Back in February I read a post on the Salsa Cycles Facebook page: "Minnesota area women - if you are thinking about taking on a gravel event, but perhaps intimidated by the typically 100-mile distance, this might be something you are interested in. RiotGRRRaveL - a 30 - 35-mile women & family friendly gravel ride near Hastings, Minnesota on June 21st. Hit the link to learn more..."
That post spoke to me. I've been interested in gravel rides and races but have been VERY intimidated by the 100 mile distances. As a fairly slow rider who likes to talk a lot and stop for coffee on my rides, I've also been pretty intimidated at the thought of riding a gravel race with a bunch of competitive men (the vast majority of bike racers, gravel and otherwise, are men). Immediately intrigued, I clicked on the link to learn more - and within moments I signed myself up to ride RiotGrrravel.
The fact that I signed up for a gravel ride, let alone a race, is pretty crazy. I have a gravel bike (a Salsa Vaya named Zippy) but I had some issues with knee pain so rode less than 50 miles total of gravel last year. I am a slow, back of the pack, sort of bike rider. Add to that, on one of my few gravel rides last summer I managed to tip over in a rather comical slow motion fashion and skin up my knee (Whoops! I have a cool scar now, at least.). With my lack of gravel time, lack of speed, and lack of confidence in my riding skills, It's an understatement to say that I'm not prepared to ride a gravel race.
So it's a good thing I have a couple of months to prepare because I'm officially registered for RiotGrrravel and have been assigned bib number 204 for the race!!!!
The race will be held on June 21st in Hastings, Minnesota area and will be about 30 miles long. The ride filled up within a month so I feel lucky to be among the 100 riders. There are cool prizes, pastries from a local bakery (motivation enough for me!), and the ride promises to be reasonably challenging but not over the top.
My goal is to finish the race and gain confidence - and have fun in the process!
So with the race less than three months away, it's time for me to get riding some gravel. A couple of days ago I had my friend, Marty, made some minor adjustments to Zippy in hopes of fixing my knee issue. Since then I've ridden Zippy twice on gravel and my knee was okay. That's a good start! My friend Lisa is riding the race with me and we are planning to get out and ride some gravel together in the weeks to come to prepare for the ride. I don't know Lisa terribly well but she has such a positive spirit and outlook on life that I know she will be a great riding parter.
Now I just have to put on many, many, miles on Zippy and get ready for June 21st - Look out RiotGrrravel, here I come!!