Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Gravel Grinder Season

This time of year is one of one of my favorites. Why? There is no more pressure from events (either racing or promoting), the holidays are upon us, easier days at work, we get to spend some more quality time with the family and we get to go do things like ride our bikes on frozen gravel roads. Over the past several years riding gravel roads has become my favorite type of riding.

This years gravel grinder calendar is filling up fast. Check out for complete info on local rides. The first weekly ride starts with Brett's. We have weekly gravel rides out of Stilwell every Wednesday evening. These are night rides and will require a light and rear flashing light. If you would like to add a gravel grinder yourself to our calendar please us know - email Chris.

Here is a little more information and tips for our gravel grinders this year.
  • Ride pace will be announced prior to the ride. The majority of our rides will be a moderate pace to allow proper "winter training" (i.e. Long Slow Distance). We will use a fat, old, out-of-form guy as a pacer (me).
  • A cross bike is the preferred weapon of choice but we get plenty of MTB and road bikes out on our rides.
  • Ride terrain will include: gravel roads, double track, levees, easy single track, hills (big ones) paved trails and tarmac among other things.
  • Ride time will be between 2 to 4 hours depending on conditions and terrain. We are planning some longer ones which will be announced to allow for training for events like Trans Iowa.
  • Rides are self supported and you ride at your own risk.
  • Details on rides will be posted on our Gravel Grinder site.
  • Ride start time is 9:00 a.m (unless posted otherwise for longer or shorter routes).
  • We usually eat lunch after the ride and enjoy some food and adult beverages.
  • We ride in all kinds of weather but when temps get below 0 degrees we usually hit the MTB trails and stay out of the wind instead. I say we, but it is usually just me when temps get that cold :-)
  • Dress in layers and use embrocation for an enjoyable ride in the cold.
  • Keep those feet warm with a pair of winter cycling shoes - trust me they are worth it!
  • Another thing to keep warm is your head hands. You loose a lot of heat out of your head so you can also keep a lot in with a nice skull cap. I sometimes bring a lighter cap (or ear covers) in case I heat up and need remove my thicker cap.
  • Tip of the day: Frozen water bottles a problem? Use insulated water bottles and fill with hot water. My water bottle stays "none frozen" for most of my long winter riders when filled with hot water (or the beverage of your choice). If you use a camelback beware of frozen tubes/bit valves - keep under your clothing close to your body to keep the bit valve from freezing.
  • One last thing, do not over dress. I see this all the time. Riders show up with thick baklava's and winter coats and can hardly pedal or breath. Just wear what I do and you will be fine :-)

1 comment:

Ted said...

Good advice Chris. One thing I use when it gets into the single digits are heat packs in my shoes and gloves. Never leave home without them!!