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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Hey You Dang Woodchucks!

The rankling dust-up between the great, unwashed mass of gravel enthusiasts and the elite racing establishment streams into spring. Like the relentless rollers at Gravel Worlds, no end seems in sight.

From my saddle, I see a wonderfully diverse community of cyclists free to choose from an expanding number and variety of rides. Gravel Freedom. And the number of participants continues to increase, far beyond that of simply road racers shifting sights from pave to gravel. So, the gravel community is not about to be overrun by a stampede of UCI or USAC racers.

I believe much of the growth in the gravel community flows from informal rides and shorter distance, lower production races attracting new, or re-newed, cyclists. Many participants in such local, grass roots events may not know, or even care, whether others are squawking about other races, racers, rules, attitudes or organizations. They're out there to ride. Support and mentor everyone who shows up at your local event and our gravel family will continue to thrive. A Call To Support And Mentor.

Of course, a big production race, even with all the trapping of the road racing establishment, may draw some of those cyclists to a destination event for a unique experience. But that doesn't mean that local, lower production rides are somehow a lesser experience. And it doesn't mean that local, lower production rides will wither and die.

Nonetheless, it's irritating to hear that the latest, greatest thing in cycling is the big production gravel race scene, with history ignored and all else marginalized or neglected. Then, it's easy to transform into the grumpy old man yelling at kids to stay off the grass.

For me and all the other grumpy old men out there barking, let's protect the wood pile we helped build, while inviting the woodchucks into the gravel family.

And all you woodchucks out there. You're welcome to join the gravel family, but quit chucking our wood. If you don't like a gravel event, make your own and chuck all you want.

1 comment:

  1. Some people want to be part of the next big thing. Other people just want to have fun. There's room for both. I've done grassroots and a big production race. I like grassroots better. That's where I choose to play. Others can play wherever they wish. Here's hoping they find what they're after...whatever it happens to be.