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?
My memory of that Saturday evening last year is pretty sketchy. But within an hour or so of finishing Gravel Worlds’ inaugural Long Voyage 300, I’m pretty sure I promised my daughter we’d tackle the 50k Buccaneer together in 2022. Sydney liked that idea. So did my wife. And you bet your butt I accepted … More Gravel Worlds Grows a New Mindset
I try not to let my day job at Nebraska Wesleyan University cross streams with what I write for my blog job. (Well, I guess there was one time…) But a recent article I wrote about a tremendous athlete at NWU warrants an exception. Reagan Janzen is an All-American 800 runner, a conference champion, an … More Don’t Just Feel the Burn. Understand It.
Around mile 63 of this year’s Solstice 100, the temperature touched 97 degrees; the course turned north; and my well-being tipped south. Sam, Pete and I had ridden well together all morning. And our positivity, pacing and patronage of a particularly well-stocked oasis had all done me a world of good. Knowing my history with … More Hot Routes: Gravel’s greatest course designers shine at high heat
There are two things I’ll go to hell for in a bike race: A good friend, and a good story. At the 2022 Pine Island Gravel Odyssey, I got to go to hell for both. Marty and I drove to Spearfish, S.D., to climb Pine Island’s tallest tree: the 210-mile Lodgepole Voyage (formerly known as … More The Pointy End at Spearfish
I haven’t written in this blog for a long while. It’s been hard for the writer in me to think much about bikes as we watch our country ride this crazy line between the world’s oldest democracy and a frightening new authoritarianism. It has often felt to me as though we’re careening down a deeply … More The Road out
I used to have this happy little theory that time on a bicycle bestowed special powers. Like some radioactive spider bite, biking could magically flatten our tummies, deepen our lungs and beef our hearts and quads. And (most significantly) biking could sharpen our eyes. Riding gravel improved our perception, I believed, by making it cool … More Bike Focals: How do we correct cycling’s vision problem?
The latest thing in gravel racing is all about honoring the earliest things in gravel racing. This week, we learned that a new Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame is coming to Emporia, Kan. And its first crop of inductees will come from your nominations. The hall’s organizers are seeking nominees in several broad categories. (Refreshingly, … More It’s an Honor Just to Be Nominating: Emporia to host new Gravel Hall of Fame
You don’t want to play Monopoly with my son. Marcus will talk to you about your straits in the most empathetic tones. He knows what it’s like to be stretched thin. And he sees the same threats on the board you do. There’s your daughter across the coffee table, gleefully scooping up railroads. And your … More Property of a Life Time: Is gravel racing monopolized?
This fall, I outed myself as a UCI-gravel agnostic. I wasn’t pining for the UCI’s involvement in gravel. But I believed the rise of “purely pro” gravel racing might just create fresh opportunities for grassroots gravel to cut its own “purely amateur” path. I just had no idea how quickly (or how sharply) the two … More A Thousand to None: Grassroots and pro gravel keep different scores
I landed on my back at the bottom of the slickrock, a rented mountain bike slapping down across my chest. My friends swung over, swinging between chuckles and concern. Was I OK? And could they take pictures? (I think so. I’d rather you not.) I stared straight up at the clouds, taking inventory of my … More The Great Uncomformity: A crash course in riding the Canyonlands