Paceline Podcast 132

Paceline Podcast 132

So just what is gravel? What should a gravel ride be? Should it include singletrack? Should there be creek crossings? What is reasonable for a person to expect when they sign up for an event and just what should a promoter be obligated to communicate to attendees? Selene has events like Iron Cross on her mind.

Alison Tetrick at UnPaved.

Do you huck? Are you rad? Patrick has set a personal goal to improve his mountain biking skills, specifically with regard to sending it. He wants to be able to do drops taller than his children. The question becomes, what does he pursue, and should he cap this effort with a trip to Crankworx at Whistler?



The Paceline is supported by Eliel Cycling. Crafted in California, the Eliel brand combines the latest technology with cycling tradition to deliver an experience that is authentically California. View their retail gear and custom program at


Red Kite Prayer is hosting its first-ever event October 12th through 14th, 2018, the Red Kite Ronde et Vous. The two-and-a-half day event will feature bikes from some of the industry’s top frame builders, two gravel rides, some of the world’s finest craft beers, which are brewed locally, plus enough food to make the pedaling fun. For more information, or to register, go here


Show links:

Good to Go by Christie Aschwanden

Bell Super 3R

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  1. Neil Winkelmann

    I stopped mountain biking because I hate difficult technical terrain. For me, my fear of crashing overwhelms any enjoyment or satisfaction that may be on offer. I don’t want my courage and skill to be tested any more. My desired challenge is to my physical and mental endurance and strength. So an unexpected stretch of unrideable (by me, at least) single track in a gravel event tends to put me off.

    In one event I did, there was such a stretch near half-way, but it served a purpose to link the gravel road sections, and to eliminate a simple out-and-back. OK, I can live with that (although I did walk most of it). But there was a later section of technical singletrack that was completely gratuitous. A parallel, hard but non-technical, fire road could easily have been the route. I’ll go back to that event, but still don’t really see the point of the second technical section. I walked most of it this year, and I’ll walk it again next time. That’s not cycling for me.

    I’m not against something being hard. DK200 was wonderful. And for me, 99.9% rideable. That’s what I want.

    1. Selene

      Exactly my point! I think there’s room for all of it…just good to let people know what they’re in for.

    2. Neil Winkelmann

      Room for it all, for sure. As I pushed my gravel bike up and down sections of single track in that event, I muttered to myself “If I’d wanted to go mountain-biking, I’d have gone f^%$ing mountain-biking”. But I got over it quickly, and once I was back riding again, the world was a wonderful place.

  2. Tominalbany

    I agree that the race course should be communicated. I remember back in the early ’90s, when I started riding more seriously, the research was based on word of mouth and trying to find a course profile. Life is so much better these days!

  3. G.Rodosta

    Sure, it’s a good idea for promoters to let riders know what to expect. A big part of gravel racing is selecting the right equipment for the course, and you have to know what to expect to do that. Should those challenges be included in gravel races? Absolutely! Most gravel riders want more than just a road race with a few dirt road sections thrown in. Road races are mostly a test of fitness, gravel races test fitness AND technical skills and abilities.

    I consider myself very lucky to have one of the best gravel races as my ‘local’ race … HillyBilly Roubaix in WV. Knee-deep creeks to cross, car swallowing mud holes to negotiate, rutted out doubletrack, silly-steep climbs, and smoking fast gravel descents to challenge your fitness AND riding abilities. All part of the fun and experience you’ll never forget. (oh, and live bluegrass, free craft beer and food at the afterparty) Those challenging features are exactly what make the event special.

    1. Author

      I keep hearing great things about that event. Can you try to find someone to cover it for us? I’d love to run photos and a short story.

    2. Neil Winkelmann

      Sounds a great event. Just not for me. I don’t want my riding skills abilities challenged (too much). If I wanted a sport where the outcome of not being good enough was injury, I’d take up boxing.

    3. G.Rodosta

      Padraig- you should come and do the event. I’m a regular podcast listener and based on the kind of events you seems to enjoy, I think you’d love it. But sure, I can try to find someone to cover it.

  4. Slugsmasher

    There is nothing more satisfying than cleaning technical trail on my cyclocross/gravel bike. Every challenge is like getting away with something. There are miles and miles and miles of sweet X/C style singletrack that nobody rides because full suspension cheater bikes have dumbed everything down. Those trails that are now no mans land but used to be somewhat difficult back in the 1990s are now fun again and nobody is out there! You will never find your limits until you are willing to exceed them I say.

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