talking about 20,000 feet of climbing potentially adding up.

Yeah. You guys do have a, a double century culture out there too.

Yes. On the road. Yeah. Yeah.

Doing the double double. Um, and that’s, you know, that’s a unique California thing. You just go out there and that’s what they do on the weekends. I ride 200 miles and then they get up and do it again on Sunday. So there is that. But you’re right, it’s a lot of climbing. Um, I think the, the ultra cycling and ultra gravel races here in the Midwest really started as Trans Iowa and just that crazy idea that you could ride across the state in a weekend. And um, yeah, and it’s just kind of blown up from there. And the 200-mile distances, you know, that can the time limit for my race of 20 hours and there’s people that take every minute of that to finish that 200. So it’s, it’s just that it’s so hard to write here. It’s so difficult. It’s a fantastic challenge. And yet at the same time it’s, it’s something you can finish. It’s something that you can do. It’s not impossible. You just have to work.

Got It. Over 200 miles on one of your courses. What does that equate to in terms of feet climbed

if you look on Rye, but gps, um, my 200-mile route is between 10 and 11,000 feet. Climb. When you actually ride that on, on your bike, it feels like more. And your gps device or register is more, and I don’t know if it’s just the peculiarities of drive. The GPS, the grades here are very steep, but they’re also short. And so I, I don’t think it quantifies that appropriately. So I always tell people, you know, it’s around 10,000 but it feels like more. Think about that. You think about what does it take you to get a loaded bike up a 10% grade hill. And you know, if you don’t have the proper gearing, you might be standing up grinding a cadence of 40 well great, now you’ve got to do that a few hundred more times.

Yeah, I think that’s the big difference. I mean, we may, we may have a course with 6,000 or 10,000 feet of climbing around here, but you may gain 2000 of feet of those in one climb, which personally I find a lot easier than continuing to get punched in the gut. 350 feet at a time.

Yeah. Yeah. It’s like death by a thousand paper cuts.

So you mentioned some of the, the road quality there that it’s going to be a mixture of um, you know, under improved be roads that could be muddy depending on the occasion. What type of bike is typically underneath most of the riders? They, are they looking at, you know, 700 see tire and fairly narrow because you don’t need a lot of traction per se. Or are they going bigger tires for more comfort?

I people were run absolutely everything there. There’s no one right bike for Iowa gravel. I think, um, the wider tires tend to provide more comfort over the long haul. So for the longer races you’ll see people writing, you know, 38, 40, 42 and that, that genre, um, just, just so you don’t get battered to death, but you can’t, you can’t look at any event and even Thursday and say, okay, this is what the gravels way, this is what I’m going to ride in and be right for the entire event. For anything over a hundred miles.

Yeah.

Conditions Change. And that’s the thing, you know, I always provide updates, you know, before this is what the roads look like. But just for example, for, you know, for spotted horse the year that I first put on the event, when I wrote all this be roads Daver righted hell, I mean it was an I ride across bike with 38 millimeter tires. And so, you know, I was getting beat up on this stuff and then race week the farmers decided the great those roads and they were perfectly smooth when, when, uh, people came to ride them and they had a blast and it was fast and, and um, you know, that wasn’t, that wasn’t my experience at all, but it just, it changes so quick. And the gravel trucks, you just never know. There’s no schedule as to when they’re going to decide to repair the roads. And so, you know, the course looks fast, there’s not a lot of gravel and then the next day suddenly there’s seven miles of three inches of gravel and your, you’re riding it.

Okay. So

you know, you can get through that on I’m 32 millimeter file tread tires, but it’s, you know, it’s going to suck.

Yeah. What’s been your historically your personal trade off between comfort and speed? Have you, did you find on sort of your alternative since personal events that like that trade off, taking more comfort actually lended to a faster overall time then, then going for a tire bike set up? That was quote unquote speedier.

I would say so for anything over 200 miles for sure. For something like women rock where you’re out there for a day and a half, I would say, uh, why you retire, you’re going to have the best luck with that. And um, you know, for me, when I first started out, my first, um, long grove and I did on 35 millimeter tires at work to bus and on a cross bike with Kantar leave brakes and you know, I got through it, but it was just, you know, it was what I could afford. It was what I had. And so I did fine with it. And I think most people that come to these events, you know, if you’ve got one bike and when kind of tire, you’re going to be fine, you’re going to finish. It’s just, you know, is it going to be the absolute best tool for that job on that day? Maybe not. But that doesn’t, you know, and you really shouldn’t fret too much about tires, size in it then whatever. You know, if you have an option and you’re going to be out there for a day and a half, yeah, you probably want to bliss and you probably want something a little wider just, just so you can walk when you get off the bike, but right. I’m, I’m 47 now, so I, that’s the hip. A little harder than it probably is too.

And Are you, do you feel like the, the attitude of the rider is more important to you there and likelihood of finishing then than anything else?

Okay.

Oh, I would say so. Um, you know, the long event, so much of that is mental and dealing with the condition is a very mental thing too. I mean, granted, you’ve got to have the right gear, but, um, people are fascinating and that this is an aspect of race directing that I’ve really come to enjoy us. Just watching, um, watching these incredible people will take on this challenge and how, how they get through some of the stuff that they get through. Like for a spy, a horse last year, um, I didn’t think the weather to get any worse than the previous year, but it did, it ended up raining during the day and the rose went to Mush. Um, and it was very cold. It was in the forties and windy and people were getting hypothermic and you know, you had some people who are like, okay, I’m done, I’m calling for a ride. And then other people like bought garbage bags and put the garbage bags on and, and finished. And so it’s, it’s so much of it is mental, you know, and, and being tough and deciding how bad you want it, you know, cause it gets, it gets hard.

Yeah. It definitely doesn’t. I, I’m always one that thinks that that person that spent 17 hours on the course versus the winter who spent 12, that’s 17 hour athlete had to dig so much deeper in so many ways that seeing them cross the finish line is every bit as satisfying as seeing the competitive people finish first.

Yeah. Yeah. You know, not to, not to um, cut down the fast people because I certainly enjoy watching their incredible athletic performances too. But you know, just, you know, when, um, when you watch just an average guy finish this and then you talked to them about, you know, their life circumstances, all that they had to go through with training to get there and what they went through to get through the event. It’s like, wow, these two are just amazing and it’s so gratifying as a race director to talk to these folks and have them be excited about your event and come back next year. It’s like, yeah, this is a pretty cool job.

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that’s the cool thing about anytime you get off road is the unexpected happens. So to get from the start line to the finish line, everybody’s had a journey and whether your first or last you’re going to have these things shared experiences of that one section that was really tough, that climb that was just so tortuously muddy that not a single person could ride it and you can all kind of have a laugh and maybe I took a cry about it.

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And and and the tall tales afterwards or some of my favorite favorite parts.

Yeah, absolutely. Well this has been really exciting for me to hear a little bit more about the kind of ultra side of gravel racing. As I said, it’s not something we’ve covered a lot in the past and it is something that from afar I’m keenly interested in. So Sarah, thanks so much for joining us on the podcast. I’m going to put links to your three events in the show notes so everybody can check out what you’re doing.

Matt Scott – Ride for Water.

Great. Thanks Matt. Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for having me. Yeah, Matt Ellis like to start off

by learning a little bit more about your cycling background so we can understand the perspective you’re bringing into event organizing and course design.

So I’ve been involved in cycling 1988 as a young kid, kind of find my identity. I signed it in writing, I started going to the races when I was younger. Yeah. For me it’s just seeing how, you know, all the new bikes coming over there and whatnot. And then I really got into heading down to normal racist all the time. I was, I was going to events where it was like a festival for, you’d have either time or kind of like a little crick, uh, on the Friday night. And the Saturday would be, you’re a cross country race Sunday would be like, uh, trials or downhill or uphill slope. So just when mount make racing kind of first started growing up in Canada, in British Columbia, there wasn’t a lot of racing back in the late eighties, early nineties. So it had to travel into the state, go to Nova races whenever they’d come.

So there’s always going into like Montana and Idaho and Washington and in different places. You know, why the 15 year old kid, I’m like, I need, I need more instances locally. So at 15, I started organizing mount, make race, organize my, my own race. I think for sure we heard almost a hundred people. Second year it grew again and about our third year with, I only had it for three years. So the time is like 17. I had over a hundred, 220 people that came out. I positioned the race to be the week before, um, Canadian nationals would be held in, in Roslyn and DC. So I’d get told coming out and everything. So it was really cool at like 17 to be able to host big races that are attracting pose and you just lose great times. Um,

when did you first start gravel riding?

More recently I’ve really, really embraced gravel. So probably I’ve been fairly dedicated into his gravel. 2010 2011 from going from a road racing, I got into doing a cyclocross is a really strong second car scene in Vancouver here. I started getting involved in that, having kind of a, an organizing background, I think I can host, it’s like cross races. So I started hosting a few I a valley cross is what I hosted and then I ended up posting our provincial championships a few years back. Yeah, just anything to do with bikes and bringing people together. I’ve, I’ve always had a passion for that.

The community needs more people like you to bring the events together and it’s probably a good natural transition to your upcoming event in May, the ride for water. Can you tell us a little bit about how the event came about and then we’ll dig into some of the details?

I had been thinking about putting on um, uh, a gravel race cause I was already organizing, um, a lot of toony events. So we are, we don’t have it to the little bell. It’s a $2 coin. So I would, um, wholesome 20 events where everyone would just show up through those, the CUNY then and um, they would have a marked out kind of course. It was just more of a spirited ride as I’d like to call it. And it was just bringing people together. When you get more, uh, two or more people on a ride, usually 10 turns it into a race. So I was kind of organizing a lot of 20 rides in the eye and you know, I would get 60, 70 people out to these tunes horizon, you know, I going to bring the scale up a little bit more, increase the distances, maybe look at uh, supplying tomato station and that’s where the wheels were turning.

I need to put it on a gravel event. And then, so I kind of had a lot of framework done and set up. I had my roots and I just haven’t pulled the trigger of organizing as an official thing yet. And then one local running events that is the one from water. So the run from water is a charity that raises money for well projects in Ethiopia. So it’s one of those situations where they’re not dressed bringing money in, into a village. And like here you guys go, we’ll go in a village, commit to 10% of the cost of uh, the well project they have to commit to building schools for um, youth and to the women because a lot of times over anything you have the women that are walking seven, eight hours a day just to provide clean water all the time. The one for water has been going on since 2007.

They wanted to branch out into the market. And then just through talking with those organizers like, Hey, I have this kind of turnkey, a event I would like to offer to them. I’ve been involved in cycling, in organizing for over 30 years. I’ve gotten a lot from industry and everything, so I wanted something that I could give back. And so that’s what I was like, Oh hey, well here you go. So partnering with Rental Water and all their sponsors have come on board and basically we were able to commit 100% of entry fee of some of the entrance fee that goes directly to well projects in Ethiopia.

That’s great. Yeah. Which is very well done by the way. We’ve got some great video and photography makes me want to ride up there for sure. You’ve got, you’ve got three courses. Let’s focus on the epic root cause. I think the other ones it sounds like are encompassed within the epic. What type of writing should the riders expect when they come to BC for this event?

The topography and the layout of British Columbia has lots of mountains north and long fire road joy, adding some flavor of a double track or overgrown double track, which is kind of like single track or peer single track into my events. I would end up on any given day when I’m like on the weekend, Hey, I’m going to look over at that mountain. I want to ride up to their, cause I see some logging roads. So we have the, the Vedder river that comes through our valley. So there’s dyke trails, gravel’s bike trails that can get out to those mountains. And then I’m on to the forestry roads. So a lot of that you definitely want to have during that you’re going to be able to sometimes manage 16% grades for a while. So when I was planning out the roots for the epic, we’ve, I ran a few tests, events with people in the call.

This is smarter than I was thinking. And so again, gravel riding a graveled during his rogue. So I personally am running, um, eastern is a drought gear set, so it’s 30, 30 to 47 and then on the back, I’m not sure, I think it’s 1134. So in a NXT, so now by concepts it’s, it could cause you need that good range. And a lot of times right now I don’t feel about road is offering that. So you have to kind of start calling. You better stop the [inaudible]. I don’t want to be able to handle some sentence steeper trails or gravel roads. Higher end tire pressures are huge. Thank you. At minimum of 33, no tire. And then personally I’m learning, um, 42 mil, uh, on my setups. Tires, you know, higher volume during, uh, something that could have handled some higher um, climbs and then uh, capable rig that’s going to be a little last you all day rights of water last year the average home was around seven and a half hours is one of the things we’re almost 90% of the course. You’re not going to have cell reception so you want something where you’re going to be able to be self-sustained.

Right? Yeah. I’m often trying to eat out sort of a methodology to compare one type of [inaudible] to another. And I go back to some of the ways I was thinking about mountain bike courses back in the day, which is vertical feet climbing is certainly one metric or vertical meters in your case, uh, is certainly one meter, one metric to compare one course to the other. Obviously, it’s not the end all be all. But when we’re talking, I believe you have about 2000 meters of climbing in your, yeah. So that’s about for it. And you asked about 6,000, 7,000 feet of climbing. Are those coming in large chunks? I know you mentioned some severe grades of 16%. Are we talking about climbs? That will be an hour long for some riders

starting at Cultus Lake, which is a beautiful venue. So we started called the slate. We head out onto some forestry service. What I did right away, so you probably only have about a kilometer of a paved. Me Getting into gravel, you get a slight little, a little climb, so you, there’ll be a stretch of 12 kilometers that you’ll climb about 400 meters and then come back down. And then you get into, um, uh, the lessee road climb up mountains, lessee, uh, and then usually takes about, uh, about an hour. I think Michael Bannon has Caitlin and my rap on that climate around 38 minutes. So, and I tied a propay. So, um, depending on where people saw it and you’re going to get a fairly steep climb, it’s averages baby, maybe 8%, but there are a few kickers on that climb to one of them actually tops out at 20% just for a short little bit.

And then so yeah, there’s going to be sections that are, to me Steve and majority of the course is almost 80% of the course of your own double track. So you know what I’m paid. It’s going to be gravel is going to be forest service roads. There’s some beautiful beautiful Alpine vistas that we get up into the chill like river valley that we kind of write up one side and come back on. The other is just spectacular. Uh, and that’s one of the reasons why I wonder [inaudible] event is to, I’m super excited about writing these kind of areas that I wanted to bring as many people as I can to come and experience what we just ride on any given weekend.

Yeah. And it’s so nice during an event to have just that little bit of safety net of other riders being out there and the aid stations to make what would be kind of an epic backcountry adventure. A little, a little safer and a little bit more approachable for a lot of riders.

Yeah. So, um, we have several eight stations, uh, and [inaudible] satellite phones. Uh, we have more than a support because again, like I was saying, there’s a large proportion of our core set is not within cell range. So having writers safety that was, that are the front of her mind is like if something happens, how can we, um, react to the situation? So we have, like I said, motor support, we have, um, first aid, some backcountry for state people that are experienced with anything if something happens. Okay.

Yeah, absolutely. Especially when you get to offer such a big adventure is what you’ve laid out for the epic route. So now I’m super excited about it for riders that are in the area or anybody can make the trip up to BC, the events on May 4th, 2019 and I’ll have the link to the website even if he can’t get up to BC to attend mass event, encourage you just to take a look at it and let me know in the comments or on Instagram as to how that type of event compares to the type of event in your neck of the woods. Because I’m always curious, uh, to kind of juxtapose one event to another or one part of the world to another. So as gravel cyclists we can get a better understanding about what’s out there and what type of equipment we could be using if we lived in different parts of the country. So Matt, thanks so much for the overview. Um, and thanks for being such a great contributor to the cycling community throughout your entire life.

Thanks for having me. Big thanks to both Sarah and Matt for sharing their events with us this week. I really like the sounds of both of them, to be honest with you. Maths event is definitely in my wheelhouse in terms of distance and time, and I really liked the adventure elements of what he’s created up there. Sarah’s event, on the other hand, would be something that I’d really have to push myself towards, and I think these are just some of the great things about the sport. We love. The events can take on very different personalities and have very different intentions and require different equipment and different training. So hats off as always, to all the event organizers. I don’t think we can say that enough. We wouldn’t have all these great opportunities if people weren’t putting their blood, sweat, and tears into creating great gravel events for us to continue to explore. I hope you enjoyed this event. Doubleheader. If you like the format, definitely shoot me some feedback. I’m active on Instagram and Facebook. Just search for the gravel ride, or you can shoot me an email@craigatthegravelride.bike. As always, here’s the finding some dirt under your wheels.

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