When I learned I was among the 100 riders invited to the Pirate Cycling League’s first 300-mile event, The Long Voyage, I was jabbed with a twist cone of excitement and dread. And right away, I thought of the Barkley Marathons. That infamous off-trail race in Tennessee selects just 40 runners each year, and shares … More We Regret to Congratulate You.
Better husbands than me have been guilty of the wandering eye. Beth caught mine years ago and promptly jabbed it with her thumb. “Ow, Jeez!” I staggered backwards, pressed a palm to my face and took a knee. “Don’t even think about it,” she said. “I was only looking.” I blinked hard and tried not … More Surviving Gravel’s Sirens
You’ve already been told to wear your damn mask. You’ve been begged to wash your hands often and for 20 seconds a crack. Been implored to avoid crowds and keep six feet from folks outside your household. By now, you’re either doing all this stuff, or you’ve steeled yourself so far into asshole mode that … More A Friendly Gravel Public Health Announcement
People are poking some predictable fun at DK’s new name. You’ll recall Lifetime parted ways with the event’s cofounder in June and committed to renaming the race. The original title’s racist connotations had grown intolerable, and the folks in Emporia and at Lifetime hunkered down for several months to do their work. They went public … More Same Great Gravel Taste! America’s biggest gravel race gets a rebrand.
There’s a toll bridge in Plattsmouth, Neb., that may as well be a carnival ride. You and a few of your eager pals bomb down Livingston Road toward the river to get there, hepped up on Gu packs sweet as cotton candy. You squeeze the brakes at the tollbooth, where a quarter grants you access … More A Carnival of Earth
A professional mentor of mine said every article he ever wrote started with the same sentence: I just learned the damnedest thing. The late Brian Doyle never published that sentence. I don’t figure he even bothered to write it out most times he started a story. But for him, just thinking it, just stepping his … More Solstice 2020: The Damnedest Thing
I arrived at my in-laws’ with bloodshot eyes. That morning’s solo ride hadn’t gone well. Enough sweat had dumped down my face to blind, and I had to ditch my sunglasses just to see the road in front of me. The extra air helped, but the wind burned, and the dust bit. Add some heat … More What Are You, Exactly?
Of course it would be 2020—gravel racing’s lost year—that the Lincoln Abes would find a racer like Clark Jackson. “You gotta meet him,” Mike told me. “He’s young—only started riding this year. But he’s all in. And he’s good.” Mike put his friend on a trainer and watched him tap out watts normal cyclists spend … More A Race of Mistaken Identity
As kids, we’re taught to trust that little voice in our heads that runs the brakes. That voice that says, “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea.” That voice keeps us from getting hurt and doing wrong. But as endurance athletes, we learn there are plenty of times we need to tell that voice to … More A Fitter Norm
Most of us learned on Fathers’ Day of Jim Cummins’ firing from the race he fathered. Cummins helped establish the Dirty Kanza back in 2006, and he fostered the race’s explosive growth in the years that followed. In the process, he helped make Emporia, Kan., one of the gravel family’s cultural hometowns. Cummins can take … More A Divorce in the Gravel Family