Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Gravel Grape Crusher

those of you that have been riding bikes with me for sometime know a couple things about me:

1. I haven't been riding that much lately.
2. I hate the term gravel bike...

Last weekend those two things really came to an impass at VeloAmis's Gravel Grape Crusher.
Photo: Dennis Smith
Over the past few years Monk and I have been doing more and more grand fondo rides. Not races, but generally large rides, competitive, (but still fun for an ex-racer like me)  and usually a bit longer than my normal fare and often interesting offroad, fireroad and technical sections. Post ride event usually have some good food and drink too

It was with great pride that we would sometimes stubbornly ride our road bikes... "Cross bikes are for racing..." often our mantra...

But, as some of these fondos have become more technical, more off road than on, the road bike has become less and less the weapon of choice... Diane has been using her B cross bike (disc brakes) [her race bike has canti's,] and last summer I built up a Twin Six Fondo bike out of mostly spare parts in the garage... Slowly, the garage parts have been swapped out as this bike has quietly become my favorite bike to ride...

Last weekend was the Gravel Grape Crusher- my former Spot Brand Whore Teammate Matt Thompson's vision of connecting the local parks via gravel roads, and making an amazing loop covering 50 miles of challenging terrain. It was outstanding... The ride started and finished at the Paradox Vineyard providing proper rehydration and food following the event!

I think there is an extra challenge in not trying to race an event like this as much as survive it. I knew going in this would be double the longest ride I have done this year.. Surrounded by an amazing group: (I) Paul, Lisa V, Jackie, Brian, Monkey, Anne, Gus and Shane and lot of other folks working their way into and out of our group... we had a blast ticking off the miles, fixing 4 flats and talking lots of junk... Miles and smiles as an old friend used to say...

I'll say this, I still hate the term gravel bike... BUT I have to say I've been spending the bulk of my time on the fondo bike, I'm enjoying the feel of a steel bike, and the 38mm chicanes...

We have a few more Grand Fondo's on the calendar starting with Sunday's Brandywine Valley Roubaix.... Gonna be a fun one!


Photo Anne Freakin' Rock

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